BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — $5 million is on the line in Buffalo’s annual contest for innovative startups — the 43North competition.

Here are the top 15 semi-finalists, five of whom will win one-fifth each of that $5 million:

  • 4T2 Sensors – Birmingham, United Kingdom
    • 4T2 Sensors specializes in advanced sensor technology for industrial applications. By utilizing next generation sensing technology, 4T2 Sensors enable precise monitoring, control, and optimization of CIP processes, leading to improved efficiency, cost savings, and resource conservation in various industries, including food and beverage.
  • Blip Energy – Chicago, Illinois
    • Blip is making energy equity accessible to accelerate the clean energy transition by building a new category of smart, affordable energy storage to add millions of homes to the smart grid network. A hybrid hardware/software solution for energy management that works in any home without barriers around permitting and installation.
  • EarlyBird – New York, NY
    • EarlyBird empowers parents, family, and friends to collectively invest in a child you love starting from the earliest age possible. 
  • Encounter AI – Menlo Park, California
    • Encounter AI is a voice AI system that handles orders at drive-thrus, kiosks, and over the phone. 
  • Guidesly – Topsfield, Massachusetts
    • Guidesly is a vertical SaaS platform serving the $40b outdoor recreational guide marketplace with a consumer marketplace.
  • KAV – Redwood City, California
    • KAV are award winning custom helmets designed to save lives and reduce brain injuries.
  • Kredit Academy – Miami, Florida
    • Kredit Academy is a comprehensive financial literacy platform offering white-label, credit-based solutions, aimed at empowering consumers, particularly teens and young adults, with knowledge and tools to build sound credit, while also providing financial institutions an effective means of engagement and growth.
  • Moxie Scrubs – Somerville, Massachusetts
    • Moxie Scrubs is disrupting the $35 billion U.S. medical apparel market as the first lifestyle brand for nurses.
  • Peat – Brooklyn, New York
    • Peat is building the world’s largest network of circular mushroom farms that decarbonize the planet by growing fungi to decompose food waste and converting the by-products into value-added products.
  • Preemadonna – Carlsbad, California
    • Preemadonna offers affordable, instant and personalized nail and body art via at home connected devices.
  • REES – Winnipeg, Canada
    • REES (Respect, Educate, Empower Survivors) is an online platform for reporting harassment and discrimination that can be adapted for any sector or industry.
  • Stepwise – Cambridge, Massachusetts
    • Stepwise makes home electrification, specifically for EV charger and heat pump installations, cost-effective for homeowners while futureproofing the electric grid.
  • StoreCash – San Jose, California
    • StoreCash is a mobile payment solution for users to pay cheaply and easily via QR codes at now over 200,000 locations, earning maximum cash back at their favorite stores.
  • Transship – Chicago, IL
    • Transship is an automated freight forwarding platform for international shipments of full container loads of perishable and non-perishable goods.
  • Zette – San Francisco, California
    • Zette is a software that unlocks paywalled articles across the internet, bringing access to the world’s top journalism with one account.

In addition to the $5 million in prizes, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office says BlueCross BlueShield is funding an additional $25,000 People’s Choice award to be voted on by audience members on the night of the competition.

“Buffalo has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing startup cities, with experts often citing the success of 43North as an important attraction,” Hochul’s office said.

Along with cash prizes, 43North winners also get a free incubator space in Buffalo for a year, guidance from mentors and access to business incentive programs like START-UP NY.

The finals, which are free to attend with registration, will take place at Shea’s Performing Arts Center on October 12 at 6 p.m. You can get tickets here.

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.