Reaching Others University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
Skip to Content
Official UB news and information for the media

Bright Buffalo Niagara venture forum to showcase 35 high-tech companies

Release Date: September 19, 2013

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Bright Buffalo Niagara, Western New York’s premier venture forum, has selected 35 early-stage high-tech companies to present to investors at the Oct. 1 event.

Participating companies represent a wide range of services and products in the sectors of energy, software, life sciences and more, including a producer of graphene-based materials, a firm that provides services to expedite drug discovery, and a web-based product that helps nonprofits connect with volunteers.

Twenty companies will give 10-minute presentations to an audience of investors, while 15 others will have one minute to pitch their business. Ten-minute presenters will automatically make the first round at Launch NY’s upcoming international business plan competition, planned for 2014 and offering $5 million in prizes.

Bright Buffalo Niagara’s format, including networking and exhibition opportunities, will give companies that were not selected to present the chance to connect with the investor community as well.

The Worldwide App Inc., one of this year’s 10-minute presenters, will discuss one of its major products: a smartphone application that allows users to vote for their favorite short films from independent film festivals, giving these films a shot at attracting attention from audiences around the world and filmmakers the chance to “represent their hometown in Hollywood,” said founder Crystal Callahan. Callahan, who grew up in Buffalo, worked for many years on the West Coast and then returned to Western New York to establish The Worldwide App’s East Coast headquarters. The company was founded in May.

"As a Buffalo native who is returning home to do business after working in the Silicon Valley and Hollywood, Bright Buffalo Niagara gives me hope that Buffalo is ready, willing and able to innovate, and its stakeholders are actively investing in this wave of the future,” said Callahan.

Bright Buffalo Niagara has launched a redesigned website that provides greater ease for registering and finding critical information about the venture forum.

Visit www.BrightBuffaloNiagara.com to explore the website, which includes video from last year’s presentations, a full schedule of events for this year’s venture forum, streaming updates from the Bright Buffalo Niagara Twitter account and more. Attendees or supporters tweeting about this year’s event are encouraged to use the hashtag #BBN13.

Bright Buffalo Niagara will be held at Statler City in downtown Buffalo on Oct. 1, with VIP activities on Sept. 30. In addition to company presentations, the venture forum will include speaker programs targeted to investor and entrepreneur audiences, an exhibition hall featuring displays from presenting companies and others, and an evening networking reception.

The event will feature keynote remarks from Victor W. Hwang, CEO of Silicon Valley venture firm T2 Venture Capital and author of “The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley,” which highlights how society can foster innovative economies. The book has been praised as “an insightful, forward-thinking assessment of what makes Silicon Valley tick” and a “detailed analysis of the power of the environment on startup success.”

Hwang will be available for phone interviews prior to the event.

About 100 early stage companies have presented at Bright Buffalo Niagara since it was established in 2009, with 250-300 attendees each year including entrepreneurs, angel and venture capital investors, potential business partners, industry leaders, elected officials and more. Since its inception, Bright Buffalo Niagara participants have gone on to raise more than $23 million in funding and have gained invaluable exposure to national markets and potential future investors. 

Bright Buffalo Niagara 2013 sponsors:

GROWTH STAGE SPONSORS: Launch NY; UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences; Superior Group; and the University at Buffalo.

START-UP STAGE SPONSORS: Colligan Law LLP.

SEED STAGE: Buffalo Business First; Buffalo Niagara Enterprise; Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus; CareerBuilder; Erie County Industrial Development Agency; Insyte Consulting; Phillips Lytle LLP; UB’s Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach; and Upstate Venture Association of New York.

PRE-SEED STAGE: Dopkins and Company LLP; Freed Maxick CPAs, P.C.; Hodgson Russ Attorneys; HSBC; Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP; the Research Foundation for the State University of New York; Wilmington Trust; Woods Oviatt Gillman LLP; and the Western New York Venture Association.

Media Contact Information