October 13, 2016
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Finals Award Judges for 43North Competition

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Finals Award Judges...

Former NBC News Congressional Correspondent Luke Russert To Emcee Finals Million Dollar Round And Awards Celebration


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the panel of Finals Award Judges who will evaluate the 43North competition's top 10 finalists on October 27 at Shea’s Performing Arts Center. The judges will determine which startups will receive 43North’s $1 million grand prize, $600,000 runner-up award or one of six $500,000 prizes. Former NBC News Congressional Correspondent Luke Russert will emcee 43North's Finals Million Dollar Round and Awards Celebration on October 27.

“43North showcases some the world’s most innovative entrepreneurs and their ideas, while also putting Western New York on the map as a global destination for businesses and companies on the cutting edge of technology,” Governor Cuomo said. “I thank the members of this panel – as well as Luke Russert, one of the Queen City’s favorite sons – for lending their time and their expertise to this competition and helping ensure that Buffalo remains a city on the move.”

43North’s Finals Award Judges will score both of the following rounds. Tickets are free and open to the public at 43north.org.

Finals Award Round
Thursday, October 27, 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Shea’s Performing Arts Center, Buffalo

Ten finalists will pitch for a shot at one of 43North's eight cash prizes.

Finals Million Dollar Round & Awards Celebration
Thursday, October 27, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Shea’s Performing Arts Center, Buffalo

43North's top three finalists will pitch live onstage for either the $1 million grand prize, $600,000 runner-up prize or one of 43North's six $500,000 prizes.

In addition, 43North announced that former NBC News Congressional Correspondent Luke Russert will emcee the evening’s Finals Million Dollar Round and Awards Celebration. Russert is an Emmy Award-winning journalist appearing with NBC Nightly News, Today, NBCNews.com and MSNBC, among others, where he reported on the House of Representatives from his location on Capitol Hill. New York Power Authority Board Chair John Koelmel will serve as the evening’s host.

“Given the tremendous quality of 43North’s Finalists, it is only fitting that we have a panel of world-class judges to offer critical insight and expertise,” said 43North Board Chairman Bill Maggio. “I’m also very pleased to welcome this year’s emcee, Luke Russert, who will help lead an exciting, entertaining night on October 27.”

43North Finals Award Judges and Emcee:

Soraya Darabi
@sorayadarabi | Co-Founder | Zady
Soraya Darabi is an early stage investor and advisor in online-born brands and next-generation media companies. She is the Co-Founder of Zady, a mission-driven and venture-backed fashion brand. Soraya began her career as Manager of Digital Partnerships and Social Media at The New York Times, where she positioned herself as the global news leader on social networks and established award-winning campaigns. Following her tenure at The Times, she served as Product Lead for drop.io, an online collaboration service (acquired by Facebook). She went on to co-found the app Foodspotting, named by Apple and Wired Magazine as an “App of the Year.” Darabi is a World Economic Forum member, “Young Global Leader” and a mentor to Techstars New York.

Thomas Lynch
Managing Director | Goldman Sachs
Thomas Lynch co-heads Goldman Sachs’ New York Prime Services sales team, which he joined after nine years as co-head of the Capital Introduction team within Global Prime Services. He joined Goldman Sachs in 1995 as a financial analyst in the Equities Division and was named Managing Director in 2003. Prior to joining the firm, Tom worked as a teacher in the New York City public school system through the Teach for America program.

John M. MacMahon
Founder & CEO | V2K Medical
An engineer turned entrepreneur, John M. MacMahon has a record of successful management and innovation, serving as CEO and COO of companies with greater than $400M in exits. He presently holds management positions in two companies: V2K Medical, which makes a catheter based AMI and thrombectomy device, and Moyarta 2, LLC, an orthopedic-inspired physical therapy company.

Ambarish Mitra
@rishmitra | Founder & CEO | Blippar
Ambarish Mitra is a pioneer of augmented reality and computer vision. Mitra started his tech career in 1997 as a high school dropout and entrepreneur on the noble topic of women empowerment in India. He is the CEO and Co-Founder of Blippar, the leading visual discovery browser and fastest-growing augmented reality app today. Under his leadership, Blippar has grown from an idea to an industry leader with 300+ employees, 13 offices and 60 million+ users. Blippar is ranked 9th in CNBC’s list of most disruptive companies and was named a top Business Innovator by Bloomberg in 2016.

Erik Moore
@basevc | Founder & Managing Director | Base Ventures
Erik Moore is the Founder & Managing Director of Base Ventures. For 15 years, Moore worked as a Merrill Lynch bond trader by day and an angel investor by night. Moore ultimately realized he wanted to spur innovation by investing in young entrepreneurs full-time. Moore brings to Base Ventures business experience, an impressive investment track record, passion for ensuring that great ideas see the light of day, and the connections to open doors and make dreams come true. He was recently recognized as #10 on a list of the 25 most influential African-Americans in tech by Business Insider.

Matthew Ryan
Global Chief Strategy Officer | Starbucks
Matthew Ryan is a global chief strategy officer for Starbucks where his responsibilities include long-term strategic planning, identifying new avenues for growth, advancing the company’s data analytics, and strengthening the company’s fast-growing CRM. Ryan serves on the company’s Operations Leadership Team, overseeing how company strategies successfully translate to operating plans. Previously, Ryan was senior VP of Global Brand, Franchise, and Customer Relations for The Walt Disney Company. Currently, he serves on the advisory board of Single Stop, a national nonprofit dedicated to lifting families out of poverty.

Tracy Valorie
Senior Vice President, General Manager | Bausch + Lomb Rx, and Valeant Women’s Health
Tracy Valorie has been the Senior Vice President, General Manager of the US Pharmaceutical Business at Bausch +Lomb since August 2013, and has recently taken over responsibility for Valeant’s Women’s Health Business in December 2015. Prior to joining B+L, Tracy was Pfizer’s Commercial Lead of Ophthalmology, where she had global responsibility for the Ophthalmology Brands as well as for commercial development of the mid-stage portfolio, and long-range strategic planning. Her 25+ year career in the pharmaceutical industry has included roles in discovery science, clinical development, early commercial assessment, marketing and strategic planning.

Luke Russert, Emcee
Former Congressional Correspondent | NBC News
From August of 2008 to July of 2016, Luke Russert served as a Washington, D.C.-based correspondent for NBC News. Russert is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who was seen on popular outlets such as NBC Nightly News, Today, NBCNews.com and MSNBC, where he reported on the House of Representatives from his location on Capitol Hill.

In addition to his NBC News post, Russert served as a guest host on a range of MSNBC programs such as The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd, Way Too Early, Andrea Mitchell Reports, NOW with Alex Wagner and The Cycle. He also appeared as a panelist on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Russert has also covered natural disasters and tragedies such as Hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Irene; the East Coast earthquake of 2011; and the Boston bombings.

In May 2009, Russert received the Marlin Fitzwater Award for Leadership in Public Communication from Franklin Pierce University. This award honors individuals whose contributions to public discourse strengthen the spirit of democracy. A graduate of Boston College, Russert is the son of the late Tim Russert and Vanity Fair writer Maureen Orth. He resides in Washington, D.C.

43North Finals are part of 43North Week, a celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation in Buffalo, N.Y. that runs from October 20 to 27. Registration for all 43North Week events is now open at 43North.org.

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office