Buffalo startups: Five companies to watch in 2017

Buffalo startups: Five companies to watch in 2017

After another year of growth in Buffalo’s startup community, with signs of maturation at seemingly every corner. A collection of startups are looking like genuine hits, from Athenex to Sentient Science to ACV Auctions.

Following is Business First's annual listing of companies to watch in 2017, chosen unscientifically among various startups with big decisions, growth milestones and financing events ahead of them.

Circuit Clinical

The company has already launched a network of research-minded doctors in Western New York who can perform clinical trials, solving a huge logistical challenge for pharmaceutical companies while bringing cutting-edge care to the community. That network saw a successful launch this year as Circuit Clinical cemented its place in Buffalo, raising more than $1 million in private capital, becoming part of the Start-Up NY tax breaks program and signing a deal to use the University at Buffalo’s genomics expertise and supercomputer facility.

The company — now headquartered at a UB building in downtown Buffalo — already has 14 employees toward its five-year commitment of 40 new jobs through its UB partnership. Now that the network has launched, the challenge is growing where it already exists, expanding throughout New York state and ultimately entering new states, said Dr. Irfan Khan, chief medical officer.

“We think what we’re building is fundamentally sustainable because of that high-bridge service approach of both technology and services in a field that’s dying for innovation,” Khan said. “It just seems like there’s a very clear trajectory to being a large, self-sustaining clinical research engine.”

Rachel’s Remedies

Rachel’s Remedies has a portfolio of products focusing mostly on women’s health using its patent-pending technology, and has started to move moderate volumes through online portals such as Amazon and Target. The company is headquartered in Z80 Labs technology incubator, raised a seed round of financing in 2016 and is part of Start-Up NY.

This is a year of big decisions for the company, with a jam-packed slate of meetings in January with various players in the medical industry. One of the lasting questions for founder and CEO Rachel Jackson is whether to pursue the Rachel’s Remedies brand independently or to do licensing deals with bigger companies, which would bring faster profits and more exposure in the near-term.

“This is a year where we’ll really be able to hit the accelerator,” Jackson said. “But the direction we go in will depend on whether we decide to do licensing right away or hold off and build our brand.”


Thimble launched in late 2014 with a Kickstarter campaign which ultimately raised nearly $300,000– but the rousing success meant founder Oscar Pedrosoand David Brenner had work to do. The company proposes to send subscribers a maker project each month, such as robots or drones. But nearly 2,500 initial customers meant going back to the drawing board on manufacturing, customer service and fulfillment. The first kits were mailed out this month.

Thimble is based at Z80 Labs.

Pedroso said the next year will be spent listening to feedback from the company’s active customer base while growing toward 5,000 subscribers. He said at the current rate, Thimble will be cash-flow positive by February. It expects to raise a small seed round in the first half of the year.

The company ultimately has many different options, including possible partnerships with companies or school organizations, or even having a retail component.

“We want feedback to drive our decision-making,” Pedroso said. “We have an early-adopter customer base who is as obsessed with the product as we are and we still have a lot to learn from them.”


Rezedent is an online property management and payment platform for rental properties targeting the middle of a market that’s currently underserved by tech solutions. It was founded in California by Buffalo native Tim Zielinski, who has brought the product to his hometown under the management of himself and chief operating officer Bill Irvine.

Irvine is currently working out of the d!g co-working space on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus while Rezedent seeks to raise a seed round, after which it will begin hiring in sales and customer support. The goal is to use Rezedent’s “freemium” model with revenue-bearing features that help property managers do their jobs. Rezedent is also working with Launch NY.

Irvine has said Rezedent has a $600 billion market.

PostProcess Technologies

PostProcess Technologies has grown to approximately 20 employees at its headquarters in the Olmsted Center for Sight as it ramps up the international sales of its machines, which clean parts after they’ve been through additive manufacturing, along with detergent and media to enable that process.

The company is part of the Start-Up NY tax-breaks program and recently received a $90,000 grant from the New York Power Authority, pledging the creation of nine new jobs in connection with the purchase of demonstration equipment for a new training and benchmarking laboratory.

The company is steadily bringing on engineering talent as it raises a significant round of seed financing and considers the site of its future headquarters in Buffalo, all with the goal of raising $100 million in sales by 2020.

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