Niagara University Team Competing for $1 Million 43North Business Plan Prize
A tech startup that features four Niagara University students and alumni among its employees will compete for $5 million in cash prizes during next week’s 43North business plan competition.
The 16 finalist firms that will each give five-minute pitches to a qualifying round panel of judges on Oct. 5 includes Burner Fitness, an online fitness, nutrition and health training program marketplace designed and operated by a team with NU grads as executives. Ten of the companies will advance to the final round for a chance at a cut of $5 million in cash prizes, including the $1 million grand prize.
The CEO of Burner Fitness is Oke Okaro, a well-known and highly accomplished technologist who founded ESPN Mobile in 2004 and ESPN Interactive TV in 2005, and served as Bloomberg’s head of mobile for five years.
Okaro connected with Leo Schultz, a Niagara University alumnus, while Schultz was working as a contractor with Silicon Valley’s tech giants. The pair co-founded Burner Fitness in the fall of 2015 before relocating most of their team from California to Buffalo that winter to stretch their early angel investment and “enjoy the better lifestyle that Western New York has to offer,” Schultz said.