Startups

Beware, bathroom burglars: Shlocker’s locked in

By GREGORY ZELLER // It was the toothbrush on the floor that got him. Tal Berke wouldn’t be the first inventor to think up a new-and-improved product in the shower, though his a-ha moment had as much to do with frustration as inspiration. He remembers the last straw clearly: Home from work, ready for a shower and a relaxing evening, and then bam. Shampoo gone. Razor dripping with someone else’s residual stubble. And the toothbrush……


PreciseLED: Bright lights, big thinking

By GREGORY ZELLER // Changes in the science of lighting gave Daniel Machlis’ inner entrepreneur a bright idea. Working for a Brooklyn-based family business that distributed products – including lighting products – to government agencies, Machlis recognized a quantum shift in the making. A longtime “static industry” marked by the occasional forward leap had reached another turning point, he said, with light-emitting-diodes once more redefining how humans illuminate their spaces. “It started with the Edison…


Following crash course, ParqMi shifts into drive

By GREGORY ZELLER // A software startup determined to help you find a parking space is hitting the gas. Fresh off a three-month stint at StartFast, the mentorship-driven “venture accelerator” in Syracuse, ParqMi – brainchild of Hofstra University graduates Stanley Schvartsberg, Jacqueline Hsu and Thomas Georgiades – is back on Long Island and shifting into gear. While perfecting its camera-and-app technology for finding open spaces in crowded public lots and parking garages, the new resident…


As a brain beverage, Alpha Wolf stands alone

By GREGORY ZELLER // From the Future Physician, Heal Thyself file comes the promising tale of Alpha Wolf LLC and its brawn-meets-brains founder, who was really tired of being tired. At the time, Michael Chalavoutis was working two jobs, as an adjunct biology professor at Hofstra University – where the Wesleyan University graduate earned a master’s degree in cellular and molecular biology – and as a strength-and-conditioning coach at Xceleration Sports Training, a Deer Park…


A fresh idea that’s doing well (and doing good)

By GREGORY ZELLER // Ten-thousand donated meals, three boroughs and two ousted competitors later, OurHarvest is still talking fresh. Seems it’s always growing season at the 2014 Hicksville startup, which bills itself as “New York’s online farm” and mashes business models – part farmer’s co-op, part home-delivery service – into a winning farm-to-table formula with tasty social benefits. Chief among those benefits: OurHarvest donates one complete meal to a local food pantry for every order…


App-maker Science Mobility ready for its close-up

By GREGORY ZELLER // Judy Wieber remembers computing when reel-to-reel mainframes filled entire rooms. Now she’s putting the power in palms through a series of high-minded data-sharing apps, with a shot at a television gig that could put East Islip startup Science Mobility LLC on the virtual map. Wieber, a former Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory science librarian and grant writer, has survived the first cut for “Planet of the Apps,” an unscripted reality-TV competition series…


Infinity, ‘where fashion and function collide’

By GREGORY ZELLER // A 2010 fashion startup is looking to ride a new Kickstarter campaign to infinity – and beyond. Laura Russo didn’t set out to stake a fashion claim. A hairdresser who liked to work with her hands (she even crafted handmade cages for orphaned rescue animals), she simply wanted to create unique handmade gifts for her young daughters. But when friends saw her clever, hand-woven creation – a closed-loop “infinite” scarf with…


A front-row seat to the Hispanic market

By GREGORY ZELLER // Some people want to build walls. Others want to help Hispanics score good seats for the futbol match. Fantástico, a Spanish-speaking online ticket retailer, falls squarely into that latter group. Launched this week by New York City-based Schramm Marketing Group, the Northport-based subsidiary caters exclusively to online audiences that habla espanol with tickets to a wide selection of concerts, stage shows, movies and sporting events around Greater New York. Schramm Marketing…


Fish-Tank Chemistry 101, Now On Your Phone

By CARL CORRY // Gabriel Ruttner can thank his father for killing his fish – it became the inspiration for a business that’s landing some impressive bites. The president and CEO of ChromaFISH, along with partners Ravi Patel and Christy Au, is building apps that identify the correct chemical balances needed for fish tanks, pools and spas, simply by taking a picture of the color from a chemistry test. The team won the $25,000 first…


Stopping cyberattacks before they start

By GREGORY ZELLER // Consider Uncle Sam an honorary cofounder of Code Dx Inc. So says Frank Zinghini, founder of the Northport Village spinoff and CEO its parent company, Applied Visions, a veteran software-engineering firm that developed new cybersecurity protocols – the backbone of Code Dx’s “software vulnerability management” solutions – primarily through government-funded research. Applied Visions, which is also headquartered in Northport with a field office in upstate Clifton Park, has spent 28 years building…


Brew Bus Rolls Through Insurance Roadblock

By GREGORY ZELLER // Running the LI Brew Bus has been an education – and that, according to founder Brad Darrohn, is kind of an important point. Among the primary lessons learned since the retrofitted 1998 Blue Bird school bus started its weekend runs one year ago: Insurance ain’t cheap, a lesson hammered home so hard that Darrohn and his crew almost parked the bus permanently at the end of last summer. Based at the Long…


Entrepreneurial success, now snack-sized

By GREGORY ZELLER // There’s a good chance your Memorial Day snacks, and other sweet and salty selections in your summer picnic basket, come courtesy of Jake Schmigelski. Forget trying to pronounce it – his own family adopted the pseudonym “Gale” years ago, he noted – and just bask in Schmigelski’s genius, which turned a wandering one-man-show into a major regional broker and redistributor of some of your favorite munchies. So if you got your…


A new take on old-school conversation

By GREGORY ZELLER // The art of conversation isn’t dead yet, if science has anything to say about it. But face-to-face linguistic communication between two human beings, no screens involved, is on the ropes. So say CEO Brett Hayden Cohen and CTO Christopher Migliorini, cofounders of ObviPop LLC, a mobile app-maker aiming to get folks talking, out loud, in person. It’s their part in the “online to offline revolution,” according to Cohen, referencing not the…


Taking the fight to cancer’s stem cells

By GREGORY ZELLER // Many have said them, tried their best and fallen short – but the words still have unique and powerful meaning, in medical parlance and beyond. A cure for cancer. James Egan doesn’t say that, specifically. But the “former mad scientist” – he does say that – and his team at Targagenix Inc., a 2013 startup residing inside Stony Brook University’s Long Island High-Technology Incubator, are developing a drug that’s unique in…


Vital Performance: Success by taking small sips

By GREGORY ZELLER // One of Hofstra University’s most entrepreneurial thinkers is diving into the sports-drink market, and if Gatorade isn’t worried, it’s OK – that’s actually part of Allon Avgi’s master plan. Avgi is a big man on campus these days, having led the team that won the $15,000 undergraduate-level first prize in the spring installment of the Hofstra University CPXi Venture Challenge. They won with Look, an app that digitally updates the age-old…