Startups

For autistic gamers, the old school rules

By GREGORY ZELLER // In a world ruled by Nathan Drake and Master Chief, a passionate video gamer has taken the entrepreneurial plunge with the Mario brothers and an old-school hedgehog. As digital art and functionality have leapt forward, so have videogames, with cinema-quality graphics, deep storylines and a multitude of complex controls. But some longtime players would suggest the gaming industry has lost its way: The characters of the popular “Uncharted” and “Halo” series…


For nutrition’s sake, Benji comes home

By GREGORY ZELLER // A “side gig” for a nutrition-minded professional couple – he’s a botanist, she’s a health teacher – could be the best thing to happen to your best friend’s tummy in a long while, and maybe his breath. In love with their springer-spaniel Benji but not thrilled with the nutritional choices provided by retail-grade pet foods or specialty brands, health and physical education teacher Allison Graziose (master’s of education, Stony Brook University) and her…


Live, from LI: It’s short-attention-span theater!

By GREGORY ZELLER // John Richardson knows startups. He launched two in his early teens, and therein learned a primary entrepreneurial lesson: business-development growing pains strike nearly all early-stagers, in virtually every industry. So even Richardson, who was “literally incorporated at age 14” and did surprisingly well with those Doogie Howser-esque enterprises, is surprised by the rapid development of Quick-Cast, his latest endeavor. Focused on society’s evolving (or de-evolving) fascination with short video segments, the…


Time-tripping to ice cream’s past, and a hot future

By GREGORY ZELLER // I scream, you scream … but only Richard Blech screens for ice cream. It’s taken Blech years of diligent Internet searches to assemble the yesteryear fleet of The Vintage Ice Cream Guys, a Jericho-based startup that delivers classic products – original Good Humor bars, old-school candies like Dots and Bit-O-Honey – using actual trucks from bygone eras. These are not replicas. Each of the three trucks in the fleet is a…


Five healthy years later, Rockin’ on in Hauppauge

By GREGORY ZELLER // New blood and a new order-fulfillment deal are part of the growth formula for Rockin’ Wellness, a feel-good story dancing to its own tune. Embracing a “business not as usual” campaign that recalls its offbeat roots, the Hauppauge health-drink maker has welcomed a new chief operating officer – David Finkelstein, who drank the Kool-Aid in May – and signed a core order-fulfillment contract with Just Nutra, stage name for Islandia-based dietary…


Exploring the science of recruiting, with savvy

By GREGORY ZELLER // Felicia Fleitman is in no rush. Don’t call her “slow and steady,” because development of her first-ever startup, Westbury-based Savvy Hires, is not going slowly, but at its own proper pace. However, there’s a certain deliberateness to Fleitman, who gleaned from early professional experiences that she wanted to start her own company – she even knew what kind – but recognized she wasn’t quite ready. So she decided to get ready,…


View from the top, now on the bottom rung

By GREGORY ZELLER // If there’s one thing Corrinne Graham learned from starting at the top, it’s the value of starting at the bottom. A multiple degree-holder – including a PhD in healthcare administration and a master’s in global management from the University of Phoenix, plus undergraduate degrees in business management and accounting from SUNY-Old Westbury – Graham worked her way into leadership rolls while still in her teens. One of her “multiple corporate rolls…


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…