Innovation’s past, present, future at SBU showcase

Welcome home: Founder Marie Arturi and her successful startup Buncee will be among the featured presenters at the 2017 Stony Brook University Incubator Company Showcase.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

Stony Brook University is gearing up for its annual business-development victory lap.

Hosted by the university’s Office of Economic Development, SBU’s second-annual Incubator Company Showcase is a chance for the multifaceted school to flex its innovation muscle – a joint presentation of its Centers of Excellence, Centers for Advanced Technology and myriad business incubators, designed to highlight the cutting-edge creativity and business acumen comprising SBU’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Yacov Shamash: Diversity on display in SBU’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

It’s also a chance to attract new blood to that business-development community, by showcasing the progress of the startups, early-stage enterprises and more mature companies already leveraging many university-based staffing, research and material advantages.

Yacov Shamash, SBU’s vice president for economic development, noted the event is “very important” not only as a showcase but as a networking event, built to honor the SBU entrepreneurial ecosystem’s past, bolster its present and secure its future.

“The incubator companies that participated in last year’s (showcase) loved it,” Shamash told Innovate LI. “They networked with each other, they networked with consumers, they networked with venture capitalists.

“They actually asked if we could do it every six months,” the VP added. “But it’s a lot of work putting it together.”

That makes sense, with organizers juggling dozens of early-stage companies – plus a few that are now fairly well established – and an even larger guest list. Held inside SBU’s Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology, the showcase will spotlight upwards of 50 companies, with several featured presenters highlighting the breadth and depth of the university’s innovation chops.

Among those scheduled to present are web-based, education-focused digital design and presentation tool Buncee; software firm Charmtech Labs, makers of Capti, a universally accessible web-browsing app for the visually impaired; “software vulnerability management” ace Code Dx; and FlightPartner, a software-as-a-service startup focused on private charters.

David Hershberg: Now soaring at STS, thanks to SBU.

Also slated to be featured are Intelibs, a broadband wireless access solutions provider; Private Machines, peddling a patent-pending cloud and data-center security technology; healthcare-focused business-intelligence software specialist Softheon; and STS Global, a satellite communications and telecommunications provider led by Globecomm Systems founder David Hershberg.

“We have energy companies,” Shamash noted. “We have software companies. We certainly have biotech companies, and we even have food manufacturers, from the [Business Incubator at Calverton].

“The entrepreneurial ecosystem is getting stronger,” he added. “All of our incubators are full right now and we are always putting together new programs to help these companies in terms of marketing and intellectual-property protection, which are important concerns for entrepreneurs.”

Although brick-and-mortar facilities like the Calverton Incubator and CEWIT have virtually no vacancies, there’s plenty of room at the inn, so to speak. Through efforts like New York State’s Innovation Hot Spot program (SBU is one of several around the state) and the Clean Energy Business Incubator Program (the university’s “incubator without walls”), Stony Brook offers multiple opportunities to share resources with up-and-coming firms not necessarily located on or near the campus, according to Shamash.

“We are, in fact, open to companies from all around Long Island,” the vice president said. “We also have the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, three [Centers for Advanced Technologies] and two Centers of Excellence, and of course we work closely with outside organizations like the Long Island Angels Network.

“All of these are important parts of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

And they’ll all have a moment to shine at the Incubator Company Showcase, which is slated to begin at 9 a.m. June 8 and run all day inside CEWIT. Admission is free but guests are asked to RSVP here.

Attendees will experience firsthand how the university is incubating not only current and future members of its indigenous entrepreneurial ecosystem, but according to Shamash, the whole of the Long Island innovation economy.

“These companies really are across the board,” Shamash said. “And if you analyze business growth on Long Island, our incubator systems really do reflect that growth.

“That diversity is the economic future of Long Island.”