Start-Up NY adds 39, including two LI companies

Spreading the news: Virtually every corner of New York State is represented in the new Start-Up NY additions revealed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

Thirty-nine early-stage companies, including two on Long Island, have been welcomed into the Start-Up NY program.

The companies will either launch in or relocate to “tax-free zones” at or near New York colleges and universities – an ambitious program designed to let entrepreneurs hold onto working capital while simultaneously fostering innovation hubs and bolstering regional economies.

The Long Island region will be bolstered by the creation of 26 new jobs, according to Friday’s announcement, with Start-Up NY hosts Long Island University and Farmingdale State College each welcoming one new company.

Pavel Osten: Brain matters.

Pavel Osten: Brain matters at Certerra.

Twenty-four of those jobs are expected to be created by eParel LLC, a new company testing a web-based platform designed to help the hospitality industry efficiently track employee uniforms. Another two are expected from Certerra Inc., a Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory spinoff with a proprietary method of scanning neural activation – a potentially enormous breakthrough for pharmaceuticals testing.

The most new jobs in the round, by far, are clustered around the University of Buffalo, where eight early-stage firms are promising to create 213 jobs in exchange for the 10-year exemption from state income and corporate taxes, local business taxes, property taxes and franchise fees.

Just one company – startup i3 Assemblies, which creates integrated manufacturing solutions extending from prototyping to volume production – is promising 140 jobs around The State University at Binghamton.

Every corner of the state was represented this round – new companies were welcomed around the University at Albany, Schenectady County Community College, Ulster Community College, Brooklyn’s Downstate Medical Center and elsewhere.

And program manager Empire State Development, Albany’s main economic-development engine, stayed true to Start-Up NY’s primary focus on the technology, biotech and manufacturing industries.

eParel, which says its web-based platform allows hospitality employers to set up a customized uniform-management program “in minutes,” even incorporates one of Start-Up NY’s ancillary, non-tech focuses: the food and beverage industries. The company plans to hook hotels, restaurants and caterers by automating uniform ordering, laundering and distribution operations.

Founded in 2011 by CSHL associate professor Pavel Osten and venture capitalist Steve Winick, Certerra’s proprietary Pharmacomap technology screens neural activation across the entire brain, facilitating new drug-discovery opportunities for a broad spectrum of brain disorders.

That’s precisely the sort of “visionary goal” the Start-Up NY program is designed to attract, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who welcomed the new companies Friday by noting their “key role in revitalizing those communities.”

“This unique model of partnering innovative companies with our world-class colleges and universities not only creates new jobs, but also leverages hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment to stimulate regional growth,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Altogether, the 39 businesses have committed to creating 817 new jobs and investing more than $30 million in their regional economies over the next five years. The brings Start-Up NY’s totals to 202 companies, roughly 4,500 jobs promised and at least $250 million in economic-investment commitments, according to Empire State Development.

While the program has had its share of critics – many of whom question actual job-creation and economic-investment benefits, compared to the program’s costs – Start-Up NY is “succeeding,” according to Empire State Development President and CEO Howard Zemsky.

“Start-Up NY was created to tap into the rich intellectual capital of our higher-education system and to partner businesses with colleges and universities to transform vacant space into areas where new job opportunities thrive,” Zemsky said Friday. “Today’s announcement that 39 new companies are joining the program is further proof that … Start-Up NY has the ability to attract some of the best and brightest businesses to grow their footprint in New York State.”