Mark Lesko

Hofstra ‘star’ shines in national women’s biz contest

Showcasing a “Flare” for the dramatic, a Hofstra University marketing major has captured first place in a prestigious national entrepreneurship program. Pitching an app that connects underrepresented consumers with local stylists, Carrisa Anderson, who’s scheduled to earn her marketing degree in December, took top honors this month in a national business-plan contest sponsored by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. The contest was a main draw of the WBENC’s annual National Business Fair and Conference,…


Venture Challenge: Innovators dazzle, CountryBox soars

By GREGORY ZELLER // An e-commerce website pitched by a trio of undergraduate students walked off with top honors, and a hefty $20,000 check, in Tuesday’s final round of the Hofstra-Digital Remedy Venture Challenge Series. Envisioned by Class of 2017 seniors Henry Crayton, Rory Murphy and Lerthon Theuma, CountryBox – designed to bring “care packages” from the old country to expats living abroad – edged out nine other finalists in the annual student business-plan competition….


Best laid plans: Seven head to Albany for $100K shot

By GREGORY ZELLER // Hofstra University showed off its innovation chops in this week’s regional round of the 2017 New York State Business Plan Competition. Four of the seven teams selected to represent Long Island in the state finals, scheduled for April 28 in Albany, hail from Hofstra University, two from Farmingdale State College and one from Stony Brook University. The regional semifinal round was held April 4 at Farmingdale State in conjunction with Dare…


Something ventured, lots to gain in Hofstra ‘Challenge’

By GREGORY ZELLER // It’s a new name but the same entrepreneurial spirit, as Hofstra University hurtles toward the final round of its latest Venture Challenge. Now dubbed the Hofstra-Digital Remedy Venture Challenge Series, the annual student business-plan competition comes to a head April 18, with 10 teams vying for $40,000 in prizes, including a $20,000 top prize. The competition is the brainchild of Hofstra alum Mike Seiman, founder and CEO of New York City-based…


The Debrief: Seeds planted, now on to cultivation

When last we Debriefed Mark Lesko, the former assistant U.S. attorney and Brookhaven Town supervisor had just left his post as executive director of Accelerate Long Island (sorta) and taken the reins of Hofstra’s entrepreneurship efforts. He never really left Accelerate, however, and with the program morphing into the Accelerate NY Seed Fund and expanding its mandate to support startups in other downstate regions – and with eight months at Hofstra under his belt –…


Lesko, SBU’s Donnelly to run $6M+ seed fund

By GREGORY ZELLER // Accelerate Long Island is back in business, and it’s main private-investment partners are coming along for the ride. The seed-funding business accelerator, which has been publicly quiet since awarding its 10th and final first-round stipend in December, has been awarded $3 million by Empire State Development to establish the Accelerate NY Seed Fund, with matching private investment planned. Unlike the original Accelerate Long Island charter – through which Accelerate teamed with…


Bionic hand, big stare top Hofstra pitch challenge

By GREGORY ZELLER // A 3D-printed bionic hand and a digital-age update on the classic “staring contest” were the big winners Thursday at the Hofstra University CPXi Venture Challenge. The annual student business plan competition – sponsored by the university and Hofstra graduate Mike Seiman, founder and CEO of New York City-based digital media company CPXi – doled out $50,000 through a series of mini-competitions and Thursday’s final round, in which six graduate student-level finalists…


Sharpening skills, image at Innovation Boot Camp

By GREGORY ZELLER // Stony Brook University’s ninth-annual Innovation Boot Camp has decamped following an intensive series of workshops and homework assignments for eight up-and-coming startups. The campers, early-stage – and earlier – companies based on science from LI’s growing innovation ecosystem delivered sharpened presentations at SBU’s Long Island High Technology Incubator. The 15-minute exhibitions, a dry run for potential investor pitches, were made by each team’s “idea champion” and critiqued by a panel of…


Hofstra names 6 residents in entrepreneurship

Six accomplished businesspeople with dozens of startups under their combined belts, and a wealth of experience nurturing other early-stage enterprises, will bring their wisdom to the Hofstra University Center for Entrepreneurship this spring. The center’s first-ever entrepreneurs-in-residence – Aaron Foss, Kevin Hesselbirg, Peter Kestenbaum, Jeff Leventhal, Mike Quilty and Barbara Roberts – will mentor students through interactive workshops designed to help the next generation of entrepreneurs turn ideas into successful business ventures. Mark Lesko, former…


DepYmed wins Accelerate funding

By Gregory Zeller // A Cold Spring Harbor biotech startup is the 10th and final recipient in the first co-funding round backed by Accelerate Long Island and the Long Island Emerging Technologies Fund. DepYmed, a joint venture of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and New York City-based biotech giant Ohr Pharmaceutical, will receive the 10th matching investment, with $50,000 coming from the regional business booster and $50,000 from the LIETF, a venture vehicle powered by Setauket…


Hofstra revamps its student pitch program

The CPXi Challenge has returned to Hofstra University – slightly tweaked, in hopes of involving and inspiring a greater number of innovative thinkers. Hofstra graduate and trustee Mike Seiman, founder and CEO of New York City-based digital media company CPXi, has once again ponied up $100,000 in prize money for the annual challenge. But this year, instead of one contest with a $50,000 grand prize and chunky five-digit runner-up awards, the challenge will be broken…


Women-focused pitch program at Hofstra

Hofstra’s Center for Entrepreneurship has been selected as the local host of the national InnovateHER Competition, a business plan pitch-off inviting entrepreneurs to showcase products and services with “a measurable impact on women and families,” real commercialization potential and a definable marketplace need. The virtual competition – there’s no actual event date – will be judged by three members of the Hofstra faculty: Elizabeth Venuti, senior associate dean of the Frank G. Zarb School of…


Lesko, Brofman and cash prizes at Molloy pitch event

The popularity of the ABC’s Shark Tank has spawned a number of imitations, including flattery from LaunchPad, NYIT and Stony Brook University. The latest, organized by a Molloy student, will pit students from the Rockville Centre college against budding entrepreneurs from other Island schools on Nov. 17 at Molloy’s Madison Theatre. The prizes are relatively moderate – $1,000 total split among the top three pitchers, with first taking the $500 lion’s share – but the…


The Debrief: Noel Goddard, doyenne of detection

No, she’s not related to rocketing pioneer Robert Goddard. Besides a surname, she has nothing in common with former OSI Pharmaceuticals CEO Colin Goddard (though she’s a fan). And her company is not the biz-tech support firm Goddard Labs of Oregon, another common mistake. But as chief executive of Calverton-based biotech enterprise Goddard Labs – where novel molecular diagnostics set the tone – Noel Goddard takes a scientific back seat to no one, and enjoys…


Lesko tapped to head Hofstra entrepreneur center

By GREGORY ZELLER // Accelerate Long Island director Mark Lesko has been named executive dean of Hofstra University’s new Center for Entrepreneurship, a multi-disciplinary program that plans to leverage entrepreneurial activities at the university’s business, law, medicine and engineering schools. Lesko, who is stepping down as Accelerate’s top executive but will continue to work for the organization in a consulting role, starts at Hofstra Oct. 1. The university said Lesko, a former federal prosecutor and onetime…