startups

After curing what ailed it, ‘TopDoc’ startup soars

By GREGORY ZELLER // And you thought medical school took forever. It’s been 10 long years since husband-and-wife entrepreneurs Anthony Casimano and Siobhan O’Grady launched their online appointment-setting service for local doctors and dentists. But it was just three years ago that the floundering startup found its path, thanks to some skilled digital programmers and an evolved business plan. Built around a proprietary, comprehensive and free public database featuring 1 million-plus board-certified providers, FindaTopDoc.com is…


At Port Jeff comics shop, doing the time warp, again

By GREGORY ZELLER // Holy old school! In a digital era decidedly defined by screens large and small, a forward-thinking entrepreneur is turning back the clock by inviting customers to turn actual pages. At a minimum, un-caped crusader Joshua Darbee is turning heads at Red Shirt Comics, a relative newcomer that’s already feeling right at home in downtown Port Jefferson. Since opening in May, the friendly neighborhood industrialist has made plenty of fans, attracted precisely…


Kelloley, the startup that finally saw the light

By GREGORY ZELLER // Some innovators are born knowing what they’re meant to do. Some figure it out along the way. And some require a little divine intervention. There was never any doubt Stacey Foley would run her own business, at least not for Stacey Foley. But what kind of business? Even the entrepreneur didn’t know. Her path was illuminated, somewhat, by the Swarovski Crystal craze of the last decade. A big fan of the…


They were brew-tours before brew-tours were cool

By GREGORY ZELLER // Before everyone and their brother was offering bus tours of Long Island’s brew pubs and vineyards, there was Tapped Enterprises. The Ronkonkoma-based brainchild of President Kevin Bowker actually launched in 2008, first as a purveyor of what the founder called “dorm décor” – posters, flags and other beer-themed accouterments for the college set. But by 2012, still years before leave-the-driving-to-us tours of Long Island’s craft-beverage scene were in vogue, the enterprise…


At Vaya, second-generation success is in the bags

By GREGORY ZELLER // For entrepreneur Tianna Meilinger, it’s a family thing. The innovator carved her niche back in 2005, when she launched her first company – Vaya Bags​, a Huntington Station-based manufacturer of custom bags and weatherproof coverings. But her craftsmanship goes back much further, to her early teens, when Meilinger started working for her dad. John Meilinger – “Miles,” to friends and loyal customers – was a self-employed craftsman who designed unique clothing…


Because wealthy entrepreneuers need a hand, too

By GREGORY ZELLER // The “flip” came around 2014, after Ashley John Heather and his wife, Diana, welcomed their third child. Heather, a Brit who emigrated to the United States around 2000, had lived his entire U.S. life in New York City. But it was two years since he’d sold his successful e-commerce startup Dotbox to NYC holding company MDC Partners, about that long since he’d bought the house in the Hamptons, a few too…


‘Dormant’ biotech wakes on Alzheimer’s fast track

By GREGORY ZELLER // A pre-clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company is being fast-tracked toward a potential Alzheimer’s treatment, after taking a decidedly slow road. Stony Brook-based Avanti Biosciences Inc. actually launched in 2009, but was “dormant for a few years,” according to founder Gian Luca Araldi, “kind of an empty shell.” It was only in the last two years, when “I had some ideas I wanted to develop on my own,” that Araldi – a former senior…


What looks good? With Foodfaves, the future

By GREGORY ZELLER // Sydney Epstein wasn’t hungry for entrepreneurial success. She was just hungry. After graduating from Emerson College, the future business owner took a job as a TV and film production assistant in Los Angeles. At the top of her settling-into-a-new-place list was “finding my go-to restaurant, like I do in every city,” she told Innovate LI, so the self-described “food-obsessed millennial” did what millennials do. But Epstein quickly lost her appetite for…


For startups seeking capital, the name is no game

By GREGORY ZELLER // What’s in a name? Maybe everything, if you’re a startup in need of early-stage capital. A new study by researchers from Stony Brook University, Drexel University and Villanova University explores the effects of “name fluency” on investors – that is, the familiarity, uniqueness and phonetic influence of a company name, and how venture capitalists tend to react. By exploring “the two ways you can evaluate a name, two kinds of fluency,”…


Where data ends, the real business intelligence begins

By GREGORY ZELLER // In the Big Data era, simply having data isn’t enough – it’s what you do with it that counts. That’s the thinking behind SFL Scientific LLC, a 2015 startup that puts the intelligence in “business intelligence” by not only crunching numbers, but helping clients understand what the algorithms and other data-driven discoveries really mean – and how best to capitalize on them. Technically headquartered in Boston, but with the bulk of…


OYOclass act: Kids get with the programming

By GREGORY ZELLER // From the Never Too Young To Start file comes OYOclass.com, an innovative computer-programming platform that embraces project-based learning principles to help even the youngest students leapfrog into the future. Just ask the Long Island 9-year-old who earns paychecks modifying source code to create covers for “Minecraft” novels, or the nine Island middle-schoolers who this week are taking state AP Computer Science exams – usually reserved for high school juniors and seniors…


For this niche chef, the bright ideas keep coming

By GREGORY ZELLER // The lightbulb moment was clear. But the lightbulb? That was more happenstance. Entrepreneurial chef Alaila-Lee Lawrence can trace the branches of her Clovesz beverage line straight through her family tree: her grandfather, the Orlando restaurateur; her cousin, the Canadian caterer; her grandmother, the matriarch who migrated from Jamaica to England to the United States to find a better life for her family. The heart of her drinks – sorrel, a perennial…


For this engineer, a triple Skoop (with patience on top)

By GREGORY ZELLER // Ten years in operation, offices on two continents, employees and partners on four, a step ahead of the planet’s most lucrative digital-marketing technologies – and for all intents and purposes, a startup. That’s how founder and CEO Dan Giacopelli describes Skoop!, an interactive-marketing-services provider with a multifaceted menu of scalable programs for retailers, salons, restaurants and just about any business whose customers might happen to carry a cellphone. Headquartered in Plainview,…


On this marketing mission, niche guys finish first

By GREGORY ZELLER // As Dean DeCarlo sees it, established companies – even some bigger ones – have a unique problem. With the digital age upon us and more customers moving online, many product and service providers are falling behind, according to the entrepreneur, because they don’t understand the nuances of digital engagement. Branded media, web design, paid media campaigns – this is the new definition of “company representation,” according to Mission Disrupt Ltd., a 2016 startup…


At Garvies Point, raising a glass to sour success

By GREGORY ZELLER // There’s nothing so sweet as the sours at Garvies Point Craft Brewery, where childhood chums are turning an old-school Belgium brewing technique into an innovative success story. Launched in March 2015 and officially on tap as of April 2016, the Glen Cove microbrewery’s homegrowns – already gracing tasting rooms and distributorships across Long Island and Brooklyn – leverage two personal backstories and one ancient fermentation technique largely lost on American beermakers,…