By GREGORY ZELLER //
These are busy days for William Biamonte, a forward-thinking entrepreneur with multiple oars in promising waters.
Bustling Bill heads not one but two startups with breakout potential, each looking to capitalize on an industry that figures prominently on national levels.
First there’s Green SulfCrete LLC, which is leveraging decades of Brookhaven National Laboratory research and multiple small-scale grants in its quest to remake the construction trades with sulfur polymer, a next-level construction material promising maximum strength and minimum carbon footprint.
Biamonte is also targeting Big Data. As he did with the sulfur polymer formula, the wheeler-dealer has licensed a proprietary BNL technology originally developed to move massive amounts of digital information generated by the lab’s next-level experiments – with an eye on “prioritizing” network bandwidths to ensure rapid delivery of critical electronic communications.
That’s the gist of TeraPaths, which is cooking up a commercial-scale version of the technology suited for large corporations, health networks and others with lots of data to move – or perhaps just one must-have-it-now email – but not always enough bandwidth to move it.
Green SulfCrete recently landed a $400,000 Program Opportunity Notice from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the latest stipend for a startup that’s already earned a $150,000 National Science Foundation grant and $50,000 in funding from the original Accelerate Long Island seed fund, with a matching award from VC investors Topspin Partners of Roslyn Heights and Setauket’s Jove Equity Partners.
The new PON will allow the company to continue its R&D work with BNL and Stony Brook University, Biamonte said, and inches the startup closer to its first-ever production facility. Green SulfCrete is weighing a proposal from Bayshore-based Roman Stone Construction Co., a major asphalt manufacturer that’s expressed interest in constructing a SulfCrete manufacturing plant on its sprawling 9-acre Corbin Avenue property.
“They approached us,” Biamonte told Innovate LI. “They love this technology. They have nine acres, and we’re going to take an acre and build this right next to their plant, tap into their supply chain and their customer base.”
Not only that, but Roman Stone Construction President Tom Montalbine is poised to become Green SulfCrete’s new CEO. It’s a move that will “give us a lot of credibility,” according to Biamonte, who noted Montalbine’s past stints as president of the Precast Concrete Association of New York and a director of the National Precast Concrete Association – good contacts to have when you’re shopping around sublicensing arrangements to the 2,800-or-so precast concrete manufacturers spread around North America.
“Twenty-eight-hundred Roman Stones,” Biamonte said. “If we only get 1 or 2 percent of those companies in the [United States] and Canada, that’s still a huge market.”
But all of that – including Montalbine taking the reins – is contingent on funding. As it has been for nearly two years, Green SulfCrete is looking to raise $5 million, enough to pay for the manufacturing plant Roman Stone is proposing to build and “set up a sales and marketing force,” according to Biamonte.
Green SulfCrete recently completed what the founder called “a seven-year profit-and-loss plan” that includes the proposed plant and a licensing strategy. The company is already talking to various private investors, Biamonte said, and has been summoned to a return appearance before the Long Island Angels Network later this month, always a good sign.
“We have an actual budget,” Biamonte noted. “Now we can take it to a funder and say, ‘This is how much it will cost to build and operate a plant for the next several years.’
“Our financials are solid and we can show this is a major opportunity,” he added. “We’re just waiting on the funding.”
Funding is also on the mind of the big brains over at TeraPaths, which has applied for consideration by the Accelerate New York Seed Fund, the Empire State Development-fueled Accelerate Long Island sequel that’s grown to include the New York City and Mid-Hudson regions.
“The idea now is that we are going to demonstrate that it works, document it and then bring the investors in,” noted TeraPaths co-founder Gaspare Tumminello.
To demonstrate the technology’s corporate-scale efficacy, TeraPaths is engaging a joint proposal from BNL and SBU to “build a working prototype and demonstrate it on the [Center of Excellence in Information and Wireless Technology] network and maybe even [Stony Brook University Hospital],” according to Biamonte.
Those would certainly qualify as members of TeraPath’s target audience. The licensed tech, which was created to digitally ferry staggering amounts of data generated by BNL’s super-advanced research, is being reconfigured to “control” private networks – so when a network is backed up with people sending cat videos or whatever, a life-saving X-ray or critical corporate presentation is guaranteed to zoom through.
“There are other software programs that tell you about traffic, what’s the best time to send something, etc.,” Biamonte noted. “But they don’t control the network.
“TeraPaths controls the network,” he added. “So, your email takes priority over everything else.”
Tumminello, who said the company is focused now on “taking the football and moving it down the field,” said the “most important thing TeraPaths can do is save lives,” a reference to those X-rays or other hyper-critical medical transmissions.
But Biamonte, who told Innovate LI in 2015 that he paid “a couple grand” for the licensing rights, said the tech’s most prominent advantage is “it will save companies money.”
“Instead of investing a million dollars to upgrade your network, you can buy a software program that allows you to prioritize bandwidth,” Biamonte said. “That’s really the value.”