No. 115: A $5M contract dispute, smiley faces and how rich is rich in NYC

It would be Monday: An unseasonable start of the week to everybody and welcome new readers, including William, Toni, Glenn, J.T., Matthew and Shigeto. Great to have you aboard.

Computer scientist Scott Elliott Fahlman, inventor of the smiley emoticon, was born on this day in 1948. “Actually, it is probably more economical to mark things that are NOT jokes, given current trends,” he said in unveiling the mark on a message board at Carnegie Mellon in 1982.

Contract challenge: ADDAPT, the defense-focused manufacturing support group run by Jamie Moore, has challenged the award of a $5 million contract designed to help local companies master product development, supply chain and other hurdles.

Stony Brook University and the Long Island Forum for Technology were awarded the five-year pact in January, beating out ADDAPT and another university-led team. Moore told Innovate on Sunday his organization’s challenge focuses on LIFT’s financial instability and whether it is a “viable” partner as dictated by the contract’s terms.

LIFT has struggled financially under the weight of its largely empty Bethpage building – a homeland security accelerator that has lost key tenants, including anchor Northrop Grumman – and many consider the partnership with Stony Brook the group’s best hope for survival.

LIFT said Friday it has laid off half of its staff of eight but has no plans to shut down. (Link requires Newsday or Optimum subscription)

Since last we spoke: The FDA is readying a crackdown on stem cell charlatans who prescribe the treatment for everything from autism to baldness, even booty enhancements. LI docs David Weissberg and Juan Gargiulo help you avoid the snake oil.

And: Great Neck inventor Scott Soifer presents at a NASA event in Florida next month, unveiling a revolutionary device that monitors heat and carbon monoxide levels in cars and can turn on the AC, open windows and summon emergency personnel. Built in part with a home-made 3D printer.

Did we mention he’s 15?

Crowd control: The SEC’s new rules for securities-based crowdfunding are set to take effect in May, bringing burdensome caps, compliance costs and reporting. Nixon Peabody and friends make sense of it all at the next Hot Topics for Startups, March 31, Melville Marriott, 8 to 10 a.m.

Also: The Long Island Capital Alliance is teaming up with NYIT for a series of educational sessions at which a panel of familiar faces will opine on creating a company, getting financing, locking up IP, establishing smart HR and doing that revenue thing.

Plus: SemiPro, the sports-focused startup led by Jason Le Goff and Bilal Muhammed, has launched. In the App Store. Android still coming.

About our sponsor: Teachers Federal Credit Union is a full-service, not-for-profit financial institution. Founded on Long Island in 1952, it has grown into a 250,000+ member organization with 25 branches in both Nassau and Suffolk Counties. More information is available by visiting or by calling 631-698-7000.

Nice fit: NYC co-working giant WeWork has acquired Welkio, the maker of digital sign-in software for business. Platform actually built at a hackathon in a WeWork building.

Gone: GoButler, which tried to bring the human touch to the digital assistant space, has gone fully automated. Humanity was “just not scalable,” founder Navid Hadzaad conceded.

Not so plutocratic: How much do you have to make to join the 1 percent in NYC? Only $636,866, actually. And you can make the top 10 percent earning less than $119K. (Or barely enough to qualify for a studio apartment.)

Help beat back monoculturalism: Send this to someone who appreciates innovation by clicking the share button at the bottom of this newsletter.

The past week’s most popular reads. And not.

urSwim readies next big splash

The stem cell piece

Stony Brook’s innovation boot camp roundup

Biospecifics surges on international sales

The Feb. 26 newsletter. (Mysterious longevity.)

Northwell chefs play toque show hosts

Codagenix is on the Zika case

SBU security institute battles the bad guys

Northwell joins NYC venture program

Fintech startup Sharestates tops $100M

Most interesting story almost nobody read: Immigrants are responsible for more than half of U.S. startups valued at more than $1 billion.

Stuff we’re going to: Anthony Acampora moderates a symposium hosted by ADDAPT and the Manufacturing Consortium, featuring Steve Bellone, John Kennedy Jr., Joanne Minieri and more, April 14, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., Dennison Building, register here.

Also: Tech networker, April 5, 5:30 p.m., Jewel, brought to you by Innovate, LISTnet, Ellevate Women and Women in Technology. Free hors d’oeuvres. Let us know you’re coming.

Wouldn’t miss: Don Monti of Renaissance Downtowns keynoting the LIBDC’s Hempstead meeting, April 4, noon to 2 p.m., Chateau Briand. Contact Marlene McDonnell at 516-314-8982 or via for seats.


Noted on Facebook: Abby Kenigsberg, former LI media watchdog, is claiming to be 111 today. (We should all move to Austin.)

If you loved your iPhone 5: Apple is expected to unveil a new model of the same size today. Likely to be called the SE, so as not to confuse us.

Also rumored: A new iPad.

Top word used by death row inmates just before execution: Love. Followed by family, thank, sorry and God. “Wrong” came in at No. 40.

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Compiled by John Kominicki. Thanks for reading.