No. 116: A Bettr app, test-tube leather and disposable phone numbers

TG it’s F: A good Friday to everyone and welcome new readers. It’s All Fools’ Day, the celebration of which dates back so far no one is really sure how it came to be. The first recorded prank comes from The Canterbury Tales (1392), in which Chaucer refers to April 1 as March 32.

(Middle English humor just slays me.)

Veeco Instruments is reportedly in talks to acquire its main German competitor, Aixtron SE.

ULC Robotics of Hauppauge has been given FAA approval to operate drones below 400 feet in U.S. airspace. The Hauppauge-based firm, which is closely aligned with the utility sector, said it will use the craft for aerial inspections and to search for leaks on transmission pipelines.

Bettr, the hot social media management startup launched out of Hofstra University, has gone live with its iOS app after a longer-than-planned beta test that gave it time to work out bugs and add user-suggested functionality.

Stony Brook researcher Carol Carter is practicing the pitch that will one day – and maybe sooner than you’d expect – attract venture investment to an inhibitor that prevents the HIV-1 virus from making its destructive spread through the body.

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Shoes required: Bridgeworks, a just-launched co-working space in Long Beach, is looking to make a splash. And just imagine the summer traffic.

Doesn’t sound all that efficient: Does Long Island really need its own energy efficiency program when the rest of the state plays so nicely together? Maybe not. A few local voices weigh in.

World view: The state has $35 million to help your business go global. And special money for breweries. (There is, however, some paperwork.)

Power to some of the people: 13 LI companies received low-cost electricity in exchange for promises to stay here and prosper. A familiar name on the list: Chembio Diagnostics Systems.

The calendar: Innovate hosts a networker, Nixon Peabody talks early-stage funding and Anthony Manetta gets gala-ed. Plus lots more.

Commercialization 360: Supply chain expert Wayne Gutschow thinks a lot of promising research dies unnecessarily in the lab. He’s got a plan. It starts with a circle. He’ll tell you the rest.

Rush to market: Vringo subsidiary Fli Charge, which powers up just about anything from a wireless pad, knows where to go to get things done right in a hurry. (Top read of the week so far.)

So we have that going for us: Sagaponack has been named the priciest zip code in America, topping Mark Zuckerberg’s neighborhood.


Mr. Hide: Crain’s 40 Under 40 honoree Andras Forgacs is trying to grow leather in the lab.

Hot stuff: Not sure you want to give out your real phone number on Tinder? Meet Burner, a free app that gives you disposable numbers for use on dating sites, Craigslist and other places you probably shouldn’t be. Many business possibilities, too. Works for voice, SMS and MMS.

Pipe dream: The Norwegian city of Bergen uses a high-speed pneumatic system that shoots trash to recycling centers on the outskirts of town.

Interesting: The local word for garbage is “boss.”

Bigger kitchen: Blue Apron, the crazy-fast-growing meal-delivery service that achieved unicorn status last year, is scoping out the City for new digs of up to 100,000 square feet.

True fact: The company is NYC’s third-most-valuable startup, after WeWork and Vice Media.

Sign of the times: Property is so hot in Bed-Stuy that a Bedford Avenue homeowner has posted a sign warning real estate agents and wannabe owners to stay at bay. It has pictures of guns.

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Attention Serpico: Nearly two dozen NYPD officers are under investigation for providing protection to Queens karaoke bars. One of the racket’s alleged leaders is Robert Sung, a lieutenant now dismissed.

Pot-pourri: Only about 2,000 New Yorkers have received prescriptions for medical marijuana since the program’s start in January, with about half actually buying. State-approved dispensaries – including two on Long Island – said business is only now beginning to pick up.

Captive audience: Uber trawls for engineers by sending some riders a link to a game called “Code on the Road” that assesses the player’s coding skills. Good players are prompted to get in touch to consider a career at the ride-hailing unicorn. In use in tech markets like Seattle and San Fran.

Getting more social: Facebook has inked a deal for an additional 200,000 square feet of NYC space, this time at 225 Park Ave. South near Union Square.

Spare bedroom: SpaceX will be carrying an inflatable pod called the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, on its April 8th delivery run to the International Space Station. The module flies flat, then inflates once it’s properly connected to one of the station’s nodes.

Finally: Faded highway lane markers and other shoddy traffic infrastructure are driving self-driving cars batty.

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Compiled by John Kominicki. Thanks for reading.