No. 120: Gift bots, smart pants and a self-arranging sofa

TG it’s Friday: A happy April 15, everybody. Long Island’s own Franklin National issued the first bank credit card on this date in 1951. Seth Rogan is 34; Leonardo Da Vinci would be 564.

The contest: Giving inspirational names to economic development efforts is apparently all the rage. You’ve heard of the Buffalo Billion, of course, but what about Southern Tier Soaring, Finger Lakes Forward and Central New York Rising? State officials say they don’t require any fancy branding from local eco-dev efforts, but why take the chance? Long Island should get on board ASAP.

Send your suggestions to and we’ll celebrate the best in a future newsletter.

Field of dreams: LISTnet’s new coworking space, the Digital Ballpark, will officially open May 25 at 6 p.m. with words from Nassau Exec Ed Mangano, plus tenants, sponsors and – what else? – hot dogs, peanuts and Cracker Jack.

Corner office, we hope: It’s great to have an entrepreneur-in-residence, but what if he’s never started a company? Meet Andrew Whiteley, a deeply CVed addition to the Cold Spring Harbor commercialization staff who’ll be helping spinoffs fly. As executive-in-residence. The scoop from Gregory Zeller.

Hospital hacks: Northwell Health is attacked unsuccessfully millions of times each month by computer programs and black hats looking to hijack records and other info, CIO John Bosco told federal officials this week.

Planting the seed: Mark Lesko, Jeff Leventhal, Dan Polner and Allan Cohen lead the next Hot Topics for Startups, this one on early-stage financing, May 3, 8 to 10 a.m. at Hofstra’s just-launched IdeaHUb. Free but please register.

Sorta related: Students vie for $42,000 in prizes at the Hofstra-CPXi Venture Challenge pitch-a-thon, April 21, beginning at 4 p.m.

Also: Ed Mirabella signs copies of Paper Dinosaurs, his memoir of the banking industry before the feds got ahold of it, Book Revue in Huntington, April 21, 7 p.m.

And: The complete calendar is here.

About our sponsor: Carter, DeLuca, Farrell & Schmidt LLP is Long Island’s premier patent and IP law firm, with rich experience in biotechnology, chemistry, electrical, computer software, mechanical, optical, physics and more. Please visit

Wall Street consensus: Verizon will buy Yahoo and turn it over to AOL boss Tim Armstrong. (And hope things turn out better than Patch.)

Central park: SpotPog, a free app for swapping public parking spots in NYC,is pivoting towards users whose livelihoods depend on finding a spot during the day: the city’s thousands of commercial drivers.

No fund for all: Bucking a national downturn that began late last year, VC spending in New York totaled $2.6 billion in Q1, a 76 percent jump over the previous quarter and 75 percent over the same period a year ago. Silicon Valley and Massachusetts did not share in the good tidings.

Magic dragons: 24 budding Bay Area cannabis companies to watch.

Room with a helluva view: Bigelow Aerospace, which just sent up an inflatable pod to attach to the International Space Station, will partner with launch specialist ULA to put tourist habitats in low-Earth orbit. Book now for summer 2020.

Makes sense: Founder Robert Bigelow made his fortune with Budget Suites of America.

Stirring things up: DC’s CookNook has been acquired by NYC’s Homemade, which just landed $2.1 million in seed funding. (HomeNook? CookMade?)

Shuddering: Shuddle, the Bay Area ride service often called “Uber for Kids,” is shutting down after burning through $12 million in seed funding and failing to find more.

Also closing: Beacon, which offered unlimited air travel between Boston and Westchester for a flat $2,000 a month.


New arrangement: 1-800-Flowers launched a chat bot on Facebook’s just-updated Messenger app that answers questions, gives suggestions and, of course, is happy to take your order. “You never have to call 1-800-Flowers again,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said at the launch.

Note to Zuck: Most of us actually order online.

A bone to pick: The FDA has finally set a date for a hearing on stem cell procedures, now being offered as cures for everything from hair loss to autism. It was rescheduled due to “considerable” interest.

As promised: Italian import Web4Sign, a digital security platform in the Start-Up NY program at SBU, is hiring.

Loose thoughts: Can entrepreneurship keep you young? (Yes, if you can stay awake long enough.)

Wheels up: ExcelAire is now free to move about the country. In this case, Oakland.

Life’s a Beach: Entrepreneur and public affairs strategist Anthony Manetta has merged his Standard Advisors Group into a Harris Beach advisory arm.

Plenty of drive: Inventor John Pawloski has developed a breakthrough drive system that is being beta-ed in air conditioning units and golf carts, with the rest of the mechanical world to follow. (He let his daughters name it. They chose Marmalade.)

So they can use the HOV lane? Best Buy’s Geek Squad is dumping the VW Beetle in favor of the Toyota Prius. (Still painted like a squad car, though.)

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Shorts circuits: Researchers at Ohio State can now embroider electronicsinto clothing at 0.1 mm, allowing your duds to function as a smartphone antenna or track fitness without a wrist band. A cloth bandage could even tell your doctor how well the wound is healing.

Internet of nap: An Italian designer has teamed with a Swiss manufacturer to bring us connected furniture modules that can be configured into sofas and other arrangements using ideas from a smartphone app. (Always wondered when sectionals would make a comeback.)

Saw this coming: ESPN will begin televising drone racing later this year.

A reminder: There’s really no such thing as “free” news. Please support great firms like Carter DeLuca Farrell & Schmidt.

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Compiled by John Kominicki. Thanks for reading.