No. 203: The future of hemp, spinal implants and thank you, Edwin Binney

TG it’s F: A happy Friday, everybody. It’s National Crayon Day, which honors the achievement of Edwin Binney of Crayola fame. He also invented dustless blackboard chalk and black automobile tires, which before 1910 were white.

On the runway: Secretive Luminati Aerospace, which may (or not) be building a solar-powered composite air wing thingee for Google or Facebook, has agreed to buy the former Grumman test facility at Calverton for $40 million. (Meaning somebody somewhere has deep pockets.)

Bonding: The Town of Hempstead gave a preliminary green light to $42 million in tax-exempt bonds for Hofstra University, which will be used for a 50,000-square-foot business school and renovations to the adjacent CV Starr Hall.

The 50-year-old business program is named for former Nasdaq chair Frank Zarb, a Hofstra grad and trustee who also served as Gerald Ford’s energy czar. The new structure will replace Weller Hall. (But not, we hope, Herman Berliner.)

Search over: Henry C. “Hank” Foley, interim chancellor of the University of Missouri-Columbia and a noted chemistry scholar, has been named president of New York Institute of Technology, effective June 1.

Trivia: He replaces Ed Guiliano, who led the 10,000-student school for 16 years and is an expert on Victorian fiction, especially works by Dickens and Carroll. His wife, Mireille, is the author of “French Women Don’t Get Fat” and other titles.

They care: Northwell Health received high marks on the annual Healthcare Equality Index, a measure of policies and practices toward LGBTQ patients, employees and the community at large. The index applauded 48 NY facilities, 14 of them run by Northwell.

Tripping: Innovator of the Year winner Jeff Leventhal says it’s all about the journey, not the exit. (Although he’s enjoyed plenty of both.)


2 large for 911: Nassau and Suffolk received about $2 million in state funding for emergency communications.

Radiating success: Bonded Energy’s efforts to work around steam heat’s historically crappy deliverables just got a little more off the shelf.

Not a passing fancy: Applied DNA Sciences has decided it’s really into leather.

Don’t spare the rod: Northwell’s North Shore University Hospital is deploying 3D-printed titanium spinal implants.

Liquor rebates? There’s an app for that: Innovator of the Year winner Celestina Pugliese might have been happy enough with her insanely popular Ready Check Glo bill holders, which alert servers when your credit card is in place. But no.

Pressing on: Jed Morey’s New York Financial Press site is now a vector for much bigger things.

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WE HAVE THE MEETS                                    

Road trip: NYIT’s school of Engineering and Computing Sciences hosts a Tedx on persistence and community, top-drawer speakers, April 21, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., NYC campus, $55 tickets here.

Time for a cocktailer: Innovate and LISTnet team up for a spring Tech Together networking event, April 5, 5:30 p.m. onwards, Jewel. Please tell us you’re coming.

Honest: The Fair Media Council’s seminar on fake news has been rescheduled for April 26 and moved to Hofstra University. More info as we get it.

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Stuff we’re thinking about going to: The rest of the Innovate calendar is here.


+, a NYC-based content site for millennial women, landed $12 million from GGV Capital, with participation from TimeWarner, Social Capital and others.

+ Storyhunter, which connects media companies with foreign freelance videographers, received $1.3 million from Draper Associates and a group that included 500 Startups. CEO is a former NYT video editor.

+ Coworking space landlord Industrious, now in almost 20 markets but with a NYC Hq, landed $25 million in a B round led by Riverwood Capital and promptly acquired PivotDesk, which connected companies to spare office spaces.

+ Charlotte-based in-flight wi-fi provider SmartSky closed on a $170 million round. The company says it now has enough funding to go coast to coast.


It’s dog eat dog out there: Pet services platform has acquired its largest competitor, DogVacay, in a move it said would allow it to “pick up engineering velocity.” The firms each booked more than $100 million last year.

Yes, but we get another aircraft carrier: The proposed $32 billion budget cut for the National Institutes of Health could slow medical research by 30 years or more, a new study on what’s called “technological maturation” suggests.

Poster child for the point: Monoclonal antibodies, which now treat a quarter of all cancers. Though discovered in 1973, it took 30 years of NIH support to figure out how to safely get them to market.

WirArbeiten: WeWork has announced its newest coworking location, on the Goethe Platz in Frankfurt.

Attention Nelson Rockefeller: Binghampton University and SUNY Sullivan have joined the state’s industrial hemp research program to “develop innovative uses for this sustainable, versatile crop which has varied and vast potential.”

We miss you Kurt Loder: Rolling Stone’s newsstand sales fell 9.3% last year and website traffic sank 28% from its peak in December 2015, Crain’s reports. (Hey, but it’s finally debt free.)

After dinner tonight: Watch “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” on Netflix. It gets dumped from the movie service on Saturday. (Also “Stomp the Yard” and “Barbershop 2,” but no great loss.)

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Compiled by John Kominicki. Thanks for reading.