No. 204: $40K Hofstra challenge, Mojo Workin’ and a border wall deadline

Happy Tuesday, everybody: And welcome new readers, including Vinny, Barry, Andrew, Brian, Gavin and Jim.

Happy Birthday Debra Halpert and Steve Davies.

Also born on this day: Muddy Waters, who took southern bottleneck blues guitar to Chicago, electrified it and went on to inspire everyone from Keith Richards to Eric Clapton and Johnny Winter.

Rolling Stone magazine, which, like Richards’ band, took its name from a Waters tune, has billed him as the seventeenth greatest performer of all time. He died in 1983. Here, a 1966 look at Got My Mojo Workin.’

And now, this: The FDA has been making changes to the nutrition labels on U.S. food packaging to better reflect American eating habits, including acknowledging that a half-cup of ice cream is not, as it has suggested since 1993, a normal serving.

(It’s now two-thirds of a cup, which stills sounds stingy, especially since the agency does not appear to have made any allowance for sprinkles.)

Servings of all products that fall between sizes will now be labeled to reflect how people are most likely to consume them. Although a serving of soda is defined as 12 oz., for example, a 20 oz. bottle will henceforth be labeled as one serving because you’re most likely to drink it all after you open it.

The agency is also redesigning the label itself, significantly increasing the type size of the calories per serving information – it will all but shout at you in the future – and providing information you don’t really want to know, such as the amount of Added Sugars.

The agency is redefining what fiber is, and also demanding more data from manufacturers and documentation on how their nutritional numbers were arrived at.

The changes present challenges and new costs for food manufacturers, especially small incubator-based startups like those in the Innovate LI fold. To help, Nixon Peabody is hosting a breakfast roundtable for the foodtech sector, including entrepreneurs, established manufacturers, nutritionists and suppliers. April 19, 8 a.m., Melville Marriott, panel, registration and other info here.

We promise oversized portions at the breakfast buffet.

Hofstra’s student pitch competition goes down April 18, with 10 teams vying for $40,000 in awards, including a $20,000 top prize.

Judges include Mike Seiman, Hofstra grad and crazily successful software executive who writes the big checks for the program, plus WorkRails CEO Jeff Leventhal, JuiceTank founder Mukesh Patel, Magna CEO Josh Sason, former Northwell COO Charles Trunz and Janet Lenaghan, vice dean of Hofstra’s Frank Zarb business school.

You should come by. Details and free registration here.

Reminder: You have until 4 p.m. today to submit your Phase I proposal to build the Mexican border wall.

Ruh-roh: Credit card use is up significantly in the United States, according to the latest Consumer Financial Literacy Survey by Harris for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. More disturbing trends here.


+ Long Island entrepreneur Jonathan Gilbert has wrapped funding on a five-year, $12 million U of Miami study on cannabinoid-based treatments for concussions.

+ A way to check out the relative value of other e-health apps? Yep, the Feinstein Center is building an app for that.

+ Stony Brook University will confer honorary doctorates on Michael J. Fox, Shutterstock founder Jonathan Oringer and two alums who already have the real thing – neuroscientist Arthur Kramer and astrophysicist Frank Shu.

Missed a newsletter? Many, many editions are archived here. We especially like No. 143.

A few words from our sponsor: Bank of America Merrill Lynch works with companies of all sizes to help them operate more efficiently and seize opportunities. Whether updating technology, acquiring another company or conducting business globally, our banking professionals have the solutions and expertise to assist your business. We have the capital, capabilities and can connect you to a full range of financial services from investment banking to cash management to retirement services while also providing a full array of wealth management expertise to CEOs, executives and employees.

Startup show: Stony Brook University is calling in 50 or so companies from its varied incubators for an annual showcase, primarily biotech, energy and infotech, June 8, from 8 a.m. to noon, CEWIT building, free but you have to say something nice to Yacov.

Not related in the least: We’re teaming up with LISTnet for a spring networking event, Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., Jewel, drink discounts, complimentary passed plates, priceless face time. Register for free here.

We have the meets: The rest of the Innovate calendar is here.

Congrats: Dr. Maria Torroella Carney has been named medical director of Northwell Health’s post-acute services, adding that to her duties as the health system’s chief of geriatric and palliative medicine. She also was named governor of the local chapter of the American College of Physicians.

Kale in the keel: Swale, the vegetable garden, orchard and social experiment built atop a NYC garbage barge, has landed a sponsorship from Strongbow Apple Ciders and can stay afloat for the 2017 growing season. See it in action April 20 through June 15 at Pier 25 at Hudson River Park, other spots throughout the summer.

Please write: Send tips, news, story ideas, calendar items, releases, promotions, job openings, birthdays, congratulations, criticisms and corrections to

Sleep when you’re dead: South African-grown Black Insomnia, the world’s strongest coffee, is now available for purchase in the United States. A 12 oz. cup offers more than 700 milligrams of caffeine, almost four times what you get from Starbucks’ most potent cuppa. $18 the pound.

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Compiled by John Kominicki. Thanks for reading.