No. 218: Kaushansky rising, moguls go tech and getting to know your sodium

Oh say can you Holy See.

It’s Tuesday again: Hope your week is going swimmingly. Give a hearty Innovate welcome to new readers Jennifer, Jenifer, Clarkie, Nora and PR. Glad to have you aboard, folks. Don’t forget to send news, tips, press releases, promotions, birthdays, carps, criticisms and corrections to

Kansas City-based Laugh-O-gram Films was incorporated on this day in 1922. It declared bankruptcy a year later, and the firm’s 20-year-old founder was forced to sell the studio’s only camera to buy a train ticket to California. He did keep sketches he’d made of a cartoon mouse.


Cleaning up: Long Island’s Tula Industries, startup maker of the Shlocker shower locker, has a spanking new utility patent and a jumbo order from Bed Bath & Beyond.

The Debrief: In which we check in with good pal Phil Rugile, major domo of LaunchPad Huntington and the guy who tries to find programmers for eGifter, both of which are on pretty steady growth arcs.

’Grats: Kenneth Kaushansky, senior veep for Health Sciences at Stony Brook University and dean of the med school, has been installed as chair of the Greater New York Hospital Association board.

Buffalo watch: Former SUNY Polytechnic Institute chief Alain Kaloyeros has asked a judge to throw out federal charges alleging he used Poly’s not-for-profit development arms to tilt Buffalo Billion projects to a pair of upstate companies that later kicked back cash.

The former president argues that bidding info passed to the companies was too generic to offer an improper advantage.

Kaloyeros, who also faces state charges, is lobbying to get back his teaching job at Poly and to have legal costs covered by one of the development NFPs.

New space: Some of New York’s most-storied real estate families – Rudin, LeFrak, Wilpon – are banding together to make tech investments.

Bon appetit: NYC’s new menu labeling rules, which require chain restaurants to tell diners the calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugar and protein of each item, went into effect yesterday.

There went that: ExtraTorrent, the second-largest torrent site after Pirate Bay and known for its massive index of entertainment content downloadable using the BitTorrent protocol, has shut itself down.

Digital ka-ching: The Bitcoin has topped $2,000 per.

A draw, redux: For those who asked for more info on the Comptroller’s scolding of Empire State Development for missing reporting deadlines, the audit is now available here.

From our sponsor: Whether it’s helping in site selection, cutting through red tape or finding innovative ways to meet specific needs, businesses that settle in the Town of Islip soon learn that we take a proactive approach to seeing them succeed. If your business wants to locate or expand in a stable community with great quality of life, then it’s time you took a closer look at Islip.

Speaking of which: Don’t miss Islip’s annual CEO breakfast, June 15, free, register here.

Lots of other stuff: To consider in the Innovate calendar.


+, which bills itself as the world’s largest marketplace for hired-out research – “Outsource everything but the genius” – has raised $24 million in equity financing to expand in the pharma space.

+ Houwzer, a Philly-based real estate platform via which brokers are paid salaries instead of commissions, hauled in $2 million to fund expansion to a second metro.

+ Xontogeny, a just-launching Boston biotech accelerator, has raised a $15 million tranche of what will ultimately be a $25 million A round.

+ Spotluck, a DC-based app company that helps diners win discounts at area restaurants by spinning a digital prize wheel – “Save money every time you eat” – has raised $4.8 million.

+ Away, a NYC-based direct to consumer luggage brand that has already moved 100K units, including “the perfect carry on for under $250,” raised $20 million.


A fluid situation: Cirkul, a water bottle that lets you dial in flavors from all-natural, calorie-free cartridges, has raised $112K+ on an Indiegogo goal of $20,000. Chance to get in for as little as $30 ends today.

Call me Madame: Callista Gingrich, third wife of the former House speaker, has been nominated to be ambassador to the Vatican. (Whew: Newt’s first two marriages were annulled by the Church after he converted from Lutheranism.)

Data point: The average time Newt was single between marriages? Five months.

Weird science: The University of Lisbon medical school has had the pickled and remarkably well-preserved head of serial killer Diogo Alves in a jar since 1841, ostensibly to study why he murdered so often.

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Compiled by John Kominicki. Thanks for reading.