No. 229: Cybersecurity, doggone history and several fairly interesting things going on with bugs

Halfway home: A happy Wednesday, everybody, and how about a heartfelt Innovate welcome to new readers Holly, Mica, Jose, Gary, Amy, Briley and Anna. Great to have you aboard, kids.

It’s July 19, on which musicians Alan Gorrie, Bernie Leadon, Brian May and Alan Collins were born. Can you name their bands? Answers after the news.

Extra credit: George Frayne.

Top o’ the Innovate LI site: Re-Nuble Inc., the Tinia Pina startup that turns food waste into fresh produce, has brought home an American Entrepreneurship Award, with associated cash.

ICYMI: A Stony Brook battery business with European roots has made the cut in the governor’s 76West Clean Energy Competition.

Hire aspirations: Triplebyte, the recruiter of choice for Silicon Valley’s tech elite, has opened shop in NYC.

Fetch the rock, boy: Krishna R. Veeramah, an ecology and evolution prof at Stony Brook University, has definitively proven that humans domesticated dogs between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago. (Still working on pit bulls, though.)

Sting operation: Alphabet Inc.’s Verily Life Sciences unit is releasing 20 million bacteria-infected male mosquitoes that will create nonhatching eggs when the boys get jiggy with females in the wild. The target is the invasive Aedes aegypti breed, which carries bad stuff like zika, dengue, and chikungunya. Bloomberg has more here.

Sorta related: Cornell researchers are using parasitic wasps to control the upstate beetle population.

Hurry: The early bird deadline for NYIT’s mega-cybersecurity conference is Sept. 1.

Set ’em up, Joe: More investors are suing Bar Works, the NYC cocktail-lounge-meets-coworking space. (Or alleged Ponzi scheme, your choice.)

Good idea: The state Thruway Authority plans to reuse 133 concrete deck panels from the old Tappan Zee Bridge by doling them out as replacement parts for smaller spans upstate. The authority is also recycling thousands of feet of concrete lane divider blocks, some of which will end up on the LIE.

Less cost-consciously: The authority approved $1.2 million to pay for a 1,200-foot length of the planned Empire State Trail, a planned 750-mile hiking and biking path. That works out to $1,000 per foot.

Pharma Bro update: Price-gouging pharmaceutical exec Martin Shkreli – who once paid $2 million for a one-off Wu-Tang Clan album and $10,000 for Jay-Z concert tickets – had trouble paying the rent, according to testimony at his ongoing trial for securities fraud, the start of which was delayed as the court tried to seat a jury that didn’t admit to wanting to see him “fry.”

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PeopleGrove, an edtech platform that connects students and professors with advisers and mentors, announced a $1.8 million seed round led by Reach Capital.

Uber’s Southeast Asia rival Grab has raised another $2 billion from SoftBank and China’s Didi, bringing its total funding to $3.44 billion.

Hutch, the virtual interior design app, has raised $10 million from Zillow.


Is it me you’re looking for? Grammy-winning artist Lionel Richie (also an Oscar and a Golden Globe and a slew of platinums) has taken up investing. First up is the doctor-on-demand service Heal.

Vital organ report: Last year it was all about saving humans with pig heart transplants. Now, researchers at the the Functional Materials Laboratory in Zurich have a 3D printed silicone version that beats like the real thing. (Yes, but does it break like one?)

Missed a newsletter? Most are archived here.

8 places successful people find their motivation: Interestingly, Bar Works does not appear on the list.

A real lather: Ever wonder what happens to the bar of hotel soap you used just once? Clean the World has taken re-purposing to a whole new level.

Can you hear me now? KPMG Canada cut the cord on desk phones for all 5,000 of its employees, who now make voice calls via a laptop app and either headsets or puck-sized speakers.

Free ideas: Y Combinator’s Startup School has graduated its first free online class. You can scroll through the list of graduates (we count 797) and their presentations here.

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Enough with the robot-bashing already: Our paranoia over losing jobs notwithstanding, robots do have the potential to save lives and help seniors living alone.

Related: Joy For All Companion Pets by Hasbro. (Adorable, certainly, but can they help when you’ve fallen and can’t get up?)

Also: Behold LISA, the world’s first impartial robot lawyer.

Beyoncé, by the numbers: The world’s highest-paid singer pulled in $62.4 million last year. Mostly touring.

Bush Craft 101: If you’ve ever feared getting lost in the wild – or hoped for it – this book’s for you.

Quiz answers: Average White Band, Eagles, Queen and Skynyrd. Frayne was Commander Cody of Lost Planet Airmen fame. (Still is, actually.)

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Compiled by John Kominicki and Marlene McDonnell. Thanks for reading.