No. 242: CEO comp, ash-boring beetles and meet Hubert the Humanoid

TG it’s F: The last week of summer is upon us. Oh, and today is National Double Cheeseburger Day. Please celebrate responsibly.

Today’s birthday duo: Two guys who loved pasta – Marco Polo and William Howard Taft.

The rich get richer: Median pay for CEOs of Russell 3000 firms was $3.8 million last year, up 5.9 percent from 2015. CEOs of S&P 500 firms earned a median of $11.5 million, up 6.3 percent, according to a comprehensive study by The Conference Board.

The biggest driver of the increases was stock awards, which accounted for more than a third of the total compensation of Russell 3000 CEOs and nearly half of the compensation of S&P 500 CEOs, the highest ever. Meanwhile, base salaries declined to less than 15 percent of total pay.

The poor get poorer: Nassau and Suffolk rank in the top three counties in the state in household income, but Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo have poverty rates above 30 percent, placing them among the poorest 25 cities in the nation. Only Ohio and Michigan have more.

Charge on: SBU’s Clean Energy Business Incubator Program has been greenlighted for four more years of funding from the fine folks at NYSERDA.

Jobs report: Private sector employment was up 5,600 in the year ending in August, but the construction sector took it in the tool belt this summer, shedding 2,400 jobs when the industry typically adds 300.

Don’t hear this very often: Manufacturing was the only local sector to add jobs in August.

Here’s the dirt: Re-Nuble founder Tinia Pina is readying for war with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which thinks hydroponically produced foods should not be labeled “organic.”

NYC watch: Cornell Tech, touted as the first campus built for the digital age, officially opened its first phase Wednesday with some of the world’s most energy-efficient buildings and aspirations to turbocharge the city’s tech sector.

Watch your ash: State officials continue to fret about the spread of the emerald ash borer, a penny-sized beetle that destroys the trees from which Louisville Sluggers are made.

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Sunny outlook: Goldman Sachs has agreed to buy $300 million worth of solar loans, the first significant move into the space by a bank.

Think Hong Kong: Midtown Manhattan is not even close to being the world’s most expensive office market. (But it’s fourth.)

Boston watch: Moderna Therapeutics, which has been hatching startups as wholly owned subsidiaries to work on varying aspects of its unproven biomedical technology called messenger RNA, is dissolving four spinouts and bringing their experimental drugs back aboard the mother ship.

Hey good-looking: NYC-based Clinch, which produces video ads personalized for every viewer, has raised $3 million to personalize a spot for you. (This is getting scary, kids.)

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OK, robots have officially taken over: ArcBotics, an award-winning educational robotics company, is running a Kickstarter campaign for its newest learning gadget, Hubert the Humanoid.


+ Grid Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing the first human-derived targeted immunotherapy for cancer, closed a Series A financing led by Longview International.

+ Happy Returns, a tech logistics company that provides in-person returns for online retailers, closed a $4 million Series A round.

+ MissionU, a college alternative for students to get skills and experience while graduating with no upfront tuition, raised $8.5 million in Series A funding.

+ KeyMe, a New York City-based startup that runs smart key-copying kiosks, closed a $25 million Series D.


Food fighters: Fortune and Food & Wine‘s annual list of the most innovative women in food and drink is out. Katherine Miller, founder of the non-profit Chef Action Network, takes the top slot, followed by Christine Moseley, founder of grower-buyer marketplace app Full Harvest, and Martha Hoover, whose restaurants double as vehicles for social change.

Kinda effed that up: This week marks the 77th anniversary of the discovery of the Lascaux cave paintings in France, which were open to the public until the condensation from human breathing ran down the walls and dripped from the ceiling and lichens and mold developed. Conservators are still trying to stabilize the acclaimed paintings, which date to 16,000 BC. A faux cave for visitors was erected nearby.

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Compiled by John Kominicki. Thanks for reading.