No. 267: On good fellows, spoon benders, Octomoms and trends to come

Bend it like Uri: Master spoon bender Uri Geller celebrates 71 magical years today.

Welcome, dear readers: And over the year’s penultimate hump we go. Just five more days until Christmas and 11 until tumultuous 2017 runs its course. Boy, have you earned a holiday.

The Innovate LI team will be catching up on baking, last-minute shopping and gift-wrapping, so watch for our next newsletter on Dec. 27. We hope you enjoy a peaceful, safe and joyous weekend!

Before there was Octomom: When Nadya Suleman famously gave birth to eight babies in 2009, it actually marked the second full set of living octuplets born in the United States. The first, the Chukwu octuplets, arrived on this date in 1998 in Houston.

Also debuting Dec. 20: Firestone namesake Harvey (1868), Israeli spoon-bender Uri Geller (1946), Mets captain David Wright (1982), actor Jonah Hill (1983).

And speaking of interesting arrivals: The world’s first website and server went live 27 years ago today, when CERN – the European Organization for Nuclear Research – flipped the switch on (We tried … the URL is, sadly, kaput).

But the world is filled with super-amazing innovations and dramatic technological breakthroughs, so make sure you tell us about yours at



Place your bets: With rumors swirling that Albany has selected a proposal by the New York Islanders (with ties to the Mets and Madison Square Garden) as its Belmont Park redevelopment champion, Gov. Cuomo is expected to make it official today. Stay tuned.

Cold facts: A new Long Island University poll suggests this holiday shopping season was a downer for regional retailers.

The 2017 Holiday Shopping Trends poll by LIU’s Generations Institute and the university’s Steven S. Hornstein Center for Policy, Polling and Analysis suggests that shoppers across all age groups rarely seek out small local businesses for their holiday shopping, and that coupons and in-store discounts are not enough of a lure to change that – both blows to the mom-and-pop retailer. The survey of 1,033 respondents also notes that two-thirds of shoppers plan to spend the same amount (or less) on their 2017 holiday shopping as they did in 2016.

The good news: Despite increasing all-generation reliance on e-commerce options, younger consumers (between the ages of 18 and 29) are the most likely to shop in brick-and-mortar stores – and that demographic, according to the poll, is one of the few spending more on gifts this year.

Homes for the holidays: Seventy-five Long Island housing opportunities for the intellectually and developmentally disabled are among hundreds of statewide housing slots being funded by a $58.9 million state program.

The funding effort – the first phase of a multiyear strategy developed by the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities – backs 459 certified housing opportunities presented by 53 statewide provider agencies, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this week.

That includes the 75 Long Island opportunities, spread through 14 homes operated by eight organizations, including Old Bethpage-based Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Bethpage-based Adults & Children With Learning and Developmental Disabilities Inc. and the Hauppauge-based Head Injury Association, among others.

Wir gratulieren: German biotech BRAIN AG has earned a U.S. patent for new biological compounds promising a next generation of natural-source, aluminum-free antiperspirants and deodorants – a $2 billion-plus U.S. market by 2021, according to the international distributor.

Congratulations also: To New York State, the first in the nation designated an “age-friendly state” by AARP and the World Health Organization.


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Fellow the leaders: Stony Brook University Distinguished Professors Arie Kaufman and Clinton Rubin have been elected as fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (amongst innovators, a fairly ginormous thing).

Family focus: An $837,000 federal grant will help Manhasset’s North Shore University Hospital continue its cutting-edge HIV programs for women and children.

Now in pill form: Always-busy Stony Brook biotech Applied DNA Sciences is targeting its molecular-tagging tech on ingestible pharmaceuticals.

Grab bag: Melville-based Henry Schein picked up something nice for itself this holiday season: a Georgia-based veterinary software specialist.

Revenue review: Quarterly earnings reports from Ronkonkoma’s Lakeland Industries (a solid 3Q) and Applied DNA (for all its progress, still scuffling).



Looking good: There’s plenty of strong economic activity ahead, according to Deloitte’s new survey, The State of the Deal: M&A Trends 2018. Among the positive signs: increased deal flow over the next 12 months, as predicted by 70 percent of U.S. executives and 76 percent of leaders at domestic private-equity firms.

Getting the Sackler: Non-pertubative regimes and other chestnuts of quantum field theory might be old news to you, but they were breakthrough enough to earn a prestigious 2018 Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences for Zohar Komargodski, a professor in Stony Brook University’s Simons Center for Geometry and Physics.

Fast friends: Our friends at innovation hub Fast Company explain how not to get hacked, as per the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab.



+ Daily Harvest, a New York-based subscription service specializing in frozen, plant-based, one-step-prep foods, raised $43 million in Series B funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners with participation from VMG Partners, M13, chef and restaurateur Bobby Flay, Olympic gold medalist Shaun White and actress Haylie Duff.

+ Lemonade Inc., a NYC-based insur-tech company that leverages artificial intelligence and behavioral economics, raised $120 million in Series C funding.

+ 3TEN8, a California-based AI company focused on predicting wireless network outages and degradations, raised $2 million in seed funding led by Social Capital with participation from 500 Startups, Citrix, The Alchemist accelerator and Cloudera.

+ Aunt Fannie’s, an Oregon-based provider of microbiomic cleaning and pest-solution products, closed its $2.375 million Series A financing.

+ Splice, a NYC-based music-creation and collaboration platform, raised $5 million in Series B funding led by DFJ Growth with participation from True Ventures, Union Square Ventures and Flybridge.

+ Springboard, a San Francisco-based provider of online workforce upskilling, raised $9.5 million in Series A funding led by Costanoa Ventures, with participation from Learn Capital and AppDynamics and returning investors Blue Fog Capital, and Moneta Ventures.

+ Tempo Quest, a Colorado-based provider of proprietary weather forecasting software solutions, closed a $2.5 million seed financing round. Investors included SCubed Capital and a group of individual angel investors including Bob Pavey and Harvey Jones.



Forewarned is forearmed: National unemployment topping 4 percent, three Fed rate hikes, U.S. credit card debt surging past $1 trillion and other cheery 2018 Financial Predictions from Wallethub.

Related: 20 small business trends and predictions for 2018 from Business News Daily.

And: Xconomy offers three AI predictions for 2018 (emotion, data and ethics).

Fertile ground: An NIH grant will back a Feinstein Institute effort to educate young female cancer survivors (there are 400,000 in the U.S. alone) about their fertility options.

Gift guide: What to buy for the tech-savvy environmentalist, according to Wired.

Don’t forget: There’s really no such thing as “free” news. Please support great firms like Sahn Ward Coschignano. (They have an awesome Environment, Energy and Resources practice group, by the way).