No. 269: Cuomo’s big plans, LI’s bouncing babies and other exciting ways to start your innovative 2018

History in the making: On Jan. 1, in below-freezing weather, Laura Curran stood on the steps of the legislative building in Mineola and was sworn in by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as Nassau's first female county executive.

Hello, you wonderful old Building & Loan! OK, yes, enough already with the Christmas references – but the very first U.S. building & loan association organized 87 years ago today in Frankford, Pa. Thought you’d like to know.

And with that quick history lesson, we turn our eyes squarely ahead toward another year of invention, collaboration and healthy socioeconomic development on Long Island. The Innovate LI team will be here every step of the way, chronicling the regional innovation economy and growing along with it.

Keep us in the loop at And strap in – should be a fun ride.

Well done: Before we get to the new week (and New Year) in innovation, a few hardy back-slaps for some outstanding 2017 work, starting with our friends at South Nassau Communities Hospital.

One of Long Island’s last remaining independent hospitals (though a merger with the Mount Sinai Health System is in the works) earned a number of top healthcare awards in the year just ended, including top honors from the American Heart Association, Becker’s Hospital Review, U.S. News and World Report and national healthcare monitor Healthgrades, among others.

Not to be outdone: Northwell Health’s North Shore University Hospital, where the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the Medical Intensive Care Unit have both earned prestigious Beacon Awards for Excellence from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.


Stating his case: Gov. Andrew Cuomo officially introduces his 2018 State of the State Agenda today.

The governor, who never met an economic-development project he didn’t like, has already released his 20-step plan for the coming year in dribs and drabs. All told, the ambitious strategy pours billions of state dollars into clean-energy initiatives, anti-sexual harassment training, infrastructure revitalizations, student-loan protections and other statewide social and business-development programs.

Among the 2018 plans of special interest to Long Island: The New York Clean Energy Jobs and Climate Agenda (officially, the 20th proposal of Cuomo’s State of the State master plan), which includes provisions to develop at least 800 megawatts of offshore wind projects – a “big step toward making the Empire State a leader in the effort to reduce air and water pollution and eliminate climate-altering carbon pollution,” according to Heather Leibowitz, director of watchdog Environment New York.

Another glass ceiling bites the dust: Kudos to Laura Curran, officially sworn in Tuesday as Nassau County’s first-ever female executive.

Capital thinking: The Long Island Capital Alliance is calling on software, Internet and other tech-focused firms to apply for the chance to pitch to an expert panel – and an audience of potential investors – at LICA’s first Capital Forum of 2018, scheduled for March 9 in Melville. Submission deadline is Jan. 18. Send a copy of your business plan or executive summary to LICA Executive Director Carol Lane at

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North (by north’s best): A key acquisition will bring a Ronkonkoma-based mobile-tech provider’s “upfitting” expertise to first-responder vehicles throughout New England.

Addiction addition: The latest episode of Northwell Health’s “Health Story” podcast takes listeners on a harrowing journey into (and out of) opioid addiction.

Babies abound: On a busy night for Long Island newborns, Long Island Jewish Medical Center welcomed the Island’s first 2018 baby just after midnight Monday.

Cold, hard tax: President Trump’s “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” is poised to deliver some serious economic blows to Long Island residents and businesses.


Beantown biotech beatdown: No-BS advice from Vicki Sato, a Boston biotech entrepreneur who addressed the throng of attendees at Xconomy’s “New York Biotech: The Future Is Now” conference in December: “Stop being an initiative. Start being a player.”

Speaking of opioids: For the second year in a row, U.S. life-expectancy rates have declined – with experts blaming a surge in fatal opioid overdoses.

The old automatons network: Fortune warns us this week that the rise of the robots could make the gender pay gap even worse – because a greater percentage of the jobs women typically hold have automation potential.

Crystal balls: 2018 business prognostications from Reuters, the (not failing) New York Times and Forbes.


+ Tribeca Venture Partners, a New York City-based venture capital firm, raised a $150 million venture capital fund that backs early-stage startups operating in such industries as AI and machine learning, content and media, SaaS and digital security with investments of $100,000 to $4 million.

+ Precision Medicine Group, a Maryland-based fund providing an integrated infrastructure that supports pharmaceutical and life-sciences companies, raised a $275 million investment led by Berkshire Partners, TPG Growth, Oak Investment Partners and J.H. Whitney.

+ FinTech Collective, an NYC-based venture capital firm focused exclusively on financial-services technology companies, raised $93.83 million for its second fund.

+ One Concern, a California-based provider of technologies that combine machine learning, hazard modeling and artificial intelligence to protect communities before, during and after a natural disaster, raised $20 million in Series A financing.

+ Tovala, a Chicago-based food-tech company that manufactures and provides a domestic cooking appliance paired with a weekly meal-delivery service, raised $9.2 million in Series A funding led by Origin Ventures with participation from Pritzker Group, Y Combinator, Joe Mansueto and Larry Levy.

+ Centrexion Therapeutics, a Boston-based company focused on developing non-opioid, non-steroidal therapeutics for the treatment of chronic pain, completed a $67 million Series D financing round.


Here’s the beef: For all the bluster about vegetarian lifestyles and pea protein, Americans are poised to eat more meat than ever this year.

See how it ends: The 1968 book that tried to predict the world of 2018.

Chocolate fix: Will global warming cause the extinction of the cacao plant – and thusly, the end of chocolate – within 40 years? Not if UC Berkeley and the Mars Corp. (the geniuses behind the Snickers and Three Musketeers brands, among others) have anything to say about it.

Now that you have one: The Echo Dot “smart speaker” was a breakout hit on Amazon this holiday season. Here are six useful things you can do with yours (we really like No. 5).

New year, same gentle reminder: There’s really no such thing as “free” news. Please support great firms like Nixon Peabody.