No. 273: Legalizing pot in NY, hacking with Homeland Security and new growth for Broadridge, Digital Donations and a CA spinoff

Driving force: Danica Patrick sees similarities between racing cars and making wine.

Marching on: Welcome to another week of Long Island innovation, and to what is actually a red-letter date in African-American history.

While historical icons including Augustus Caesar, Christopher Columbus and Dwight Eisenhower all surface on Jan. 17, in honor of Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, let’s spotlight Sherman’s Field Order No. 15, issued this date in 1865 by Union General William T. Sherman following his legendary March to the Sea.

The order confiscated as Union property a strip of coastline stretching from South Carolina to Florida and redistributed roughly 400,000 acres of land to newly freed black families in 40-acre segments – a bold agrarian reformation effort that coined the phrase “40 acres and a mule.”

Different ends of the same birthday: Legendary gangster Al Capone and WordHampton Public Relations founder Steve Haweeli were both born on Jan. 17.

So were: Benjamin Franklin, Betty White, Muhammed Ali, Steve Harvey, Jim Carrey and Michelle Obama, though not all at once.

Did we miss someone important? Please fill us in at, along with any other socioeconomic tidbits you think we should know. We love when you write.

Stuck on you: Before we dive into the busy week in innovation, kudos to New York State’s Taste NY Long Island Welcome Center (conveniently located in Dix Hills between Long Island Expressway exits 51 and 52), which now offers Love The Island car magnets for $6 apiece, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Long Island Cares-The Harry Chapin Food Bank.



Legal ease: Nixon Peabody attorneys Seth Berman and James Weller present Legal Landmines, a networking workshop covering common legal problems and how to minimize exposure and otherwise protect your business. Scheduled to run 6-8 p.m. Feb. 7 at Bridgeworks, 780 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach. Registration and more information.

Broad way: Big news Tuesday out of Lake Success-based Broadridge Financial Solutions, which announced the creation of its new Broadridge International division and said Tom Carey, who previously managed Broadridge’s Technology and Operations Solutions business in EMEA and the Asia-Pacific region, would take the reins.

Carey, who’s also been appointed to serve on Broadridge’s Executive Committee, will work closely with the global fintech leader’s Governance and Communications product groups outside of North America, particularly leveraging his experiences in Europe, the Middle East and the Asian Pacific. Broadridge already provides capital-market and governance solutions in dozens of global markets.

Calling international expansion “a core strategy for Broadridge,” President and COO Tim Gokey said Carey was the ideal candidate to lead the new strategic focus. “Tom has a highly successful track record of building technology platforms and client relationships in the global markets,” Gokey said Tuesday. “He will be focused on helping our clients transform to meet the growing regulatory, economic and convergence challenges and complexities of the global markets.”

Pot of gold? Among the line items in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ambitious, $168 billion 2018 state budget proposal, which Cuomo laid out in full on Tuesday: a scaled-back 3 percent school-aid hike, an $18 million state-aid cut for community colleges, expanded protections for Long Island’s Central Pine Barrens and a proposed “opioid surcharge” – a 2-cents-per-milligram fee attached to opioid prescriptions, with the revenues earmarked for anti-addiction efforts.

Another “high” light: a state study of the possible legalization of recreational marijuana in New York, a proven revenue-generator in other states.

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Position of strength: With its new Position Marketing division, Melville tech developer Digital Donations makes an evolutionary leap in the world of electronic payments.

Federal production: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is tracking the activities of a Westbury-based multistate coding ring – and is even lending them a hand.

Now, that’s Italian: With the acquisition of an Italy-based tech firm, CA Technologies spinoff erwin inc. has staked its claim as “the data governance company.”

Making some noise: With its Premium Audio segment soaring and income on the rise, Hauppauge-based Voxx International Corp. has logged another strong quarter.



Justice league: With NYC jails overflowing, Gov. Cuomo explains the need for a criminal justice system overhaul, including bail and discovery reforms.

But not a drop to drink: Cape Town, South Africa – a world-renowned sea-and-sun tourist destination that’s home to Table Mountain and the African penguin – could be the world’s first major city to run out of freshwater.

Thaw at room temperature: After three months in a vacuum chamber with the temperature set near absolute zero, NASA’s $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope is one critical step closer to a spring 2019 launch.

Cathode crusader: Billionaire Kenan Sahin is leveraging considerable resources to advance the science of lithium-ion cathodes, power electric vehicles and help other battery-focused startups surge forward.



+ Outside Financial, a Virginia-based financial-technology platform designed to help consumers understand car buying and financing, raised $1.5 million in seed funding.

+ Elliot, a San Francisco-based global commerce platform, raised $3 million in funding led by Bowery Capital and Susa Ventures with participation from Acceleprise, Bam Ventures, Flexport and SV Angel.

+ Thinkful, a NYC-based edtech startup, raised $9.6 million in Series A funding led by Owl Ventures, with participation from Tribeca Venture Partners.

+ Ellevation, a Boston-based provider of digital tools designed specifically for professionals serving English language learners, received more than $10 million in Series B funding led by Reach Capital, with participation from Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Omidyar Network and other existing investors.

+ Alkami, a Texas-based developer of a white-label digital services for credit unions and banks, raised $70 million in Series D funding.

+ UpLift, a California-based company providing financing solutions exclusively for the travel industry, closed financings of $90 million.

+ Acorns, a California-based micro-investing app provider, received an investment from The Rise Fund.



Grab your spatula: Ready to cook every meal you eat for a month straight? Welcome back to #Cook90, Epicurious’ 30-day crash course in faster, smarter, healthier cooking.

Intense pursuits: NASCAR pioneer and Napa Valley winery owner Danica Patrick on why racing and winemaking are actually not so different.

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