No. 281: Love, exciting and new; Faltischek, cautious but hopeful; and the most popular winter sport you’ve never heard of

It's a gas, gas, gas: Held annually at the Mount Snow ski resort in Vermont, the Jack Jump World Championships mark their 37th year in March.

It floats back to you: It’s the Love Boat, dear readers, or at least your beloved Innovate LI Newsletter, making another run on this Feb. 14, 2018.

It’s Valentine’s Day, of course, the international day of romance – at least, nowadays. Origin stories vary, but many trace the Catholic Church’s St. Valentine celebrations to a pair of executions at the hand of ancient Roman Emperor Claudius II, who whacked two men (both named “Valentine”) on consecutive February 14s, somewhere in the third century AD.

Gotta have heart: If that doesn’t lightly turn your fancy to thoughts of love, snuggle up to some of these numbers from our friends at Fundivo.

Some $19.7 billion was spent by U.S. consumers on Valentine’s Day in 2016 (they’re apparently still counting 2017), including $4.5 billion on jewelry and $4.4 billion on Valentine’s Day date night. Flowers ran a distant third at $1.98 billion and candy ran out of the money, so to speak, at $1.76 billion, according to the stat-aggregator.

Exactly 50 percent of Americans plan to celebrate the day, Fundivo says, with the most gift-giving occurring between lovers ages 25 to 34.

Days of wine and roses and bloody massacres and secrets: Al Capone ordered his name into the Valentine’s Day history books in Chicago in 1929; Richard Nixon more sort of slipped in, installing a secret taping system in the White House on this date in 1971.

Also on Feb. 14: Oregon (1859) and Arizona (1912) became states, entrepreneur Thomas Watson renamed his little tabulating-recording startup International Business Machines (1924) and the original celluloid “Dracula,” starring Bela Lugosi as the infamous count, debuted (1931).

Happy birthday: Abolitionist Frederick Douglass (1818-1895, still dead), typewriter inventor Christopher Latham Sholes (1819-1890), labor leader Jimmy Hoffa (1913-????), voice of the New York Yankees Mel Allen (1913-1996), original Bond girl Lois “Miss Moneypenny” Maxwell (1927-2007), America’s mom Florence Henderson (1934-2016) and investigative reporter Carl Bernstein (1944), all Valentine’s Day babies.

Also: Margaret Knight (1838-1914), dubbed the “female Thomas Edison,” inventor of the flat-bottomed paper bag, among other useful things.

Who’d we miss? Standing by at Story tips, calendar items also appreciated.

See you Sunday: Tribute to a Friend, our memorial gathering for Innovate LI Publisher John Kominicki, begins 4 p.m. Sunday with cocktails and conversation at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, followed by a service at 5 p.m. Hope to see you there.



Going places: New Hyde Park-based Northwell Health continues to stretch its legs. On Tuesday, just days after announcing a fresh foray onto Connecticut soil, the health system announced the debut of a targeted cancer-treatment option called proton beam therapy, part of a new clinical affiliation with New Jersey-based ProCure Proton Therapy Center.

Radiation oncologists from the Northwell Health Cancer Institute now have access to what the health system termed an “important cancer-fighting tool” designed to help patients and providers determine the most appropriate treatment options.

Anuj Goenka, Northwell Health’s director of proton services, and Northwell doctor Rajiv Sharma, a specialist in pediatric radiation oncology, will coordinate the care of Northwell patients at ProCure NJ’s Somerset facility, the health system said.

Corporate citizens: Speaking of Northwell Health, congratulations to New York’s largest healthcare provider (by number of patients and providers) and largest private employer (63,000 jobs and counting) on being one of the 2018 World’s Most Ethical Companies, as ranked by the Ethisphere Institute, an Arizona-based business-practices watchdog.

Honored for the fourth consecutive year, Northwell Health joins 134 other ethical enterprises – including Melville’s Canon USA, an Ethisphere most-ethical debutante – spanning 57 industries across 23 countries.


A few words from our sponsor: Whether it’s helping in site selection, cutting through red tape or finding innovative ways to meet specific needs, businesses that settle in the Town of Islip soon learn that we take a proactive approach to seeing them succeed. If your business wants to locate or expand in a stable community with great quality of life, then it’s time you took a closer look at Islip.



Master class: Long Island Angel Network Chairman Michael Faltischek, Innovate LI’s 2018 Master of Innovation, explains why a strong investment economy is bad for startups – and why this region still faces the fight of its socioeconomic life.

Happy landing: Known to pilot his twin-engine research plane straight into the heart of climate-change science, renowned chemistry professor Paul Shepson has been tapped to head up Stony Brook’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.

Tinkerers tailored: The Long Island Capital Alliance is going high-tech for its first inventors-meet-investors networker of 2018, a March Tech Capital Forum featuring familiar faces and next-level machinations.

Everyone’s an economist: A national competition designed to teach collegians about federal spending, the national debt and other economic issues that could affect their life decisions has come to two Long Island campuses.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 101: Confused by the TCJA? You’re not alone. Bohemia-based accounting ace Cerini & Associates has launched a new blog designed to separate fact from fiction on the new tax law.



That’s how you do it: Plainview-based Veeco Instruments has reached an undisclosed but “mutually agreed settlement” that ends a court fight over alleged patent infringements – a deal hailed by insiders as a textbook example of how to resolve an intellectual property dispute. Newsday has the skinny.

Just a heartbeat away: Coming soon – working, beating, 3D-printed artificial hearts, grown from a patient’s own cells and promising better results than human-to-human transplants. Fast Company glimpses the future.

Bug life: To attract more beneficial insects (in hopes that they’ll feed on the less-useful ones), farmers are planting flowers in the middle of their crops – like a low-tech pesticide that looks nice, too.

Cold front: Four cutting-edge energy companies have been selected to participate in Launch Alaska, an intensive business-incubation program that delivers mentorship, business training and $75,000 in working capital in exchange for business equity.



+ Nooklyn, a Brooklyn-based real estate tech startup, closed an $825,000 seed funding round led by Patoma, a firm specializing in Brooklyn multi-family development and early-stage tech investments.

+ nOCD, a Chicago-based provider of a mental health app for obsessive-compulsive disorder, raised $1 million in funding.

+ Infocyte, a Texas-based cyber-threat detection company, closed a $5.2 million Series B funding round led by Toba Capital, with participation from existing investors LiveOak Venture Partners and Feik Enterprises.

+, a Virginia-based caregiver platform for consumers and healthcare providers, closed an $11 million funding round led by 3TS Capital Partners, Blue Heron Capital, Maryland Venture Fund and Private Access Network.

+ Jobcase, a Boston-based social platform focused on work and jobs, closed its Series A-1 funding round with an additional $11.5 million, led by Providence Equity Partners.

+ Outdoorsy, a San Francisco-based outdoor recreation marketplace for road trips and recreational vehicle adventures, raised $25 million in Series B funding.

+ Everipedia, a Los Angeles-based publicly edited, free-content encyclopedia, raised $30 million in Series A funding led by Galaxy Digital’s EOS.IO Ecosystem Fund.

+ Stash, a New York City-based financial platform designed to help customers invest and save, raised $37.5 million in Series D funding led by Union Square Ventures, Breyer Capital, Coatue Management, Entree Capital, Goodwater Capital and Valar Ventures.

+ DiaCarta, a California-based precision molecular diagnostics company, completed a $45 million Series B funding round, led by Fortune Fountain Capital and Good Health Capital.



Walk on by: Whether you’re shopping, seeing the sights or just wandering on the beach, comfortable footwear is a must.

Weather channeling: This mood-enhancing smart terrarium can simulate rainstorms, sunrises and sunsets on demand.

Mind over muscle: Why Olympic cross-country skiers speed up at the end, and other secrets of human endurance revealed.

Maybe Beijing 2022? You won’t see “jack jumping” in Pyeongchang, but the DIY winter sport is all the rage in the Green Mountain State.

Gentle reminder: There’s really no such thing as “free” news. Please support the great causes that support us, including the Town of Islip’s economic-development efforts.