No. 297: On laboratory funding, adaptive reuses, ‘living’ foods and the Attack of the NASA Space Bees

Right up your alley: Bowlero Corp. is sponsoring a national contest seeking new designs for the iconic bowling shoe.

It’s April 11 out there: And it’s hump day, dear readers, the midpoint of another busy week for the Long Island innovation economy.

Put a little spring in your step with this rundown of the Best Songs About Wednesday, as compiled by the list-makers over at

Frozen in time: After departing Southampton, England, a day earlier and making stops in Cherbourg, France, and Queenstown, Ireland, the HMS Titanic steamed into the open Atlantic on April 11, 1912, bound for New York on its maiden voyage.

A face for radio: The first radio broadcast of a sporting event took place on April 11, 1921, when Pittsburgh radio station KDKA broadcasted a 10-round draw between junior lightweights Johnny Dundee and Johnny Ray at the Steel City’s Motor Square Garden.

Fade in: Before there was Trump vs. Every General in his Cabinet there was Truman vs. MacArthur, and President Truman won – relieving the flamboyant and popular Gen. Douglas MacArthur of command of U.S. forces in Korea on this date in 1951.

The famous firing would lead to MacArthur’s cornerstone “old soldiers never die, they just fade away” speech, delivered before Congress eight days later.

Ya hadda believe: Off to a much better start this year, the laughable-yet-lovable New York Mets made their regular-season debut April 11, 1962, dropping an 11-4 squeaker to the Cardinals.

Believe they did: And it was this date in 1968 – amidst national riots following the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination, also known as the Holy Week Uprising – when President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1968, requiring equal housing opportunities regardless of race, creed or national origin.

He believed, too: Percy Lavon Julian – a chemical-synthesis pioneer, holder of 130 patents and arguably the most famous African American chemist in U.S. history – was born this date in 1899 (died 1975).

Happy birthday also to former New York Gov. Hugh Carey (1919-2011), human rights champion Ethel Skakel Kennedy (born 1925), actor Johnny Sheffield (“Boy” to Johnny Weissmuller’s “Tarzan,” 1931-2010) and WWE grappler Goldust (aka Dustin Runnels, born 1969).

See you there: Before we tee up the week in socioeconomic innovation, a reminder that our 2018 Innovator of the Year Awards are coming to the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.

Join us on April 24 as we honor the memory of founder and publisher John Kominicki – who launched Innovate LI to champion Long Island’s inventors, researchers and entrepreneurs – and 2018 Master of Innovation Michael Faltischek, along with dozens of other top Long Island thinkers. Awardee and event information awaits here, while registration and sponsorship information is also a click away.

Running start: It’s never too early to start thinking about our 2019 top-innovator awards, so make sure your favorite inventor or entrepreneur is on our radar with a note to Story tips and calendar suggestions also gratefully accepted.


A few words from our sponsor: Northwell Health is NY’s largest healthcare provider and private employer, with 22 hospitals, over 550 outpatient facilities and 62,000+ employees. We’re making research breakthroughs at the Feinstein Institute, and training the next generation of medical professionals at the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and the School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. Visit



Lab-rat race: Attention, medical schools, private laboratories and other bastions of “scientific talent” – Empire State Development is now accepting applications for a $15 million capital-funding program designed to lift your labs.

That’s the primary mission of the New York Fund for Innovation in Research and Scientific Talent, which goes by the stage name NY FIRST and intends to help statewide medical schools, private laboratories and other scientific institutions up their translational-research game by juicing their laboratory spaces – specifically, as a lure for major-league researchers.

Noting a master plan to turn New York into a global life-sciences hub, Empire State Development Corp. President and CEO Howard Zemsky said Tuesday “it’s vital that we continue to attract world-class talent to lead the way,” adding, “NY FIRST will help ensure that New York’s medical institutions remain state-of-the-art, competitive spaces where topnotch researchers can do this groundbreaking work.”

The program will make maximum grants of $1 million to eligible institutions, with grantees required to provide $2 in matching funds for every $1 of NY FIRST program assistance. This round of applications is due June 16 and more information is available here.

Hagedorn generosity: The Horace and Amy Hagedorn Fund has made an $8 million gift to Northwell Health to establish a home-health program for moms and newborns and support a variety of students at the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies.

The generous stipend – among the largest single donations ever gifted by The Horace and Amy Hagedorn Fund – will support Northwell Health Visits, a pilot home-visitation program for new mothers and their infants designed to assess situations after they leave the hospital, and to connect families in need with supportive community resources to improve their health and wellness.

The gift will also support the Family Nurse Practitioner program at the Hofstra Northwell graduate nursing school, and bolster the school’s Hagedorn Scholars effort.

“The Hagedorns’ gift to create and support these programs will have a tremendous impact on the communities we serve,” Northwell Health President and CEO Michael Dowling said Tuesday. “Amy Hagedorn was among our most distinguished philanthropic leaders, and we are grateful to her and her family for their generosity.”



The art of ‘adaptive reuse’: The repurposing of outmoded structures for modern needs is working to great effect in Brooklyn and Queens – and could be Long Island’s best redevelopment hope.

The science of entrepreneurship: After 20 years of world-class laboratory research at Brookhaven National Laboratory, superconductivity specialist Slowa Solovyov had a thing or two to learn about business.

NAEC approved: Five Northwell Health treatment centers specializing in the brain disorder epilepsy have been reaccredited by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, including three on Long Island.

Sprout’s honor: Innovate LI correspondent Amy Onorato traces the roots of a fresh-as-it-gets Huntington Station startup turning urban-farming ambitions into a “living foods” force.



The data is in: Fortune reveals the fastest growing job in America, how much it pays and why automation doesn’t scare it.

5G whiz: With research likely to spill into neighboring regions, the National Science Foundation has announced funding for advanced-wireless research platforms in Utah and NYC.

Mind over matter: Creators are not necessarily born that way, according to Entrepreneur magazine, which suggests mental techniques can foster innovative thinking.



+ Chairman Mom, a San Francisco-based platform that lets working mothers share experiences managing their lives and careers, raised $1.4 million in seed funding led by Ann Miura-Ko from Floodgate Ventures and Tim Connors from PivotNorth Capital, with participation from Reid Hoffman from Greylock Discovery and Charles Hudson from Precursor Ventures as well as angel investors Amy Errett, Susan Choe, Susan Wu, Allison Bhusri, Sonja Perkins and Sarah Imbach.

+ Chainalysis, a New York City-based provider of compliance software to enable financial institutions and exchanges to monitor cryptocurrency transactions, raised $16 million in Series A funding. Benchmark made the investment.

+ BetterCloud, a NYC-based SaaS operations-management platform, closed a $60 million Series E financing round led by new investor Bain Capital Ventures.

+ Nantero Inc., a Massachusetts-based nanotechnology company developing next-generation digital memory capacity using carbon nanotubes, raised $29.7 million in funding. Investors include Dell Technologies Capital, Cisco Investments, Kingston Technology Corporation, CFT Capital and Schlumberger.

+ Instacart, a San Francisco-based on-demand grocery delivery service, closed a $350 million Series E financing round led by Coatue Management, with participation from Glade Brook Capital and existing investors.

+, a NYC-based machine learning platform, raised $2.3 million in seed funding led by Trilogy Equity Partners with participation from Two Sigma Ventures, Founders Co-Op, Fathom Capital and Techstars Ventures.

+ BayoTech Inc., a New Mexico-based developer of advanced chemical reactors for the distributed production of hydrogen and fertilizers, closed a $12.5 million Series B financing round. Backers included Series A investors Cottonwood Technology Fund and Sun Mountain Capital and an unnamed player in the global fertilizer marketplace.

+ The Credit Junction, a NYC-based, data-driven, asset-based lender for small and midsized businesses, secured a $150 million credit facility from MidCap Financial.

+ WorkFusion, a NYC-based robotic-process automation software company, raised $50 million in Series E funding led by Hawk Equity and Declaration Partners with participation from previous investors Georgian Partners, iNovia Capital and NGP Capital.

+ Sotera Medical Corp., an Ohio-based medtech company developing a novel device for use in cardiac procedures to treat atrial fibrillation, closed initial seed funding in excess of $1 million. Backers included JumpStart, North Coast Angel Fund, Northwest Ohio Tech Fund II (managed by ProMedica Innovations), private investors, and the State of Ohio.



The buzz at NASA: The space agency’s newest idea for exploring Mars – at once weird, terrifying and amazing – swarms the Martian surface with flying “marsbees.”

If the shoe fits: Bowlero Corp. has launched a national contest challenging participants to redesign the iconic bowling shoe, with winners stepping into lanes across the land.

The search continues: Still no sign of “free news,” so we’d be much obliged if you’d continue supporting the amazing institutions that support Innovate LI, including Northwell Health.