No. 302: Inventor-palooza at SBU, drones in the Mohawk Valley and why Long Island’s Craft Beer Week will fill bellies with more than brew

Hoppy anniversary: The seventh-annual Long Island Craft Beer Week kicks off May 11.

You certainly May: Enough with the Marching like a lion and the April showers (and April snow, for the matter) – it’s May and time for the good stuff. The weather people say 80 degrees all over Long Island today. Rejoice.

It’s May 2, to be exact, and the midpoint of another exciting week in Long Island socioeconomic innovation. Welcome new newsletter subscribers Paul, Evan, Kerry, Krista, Rick and Paolo – you’re just in time to check out the video recap of last week’s super-enjoyable 2018 Innovator of the Year Awards, expertly produced by our pals at Quick-Cast and now enjoying semi-permanent residence on our front page.

Suggestive content: So … video interviews? Podcasts? Daily NYRA simulcasts from Aqueduct? What other content might make your Innovate Long Island experience complete? Come on, Paolo (and everyone else) – share your thoughts at, and some story tips and calendar suggestions, too.

Crime (sorta) and punishment (most extreme): Queen of England Anne Boleyn was arrested on this date 482 years ago today and locked in the Tower of London. The trumped-up charges included adultery (possibly), incest (false, say historians) and plotting to kill her husband, King Henry VIII (way false), with the requisite whispers of possible witchcraft.

The future martyr and heroine of the English Reformation was beheaded 17 days later.

Big flop big top: Destined to last only two years, the 10,000-seat Franconi’s Hippodrome – at once a callback to the ancient Roman Circus and a precursor to the future Madison Square Garden – opened May 2, 1853, in Midtown Manhattan.

Long gone: Judge and Stanton crank them in droves today, but it was Chicago White Stocking Ross Barnes who hit what would be recorded as Major League Baseball’s first home run on May 2, 1876.

Seventy-eight years later, on May 2, 1954, St. Louis Cardinal Stan “The Man” Musial would hit five HRs during a doubleheader split with the New York Giants.

Seal of approval: Still printing – yes, printing – some 4.3 million copies per month, Good Housekeeping magazine debuted 133 years ago today.

Tune in: The Federal Communications Commission issued its first 10 broadcast television commercial licenses on May 2, 1941, requiring the 10 licensees to broadcast a minimum of 15 hours per week. Early commercial sponsors included Bulova Watch Co., Sun Oil Co. and Procter & Gamble.

Creative crop: Turns out May 2 is a hot date for lesser-known inventors. Elijah McCoy (1844-1929), a Canadian-American inventor of African descent and holder of 57 U.S. patents who first thought to lubricate steam engines; Abraham Gesner (1797-1864), the Canadian geologist who invented kerosene; and Athanasius Kircher (1601-1681), a German Jesuit priest who may or may not have invented the magic lantern, all share the birthday.

So do Russian Empress Catherine the Great (1729-1796, and she was actually German), famed American pediatrician Benjamin Spock (1903-1998) and legendary English footballer David Beckham (bending it since 1975).

Rock on: And take a bow, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – you’re 46 today.

Climate control: Before we dive into the week in Long Island innovation, a tip of the metaphorical cap to the Independent Advisory Committee on Applied Climate Assessment, which is meeting this week in New York City.

After President Trump disbanded the Federal Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment in 2017, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reconvened the panel – which includes leading scientists and other experts determining the best recommendations to mitigate the effects of climate change – in his 2018 State of the State Address.

The 19-member Independent Advisory Committee is meeting Monday through Wednesday this week to develop strategies for states and cities in the National Climate Assessment, a federal government interagency effort on climate-change science that is (still) mandated by the Global Change Research Act of 1990.


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Droning on: Promising the “most advanced drone-testing corridor in the nation,” Gov. Cuomo’s office on Tuesday announced new key partnerships to help pilot an unprecedented unmanned aircraft system “traffic management corridor” in Central New York.

The state-supported Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance, a Syracuse-based consortium researching and deploying safe UAS technologies, will work with intelligent-drone-detection specialist Gryphon Sensors and defense/cybersecurity/civil government specialist Raytheon “to complete the [unmanned traffic management] corridor,” according to the governor’s office.

The airspace, which will span some 50 miles between Central New York and the Mohawk Valley, will be prime real estate for UAS planning, design and implementation – making it a hotbed of drone R&D, according to retired U.S. Air Force Major General and NUAIR Alliance CEO Marke “Hoot” Gibson. “With all our state economic and technical support, I think we are well-positioned to accelerate the UAS industry and further establish this region as a national leader,” Gibson said Tuesday.

First things first: It’s not quite sure yet what it’s going to do with the space, but New Hyde Park-based Northwell Health has completed the purchase of a new 103,000-square-foot office building.

The building (and its 20-acre property) previously served as the headquarters of Astoria Bank. It’s located on Marcus Avenue, immediately north of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center’s 48-acre campus on the Nassau/Queens border, and although it has “yet to formalize” its plans for the building, according to the health system, Northwell Health has long eyed that particular property.

“This acquisition enables us to further expand our footprint and enhances our ability to meet the health and wellness needs of residents in both Nassau County and Queens,” Northwell Health President and CEO Michael Dowling noted.



Invention convention: There’s some stellar creativity on display among the 15 new inductees into the Stony Brook University Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors.

A toast: Correspondent Jim McCune raises a glass to the seventh-annual Long Island Craft Beer Week, a powerful combination of craft-brewing bravado and “drink-it-forward” altruism.

Female persuasion: Two women leading Long Island’s innovation charge – Adelphi University President Christine Riordan and SBU Distinguished Professor Esther Sans Takeuchi – earned top accolades this week.

They LICA like that: High-profile, high-tech pursuits will set the tone in June, when the Long Island Capital Alliance hosts its next entrepreneurs-meet-investors Capital Forum.



Chips off the old block: From Newsday, a new nitrogen-reducing septic system designed in part by Stony Brook University researchers gets a tryout in Shirley.

Forward, Marsh: The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research recently hosted Oxford University Professor (and rheumatoid arthritis expert) Sir Marc Feldmann for the latest in its renowned Marsh Lectures series.

Capital H: According to Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report, companies whose C-suite execs regularly collaborate are one-third more likely to grow than those whose leadership goes it alone.

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+ Shapeways, a New York City-based provider of 3d printing services, raised $30 million in Series E funding led by Lux Capital, with participation from Union Square Ventures, INKEF Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.

+ Guestfriend, a NYC-based intelligent automated messaging platform, raised $5 million in seed funding. Backers included Primary Venture Partners, Techstars Ventures and betaworks.

+ Culture Trip, a New York- and London-based startup providing cultural and travel inspiration to users looking to explore the world, raised $80 million in series B funding led by PPF Group.

+ BuildingConnected, a San Francisco-based provider of software for real estate owners and general contractors, raised $15 million in funding. Backers included Brookfield Ventures, Brookfield Asset Management’s new venture fund.

+ Kidbox, a NYC-based personalized kids retailer, secured $15.3 million in Series B funding led by Canvas Ventures, with participation from existing investors Firstime Ventures and HDS Capital and new strategic partners Fred Langhammer, former CEO of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., and the Gindi Family, owners of Century 21 department stores.

+ Extend, a NYC-based mobile platform designed for business cardholders to share access to credit card via virtual cards with employees and freelancers, completed a $3 million seed round led by Point72 Ventures with participation from Plug and Play, Reciprocal Ventures and WorldQuant Ventures.

+ Rallybio, a Massachusetts-based biotechnology company established to identify and accelerate the development of transformative breakthrough therapies for patients with severe and rare disorders, secured $37 million in Series A funding led by 5AM Ventures, Canaan Partners and New Leaf Venture Partners, with additional public-sector participation from Connecticut Innovations.



Playing the venture card: Welcome to Venture University, a sort of alternative trade school for the VC set.

Midas touch: Why Egypt’s second-richest man has sunk half his net worth into gold.

Yes, there’s a new “Star Wars” movie: Fast Company gets busy with 78 Things to See, Hear and Read this month.

Might we say: There’s really no such thing as “free news,” so please continue supporting the great firms that support Innovate LI – like Sahn Ward Coschignano, where the Environment, Energy and Resources Practice Group is quite awesome.