No. 306: On root beer, cleantech, impressive Adelphi grads and The Spur’s summer of love

You know my name: One-time 007 Pierce Brosnan turns 65 today.

Welcome to Wednesday: And a very happy May 16 to you, dear readerstogether, we’ve reached the midpoint of another busy week in Long Island innovation.

By the way, it’s officially the 2018 Navigation Season along the 524-mile New York State Canal System, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo firing the starter’s pistol on Tuesday, or waving the green flag, or opening the gates, or whatever you do at the start of boating season.

Popular misconception: He’d be born just seven months and 10 days later (on Christmas Day), but by his own calculations, Johannes Kepler – best known for developing the laws of planetary motion – was conceived at precisely 4:37 a.m. on May 16, 1751, by parents who were either major insomniacs or seriously early risers.

Previously on May 16: The world’s first electric tram (1881, in Berlin), the Hormel Food Corp. (1891, in Minnesota, as Geo. A. Hormel & Co.) and the U.S. Bureau of Mines (1910, abolished in 1996) all debuted on this day.

And in one of the great moments of American innovation, root beer – known first as “root tea” – was invented on May 16, 1866, by Philadelphia pharmacist Charles Elmer Hires.

If I had a nickel…: On that very same day, the U.S. Congress officially authorized the creation of a nickel-forged five-cent piece, replacing the silver “half-disme” (pronounced “half-dime”), the first coin produced by the federal government.

No words to describe it: Difficult as it is to imagine a U.S. president aggressively limiting America’s cherished freedom of speech, the U.S. Congress – at the urging of President Woodrow Wilson – passed the Sedition Act of 1918 on this date, 100 years ago today.

The law, which made criticism of the government a crime punishable by imprisonment, was designed to limit antiwar rhetoric. It was repealed after the end of World War I.

At the Copa: Turning to sports, it was 61 years ago tonight – May 16, 1957 – when an infamous birthday brawl at the Copacabana nightclub involving Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Sammy Davis Jr. (yes) and a team of drunken bowlers forever altered the destiny of the Bronx Bombers.

And Long Island’s once-and-future major-league sports franchise, the NHL’s New York Islanders, completed a four-game sweep of the Vancouver Canucks on this date in 1982 to win the third of their four consecutive Stanley Cup trophies.

All wet: Finally, it must be noted, dear friends – this May 16 marks the 32nd anniversary of one of the great storytelling faux pas of all time, when Bobby Ewing was miraculously resurrected in the shower on the nighttime soap “Dallas.” (Seriously … a dream? Not an evil twin, an android replicant or even a fake-death scam? Come on.)

Political giant: Bobby had his rebirth, but William Seward – one-time New York governor and U.S. senator and a heralded Secretary of State under President Lincoln – had his first and only birth on May 16, 1801 (died 1872).

Happy birthday also to Janet Jackson (born 1966), Liberace (1919-1987), Henry Fonda (1905-1982) and David Edward Hughes (1831-1900), the British-American inventor credited with the electric microphone.

Shaken, not stirred: And many more, Mr. Bond – one-time 007 Pierce Brosnan turns 65 today.

So, Brosnan? Connery? Daniel Craig has done a worthy job, but what about Roger Moore or poor George Lazenby? Give us your Bond pick at, along with any story tips, calendar suggestions or secret codes you’d like to share.


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Clean up: Albany is accepting applications from organizations interested in operating a new statewide cleantech business accelerator, to be sparked by up to $10 million in available seed funding.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority said Tuesday the state is seeking proposals for the operation of a cleantech accelerator that can help bring “cutting-edge, innovative technologies” to the marketplace, in line with Gov. Cuomo’s goals of fast-tracking clean-energy concepts and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The accelerator would “make early-stage investments and provide supporting services for developing and validating promising clean-energy technologies that could become the platform for startup companies,” according to NYSERDA, and ostensibly could be located anywhere in the state. Applications are due by July 26; more information here.


LIMBA on rails: Long Island Metro Business Action, the longtime networker of regional business and political leaders, is looking to give Long Island stakeholders a closeup view of the East Side Access project.

With the help of Long Island Builders Institute CEO Mitchell Pally, who also sits on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors, the 50-year-old economic-development catalyst is planning a field trip to tour construction of the East Side Access public works project, a $12 billion, largely subterranean effort to tunnel new Long Island Rail Road routes into the Big Apple.

No date has been set – LIMBA, Pally et al are waiting to see what works best for the most people – but the tour will be open to LIMBA members and non-members and space will be limited. Email to get on the list; more information about LIMBA membership awaits on the organization’s homepage.



Jangling The Spur: Southampton’s co-working and entrepreneur’s club is on the move, as Spur @ The Station opens its summer home – and bellies up for a big season.

Drinking it up: A remote well sensor designed in part by Hauppauge innovator Intelligent Product Solutions is helping clean water flow into the world’s most remote places.

Transformers, more than meets the eye: In its new Lives Transformed video series, Adelphi University shares the compelling backstories of several members of its impressive Class of 2018.

And share alike: Like this newsletter? So do we. Help us keep it going by forwarding it to as many innovative thinkers as you can – and please encourage your team to subscribe for free.



Tanks a lot: A “Shark Tank”-like competition hosted by Northwell Health has awarded a total of $1 million to two teams of researchers pitching potential healthcare breakthroughs.

Housing plan: Analyzing seven different affordable-housing projects, an ambitious project by New York City’s Public Design Commission is giving a voice to everyone interested in building better communities.

By the people: From Forbes, how crowdsourcing has emerged as the newest driver of healthcare innovation.



+ VidMob, the New York City-based provider of a video-creation platform, raised an additional $6.4 million extension to its previously announced $7.5 million Series A round. Backers included existing investors Manifest Growth, Interlock Partners, Acadia Woods and Macanta Investments, and new investor You & Mr. Jones.

+ Rubicon Global, an Atlanta-based, cloud-based waste and recycling technology company, raised $65 million in funding. The NZ Super Fund made the investment.

+ Female Founders Fund, a NYC-based seed-stage venture capital firm that invests in female-founded companies, closed its second fund at $27 million. Early investments in Fund II include Thrive Global, Winky Lux and Billie.

+ Axiom Exergy, a California-based provider of energy storage solutions to grocery stores and cold storage facilities, raised $7.6 million in Series A funding co-led by GXP Investments and Shell Ventures, with participation from WorldQuant Ventures, SV Tech Ventures and Meson Capital.

+ Fairygodboss, a NYC-based career community for women, raised $3 million in venture capital funding led by GSV Acceleration.

+ LyGenesis Inc., a Pennsylvania-based biotechnology company developing innovative technology for organ regeneration, raised $3 million in Series A financing. Juvenescence Ltd., made the investment.

+ Yobe Inc., a Boston-based provider of artificial intelligence-powered signal processing solutions, secured $1.8 million in seed funding. Clique Capital Partners, a $100 million fund for investing in transformative voice technologies, provided the funds.



Tales from the crypto: It’s “Blockchain Week” in the Big Apple, bringing cryptocurrency to the masses.  

Better rethink that: From Co.Design, why everything you thought you knew about innovation is wrong.

All the world’s a stage: The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development has issued its 2018 Technology and Innovation Report (spoiler alert: digital platforms and other tech advances are changing everything).

The search continues: Still no sign of “free news,” but we’re still looking. Meanwhile, please continue to support the amazing institutions that support Innovate LI – like NYIT, where Nada Anid is just one of the awesome deans.