No. 362: Sound investments, manufacturing machinations and lots to ThINC about for LI scientists

Ground up: Since 2002, World Soil Day has focused attention on the importance of healthy soil and advocated for the sustainable management of soil resources.


Welcome to Wednesday: You’re halfway home, dear reader, as we plow through another busy week of socioeconomic innovation on Long Island and around the world.

It’s Dec. 5 out there, 20 days until Santa does his thing and 252 years since the very first Christie’s auction (auction house founder James Christie held his first sale in London on this date in 1766).

He was Santa before Santa was cool: Speaking of Jolly Old St. Nick, today is also St. Nicholas Eve, which precedes St. Nicholas Day, a Christian feast day celebrating early bishop Nicholas of Myra, a noted bringer of gifts.

Dirty work: Inviting all to “be the solution to soil pollution,” it’s also World Soil Day.

To be franc: The former currency of France, which would rule the realm until it was replaced by the euro in 2002, was first struck as a gold coin on Dec. 5, 1360.

An idea with legs: Boston inventor Aaron Allen patented the folding theater seat on this date in 1854.

Other patents issued on Dec. 5 include one for inventor Daniel Stillson’s practical pipe wrench (1876) and one for inventor Stanley Sarnoff’s unique method for motivating respiration through electrical stimulation (1950).

Cell block: And on this date in 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decreed that “whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent” – opening the floodgates for potential stem-cell patents.

Birthday suits: Happy anniversary to the American League for Physical Culture, America’s first nudist organization, which officially took off (took it all off) on Dec. 5, 1929.

It’s his world: Speaking of birthdays, Walter Elias Disney, the famed animator and namesake of the ubiquitous Walt Disney Co., would be 117 years old today.

Also born on Dec. 5 were eighth U.S. President Martin Van Buren (1782-1862), ill-fated U.S. cavalry commander George Armstrong Custer (1839-1876), aviator and Cessna Aircraft Corp. founder Claude Cessna (1879-1954) and Elbert Frank Cox (1895-1969), the first African American to earn a PhD in mathematics.

Poppe sensation: And take a bow, Maddie Poppe – the singing, songwriting, ukulele-playing winner of “American Idol” Season 16 turns 21 today.

Wish them all well at, and while you’re at it, drop off a story tip or calendar suggestion. Y? Because we like you.


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Flowing funds: Nearly $2.6 million, chopped into 36 federal grants, will address water quality, marine-habitat and ecosystem-development issues throughout the Long Island Sound.

The grants – which cover projects in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, all in the Long Island Sound watershed – include some $586,000 for “projects that directly benefit New York,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, including $75,000 for water-quality monitoring in Hempstead Harbor, $67,542 for Group for the East End’s habitat-restoration effort at Riverhead’s Hallock State Park Preserve and $45,000 for Citizen Campaign for the Environment’s anti-plastic pollution campaign.

The funding was announced Tuesday at an EPA presentation in Port Jefferson. Regional EPA Director Pete Lopez said the grants “give New Yorkers the opportunity to support pollution prevention, stormwater control, wetland and habitat restoration, water monitoring and public education as effective ways to enhance long-term stewardship of Long Island Sound.”

We now pronounce you…: South Nassau Communities Hospital and the Mount Sinai Health System have “finalized” a partnership first announced nearly a year ago.

The New York City-based health system has finally introduced the Oceanside hospital as its flagship Long Island facility, although the long-negotiated assimilation of South Nassau into the Mount Sinai fold first went public in January. The “comprehensive agreement” sealing the deal “has been given enthusiastic support of the boards of directors,” according to a Mount Sinai statement issued Tuesday, when the health system hosted a ceremonial document signing at its new South Shore facility.

Mount Sinai Health System President and CEO Kenneth Davis said the health system will “complement our existing network of talented clinicians and facilities in order to better serve the community” through the merger, while South Nassau President and CEO Richard Murphy trumpeted an alliance that gives patients “access to some of the top physicians and most advanced treatments available” while helping the hospital “reach the next level in our role as a growing regional medical center.”



ThINC about it: No other Long Island lab does what SBU’s Thermonuclear & Imaging Nanoscale Characterization Laboratory can do – and scientists of every stripe have noticed.

Get on the bus: The Town of Hempstead IDA is helping Nassau County’s leading provider of school bus services build a new headquarters and training facility.

Combustion junction: What’s your function? Why one radical professor says the internal combustion engine’s fires still burn brightly, even in an electric-vehicle world.

(If you suddenly have an oddly familiar tune rattling in your head, here you go.)



Manufacturing a difference: Newsday reports on the Long Island Manufacturing Task Force, which wants a training hub for Island factories.

Took you long enough: Fast Co. reports on a very slow Harvard University study that, 75 years later, may reveal the one secret of fulfillment.

Fostering the intrapreneur: The Stanford Social Innovation Review reports on the best methods for promoting social innovation from within.



+ Tock Inc., an Illinois-based global reservations platform for restaurants, wineries and pop-ups, closed a $9.5 million funding round led by Valor Equity Partners and Origin Ventures, with participation from chef Thomas Keller and Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises.

+ Revive Solutions, a California-based automated external defibrillator developer, completed a $3.4 million seed financing led by Greenbox Venture Partners, with participation from new investors Rock Health, HealthTech Capital and Hippocrates VC.

+ Rheostat Therapeutics, a Massachusetts-based biotech focused on the discovery of novel treatments for rare diseases, closed a $23 million Series A financing round co-led by MRLV and AbbVie Ventures, with participation from Amgen Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments and Mayo Clinic, SV Health Investors and the Dementia Discovery Fund.

+ Karius, a California-based life-science company focused on infectious disease diagnostics with genomics, received a $25 million senior secured facility. Oxford Finance provided the financing.

+ Venafi, a Utah-based cybersecurity company focused on cryptographic keys and digital-certificate security, closed a $100 million financing led by TCV, with participation from existing investors QuestMark Partners and NextEquity Partners.

+ Clyde, a New York City-based insurtech startup, raised $3 million in funding led by Red Sea Ventures, with participation from RRE Ventures, Expa, Starting Line and Rainfall Ventures.



Book smarts: Neuroscience reveals what deep reading does to your brain.

Book smarter: The five tomes on Bill Gates’ 2018 gift list.

Book smartest: From brand-building to crisis preparation, the year’s best business books.

Put it in the books: That’s a wrap, dear reader. Please remember to support the great firms that support Innovate LI – including including Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, where dozens of practice areas have your business bases covered.