No. 381: The Spur evolves, MIDI steps up, Applied DNA in the weeds – and Amazon, we hardly knew ye

In the limelight: Opened on Feb. 15, 1926, as The Mansfield and renamed after a former New York Times theater critic in 1960, The Brooks Atkinson Theatre played host to popular panel shows "What's My Line?" and "I've Got a Secret."


Well done: It’s Friday, friends, and you’ve done it again – the end of the workweek is upon us and another welcomed weekend dawns.

It’s Feb. 15 out there, and it’s a busy one – Liberation Day in Afghanistan, National Flag Day in Canada, Statehood Day in Serbia, Total Defence Day in Singapore and, here in the States, Susan B. Anthony Day, celebrating the life and times of our national matriarch of women’s suffrage (more on that below).

Meet me in St. Louis: Happy anniversary St. Louis – Missouri’s “Gateway to the West” was founded on this date in 1764 by French fur traders.

Remember the Maine: And recall that the U.S. battleship was sunk in Cuba’s Havana Harbor (with 258 lives lost) on Feb. 15, 1898, a major international incident.

On with the shows: Still going strong 93 years later, the Brooks Atkinson Theatre – a major Broadway venue on New York City’s West 47th Street – opened on this date in 1926.

The story of us: And the first draft of the entire human genome – the complete nucleic-acid sequence for Homo sapiens, encoded as DNA within the 23 chromosome pairs in cell nuclei – was published on Feb. 15, 2001, by the journal “Nature.”

Wonder woman: As previously mentioned, Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) – who liked bicycles, disliked booze, became a silver dollar and was nearly immortalized on Mount Rushmore – would be 199 years old today.

February 15 is also a red-letter date for big-time innovators: immortal astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), Virginia inventor Cyrus McCormick (1809-1884, created the mechanical harvester), Irish physicist George Stoney (1826-1911, coined the term “electron”), American manufacturer Robert Wood Johnson (1845-1910, first president of the Johnson & Johnson Corp.) and Connecticut inventor Albert Gilbert (1884-1961, patented the Erector Set) were all born on this day.

Homer’s odyssey: And take a bow, Matt Groening – the American cartoonist and creator of “The Simpsons,” the longest-running American scripted primetime television series in history, turns 65 today.

So, who has offered the better commentary on the American condition – Anthony or Groening? Vote at, and while you’re there, drop of a story tip or calendar suggestion, and help us make history


From our sponsor: Headquartered in New York for over 20 years, Webair delivers agile and reliable cloud and managed-infrastructure solutions leveraging its highly secure and enterprise-grade network of data centers in New York, Los Angeles, Montreal, Amsterdam and the Asia-Pacific. Its services can be delivered securely via direct network to customers’ existing infrastructure, enabling them to consume SLA-backed solutions with ease, efficiency and agility – as if they were on-premise. With an emphasis on reliability and high-touch customer service, Webair is a true technology partner to enterprises and SMBs including healthcare, financial, legal firms, IT, eCommerce, SaaS and VoIP providers.



Eastern migration: The Spur, a members-only business and social community offering transient professional space and expert-driven programming for East End innovators and entrepreneurs, is expanding.

The private “co-working and entrepreneur’s club” announced this week that it will soon open a second location, with East Hampton-based “Spur East” – offering “elegant” workspace for up to 50 people at a time, a conference room for 20 and even complimentary breakfast during the week – joining the “Spur at the Station,” the innovation community’s original Southampton home.

The expansion will accommodate an additional 100 members, according to Spur founder Ashley Heather, who said the Spur at the Station quickly maxed out space designed for 150 members – and suggested more expansions may be on the way. “We have seen a steady growth in our membership base from both year-round entrepreneurs based on the East End … [and] New York City-based residents [who] spend time in the Hamptons,” Heather noted. “We quickly determined that our next business priority should be to accommodate that market demand before we expand in other areas.”



Let’s put our hands together for this second batch of entrepreneurs, inventors and organizations slated to be honored at our fourth-annual Innovator of the Year Awards, coming March 26 to the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.

Joining our 2019 Master of Innovation – CEO Mitch Maiman of Hauppauge-based Intelligent Product Solutions – is an impressive collection of tinkerers and progressive thinkers, including:

  • Feinstein Institute for Medical Research Professor Renee Pekmezaris, who’s exploring home-telehealth options specifically for Spanish-speaking patients
  • Unispan, Hofstra University’s student-run record label and a big part of the university’s Center for Entrepreneurship, which achieved several firsts in 2018
  • Lisa Abbey, the entrepreneurial founder of eco-friendly, travel-size beauty-products specialist Flygirl Beauty Brands
  • Allied Microbiata, a client of Stony Brook University’s Clean Energy Business Incubation Program, which battles environmental contamination with unique microbes and enzymes
  • Valley Stream-based green thumbs Peyton and Melanie Marsh, proprietors of the City Leaf Farm, an indoor “vertical farming” enterprise

More info on our 2019 honorees (dozens in all!) coming in next week’s newsletters. And please plan to join us March 26 for our A-list breakfast networking event – sponsorship info, registration and everything else you need right here.



Lock step: In MIDI Medical Product Development, Oyster Bay inventor Rachel Dombrowsky found the perfect partner to upgrade her ultraviolet device for disinfecting footwear.

Dope deal: Stony Brook biotech Applied DNA Sciences and Canadian/Panamanian partner TheraCann International have engaged an exclusive legal-cannabis-tracking licensing agreement.

Hain in the neck: The first two quarters of the 2019 fiscal year have not gone smoothly, but Lake Success-based distributor Hain Celestial Group has a comeback plan.



Foodie-friendly loyalty app MunchMoney has a smart new B2B focus and “The Donna Drake Show” has a fancy new home.



Innovate LI’s inbox overrunneth with inspirational ideas from all North American corners. This week’s brightest out-of-town innovations:

From Texas: A Horseshoe Bay-based husband-and-wife team assembles a best-practices homebuilder featuring chemical-free materials and health-first building science.

From Massachusetts: Boston-based Gravyty, a pioneer of AI-enabled fundraising software, minimizes the University of Delaware’s “development workforce” – and maximizes its fundraising productivity.

From Delaware: A breakthrough propeller technology – a potential game-changer for VTOL and STOL aircraft – has been cleared for takeoff by Lewes-based Blainjett Aviation.



+ Greg Batista has been appointed an associate board member of the Commercial Industrial Brokers Society of Long Island. He is a broker in the Jericho office of Ripco Real Estate LLC.

+ John Hogan has been elected to the board of Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk. He is a territory sales manager at Boston Cedar/US Lumber.

+ The LIA Women’s Collaborative has appointed Christine Riordan, president of Garden City-based Adelphi University, as the organization’s chairwoman, and Erika Rudnick, vice president of Melville-based March & McLennan Companies, as vice chairwoman.

+ Jonathan Leis has been hired as a private wealth adviser at Main Street Financial Group in Smithtown. He was previously a personal wealth adviser at Citi branches in Smithtown and Port Jefferson.

+ Gordon Schmidt has been appointed dean of the School of Health Professionals at NYIT. He previously served as interim dean of the school.

+ David Kaufman, chief of breast surgery at St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage, has been named director of the hospital’s Breast Health Center.

+ Vikas Girdhar has been hired as an account executive at Huntington-based Epoch 5 Public Relations. He held the same position at Farmingville-based Syntax Communication Group.



A name we knew: Just before Amazon announced it was canceling its Long Island City plans, Forbes explained exactly why that’s devastating news for this entire region.

A name you know: Newsday peaks inside Blue Point Brewing Co.’s fancy new digs, opening soon in Patchogue.

Names you will know: The Smithsonian explores everything from geothermal power to urban ecology as it lays out nine innovators to watch in 2019.

Name it: Dedicated Private Clouds, Hybrid IT Management … if you have a networking need, Webair has the managed-infrastructure solution. Please continue supporting them and all the great companies that support Innovate LI.