No. 480: On coronavirus, coronavirus and coronavirus – and introducing our 2020 Master of Innovation

Keep it clean: With COVID-19 spreading fast, health officials around the world are stressing common-sense precautions (washing hands tops the list).


Don’t worry, we washed our hands: Put ’er there, dear readers, and welcome to Wednesday, as we hurtle the hump of this latest busy (and blessedly spring-like) winter workweek.

It’s March 4 out there – St. Casimir’s Day, honoring the patron saint of Poland and Lithuania, and National Pound Cake Day, celebrating the world’s most versatile cake.

Get it right: Grammar is not spelling or punctuation, but the structural rules governing language.

Strong language: It’s also National Grammar Day, a celebration of proper written and verbal grammar, desperately needed by entire generations raised on 140 characters or fewer.

Yes, fewer.

Freedom and Unity and Bernie Sanders: Happy anniversary Vermont, admitted as the 14th U.S. State on March 4, 1791.

Salutations also to Chicago, incorporated as a city on this date in 1837.

Triple play: Speaking of the Windy City, the American Automobile Association was founded there on March 4, 1902.

That’s cray-cray: The world’s first supercomputer – the freon-cooled Cray-1, a $19 million prototype that boasted 8.39 megabytes of memory and an 80-megaherz CPU that could perform hundreds of millions of computations per second – was installed at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico on this date in 1977.

The machine was tasked by the U.S. Department of Defense with designing sophisticated nuclear weapons systems.

Ready player one: Classic titles and new tech marked the PlayStation 2.

That happened fast: Another standout of computational history – the Sony PlayStation 2, a $300 videogame console that boasted 32 megabytes of system RAM and a 300-megaherz CPU, plus a DVD player – was released on March 4, 2000.

The machine is credited with revolutionizing the home-gaming industry.

Put a ring on it: And it was this date in 1979 when the Voyager 1 space probe discovered that Jupiter has rings.

Stringing us along: All-time Italian musician Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) – famed Baroque composer, teacher and Roman Catholic priest – would be 342 years old today.

All American: Norwegian-born Rockne, a patron saint to Irish-Americans.

Also born on March 4 were legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne (1888-1931), who didn’t invent the forward pass but really liked it; entrepreneur and pharmacy namesake Charles Walgreen (1873-1939); African American innovator Garret Morgan (1877-1963), who invented an early oxygen mask, among other things; American chemist Margaret Foster (1895-1970), the first female chemist accepted into the U.S. Geological Survey; and English engineer Allan Beckett (1914-2005), who designed Mulberry Harbours – floating, anchored roadways that helped land vehicles and equipment following the D-Day invasion.

Boom Boom: And take a bow, Ray Mancini – the retired world champion boxer, who overcame tragedy to rebuild his career (and even enjoy a modest run as an actor), turns 59 today.

Wish the pugilist, the violin virtuoso and all the March 4 innovators in between well at, where story tips and calendar items are always much appreciated.


About our sponsor: EisnerAmper is a leading international accounting, tax and advisory firm serving more than 500 technology and life-science clients. Our dedicated team of more than 125 professionals supports startup companies, emerging growth, IPO-track and publicly traded clients.



Nothing but Nets: A Mineola-based charity servicing Long Island’s most vulnerable residents and communities has recruited a top Island philanthropy group – and LI’s only professional basketball team – to its 135th anniversary fundraising effort.

The Family & Children’s Association, originally founded in 1885 as an orphanage, has embarked on its 135 Days of Giving Campaign, designed to strengthen FCA programs that provide food, childcare, school supplies, senior support and more for 30,000-plus individuals annually.

The Long Island Nets, in partnership with Melville-based, have donated $3,500 to the campaign, along with 135 tickets to tonight’s game at the Nassau Coliseum. “The mission of Pink Tie is to benefit and support charitable organizations that make a difference in our own community,” noted Pink Tie Founder Mike Cave. “FCA is one of the longest-established organizations on Long Island that reaches out to a wide population of our most vulnerable children, families and seniors.”

Master work: Anne-Marie Scheidt, intrepid innovator.

Drumroll, please: Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for the star attractions at our 2020 Innovator of the Year Awards: Master of Innovation Anne-Marie Scheidt and John L. Kominicki Legacy Award Winner William Mannix.

Scheidt, Stony Brook University’s director of economic development, earns our top annual honor after decades of innovative contributions to SBU’s commercialization ecosystem (and, by extension, Long Island’s socioeconomic progress). Mannix, longtime executive director of the Town of Islip’s Office of Economic Development, is the second-ever inductee to our quasi-Hall of Fame (following Yacov Shamash last year).

Join us March 24 at the Crest Hollow Country Club as we honor these innovation superstars and dozens of other leading inventors, investors, researchers and rainmakers. More honorees coming Friday; sponsorship information, ticket prices and registration for our fifth-annual A-list breakfast networker just a click away.



Vaccination acceleration: Applied DNA and its Italian partner are rapidly preparing laboratory tests of potential coronavirus vaccines.

Laser tag: Stony Brook University’s new Center for Laser Manufacturing is aiming for big changes on the molecular level.

Test pattern: Northwell Health is rolling out instant coronavirus tests at hospitals across Long Island.



Technically speaking: Healthcare has always skated the leading edge of technological innovation, notes Northwell Health VP Terry Lynam, who shares an insider view of how AI and robotics are driving the industry now.



Action word: Is “innovation” a noun or a verb? Forbes gets literal.

Crooning for coronavirus: The best government-approved songs to sing while washing your hands? Time circles the globe.

Can’t take it with you: What happens to leftover campaign funds when a candidate drops out? Mental Floss does the math.



+ Primmune Therapeutics, a California-based pharma that develops small-molecule, orally administered immunotherapies against cancer and viral diseases, raised $7 million in seed financing. Investors included CAM Capital, Charlie McDermott, BioBrit and BioRock Ventures.

+ DeepSig, a Virginia-based tech firm developing AI for wireless systems, raised $5 million in Series A financing led by Leawood Venture Capital, with participation from Scout Ventures, Blu Venture Investors and Lockheed Martin Ventures.

+ Ribbon Health, a New York City-based healthcare data platform for payers, providers and digital health companies, closed a $10.25 million Series A funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz, Y Combinator and BoxGroup, with participation from Flatiron Health CEO Nat Turner, Clover Health CEO Vivek Garipalli and DataLogix CEO Eric Roza.

+ BlueNalu, a California-based food-tech company producing seafood directly from fish cells, closed its $20 million Series A round co-led by Stray Dog Capital, CPT Capital, New Crop Capital and Clear Current Capital, with participation from Nutreco, Griffith Foods, Pulmuone, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, Rich Products Ventures and KBW Ventures.

+ Nature’s Toolbox, a New Mexico-based biomanufacturing and bioinformatics company, raised $13 million in Series A funding led by venture capital firm Anzu Partners.

+ SquadLocker, a Rhode Island-based provider of online tools and services helping teams and organizations manage custom apparel and equipment logistics, closed a $20 million Series C funding round led by ABS Capital Partners, with participation from existing investors Causeway Media Partners and Jim Lombardi.


See the (new) world: NASA is hiring.

BELOW THE FOLD (Help Wanted Edition)

Remote position: As coronavirus spreads, telecommuting surges.

Competitive salary: Calculating 2020’s best-paying engineering fields. 

Some travel required: NASA is recruiting new astronauts for missions to Mars.

Team player: Please continue supporting the amazing firms that support Innovate LI, including EisnerAmper, a smart addition to any corporate structure. Check them out.