No. 49: Cool ants, a junk startup and why Europe will never catch us

BUT VOTING WAS FUN: House Republicans have taken another crack at repealing the tax on medical devices contained in the Affordable Care Act. The House voted 280-140 Thursday to remove the 2.3 percent tax, which has been a stick in the craw of conservatives but generates billions of dollars a year to support the health-care reform law.

The legislation’s supporters argued the tax discourages innovation in health care. President Obama will assuredly veto the repeal unless lawmakers find a way to replace the revenue.

“We’re in a world where there’s no longer a question of whether Obamacare is going to happen – it happened,” Gary Capistrant, chief policy officer for the Washington-based American Telemedicine Association told Innovate. “And Obamacare covers a lot of land. Repealing the tax is a difficult proposition.”

BUZZFEED GROWS UP: BuzzFeed may have a reputation for click-bait posts and viral listicles, but the media site’s new mobile app looks to highlight serious reporting from a growing investigative team. Unveiled Thursday morning. Fortune

WALL ST. WELCOMES FITBIT: Fitbit stock soared more than 50 percent in early trading Thursday after an expanded IPO that topped targets and raised $732 million. The San Francisco maker of fitness-tracking wearables sold 36.6 million shares for $20 apiece in the biggest tech stock debut so far this year.

THEY DID INVENT SKYPE, THOUGH: When’s the last time U.S. regulators investigated a European tech company for market dominance? Never. How bold thinking is fueling the U.S. technology markets and why Europe’s fear of fear means they’ll likely never catch up. NYT

A SHAKEY BEGINNING: DARPA couldn’t have been too tickled with its build-a-better-bot contest in Silicon Valley this month, during which some of the star entries fell down stairs and failed to master a simple door knob. The agency’s first effort, a robot called Shakey that was billed as the world’s “first electronic person,” was almost as far along. And that was in 1966. Gizmag

ALTHOUGH THE HISTORICAL DATA IS A LITTLE THIN: Passing a state medical marijuana law does not increase adolescent use of the drug, according to a study from the Mailman School of Public Health and the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center published in The Lancet Psychiatry.

FLUSHED WITH PRODUCTIVITY: A study called “The Constantly-Connected Employee: Does the Workday Ever Really End?” found that 50 percent of workers answer job-related emails from the bathroom stall.

WE COULD DO THIS HERE: France is betting big on the Internet of Things with a new center, opening today, called the Cité de l’Objet Connecté. The goal is to launch 170 companies with 500 employees in three years. It’s in Angers, about 200 miles southwest of Paris, in an area known for Cointreau and not much else. C/NET

ALL BURNER DRIVE: Bose Corp. has filed a series of patents for stove-top technology and induction cookware, suggesting a move from the music room to the kitchen. The cook-top patent, filed June 4, says the system can monitor temperature output across all burners in use and transfer power as necessary to keep temps on target.

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AN UBER-STYLED CRAIG’S LIST KINDA KNOCKOFF: San Francisco-based Move Loot, which picks up used furniture it thinks it can clean, price, photograph and sell online, has launched in NYC. The company also delivers the goods to the buyer within 48 hours and handles returns if the purchaser is dissatisfied. Pick ups are free, with the sellers splitting the proceeds with Move Loot. The firm expects a local headcount of 100 by year’s end. Crain’s

PERFECT FOR THE FUN GUY IN YOUR LIFE: Make that funghi. Brooklyn startup Mush Lume makes lamps and lighting fixtures using agricultural waste, hemp and a mushroom-based product called liquid mycelium that is allowed to grow in custom lamp-shaped molds. Business is … sporing. CNY

A NEW FEATURE: We take a regular look at Long Island inventors, most of them with day jobs, who spend their spare time trying to get ideas to market. Up first: Farmingdale’s Joe Ferraro and an innovative way to beat the safety seal onmedicine bottles.

THE NEXUS OF ART, MARKETING AND COMMUNITY: A next-gen Islandia sign company with a bodacious printing machine is making waves. Innovate

SEE YOU THERE? Kevin Law keynotes the LIBDC Brookhaven luncheon today. We know — a luncheon on a summer Friday? But this will be interesting. For more information, or to attend, visit

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ABOUT OUR SPONSOR: Farrell Fritz, a full-service law firm with 15 practice groups, represents numerous emerging companies and venture capital funds. The firm advises startups on entity formation, founder and shareholder agreements, funding, executive compensation and benefits, licensing and technology transfer, mergers and acquisitions and other strategic transactions. The firm’s blog,New York Venture Hub, discusses legal and business issues facing entrepreneurs and investors.


Brain drain leaves behind something we’re not really prepared for. Us

The not quite magical, mysteriously necessary Start-Up NY Tour

Steve Bellone has a $350M transit vision. But where to dream up the funding?

Inside the $2M Codagenix deal

A new LISTnet effort nurses baby startups

Cox acquiring Dealertrack in $4B cash deal. (And you think they’re worried about being able to pay back IDA bennies?)

Kominicki: Don’t buy this for Father’s Day

The Debrief: Intelligent Products chief Mitch Maiman

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Most are archived here


THE WORD IS STUPEFACENTE: “Identifying” as a race other than your own has topped the news this week, but it’s actually a very old story. Remember the famous “Crying Indian” public service announcements starring Native American actor Iron Eyes Cody? Turns out he was 100 percent Italian. Priceonomics

NOW, REALLY: Airbnb, which helps property owners list rooms for short-term rentals, is in talks to raise an additional $1B, which would value the startup at $24B. Or a bit more than Marriott.

THAT WOULD BE COOL: Brookhaven National Lab staffers have been helping on a study of Saharan Silver Ants, which shift tiny hairs on their bodies to ward off heat waves. Can the hair patterns be copied into reflective coatings for human-sized things?

WONDER WHAT PATAKI PAID: A casting call went out this week for people willing to wear a T-shirt, carry signs and cheer at an NYC rally. Pay: $50 for three hours work. Event: Donald Trump’s presidential announcement. Hollywood Reporter

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Compiled by John Kominicki. Thanks for reading.