Place your bets: Welcome to Wednesday, dear readers, as Long Island eagerly anticipates its Phase 1 reopening (not just yet) and we patiently muscle through another WFH workweek (marking, like, 850 in a row, though we may have lost count).
For those keeping score, with Nassau and Suffolk about to eclipse 30 trace cases per 1,000 residents and regional COVID-19 hospital deaths dropping fast, the good money is on Phase 1 baby steps for these parts by this time next week. Stay tuned.
Make your picks: The quasi-quarantined, on Long Island and beyond, can make due today with a unique selection of holidays. It’s Emancipation Day in Florida, European Maritime Day and World Bee Day, among myriad May 20 observances.
Let it ride: Live it up, Warbucks – it’s also National Be a Millionaire Day, which encourages us to dream big.
Sorry, Columbus: Definitely dreaming big was Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama, who arrived in Calicut on May 20, 1498, and became the first European to reach India by sea.
Also reaching for the heavens were pioneering aviators Charles Lindbergh, who departed Long Island’s Roosevelt Field on his historic transatlantic solo flight on this date in 1927, and Amelia Earhart, who departed Newfoundland on her historic transatlantic solo flight on this date in 1932.
Orbital approach: Speaking of stellar aspirations, American inventor Robert Baumann – an attorney by trade – earned a U.S. patent for orbital space satellites on this date in 1958.
Other U.S. patents issued on this date include one in 1873 for inventor Jacob Davis of Levi Strauss & Co., who zipped up denim blue jeans.
Light reactor: Designers flipped the switch on Baltimore Harbor Light, the United States’ first-and-only atomic-powered lighthouse, in the middle of Chesapeake Bay on May 20, 1964.
First lit by conventional electricity in 1908, the refitted atomic lighthouse packed a 60-watt nuclear generator that promised 10 years of uninterrupted electricity – but the isotope-powered core was replaced after one year by a conventional generator. (Today, the lighthouse is solar-powered.)
Sorry to burst your Hubble: And it was this date in 1990 when the much-ballyhooed Hubble Space Telescope beamed its first pictures back to Earth.
They pretty much sucked.
Believe the Hyperion: Enjoying much better space-luck was American astronomer George Bond (1825-1865), who first spotted (but didn’t name) the eighth moon of Saturn, discovered a number of comets, took the first-ever photograph of a binary star and would be 195 years old today.
Also born on May 20 were Sir William Congreve (1772-1828), the English artillery officer who adapted rockets for warfare; U.S. Capitol architect William Thornton (1759-1828); German-American inventor Emil Berliner (1851-1929), who made important contributions to phonographs, telephones and helicopters; British aircraft designer Reginald Mitchell (1895-1937), who created the World War II Spitfire; Hollywood icon Jimmy Stewart (1908-1997); and Hewlett-Packard cofounder William Hewlett (1913-2001).
And Cher alike: And take a bow, Cherilyn Sarkisian – the American singer, actress and television personality known best as Cher turns 74 today.
About our sponsor: Farrell Fritz, a full-service law firm with 15 practice groups, 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.
BUT FIRST, THIS
Manufacturer’s trust: Albany’s main economic-development engine has announced its first direct funding of New York companies producing critical pandemic supplies, including two on Long Island.
All told, eight companies will share $4 million through the Empire State Development Corp.’s first COVID-19-specific funding round, with funds earmarked for retooling manufacturing operations to bolster pandemic supply lines. They include Medford-based Chembio Diagnostic Systems, a leading developer of infectious-disease test assays, which is receiving $1 million to upgrade its injection-molding capacity, train employees and produce more COVID-19 tests; and Central Islip-based Autronic Plastics (dba Clear-Vu Medical), which is receiving $80,000 to expedite face shield production.
Each of the companies funded in the first tranche responded directly to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s March call for manufacturers that could retool production lines to assist the state’s COVID-19 response. Empire State Development’s support not only “answers Gov. Cuomo’s call,” according to Acting Commissioner, President and CEO-designate Eric Gertler, but builds momentum toward the state’s economic recovery. “The investment is being made to ensure that the state continues its record of smart growth as we recover,” Gertler said in a statement.
Step by Prep: A five-year-old Adelphi University program designed to help future graduates succeed as professionals – in whatever field they ultimately pursue – has earned prestigious national recognition.
The Prep for Success Program, launched in 2015 by Adelphi University’s Center for Career and Professional Development, has been recognized with a John L. Blackburn Exemplary Models Award from the American Association of University Administrators. The award recognizes solutions to common higher-education problems – a concept exemplified by Prep for Success, which stresses job-search skills, arranges paid internships and otherwise reinforces that future career success requires more than an academic degree.
Program participants have interned at major-league companies including IBM, Northwell Health and Merrill Lynch; others have used their Prep for Success experiences to earn admission to Columbia University and NYU graduate programs. The Blackburn Award “serves as a testament to the center’s hallmark, relentless dedication to student success, outstanding career outcomes, strategic community partnerships and innovative workforce-development strategies,” noted Center for Career and Professional Development Director Thomas Ward Jr.
TOP OF THE SITE
Top form: Always inventive, Islip-based FindaTopDoc has doubled down on innovation during the pandemic, benefitting patients and providers alike.
Tax broke: Nassau County will lose hundreds of millions of dollars in sales tax revenues to COVID-19, warns Comptroller Jack Schnirman, who’s rallying support.
Innovation in the Age of Coronavirus: Stony Brook sensitivity, SUNY Old Westbury creativity and the tummy tuck’s triumphant return – keep up with Long Island’s one-and-only pandemic primer.
Non-COVID-19 patients need medical attention, too – which is why Northwell Health has significantly and rapidly deepened its telehealth services. Northwell VP and Voices slugger Terry Lynam Zooms in with the breakdown.
STUFF WE’RE READING
Who’s counting: Fortune releases its 2020 “ultimate scorecard,” ranking America’s largest 500 companies.
Surf…: USA Today explores the many ways COVID-19 is creating new waves of innovation.
…and turf: Patch walks the battle lines as Long Island and New York City storm the beaches.
+ Immunai, a New York City-based biotech mapping the immune system for disease detection, diagnosis and treatment, raised $20 million in seed funding led by Viola Ventures and TLV Partners.
+ QurAlis Corp., a Massachusetts-based biotech developing precision therapeutics for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other neurologic diseases, raised $42 million in Series A financing led by LS Polaris Innovation Fund, Mission BioCapital, INKEF Capital and the Dementia Discovery Fund.
+ MemVerge, a California-based inventor of “memory machine” software, raised $19 million in funding led by Intel Capital, with participation from Cisco Investments, NetApp and SK hynix, Gaorong Capital, Glory Ventures, Jerusalem Venture Partners, LDV Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Northern Light Venture Capital.
+ Resilia, a Louisiana-based provider of a SaaS platform facilitating the private grantmaking process, raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Mucker Capital, Callais Capital Management and Cultivation Capital.
+ PathologyWatch, a Utah-based provider of digital dermatopathology solutions, raised $5 million in Series A funding led by SpringTide Investments and Rock Creek Capital, with participation from individual investors.
+ IntelliBoard, a Connecticut-based reporting and analytics platform for learning management systems, closed a $3.4 million Series A funding round. Backers included Connecticut Innovations, Flashpoint VC, Smarthub VC and previous seed-round investor LETA Capital.
BELOW THE FOLD
Ready or not: How to help anxious employees return to the office.
Brain food: The time may be right to innovate the global food system.
Do they even have forts in Sweden? Ikea takes your homemade childhood fort to new levels.
It’s who you know: Please continue supporting the amazing firms that support Innovate Long Island, including Farrell Fritz, where the COVID-19 Crisis Response and Help page keeps you and your business in the know.