No. 51: Optimum’s up, chip-sized organs and even Rochester doesn’t like Buffalo

OPTIMUM SPEED: Cablevision increased the max downstream speed of its basic Optimum Online Internet service to 25 Mbps, from 15, putting it line with the FCC’s new definition of broadband. And at no charge. Speed fiends can also get 50, 75 and 101 Mbps service. Multichannel

A VIRTUAL $1M: Arie Kaufman, chief scientist at Stony Brook University’s wireless technology center and chair of the computer science department there, has received a grant for almost $1 million from the Marcus Foundation to explore the use of virtual reality in pancreatic cancer research.

MAYBE LOWE’S WAS READING: We love it when the little guy’s story resonates. Joe Valenti, a Long Island contractor who dumped Quirky and is trying to bring his idea for a better ladder tray to market by himself, lit up the Innovate website this week, pulling in almost half of Monday’s record traffic. At last look it was still glowing. You go, Joe.

ATTENTION THOUGHTBOX@LIU: LaunchPad is expanding onto the campus of NYIT. Innovate

TAKING A SCHEIN TO DENMARK: Medical products giant Henry Schein acquired 85 percent of a Danish animal-health firm. Innovate

PARACHUTING OUT: Pall Corp. Chairman and CEO Lawrence Kingsley will step down when his company’s sale to Danaher Corp. closes later this year, earning Kingsley more than $100M in severance and other bennies. The SEC filing

LOOSE THOUGHTS: Can you build a $500M company on the strength of a single YouTube video? If the product’s any good you actually can. We check in on the cutting-edge marketing of the Dollar Shave Club

KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD: The founders of the new LI Brew Bus service are tweaking the concept. One early discovery: They talked too much. Innovate

SEE YOU THERE? Join us at LaunchPad Huntington tonight for a freewheeling discussion on the state of the future energy sector on Long Island. With clean-gen czar Dave Hamilton and friends from ThermoLift, Bonded Energy Solutions and Sulfcrete. Kickoff at 6 p.m. with the Kegerator in operation soon after.

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ABOUT OUR SPONSOR: The Rauch Foundation invests in ideas and organizations that spark and sustain success in children and promote systemic change in our communities. To read more about the foundation’s many efforts, including the Long Island Index and the Build A Better Burb program, visit


UBER WHELMING: Uber controls 27 percent of total cars for hire in NYC, including 63 percent of all limos and town cars. It now has 26K drivers on the streets, according to the Taxi & Limousine Commission, and almost all that growth has come in just two years.

And that’s why: Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed a temporary limit on for-hire-vehicle licenses to control traffic congestion.

SPACE INVADERS: Cowork|rs, one of a growing crop of NYC co-working companies, is opening its second space in lower Manhattan to give tenants more discreet office space while still offering the flavor of co-working. Which must give them dibs on the fussball table. The deal for 40K sf, at 60 Broad St. comes two months after the company inked a lease for 30K sf at 55 Broadway. Crain’s

GOING TO THE MATTRESSES: Sleep products startup Casper, which cuts out the middle man and delivers foam mattresses in 3-foot cardboard cubes, often by bicycle, announced a $55M Series B investment that included actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire and musician Adam Levine. It will use the new funding for its innovation arm and to launch new products faster. Tech Crunch

SINCE WE HAVEN’T DONE SO WELL WITH ROBOTS: A micro-device lined with living human cells that’s able to mimic the function of living organs has been declared the overall winner of the Design Museum’s Design of the Year Award for 2015. From Donald Ingber and Dan Dongeun Huh at Harvard, the Human Organs-on-Chips project comprises a series of ICs that mimic real human organs, including a lung-on-a-chip, and gut-on-a-chip. Gizmag

REALLY, REALLY BIG DATA: Data discovery and analytics company Enigma, which says it helps clients make more informed decisions using a massive repository of data – by their count “50 percent more information than the Library of Congress” – raised a $28.2 million Series B funding round the company says will expand its operations. Also announced were two new products, Abstract and Signals Engine, to help analyze data more efficiently.

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LET’S REVIEW: Israel’s Yotpo, which helps e-commerce companies gather customer reviews, has chosen NYC as its U.S. headquarters. The startup, which just closed on $15M in financing, doubling its venture stake, hopes to have a New York headcount of 40 by year’s end. Makes sense: About two-thirds of Yotpo’s customers are based in the United States. CNY

MORE BUFFALO ENVY: From Rochester’s Democrat & Chronicle: The Buffalo Billion program championed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo is a bold and costly experiment in economic development that is beset by secrecy and politics, and banking on a company with a history of losing money. “It’s a cockamamie way of doing the public’s business,” said John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany, a watchdog group. (Free reading may require answering one survey question. It’s not hard.)

Not especially related: CrowdBouncer, one of Buffalo’s early tech startups, has been put into park as its founders move on to other projects. BBF

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Most are archived here.

LOTTA JUICE, NOT MUCH SCRATCH: Community solar installations could expand access to all U.S. homes and businesses for less than $16B, according to Minh Le,director of the Department of Energy’s Solar Technologies Office. Or about 2 percent of what we spent protecting fossil fuels during the Iraq war. Just saying. Forbes

SO THAT’S WHERE SHE WENT: Former CNN host Campbell Brown is launching a non-profit, education-focused news site called The Seventy Four, which she says refers to the 74 million school-age children in classrooms across the United States. WSJ


BUT WE PINE TO BE FIRST: New York maple farmers produced more than 600K gallons of syrup this year, the highest production since 1944, thanks to the growing use of vacuum pumps. That was enough to top Maine, but leaves the state still far behind top-producing Vermont, which brought almost 1.4 million gallons to market.

There are no maple syrup producers on Long Island, according to the authoritative New York Maple website, which lists Wishwood Farm in Wawayanda, N.J. as the closest.

BECAUSE HE’S ALREADY DONE BALLOONS AND PLANES: Virgin Group founder Richard Branson unveiled his latest gig, Virgin Cruises, which will ply the Caribbean from Florida ports beginning in 2020. I might be ready for another cruise by then.

Just kidding.

MY BOSS OF THE TIME REMEMBERS, TOO: Gmail formally introduced its “undo send” feature that enables you to un-send an email up to 30 seconds after hitting the send button. I can tell you exactly when I first needed that. Quartz

YES, RERUNS FOR YOU: Hulu, which begins streaming episodes of Seinfeld today, opened a pop-up of Jerry’s apartment that includes the star’s suspended green bicycle, cereal-stocked kitchen cabinets and other familiar furnishings. On hand for the opening: Larry Thomas, who played the sitcom’s famed Soup Nazi character. Through Sunday at 451 W. 14th Street, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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