No. 77: Ratchets, new beer rules and lobsters claw their way back

TGIF: A good Friday everybody and welcome new readers. Just five days to go until the Innovator of the Year awards and the chance to hob and nob with the brightest stars in local invention. Big-name presenters, clever opening banter, sticky buns. Not to be missed.

WORD OF THE WEEK: Ratchet. A once-obscure financial device that guarantees returns for investors when startups finally get around to going to market. It’s become increasingly popular as VCs start to fret about a tech bubble forming around all those billion-dollar unicorn valuations.

Latest example: Fin-tech darling Square, which filed its IPO paperwork this week, disclosing that some early investors have been guaranteed a 20% return and will be made whole even if the equity markets don’t cover. (Now that’s smart money.)

Last count: There are 130 unicorns out there, but maybe take Palo Alto startup Theranos off the list after yesterday’s WSJ front-pager that suggests the firm, which claims to be able to test for everything from a few drops of blood, doesn’t use its own troubled technology. (Ouch.)

Haven’t been asked into a big ratchet deal lately? You’ll find friends in the fast-growing investment app sector, including NYC startup StashInvest, which navigates neophytes through Wall Street’s shoals and allows fractional-share investments of as little as $5. (Cool.)

Another: GoldBean, which is targeting twentysomethings. (Yes! Get those millennials in the market!)

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The Long Island Forum for Technology’s Composites Prototyping Center has been named the first regional satellite for DOE’s national program, putting the Plainview center in line for $250M in contracts and grants.

A team of Stony Brook University professors landed $1M in DOE funding to advance research on compression-based ignition for auto engines, which could improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

Just weeks after a summit with New York craft distillers, brewers and cider makers, the state has released a slew of business-friendly amendments to state liquor laws.

Stony Brook startup ThermoLift is getting help from the big-muscled Gas Technology Institute in prepping its transformational heat and cooling pump for commercialization. GTI is mum on the deal but ThermoLift founder Paul Schwartz tells us he’s expecting big things.

NYIT junior Steven Patrikis is using the school’s innovation center to build next-gen artificial hands that don’t require battery power. And help out if the wearer falls.

If you missed Manufacturing Day this year – FYI, it was Oct. 2 – take a look at this artfully produced video that ponders the future of millennials inmanufacturing on Long Island. Real food for thought from the folks at the Workforce Development Institute.

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WORKFORCE BE WITH YOU: The state’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.1%, the lowest since 2008. The Island added 20,000+ jobs, most in low-paying health jobs, although the construction sector is also humming along.

Meanwhile: Buffalo added 8,300 private sector jobs and lost 800 in gumment.

PATIENCE, A REALITY: First Data’s IPO went off Thursday, priced below range and with shares valuing the company at $14B. Or $15B less than KKR bought it for eight years ago. (Interest costs in the first six months of 2015 were, gulp, $813M.)

Related, maybe: Grocery chain Albertsons decided to delay its IPO indefinitely.

FELT THE SQUEEZE: Organic Avenue, the first NYC healthy juice retailer, will not be the City’s last. The chain closed all 10 stores this week amid come-and-go management changes and a sea of competition, Crain’s reports.

SHIFTING SANDS: You’d think having GoDaddy and LifeLock in town would be enough, but no. Phoenix-area tech companies are increasingly opening offices in other tech hotspots because there’s not enough Arizona venture capital to launch new companies that would expand the pool of tech workers. (Sound familiar?)

WELL FUNDED, OBVIOUSLY: Mapping and data analysis startup CartoDB has signed on as the first tenant of Brooklyn’s still-building-out Brunswick Generator, where rents start at $50 the foot. The four-year deal was for 7,500 feet. The startup wanted something with a “wow factor” broker Brian Gianci told Commercial Observer.

SUN TIMES: The World Solar Challenge, in which competitors race solar-powered cars over 1,800 miles, kicks off in Australia this weekend.

UBER AND OUT: Uber is expanding its NYC-developed delivery service, UberRush, to San Francisco and Chicago. The ride-hailing firm is partnering with e-commerce platform Shopify and payments processor Clover to help businesses deliver everything from food to flowers.

(But likely to be banned in East Hampton.)

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IMAGINE HOW MANY HOT TOWELETTES YOU’D GET: Singapore Airlines is buying Airbus A350-900s that can fly 19 hours nonstop.

MUST-HAVE MANUAL: Just as the chill in the air suggests it’s time for a perfectly prepared Manhattan comes The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog Drinks Manual. Penned by what many consider the two greatest bartenders to have ever shared a muddler.

SHELL GAME: Maine Lobstermen caught six times as many last year as 30 years ago. No one’s sure why exactly, but warming coastal waters, in which babies flourish and adults grow fast, could be a reason. Another: Over-fishing of cod, one of the lobster’s chief predators. (Prices are rising nonetheless.)

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Compiled by John Kominicki. Thanks for reading.

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