startups

For autistic gamers, the old school rules

By GREGORY ZELLER // In a world ruled by Nathan Drake and Master Chief, a passionate video gamer has taken the entrepreneurial plunge with the Mario brothers and an old-school hedgehog. As digital art and functionality have leapt forward, so have videogames, with cinema-quality graphics, deep storylines and a multitude of complex controls. But some longtime players would suggest the gaming industry has lost its way: The characters of the popular “Uncharted” and “Halo” series…


Live, from LI: It’s short-attention-span theater!

By GREGORY ZELLER // John Richardson knows startups. He launched two in his early teens, and therein learned a primary entrepreneurial lesson: business-development growing pains strike nearly all early-stagers, in virtually every industry. So even Richardson, who was “literally incorporated at age 14” and did surprisingly well with those Doogie Howser-esque enterprises, is surprised by the rapid development of Quick-Cast, his latest endeavor. Focused on society’s evolving (or de-evolving) fascination with short video segments, the…


Time-tripping to ice cream’s past, and a hot future

By GREGORY ZELLER // I scream, you scream … but only Richard Blech screens for ice cream. It’s taken Blech years of diligent Internet searches to assemble the yesteryear fleet of The Vintage Ice Cream Guys, a Jericho-based startup that delivers classic products – original Good Humor bars, old-school candies like Dots and Bit-O-Honey – using actual trucks from bygone eras. These are not replicas. Each of the three trucks in the fleet is a…


Five healthy years later, Rockin’ on in Hauppauge

By GREGORY ZELLER // New blood and a new order-fulfillment deal are part of the growth formula for Rockin’ Wellness, a feel-good story dancing to its own tune. Embracing a “business not as usual” campaign that recalls its offbeat roots, the Hauppauge health-drink maker has welcomed a new chief operating officer – David Finkelstein, who drank the Kool-Aid in May – and signed a core order-fulfillment contract with Just Nutra, stage name for Islandia-based dietary…


Boston wins big in Buffalo biz contest

Oncolinx, a Boston startup that develops cancer immunotherapies known as antibody-drug conjugates, was the $1 million winner in this year’s running of the 43North business plan contest in Buffalo. The contest, which calls itself the richest business plan contest in the world, also awarded $600,000 to a runner-up and $500,000 to six other finalists. One caveat: Winners have to agree to relocate to Buffalo for one year to claim their prize. Oncolinx, which targets cancer cells…


Exploring the science of recruiting, with savvy

By GREGORY ZELLER // Felicia Fleitman is in no rush. Don’t call her “slow and steady,” because development of her first-ever startup, Westbury-based Savvy Hires, is not going slowly, but at its own proper pace. However, there’s a certain deliberateness to Fleitman, who gleaned from early professional experiences that she wanted to start her own company – she even knew what kind – but recognized she wasn’t quite ready. So she decided to get ready,…


View from the top, now on the bottom rung

By GREGORY ZELLER // If there’s one thing Corrinne Graham learned from starting at the top, it’s the value of starting at the bottom. A multiple degree-holder – including a PhD in healthcare administration and a master’s in global management from the University of Phoenix, plus undergraduate degrees in business management and accounting from SUNY-Old Westbury – Graham worked her way into leadership rolls while still in her teens. One of her “multiple corporate rolls…


As a brain beverage, Alpha Wolf stands alone

By GREGORY ZELLER // From the Future Physician, Heal Thyself file comes the promising tale of Alpha Wolf LLC and its brawn-meets-brains founder, who was really tired of being tired. At the time, Michael Chalavoutis was working two jobs, as an adjunct biology professor at Hofstra University – where the Wesleyan University graduate earned a master’s degree in cellular and molecular biology – and as a strength-and-conditioning coach at Xceleration Sports Training, a Deer Park…


A fresh idea that’s doing well (and doing good)

By GREGORY ZELLER // Ten-thousand donated meals, three boroughs and two ousted competitors later, OurHarvest is still talking fresh. Seems it’s always growing season at the 2014 Hicksville startup, which bills itself as “New York’s online farm” and mashes business models – part farmer’s co-op, part home-delivery service – into a winning farm-to-table formula with tasty social benefits. Chief among those benefits: OurHarvest donates one complete meal to a local food pantry for every order…


Women take the lead in entrepreneurial activity

U.S. startup activity jumped 15 percent over the past two years, led by growth among women, millennials and minorities, according to a just-out report from the Kauffman Foundation, which has been tracking entrepreneurial activity for two decades. That translates to about 550,000 new companies per month, the fifth-highest rate ever recorded by the widely watched index. The country notched its lowest level of entrepreneurial activity just two years ago, the report said. “This is very encouraging,…


Hofstra, SCCC land entrepreneur training funds

Hofstra University and Suffolk Community College are in line for grants of about $81,000 each to help local entrepreneurs write business plans, attract financing and develop markets. The money comes from Empire State Development’s Entrepreneurship Assistance Program, which also helps women-owned businesses seeking contracts from government agencies and assists veterans looking to start their own firms. Hofstra and SCCC plan to use the funds to pay counselors during the 2016-2017 school year.


App-maker Science Mobility ready for its close-up

By GREGORY ZELLER // Judy Wieber remembers computing when reel-to-reel mainframes filled entire rooms. Now she’s putting the power in palms through a series of high-minded data-sharing apps, with a shot at a television gig that could put East Islip startup Science Mobility LLC on the virtual map. Wieber, a former Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory science librarian and grant writer, has survived the first cut for “Planet of the Apps,” an unscripted reality-TV competition series…


Entrepreneurial success, now snack-sized

By GREGORY ZELLER // There’s a good chance your Memorial Day snacks, and other sweet and salty selections in your summer picnic basket, come courtesy of Jake Schmigelski. Forget trying to pronounce it – his own family adopted the pseudonym “Gale” years ago, he noted – and just bask in Schmigelski’s genius, which turned a wandering one-man-show into a major regional broker and redistributor of some of your favorite munchies. So if you got your…


Real estate by the techies, for the techies

By GREGORY ZELLER // Tech companies are their own corporate species, including their unique habitats. That’s the professional assessment of Ross Selinger, a commercial real estate veteran who’s spent 26 years fitting law, engineering, accounting and all sorts of other firms into proper spaces, primarily on Long Island. It’s also the thinking behind REtech, a startup Selinger has focused on the specific real estate needs of technology companies. The entrepreneur’s first startup, Jericho-based commercial real…


5 incubators, 40 startups, one big showcase

The full calendar is here. Stony Brook University’s vast business-development ecosystem will take a bow, and enjoy a healthy dose of self-promotion, during the university’s first-ever Business Incubator Showcase. The June 2 event at SBU’s Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology is scheduled to include more than 40 presentations and exhibits by startup and early-stage companies based in the CEWIT and other university research and commercialization incubators, including the Center for Biotechnology, the…