No. 33: Uber at $50B, a chocolate cure and how dude are you?

LOOKING TO THE SUBURBS: There’s an inconvenient truth tucked into the environmental sustainability plan for New York that Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled last month: The city needs the suburbs to solve its housing problem. With rents soaring and too few new apartments for the city’s growing population, the ‘burbs hold vast potential for multifamily housing along the veins of the region’s public transit network. The problem? More than 100 governments in counties, cities, towns and villages on Long Island wield tight control over new apartments. Forging a regional agreement with them would be a Nobel-worthy exercise in diplomacy. CNY

THE ANSWER IS CHINA: The private sector spent $665 million on data loss prevention last year, with a 15 percent increase expected in 2015. Congress beefed up penalties under the Economic Espionage Act, raising the maximum fine to $5 million from $500K. Still, the FBI lists digital crime as its third priority, just behind terrorism and counterintelligence. The agency reported a 60 percent increase in trade secret investigations from 2009 through 2013. Why isn’t our digital security program working? NYT

PREPPING THE iGENERATION: If you had the chance to define the skills required for the next generation of workers at your company, what would make the list? Hofstra’s Debbi Honorof is taking a shot at it this summer with a pre-collegiate program that focuses on collaboration, problem-solving, flexibility, creativity and tech savvy. And don’t forget a sense of humor. The Debrief at Innovate LI

HEALTH PIONEERS: The Hofstra-North Shore LIJ medical school graduates its first class today, a group of 30 pioneering students who signed up for an idea sketched out on a diner napkin by Hofstra prez Stuart Rabinowitz and North Shore’s Mike Dowling. Today the school boasts a just-opened $36M facility and 280 students, with enrollment expected to hit 400 this fall. Well done, gentlemen.

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SEED FUNDS: New York State is launching a $2 million investment fund to offer early-stage financing to certified minority- and women-owned startups, with a particular focus on high-tech ventures. The program will be run by Excell Partners, a not-for-profit seed fund run by Theresa Mazzullo, a veteran banking and investment exec with close ties to Gov. Cuomo. Innovate LI

And: Square, PayPal and other financetech firms are getting into small business loans and advances. Square Capital and PayPal Working Capital offer financing in exchange for a fixed fee that’s paid back as a percentage of the merchant’s daily sales. If merchants have no sales on a particular day, they pay nothing. U.S. small business lending, which fell by half between 2008 and 2009, is rebounding. Business Insider

THE C. DIFFERENCE: Symbiotic Health, a Feinstein Center spinout working to cure the insidious C. Diff intestinal infection, the most prevalent hospital-acquired affliction out there, is one of several research groups making real progress on an assortment of fronts. You might find Symbiotic’s a little hard to swallow, but it’s 90 percent effective. Innovate LI



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.


CORRECTION: Friday morning’s newsletter inadvertently dropped the final letter from CA founder Russ Artzt’s name. No excuses, but did we mention the boutique bourbon booth at Thursday night’s Hofstra gala? BTW, the event raised $1.5M for scholarships. Sorry, Russ; way to go Stu.

HISSONER OUT WEST: NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking his income equality roadshow to the left coast this week, including an address at his daughter’s college, Santa Clara University, the self-dubbed “Jesuit University in Silicon Valley.” De Blasio has previously stumped for fair pay in Iowa, Wisconsin and Nebraska and will start the week in Washington DC. The invite, via Crain’s

UBER ALLES: Ride-hailing app Uber has delivered 30 million rides in NYC since its 2011 launch there, or an average 82,000 a day. The company is reportedly seeking yet another $2B in venture capital, which would give it a valuation north of $50B, or 120X the $400M it did in revenue last year. Business Insider

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CHIPPING IN: CHIP is a credit card sized, single-board computer that comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, a 1GHz processor, 512 RAM, and 4GB of storage. The price: $9. A little extra if you want the PocketChip, which adds a touchscreen and keyboard. CHIP’s Kickstarter campaign, which was looking for $50K, hovered near $500K last night, with 27 days to go. From Next Thing Co., the people who brought you the animated GIF camera Otto.


LOOKING GOOD, DUDE: Remember Microsoft’s How Old Do I Look project? That was so two weeks ago. Now comes How Dude Do I Look?, a fun homage from Lulu, which is best known for its girls-only guy-rating app. The Dude feature worked perfectly in our test, scoring a photo of Innovate LI’s John Kominicki as “98 percent dude” and “makes me laugh.” Try it

TOO MANY APPS FOR THAT: Smartphone users have an average 26 apps on their device and use only nine of them daily. And never use nine others, according to a report from Business Intelligence.

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THAT CHOCOLATEY ZEN FEELING: Researchers are getting close to the perfect afternoon pick-me-up: A piece of 60 percent cacao chocolate, which has been proven to boost attention span and energy. The problem? It also spikes blood pressure. Now, scientists at Northern Arizona State are experimenting with the addition of L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea that lowers blood pressure and promotes a calm, contented feeling. Hersey’s is said to be very interested. Science Daily

IT’S THE STORY, OF A LOVELY LADY: Next time you get the theme song to The Brady Bunch stuck in your head, try chewing gum. That’s the advice of British researchers, who have been working to erase dreaded “ear worm.” Warning: Vigorous chewing significantly reduced the song memory but did not erase it in all subjects. Of course, they were using the song “Payphone” by Maroon 5. LA Times via Dave Pell

CLICKED IN: The top clicks from Friday’s newsletter: In a tie, Cold Spring Harbor’s 1948 study on leaving Long Island story and the blurb on LISTnet’s June 2 Happy Hour gathering. There was also strong interest in Goddard Labs and Chipotle’s guac recipe.

DIGIT-AL: Microsoft has decided to go where no operating system has gone before and include a middle finger emoji, which Apple, Google and Twitter have so far shunned. It’s due out in the Windows 10 launch this summer.

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