BIA/NYS convenes 2016 annual meeting in Utica, announces new executive director

Our 2016 annual meeting, held this year at thINCubator in Utica, attracted more than 90 attendees from around the state. At the meeting, we announced a management transition. Marc Alessi, an attorney, entrepreneur, and former state Assemblyman, will take over from David Hochman as the next executive director of the BIA/NYS. A biography of Marc is attached. 

For the second year in a row, we marketed our meetings in partnership with the Upstate Venture Association of New York (UVANY), which held one of its regional meetings the night before, also in thINCubator. The day before, our sponsor NYSERDA also held a meeting of its clean-energy incubation contractors together with partners at Empire State Development's Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (formerly known as NYSTAR). 

Our featured lunch speaker was Dr. Danielle Merfeld, vice president and director for electronic technology systems at GE Global Research. She spoke about opportunities for entrepreneurial startups statewide that may be opened up by GE's $2 billion investment in a power-electronics packaging line in Utica. Her presentation is attached.

Welcome remarks were given by Dr. Randall VanWagoner, president of Mohawk Valley Community College, which sponsors thINCubator, the regional Innovation Hot Spot, and the regional Manufacturing Extension Partnership node. We thank President VanWagoner for joining us for so much of the morning session. We were also greeted by a staff member for Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, who represents thINCubator's district. 

The meeting featured a programmatic update from thINCubator, represented by Frank DuRoss, head of institutional advancement and the college foundation at MVCC, and at Griffiss Institute (a NYS Certified Business Incubator) represented by Bill Wolf. Presentations are attached.

Following these presentations, outgoing executive director David Hochman moderated a panel discussion with Martin Babinec, founder of Upstate Venture Connect, and Alicia Dicks, the CEO of the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties. The topic was ways in which private wealth can be mobilized in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors to support innovation, incubation and entrepreneurship, as exemplified by certain initiatives under way in the Mohawk Valley. (No presentation available.)

Next Bill Wolf moderated a panel featuring Brian Abbe, the head of the Office of Research and Technology Applications (ORTA) at the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate (AFRL RI) at Griffiss Business and Technology Park and Evan DeGennaro of NYSTEC, a non-profit IT consultancy that assists in bringing applications of AFRL intellectual property to bear in the public sector. NYSTEC also sponsors our member IgniteU NY in Troy. 

We heard updates from our state partners: Nikita Hardy, representing Matt Watson of Empire State Develpment/STI; and Steven A. Taylor, representing Senator Martin Golden of the Senate Select Committee on Science, Technology, Incubation and Entrepreneurship. 

At the business meeting, the membership of BIA/NYS confirmed the following additional members:

  • Queens College Tech Center Incubator
  • CUNY Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • The Knotel
  • KiiLN
  • STEAM Garden
  • Hofstra Center for Entrepreneurship
  • IgniteU NY
  • i518 Innovation Hot Spot
  • Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovation Center (ETIC) at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT)
  • LaunchPad Long Island

The membership also confirmed to full terms three directors who had been serving short terms to fill vacancies:

  • Mike Riedlinger (representing High Tech Rochester's incubator programs)
  • Tom Schryver (representing Rev: Ithaca and the Southern Tier Startup Alliance)
  • Esther Vargas (represeting RPI's Emerging Ventures Ecosystem and Tech Park). Esther has also just won election to the board of the International Business Innovation Association (iNBIA), formerly the National Business Incubation Association. We warmly congratulate her! 

We thank our sponsors NYSERDA; the Research Foundation for SUNY; Marshall & Sterling Insurance; the New York State Economic Development Council; Bond, Schoeneck & King; thINCubator; Griffiss Institute; and UVANY! 

Tech Garden-affiliated Genius NY accelerator searching for manager

Our supporting member The Tech Garden is searching for a manager of the Genius NY program, a state-funded, $3 million accelerator for data-technology companies. Genius NY is one of several sources of early-stage financing that operate in close partnership with the incubator.

Here is the job description for the Genius NY program manager. For more on Genius NY, please see this issue of CenterStateCEO's newsletter from last year. The Tech Garden is also searching for a resource manager.

Clarkson celebrates expansion of incubator programs to additional building sites & a graduation

Clarkson University, which operates the Peyton Hall business incubator, held groundbreaking ceremonies for additional incubator space in nearby Damon Hall and at Old Main, the old administration building at the heart of the university's former campus in downtown Potsdam:

A separate university news release also profiles The Robot Zone, a student-initiated business focusing on STEM education that has now graduated from the Peyton Hall incubator and operates from commercial space on Main Street. 

Two startups win $50k at AFRL Commercialization Academy demo day

Two startups commercializing technology from the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate (AFRL/RI) won $25,000 apiece at the latest demo day of the Commercialization Academy held by the Griffiss Institute and Wasabi Ventures:

  • Xompass FaaS, a service platform providing intelligence to the energy industry, won the judges' vote; and
  • OneTouchTrust, which combats identity theft, won the audience vote. 

Principals of AFRL/RI, Griffiss Institute, and Wasabi Ventures, which collaborate on the Commercialization Academy are all on the agenda at our annual meeting, scheduled to speak broadly about ways incubator-based startups across the state can leverage the AFRL/RI in Rome and the defense-industry supply chain.

For more background on the winners, please see the Griffiss Institute news release

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