The Angels Have Landed on Long Island

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The angels have landed on Long Island and they just might bring manufacturing back to this region. Three of the six companies that presented to the investors of the Long Island Angel Network last week are commercializing innovative devices for the biomedical, cleantech and defense industries and they want to make them on Long Island. An audience of 70 – mostly prospective investors and the Network’s largest audience to date.

The angels have landed on Long Island and they just might bring manufacturing back to this region. Three of the six companies that presented to the investors of the Long Island Angel Network last week are commercializing innovative devices for the biomedical, cleantech and defense industries and they want to make them on Long Island. An audience of 70 – mostly prospective investors and the Network’s largest audience to date, according to Chair Michael Faltischek of Ruskin Moscou Faltischek – heard from:

  •     SynchroPET’s Marc Alessi, who described the excitement of prospective customers at metropolitan research and clinical institutions about his new generation of miniaturized, MRI-compatible PET scanners. Based on technology from Brookhaven National Laboratory, the new devices will be half the cost and half the size of current equipment, have higher resolution, and permit simultaneous PET and MRI imaging for unprecedented anatomical and functional accuracy. Mr. Alessi noted at the beginning of his presentation that just before coming to the podium he had received word of an investment by a local venture fund;
  •     Rotary Power’s Mark Hopkinson, who wants to make a new generation of Wankel rotary engines that runs on virtually any fuel and is especially well suited to airborne and long-mission platforms operating in harsh environments; and
  •     ThermoLift’s Paul Schwartz, who intends to make on Long Island a new heat pump whose patent pending design will provide customers with a 50% reduction in operating costs and fuel consumption, making back the purchase price in periods ranging from less than four years to less than a year.

“Long Island has great research and great ideas and great engineering talent to turn the ideas into products, but that takes capital, especially at the earliest stages. We are the only organized, publicly accessible group of angel investors in this region,” said Faltischek. The diverse lineup of presenting companies, typical of the group’s wide ranging interests, included Mobitrons, which is creating an enterprise-standard mobile app development platform that anticipates exponential growth in enterprise needs in this area; zenplaya, creator of “mobile storefronts” based on the smartphone user’s location; and Mobile One Health, a developer of MDChat, the first HIPAA-compliant communications and information-sharing platform, which already has commitments representing a million dollars of revenue in 2013. Accelerate Long Island Executive Director Mark Lesko addressed the group briefly, anticipating a close working relationship and inviting those present to share with him any suggestions for fulfilling his technology commercialization mission.

The investors also caught up with Beccair, a young high-end natural hair care products company, founded by a Hempstead native, which has received some investor commitments since presenting to the Network last May and is seeking a few more to close its first round. Chairman Faltischek commented that ShoutOmatic, which had presented to the group less than a year ago, closed one angel investment in February and is currently studying a term sheet for an acquisition by a large company, was the fastest angel exit of which he was aware.

The Long Island Angel Network, whose board of directors has screened more than 600 financing applications in the last three years, has been instrumental in creating early stage funding for eight companies since it began. The board consists of successful entrepreneurs, experienced early stage investors and business leaders; the participation of members of four of long Island's biggest venture funds offers access to follow-on financing. LIAN’s members make individual investing decisions on the deals the Network brings to their attention. More information can be found at the group’s Website, http://www.LIangels.net

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Andrew Hazen