Startup Communities

I recently read Brad Feld’s book Startup Communities – Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City.

Brad is a successful entrepreneur and now is an angel investor or VC (like myself).  He started Tech Stars in Boulder, Co.

One concept he puts forward is startup communities are made up of entrepreneurs and everyone else.  It is the job of everyone else to support and help the entrepreneurs succeed.

He also differentiates between accelerators and incubators.  Accelerators have formal short term programs to catapult a company to the next stage.  They are often measured by how many companies get follow on funding after the program.

I have had the good fortune to see the startup community in Waterloo that centres around Communitech, the Accelerator Centre, The Tannery, Hyperdrive (an accelerator) etc.  I have seen first hand the synergies that a healthy startup community creates.

Canrock is creating a startup community in Long Island.   We are more of an incubator with a twist.  Many incubators offer only space.  We offer space with an environment of dynamic people.  We offer mentoring, coaching, training (need to pick up our curriculum of offerings in 2013) as well as shared services fro everything from bookkeeping, payroll, benefits to programming.  We can take an entrepreneur group with an idea/sales ability and team them with a programming group to execute on their vision.

I am inspired that Felds was able to have such an impact in Boulder, I am certain we can have similar impact in Long Island.

I liked that he also had parts on failure.  Having failures is a part of entrepreneurship.  Successful entrepreneurs are those who pick themselves up and move forward.

Good book – worth reading.

Jim Estill
Partner

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Innovate NY Raises over $45M

Since Governor Andrew Cuomo first applied for funding through the State Small Business Credit Initiative, Innovate NY has raised $45.3 million to fund seed-stage startups. The capital has been disbursed in $4 million to $5 million increments to six New York-based outfits that back startups, one of which being Canrock Ventures.

In exchange for funding dollars, recipients agreed to secure at least a two-to-one match from private sources; recipients als agreed not to allocate more than $500,000 for any one company.

According to PEHUB, this deployment of funds could be evidence of the fact that federal officials are feeling encouraged about how the initiative is going so far!

Click here to view the complete article.

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Canrock Ventures and Thought Box 1 Featured

Progress & Promise final-23 from Cornell Extension Marine Program on Vimeo.

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LIRR Mobile Ticketing Plans Moving Forward

The Long Island Rail Road wants all of its customers to be able to print train tickets at home or download them to smartphones by the end of next year.

That determination by LIRR president Helena Williams comes after the successful test of a mobile ticketing program last week.

The LIRR used the system for customers traveling to and from Farmingdale for theBarclays golf tournament. The agency sold 5,894 mobile tickets during the six-day event, said Joe Calderone, LIRR vice president of customer service. That number accounted for 20 percent of all LIRR tickets sold for the tournament and “far exceeded” expectations, he said.

The agency will move forward with plans to gauge interest from mobile ticketing device manufacturers this fall, and put out a request for bids by the end of the year, Williams said. The LIRR expects to partner on the venture with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority‘s other railroad, Metro-North.

Calderone said the LIRR will look for a handheld device that conductors can use to scan bar codes on phones and printed tickets, swipe credit cards and print tickets.

Implementing such a system will present challenges not encountered in the “controlled environment” of last week’s pilot program. During the test, conductors scanned tickets as customers got on and off trains at Farmingdale.

A systemwide mobile ticketing program would have to ensure the devices maintain cellular connectivity on a moving train. The LIRR also would have to figure out how to “collect” mobile tickets twice during a typical trip — before and after Jamaica — as conductors do with paper tickets.

Officials with CooCoo, the Huntington company that developed the iPhone-powered device used in the text, has developed mobile ticketing for transit systems in other cities, including San Diego.

“We think the technology is out there, the solutions are out there, and the industry is ready to move toward mobile ticketing,” Williams said. “And so are the customers.”

The LIRR surveyed 368 passengers who used the mobile ticketing option during the golf tournament and said that 99 percent reported being satisfied. Everyone surveyed said they would buy a ticket using the mobile system again.

“We look forward to working with the LIRR and their workforce in the introduction of new technologies to improve the riders’ commuting experience,” said Mark Epstein, chairman of the LIRR Commuter Council, a riders’ group.

Anthony Simon, general chairman of the United Transportation Union Local 645, which represents LIRR conductors, cautioned that mobile ticketing “may pose challenges” in some situations, such as with high volumes of riders.

“Ticket agents, ticket vending machines and conductors will always be the staple to fare collection in a commuter rail system, but mobile ticketing may eventually be a viable option,” he said.

Williams said she expected that once mobile ticketing was in place systemwide, riders would still be able to buy tickets from agents or machines if they wanted.

Article published in Newsday Online – http://www.newsday.com/long-island/lirr-mobile-ticketing-plans-moving-forward-1.3933904

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Schumer- Sponsored Bill: Big News for Start-Ups and Accelerate Long Island Efforts

The Bill is called The Startup Innovation Credit Act of 2012. It would allow emerging companies to claim R&D tax credits against employment taxes instead of income taxes, which severely restricts the ability of newly formed companies from accessing this vital small business jobs program. To qualify for the Startup Innovation Credit, a company must be less than five years old and have less than $5 million in gross receipts.

This is big news for all start-ups and specifically the effort to commercialize the research being developed in Long Island’s major research institutions. Currently, start-ups are at a disadvantage by not being able to allocate more resources to innovation and job creation. This piece of legislature would begin to level the playing field with existing companies in that regard.

Canrock Ventures’ Managing Partner, Mark Fasciano, was asked to comment and stated, “Every technology startup I know has an initial R&D investment period where the company goes through a trial and error learning phase. The most fragile stage of a tech startup is the early years where it builds a product for the market. This new bill would increase the chances of success for startups around the country, and bring fairness to the R&D tax credit system.”

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