LaunchPad Blasts Off
Officials cut the ribbon Wednesday on the LaunchPad high-tech business accelerator, which they hope will serve as the staging ground from which new technology-driven businesses can take off.
As elected officials, including County Executive Steve Bellone and Councilman Mark Cuthbertson, toured the 8,522 square-foot, second-story shared workspace at 315 Main St. in Huntington, entrepreneurs from a half-dozen startup firms were hard at work.
Tyler Roye, CEO of eGifter, the incubator’s anchor tenant, partnered with Andrew Hazan and LaunchPad Long Island, which also has a similar facility in Mineola, to create the downtown business hub which Roye estimates can accommodate 10 to 15 startup businesses.
“What we’re trying to do is fill the void in the ecosystem for start-ups,” Roye said. “We’re hoping to see the LaunchPad Huntington model help provide a framework for mentorship that increases the likelihood that our startups will succeed.”
“My goal is to help create a world-class startup ecosystem on Long Island, and Huntington is a key ingredient in that plan,” Hazan added.
Bellone, who toured the site with Industrial Development Agency (IDA) chairman Anthony Manetta and IDA board member Steven Rossetti, of Huntington, said the grand opening is a “key moment” in efforts to build an innovation economy in Suffolk County. The IDA approved a five-year, $150,000 tax incentive package for the incubator in July, and has a desk in the facility. The Long Island Software and Technology Network (LISTNet) also has an office in the incubator.
“This is exactly what we need to do in order to be competitive in attracting that young, creative class that is essential to build an innovation economy,” Bellone said.
Opportunities for capital and professional development should be ample at the new incubator, officials said. Angel Dough Ventures has created a fund to underwrite at least $250,000 in seed funding for select Huntington and Mineola-based LaunchPad startups. LISTNet, St. Joseph’s College and Accelerate Long Island also plan to hold regular events at the facility.
Huntington’s Farjad Fazli, co-founder of Immersive Ubiquity, which develops apps for wearable and gesture-based technology like Google Glass and XBox Kinect, said he learned of the new incubator during a three-month stay in LaunchPad Mineola, and is about to move into their new incubator space.
The new space combines the comforts of home with an urbane flair, he explained.
“Huntington is more convenient location… It’s a nice, happening downtown area,” Fazli said.