Category Archives: News

Business Investments and Success: What’s New

Some companies – especially those in the medical tech industry – are seeing the fruits of their labor right now.  Having developed ideas and worked carefully – for years (sometimes decades) – these companies are now getting investments they have long deserved.  Here we take a brief look at what has been going on in this area in the New York region.

Centene – a firm working as a principal intermediary for both government-sponsored and privately insured health care programs – has been heavily involved in raising funds for Quartet Health.  The latter company was established in 2014 and collaborates with “health plans and systems to facilitate access to personalized care and enable virtual collaboration between providers to ensure the best health outcomes” with a focus on “medical and behavioral health conditions.”  Thanks to the support of Centene, $600m in Series D funding has now been raised.  This brings the total of the funds raised to $153m.

Other Series D funding that has been raised is now in the hands of SecurityScorecard. The information security firm – founded in 2013 – appraises corporate firms’ cybersecurity strength.  It does this via an analytical rating of cyber threat intelligence signals to get a better understanding of IT risk management.  In its Series D funding, $50M has been raised from a variety of investors including: Accomplice, AXA Ventures, Evolution Equity and Intel Capital.  This brings its total reported equity funding to $100M.

But that is just a couple of small items.  The bigger picture is that over the last five years, 7,500 New York-based tech companies have been supported by $38.4 billion of investment alongside a huge network of academic institutions, accelerators and incubators.  As well, a bunch of startups have been purchased in New York.  Examples include: General Assembly (for $413 million) and Plated ($200 million).

Founded in 2011, GA is a leader in education which has “transformed tens of thousands of careers through pioneering, experiential education in today’s most in-demand skills. When you learn web development, data, design, business, and more.”  Today it has a “global, professional community of 40,000-plus full- and part-time alumni.”

Plated was established in 2012 and a year later – due to its participation in Techstars – developed a name for itself.  The US ingredient-and-recipe meal kit service facilitates the meal-making process for people in their own homes. The way it works is simple:  the client signs up, picks their recipes, then receives a box of all the ingredients they need for it and then follows very simple steps to “create impressive dinners worth sharing.”

New York has definitely proven itself in the business-cum-startup-investment world recently.

New York’s Small Business Champion

Earlier this year Phil Andrews of the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce (LIACC) was named President of the 2019 Small Business Champion.  The recognition and commendation comes from the US Small Business Administration (SBA)’s NY District Office.

The LIAACC is the largest African American Chamber of Commerce in New York. it provides services to Kings, Nassau, Queens and Suffolk.

The criteria for selection by which Andrews was commended is:

  1. Made significant endeavors to enhance conditions for the overall business community
  2. Counseled small business groups within the business community
  3. Encouraged and engaged in volunteer efforts to advance interests within the entire community (not just restricted to business)
  4. Encouraged and engaged in volunteer efforts to create professional services in the small business community with a focus on financial, legislative and managerial areas
  5. Shown to be an advocate for interests of small businesses.

NYC: New Laws

There have been some new laws passed in New York City for local residents as of late.  The 185 and 186 went into effect on March 18, 2019 to extend rights of mothers who are nursing in the workplace.  What this means in practice is that employers now have an added responsibility toward working mothers:  the provision of a lactation room.  As well, lactation room accommodation policies must be written out.  These two laws are amendments to the New York City Human Rights Law.

Another new law was put in place in an attempt to help support people on the street who are being searched by the police.  These new laws took place last October via the Right to Know Act. What this means is that before performing a search, a police officer must give the individual a business card and only thereafter ask for permission to perform their search.

The Climate Mobilization Act completed 6 climate mitigation laws.  This predominantly transforms New York’s approach to climate change, and is also known as The Green New York Deal.  The fact is, 70 percent of New York’s carbon footprint is brought about by heating and cooling for buildings.  A third of that comes from 50,000 of the city’s huge skyscrapers.  Thus this bill is requesting that owners of buildings will cut emissions by 40% by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.

Michellene Davis: A Woman of Many Firsts

The 19thThurgood Marshall College Fund’s Annual New Jersey Award of Excellence ceremony was held at the end of March in Belleville, NJ.  Winning an award is good for any business for many reasons: it recognizes excellent work; elevates a company’s reputation; bolsters morale at a firm and sparks supplementary customer interest.  But with this particular award, winners such as RWJBarnabas Health’s Michellene Davis can also take pride in the parallel being made with the award’s founder.  As Davis said:

“This award means so much to me, because Justice Marshall embodied that which the premise of my life’s work is premised upon, such as advocacy, education, justice and civil rights. I am honored that my very small contributions were deemed worthy of this amazing award.”

Michellene Davis is a woman of many firsts.  She was Barnabas Health’s first female (and black) individual to become Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs.  In addition, she was the first ever African American to hold the position of Chief Policy Counsel to New Jersey Governor, Jon Corzine.  

Role Models for International Women’s Day: Michellene Davis, Christine Stearns and Trish Zita

Just in time for International Women’s Day, three out of the ten people named to the ROI Power List Influencers of 2019 are women! Michellene Davis, Christine Stearns and Trish Zita were recognized for their unique and valuable contributions to the government.

Of these women, Michellene Davis is the only minority woman who was recognized as an Influencer. Michellene Davis is a trailblazer with an impressive list of accomplishments: a noted trial attorney, she created the New Jersey’s Department of the Treasury’s Office of Supplier Diversity and Division of Minority and Women-owned Businesses and was the youngest lottery CEO for the state of New Jersey. Michellene Davis is a public advocate and lobbyist who is also an inspirational speaker.

Christine Stearns is an attorney and healthcare lobbyist who specializes in the healthcare industry. She is an attorney who serves on the board of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute and the Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice. In 2005, she co-chaired the Governor of New Jersey’s Health Care and Senior Service Policy Group.

Trish Zita is the co-founder of the Kaufman Zita Group and the firm’s managing business partner. A powerful and effective lobbyist, she also represents companies as well as non-profit organizations. She was selected by Governor Phil Murphy to serve on the Environment and Energy Transition Committee and has received several awards for her work.

These three women set an inspiring example of leadership.

NYC Infrastructure Developments

Infrastructure

Last month it was announced that NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan will receive a capital investment of $52 million. The money will be put toward enhancing infrastructure there.  This includes:  automatic fire sprinkler upgrade; new, safer patient-accessible windows; emergency power system; roof replacement. Cooling towers and the Medium Pressure Steam Condensate System unit will also be replaced.  According to Mayor Bill de Blasio:

“We are proud to have the largest public hospital system in the nation. NYC Heath + Hospitals/Metropolitan has been a mainstay in this community for decades, and this investment will help the hospital get the upgrades needed to continue serving the community.”

It is hoped that all parts of the project will be completed by 2021.

Over in Hudson Square, watch out for more mega infrastructure, this time from Google. The plan is to build a 1.7+ million sq.ft campus there spanning 315 and 345 Hudson Street and 550 Washington Street for a $1 billion price tag.  It will be called Google Hudson Square. CEO and President of Partnership for New York City, Kathryn Wylde said that:

“It’s likely that we’ll not only compete with but surpass Silicon Valley because we literally don’t just have a tech industry, we’ve got technology transforming all our major industries.”

This is especially the case with the addition of Amazon HQ2 in the area.

Minimum Wage Increases

The first city in America that is enforcing minimum wage for app-based drivers (such as Uber, Juno, etc.) is New York City.  At the end of this month, the new pay rules will ensure that all drivers irrespective of which company they work for will be paid $17.22 at least per hour after expenses.

The rule came after a vote in favor of the law was carried by the New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission at the end of last month.

According to Independent Drivers Guild founder Jim Conigliaro this resulted in “desperately needed relief to 80,000 working families.”  In a statement he added that:

“All workers deserve the protection of a fair, livable wage and we are proud to be setting the new bar for contractor workers’ rights in America. We are thankful to the Mayor, Commissioner Joshi and the Taxi and Limousine Commission, City Council Member Brad Lander and all of the city officials who listened to and stood up for drivers.”

NYC enacted its minimum wage law in 2016 with the first increase on 31 December of that year to $11.  Only by 2021 is the minimum wage for NYC workers to reach $15.

Minimum Wage in NY

Most New Yorker’s appreciate the increase in minimum wage.

Since 2016, minimum wage has been rising, from $9.70 an hour to a projected increase of $15 an hour by 2021. The rise in minimum wage means that employees can maintain a better standard of living.

“New York proudly set an example for the nation by raising the minimum wage to $15,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “The fight for economic justice for our working families continues, and we won’t stop until every New Yorker is paid the fair wages they deserve.”

However, some New Yorker’s are concerned that the increase in minimum wage means that employees will reduce their hours. Small business owners with limited budgets may find themselves unable to pay their employees.

Most New Yorker’s, however, are greeting the change in minimum wage optimistically.

Hedvig Hricak Receives David Rall Medal

In 2002, Hedvig Hricak was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies – America’s “most prestigious medical society.”  Since then her work in the field has given rise to significant recognition, as her recent acceptance of the David Rall Medal illustrates. (Hedvig Hricak‘s bio from the European Society of Radiology.)

The medal – “awarded to a member of the National Academy of Medicine who has demonstrated particularly distinguished leadership as a chair of a study committee or other such activities in a manner that was particularly exemplary, demonstrating a commitment substantially above and beyond the usual expectations of a committee chair” – was presented to Hedvig Hricak in recognition of her “valuable contributions to the activities and efforts of the NAM and National Academies.”

The two other honorees this year were Elaine L. Larson and Nicholas Peppas.  Larson holds a few roles including: senior associate dean of scholarship and research,  Anna C. Maxwell Professor of Nursing Research, and Columbia Professor of Epidemiology.  Peppas is: a professor and director of the Institute for Biomaterials, Drug Delivery, and Regenerative Medicine and the Cockrell Family Regents Chair in Engineering #6 at Texas University.

 

 

 

New York Rentals

Between 1945-63, there were commercial rent controls in the city of New York.  That has long gone so how are small businesses in the region meant to thrive? Indeed, in 2016 Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce member Patricia Dorfman said:

“It feels as though a great tsunami is coming towards us: big real estate dominating the city. You’re talking about life rafts and water wings when a tsunami is coming.”

So what plans are there to rectify this?  At the end of next month the plan is for a hearing to be held on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA), a Bill sponsored by Ydanis Rodriguez.  Should it come to fruition it would mean landlords would have to give commercial tenants 180 days before lease expiration on whether it will be renewed and if not, provide a “valid legal reason.”  A 10 year lease could also be offered, thus putting tenants in a more powerful position to “demand arbitration if they believe the rent increase is too much.”

According to Friends of SBJSA member David Eisenbach there is “extreme optimism that the essential principles of the bill will remain intact.”

It is hoped that the hearing will provide an opportunity for policymakers to hear real stories about the closing of small businesses in New York City due to lack of control over rent increases.

Before getting too excited though, according to a recent article in The Real Deal by David Jeans, the law: “would not stand up in court…lacks legal grounding and has been proposed several times in the past.”  It would also cause “inconsistencies with state law.”