Innovate 518 | March 2019
Drive - Connect - Lead - Support
Partner News
Gen. Keith Alexander visits UAlbany to discuss t he Emerging Trends in Cybersecurity and Education and Technology

On Thursday, April 11th, the University at Albany teamed up with Syracuse University to host The Emerging Trends in Cybersecurity Education and Technology at the UAlbany Campus Center. The event featured Retired Army Gen. Keith Alexander, the founder, chairman, co-CEO and president of IronNet Cybersecurity. Gen. Alexander is also the former director of the NSA ,Chief of the Central Security Service, and a former commander for the U.S. Cyber Command. 

With the recent and ever growing demand for Cybersecurity in the workforce, both Syracuse University and the University at Albany have developed Cybersecurity research programs and are considered R1 research institutions in the field. The event was preceded by a reception that showcased Cybersecurity research projects from both universities, and gave students and University members an opportunity to speak to General Alexander himself. Open remarks to the main event were given by University at Albany Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Edelgard Wulfert. 

The University at Albany is home of the first College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity in the nation and has been a member of the iSchools consortium since July 2018.The program consists of over 1,000 undergraduate students majoring in the program, 1,000 minors and over 200 graduate students with over 200 of those students in attendance for the event. The National Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that the need for Cybersecurity and Homeland Security in the workforce is expected to increase approximately fifty-four percent in the next twenty four months. “[These students] are focused on solving -- some of the World’s most complex security and assurance problems” says Syracuse University’s Interim Dean of University College, Michael Frasciello, who also spoke at the event.

As new age technology rapidly and constantly evolves, so does the possible threats to Cybersecurity and the need to combat them. This results in growing opportunity for the next generation. The event symposium panel included experts from all aspects of the field including government, defense, industrial and entrepreneurial. The main event kicked of with a one-on-one between Gen. Alexander and Robert Griffin, Dean of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity at the University at Albany. "We are a nation that lives on the internet- but it's not secure, that's the future...We can solve these, and [the students] are a part of the solution. Symposium panelists consisted of Dean Robert Griffin, Gen. Alexander, Attorney Christopher Meyer from Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP (Privacy, Cybersecurity and Information Management Practice), Tyler Wrightson, Founder of Leet Cybercecurity, Karen Roth, Chief Engineer at the Air Force Research Laboratory, and J.R. Rao, who leads Security Research at IBM. The panelists were given time to share their stories, give advice to the next generation and answer questions from the audience with their expertise. The event was sponsored by Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP, NYSTEC, The Center for Economic Growth, Leet Cybersecurity, Innovate 518 and the UAlbany Innovation Center.

2019 New York State Business Plan Business Competition Takes Place at Massry Center of Business

The Massry Center for Business at the University at Albany hosted the semi-finals of the Capital Region New York Business Plan Competition on April 12th, 2019. 30 teams from around the Capital Region area came out to pitch their business and compete for the Capital Cup pgrand prize of $1,000. The competition was divided into six distinct tracks; Agtech & Food, Consumer Products & Services, Energy & Environment, Medtech & Well-Being, Military & First Responder and Technology & Entertainment. Each track produced 1 winner and 1 runner-up who were both awarded a cash prize as well as the chance to continue to the Photo: Semi Finals Winner, Yumi Kageyama, CEO of EmpowerU
State Business Plan Competition finals which
take place on Friday, April 26th
at the Sage Armory in Albany.

Each track at the competition had 2-4 judges evaluating the presentations. Between the 20 judges they have over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience.

After the winners from the initial pitches were selected, the 6 first place winners from every track were then required to pitch their idea to the full panel of judges to win the Capital Cup for a grand prize of $1,000.

The 1st and 2nd place winners from each track that will compete in the State Finals were:

AgTech & Food Track

Judges: Julianne Clouthier from FuzeHub, Heidi Knoblauch from ReceiptHQ & Plum Oyster Bar and Matt Wagoner from Wagoner Law Firm

1st place - Ndriana Agro: A farming business based in Madagascar that holds social responsibility goals. By purchasing and distributing highly fertile land in economically depressed areas of Madagascar, Ndriana Agro is working to give back to the Malagasy rural community by growing the economy. This will open up opportunities for jobs and improve the standard of living in Madagascar. Presented by: Jessica Ndrianasy, Skidmore College

2nd place - Sanctuary Farm Brewing Company: Produces small-batch beer in a bucolic setting. The Sanctuary Farm Brewing Company prides themselves not only on their ingredients but also providing a holistic beer-drinking experience. They are committed to the ideas of transparency, responsibility, and community-building, from knowing where the ingredients come from to creating an environment that fosters relationship-building and responsible drinking. Sanctuary Farm Brewing Company is distinct from other breweries in the area because it not only offers high-quality beer, but also allows consumers to experience the 250 acres of land where the hops used to make the beer are grown- an experience akin to that usually found on vineyards. Presented by: Conor Austin, Skidmore College

Energy & Environment Track

Judges: Christy Alexander from WorkSmart and Dan Bullis from Saratoga CoWorks

1st place - Mobius Packaging Company: The only group in the Energy and Enviorment track Mobius Packaging Co. is a sustainable packaging company that provides packaging solutions that are biodegradable, and plant based. Their product, the BioRing, is a 6-pack ring made out of plant materials and will offer craft brewers of NY an opportunity to make their 6 packs more sustainable. Presented by: Katherine Walker, RPI

Military & First Responder Track

Judges: Eli Rabinowitz from Pioneer Bank, Dorothy Rogers-Bullis from Saratoga CoWorks and Lea Weir from CoveyCS

1st place - Iconoclasm: A collaborative reverse engineering platform that aims to change the cybersecurity and threat intelligence space by equipping tier three operators, analysts, and researchers with tools to collaborate and to protect us from the threats of the world with increased efficiency and ease of use. Iconoclasm provides an online platform equipped with best in class tooling to meet the needs of the good guys as the capabilities of attackers grow daily. Presented by: Lucien Brule, RPI

2nd place - Vets Together: An app-centric social network community-based approach to tackling the veteran suicide and PTSD epidemic. Utilizing the US Army’s “battle buddy” philosophy, the network is designed to form meaningful connections within the veteran’s area to ensure he or she has the support needed. Presented by: Benjamin Harris, UAlbany

Medtech & Wellbeing Track

Judges: Shawn Allan from Lithoz-America, Gary Goldstein the Director of Dental Programs Emblem Health, Elizabeth Meliski from Peak Neuro Group and Bill Newman the Managing Director of Northwestern Mutual

1st place - Intelligent Medicine: Developing training solutions for doctors powered by augmented reality and artificial intelligence. Intelligent Medicine hopes to solve inadequacies in current training of airway management with a modern training platform that provides users with realistic medical simulations. Presented by: Adam Ryason, RPI

2nd place - Deadeye Technology: Deadeye is reinventing the way athletes train for their sport. They offer a low-cost hardware unit similar to the size and shape of a GoPro which wirelessly connects to a smartphone app tracking the users every movement and providing targeted feedback towards what the user wants to improve on most while creating a sharing and social platform for athletes. Presented by: Daniel Lannan, RPI

Technology & Entertainment Track

Judges: Jeff Goronkin from Urban CoWorks, Marcia Mitchell from FFVC, Mike Mozill a professor at WIT, and Tyler Wrightson from CoLab

1st place - EmpowerU Virtual Reality: A Virtual Reality content house and development company specializing in developing efficient and effective training modules designed to immerse our users into stress-inducing environments to create experiential learning that bridge classroom and real-life training. This technology could be used to educate someone on how to physically do something in a virtual space. Presented by Yumi Kageyama, Siena College

2nd place - Mantapoole Technologies: MantaPoole Techonologies is developing the next generation of plenoptic cameras. This capability will allow for the accurate Identification and positional capability that is needed for the next generation of smart machines in autonomous drones, robotic manufacturing, automated agriculture, and automated surgery applications. Presented by: Jesse Claypool, SUNY Polytechnic

Consumer Products & Services Track

Judges: Tom Brownell COO/Entrepreneur, Cheryl Kennedy from Tech Valley Center of Gravity, Julie Massry-Knox the Sales and Marketing Manager at Tri-City Rentals and Jay Singh from Sunmark Federal Credit Union

1st place - Funletz, LLC: A fun accessory with school logos, animals, or sports icons that attaches to the aglet on your sweatshirt, backpack or zipper. Funletz will attach directly to drawstrings and showcase, conveniently hiding the existing aglet and making your clothing pop. Every pair of Funletz comes with a pair of Zipletz allowing you to attach them to zippers, key rings, your imagination is the only limit. Presented by: Zachary Mills, Siena College

2nd place - OgaFaaji, LLC: Luxury traditional accessories uniting cultures through fashion. The name “Oga Faaji”, stems from the Yoruba language which translates roughly to “boss of flexin” Faaji is flexibly used to describe an extravagant swagger, enjoyment, or the act of flexin’. Presented by: Afolabi Soetan, UAlbany

After each of the first-place winners in every track presented their final pitches in front of the full panel of judges, they determined one winner. The winner of the 2019 Capital Cup was awarded to Yumi Kageyama and her business, EmpowerU Virtual Reality.

Yumi Kageyama created VR technology for multiple types of training purposes. Say you need to be trained for life safety procedures for work or you are a referee that needs to be coached on how to manage a contest. By immersing yourself with virtual reality visuals to gain expertise in your topic, this training process can be completed efficiently and without the cost of an actual person dictating the training. This technology Empowers U to improve the quality of your training experience. The future of this software will engage users in even more virtual reality experiences like driving a car or a boat.
Photo: (left) Ndriana Agro CEO, Jessica Ndrianasy and (right) Keynote speaker for the evening Author, Entrepreneur and UAlbany Alum, Steven Lobel. Photos courtesy of the University at Albany School of Business.
Innovation Insight of the Month: Innovate 518 and UAlbany Innovation Center EIR Robert Manasier Talks the Importance of Startup Culture
As we continue to raise funds, revenue and increase client bases for our certified companies, wanted to spend a few minutes this month discussing the importance of company culture at the earliest stages of company formation.


Culture is not a name or slogans, it is the model of all you want your company to be and do. It forms what you say, how you say it and how you behave as a team. This execution focus to culture is why we spend time on it at Innovate 518 even at the beginning of a company with 1 or 2 members. How you execute makes your company matter to the market. It is the key factor that will lead to sustainable success and growth.


Culture creates fundamental shifts in how you, your team and your clients speak about your business and how they act when built honestly and in reality. This shift aligns priorities, goals, purpose of action and the sense of ownership among all parties at all levels of the company where businesses want to optimally operate. The culture difference assists in all aspects of your company from recruiting to management and impacts operational effectiveness the most.


The link between sustainable results, performance management and company culture has been well documented but usually for more established companies. We at Innovate518 work on company culture creation from our earliest interactions with our portfolio companies. A properly aligned company culture will consistently deliver impact, results and retention of high performing staff. It has nothing to do with office layouts, flex time (though that can be a powerful driver of retention) but everything to do with internal and external communications and most importantly, actions and reactions in good and bad times. This honesty with who and what you are as a business and why your company exists will attract the proper team members and clients.


This focus on mission and communication across your company, market and client base emphasizes distinct messaging and dialogue-inducing content. This is the start to forming your company position, beliefs and behaviors. What your company believes, does and aspires to are all housed in the culture.  


Culture binds your behaviors as a team. You do this by being honest, transparent and focused on what separates you from all others in your market. Setting expectations that everyone has to follow is also a key aspect to finding and building a culture that matters to you, your team and your clients.


A culture built on honest assessment of what you do and where you are in the market can be the framework upon which you build your people and processes for increased productivity. With the right foundation, your team can set individual and company goals and celebrate individual and company results without the politics and agendas that get in the way of great business. It is also a lot more fun and productivity per teammate will explode your bottom line.


Need to explore how to do start the culture work, reach out to us to schedule time to discuss. 

We are here to help.
Are you the next Great Innovator?
Tax Breaks For Growing Companies
Innovate 518 encourages more young entrepreneurs/enterprises to take advantage of New York State tax exemptions. To be eligible, companies must be in good standing with an Innovate 518 incubator, and on a path toward scalable development. The advantages include five years of exemption from New York State corporate income tax and sales tax on purchases. Partners can also deduct their earned income from company income.

For more information please contact Maria Pidgeon at or 518-956-8216.
-Innovate 518 in the Media-
Upcoming Events

May 21
Change Your Sales Strategies and Sell More Seminar
8:15AM - 9:30AM
Capital Region Chamber of Commerce

June 12
Population Health Innovation Summit 2019 hosted by IgniteU
Albany Capital Center

June 19
Speak Like a Pro: One Day Intensive Workshop
10:00AM - 12:00PM
Urban Co-Works
Get tickets to these events and add your events to our calendar at
Contact us: Innovate 518 | | 518-956-8216 |