Startup Tech Firms Find New Space in Huntington

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, center, cuts the ribbon at Launpad Huntington this week.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, center, cuts the ribbon at LaunchPad Huntington on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014. (Photo credit: Phil Rugile) 

Long Island’s fledgling technology industry took another step forward with the opening this week of a new space to grow companies called LaunchPad Huntington on Main Street in the heart of that village’s downtown.

The 8,500-square-foot “incubator,” in partnership with a similar operation in Mineola, will provide desks, offices and two conference rooms for entrepreneurs with the goal of creating a collegial working environment that will foster creativity, innovation and productivity. Not to mention, eventually turn a profit and change the world, albeit one online platform at a time.

“The programs will help carry the impact of the facility far beyond just the companies located in the facility,” LaunchPad Long Island founder Andrew Hazen said in a statement. “We will be helping startups throughout the region gain access to the resources they need to succeed.”

Thanks to $140,000 in tax breaks from Suffolk County, the young companies selected for the new space won’t have to raise a huge amount of capital initially to stay afloat. But they do have to pass muster in order to get seed money. Once they’re in the subsidized space, where a desk starts at $299 a month, they receive mentoring, get plugged into networking events and gain access to more capital. And if they’re successful, they are expected to outgrow the incubator and move on.

One of the anchor tenants of the new space, Tyler Roye, CEO of eGifter, an electronic gift-card company, was instrumental in getting this project off the ground. Roye said he was glad to partner with Hazen to make this Huntington work space possible.

“We wanted to move eGifter into the village,” Roye said, “and saw the opportunity to do something on a larger scale, helping Andrew to extend the LaunchPad brand and programs while also helping to build the local startup ecosystem.”

Joining Roye’s company in the opening round will be Flight Partners, Verify Anybody, MyWorkster, TalentBrowser and Immersive Ubiquity. LaunchPad Huntington hopes to select another three to five startups to fill the current roster.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano was on hand when the first LaunchPad took off in Mineola last fall, so it was only appropriate that Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone braved a blustery winter’s day to come indoors to the incubator and cut the ribbon in the opening ceremony. He was joined by Huntington Councilman Mark Cuthbertson and Legis. William Spencer (D-Huntington) as well as Anthony Manetta, CEO and executive director of the Suffolk Industrial Development Agency.

This incubator initiative comes under the umbrella of Accelerate Long Island, a public-private partnership, overseen by Executive Director Mark Lesko, the former Brookhaven Town supervisor.

“Launchpad Huntington will be the center of entrepreneurial activity on Long Island,” said Lesko in a statement. “We have been waiting for a space like Launchpad Huntington for startups for a very long time. I want to congratulate Tyler Roye, CEO of eGifter, who has emerged as a leader of the Long Island entrepreneurial ecosystem.  His continued success with eGifter will have a positive impact on Long Island’s future as a hub for high-tech startups.”