Ready for Primetime

Nancy Min has always been surrounded by science. Her father Qilong Min serves as a professor in the University at Albany’s Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC). So when her dad developed weather prediction technology to drive solar productivity, she wanted to bring it to market to improve people’s lives.

With support from the University at Albany Innovation Center, an affiliate partner of Innovate 518, Min founded the startup, ecoLong LLC. Collaborating with UAlbany’s entrepreneur-in residence Bob Manasier, Min's team has refined their investors’ pitch, conducted market outreach and qualified commercial partners. Min has also worked with Innovate 518 operational partners Center for Economic Growth (CEG) and RPI’s iSite. Michael Lobsinger from CEG has served as a valued mentor and advisor to Min.

ecoLong also works closely ASRC and the University’s New York State Mesonet, a network of 125 advanced weather detection stations across New York State.

What they have lined up in the coming weeks could bring in critical funding for the startup.

Min has been selected to pitch ecoLong at the Blackstone Launchpad TechStars' Presentation in NYC on October 16 and 17. You can watch Min’s Techstars’ pitch video here.

Then on October 19, she will have an opportunity to present among area start-ups in a showcase at UAlbany’s Weather Solutions for Ground Transportation Workshop. In addition, ecoLong was chosen as a finalist in the FuzeHub Commercialization Competition on November 15 and 16.

“Nancy and her team are focused and ready to demonstrate to investors and potential partners how ecoLong’s technology helps make the unpredictable, predictable when it comes to weather forecasting and solar farms,” said Manasier.

Changing Course for Success

After starting her career with Deloitte Consulting, Min decided to launch ecoLong LLC. Since 2015, Min and the ecoLong team have devoted their careers to developing environmental and renewable energy products that provide more accurate weather and solar radiation forecasting and air quality monitoring.

Transitioning from a corporate position to a startup was a risk – but Min believes in ecoLong’s potential to change the world and improve people’s lives. Deloitte has also been supportive of her decision, asking her to say on as a part-time consultant.

“I never thought I would start my own company and leave my positon at Deloitte,” Min said. “But, sometimes life leads you in unexpected directions. I am passionate about ecoLong and believe in our products’ ability to make a sustainable impact on weather forecasting.”


Drive Forward, Drive Happy

Even before graduating, many MBA students use the skills they’re learning to become entrepreneurs. In conjunction with Innovate 518, a program providing support and infrastructure for fresh ideas, game-changing businesses can get their start right on campus.

Among these businesses is AutoX.

AutoX is an online platform, focused on car dealerships, that tackles sales, marketing and data solutions. Its aim is to make car purchases less complicated and more efficient through a four-step process: find a car, choose financing, get protected and drive happy.

The project, now in a pilot phase focused on developing funding, all began with three University at Albany MBA students who graduated in 2016: Richard Truby, Chris Young and Matthew Marsett.

“AutoX started as an idea when Richard entered the MBA program, and it was centered on making dealers more profitable in the new vehicle sales channel,” said Robert Manasier, the entrepreneur in residence and new ventures manager at UAlbany. “Richard grew up in the industry at the intersection of sales and financing, and subsequently worked on the finance side at a large Capital Region credit union.”

The three students became friends after meeting in the MBA program, bonding over their similar interests and passions. Once a common goal was found, Innovate 518 gave them the helping hand they needed.

“We were looking for support to help commercialize AutoX,” said Truby, who serves as the company’s CEO. “One of the professors in the weekend program suggested looking into what Innovate 518 could do to help move us forward.”

While Truby, who graduated with his MBA in Business Development, spent his weekends developing AutoX, the rest of his time was spent at his full-time job and at home with his wife and two young children.

UAlbany serves as a lead partner of Innovate 518, helping further its mission to mentor and assist start-up companies. Through the resources it provided and its strategic company development process, Truby and his team were able to bring AutoX to life in New York's Capital Region.

“AutoX has performed dealer outreach and consumer interviews to determine viability for the start-up,” said Truby. “The next step for AutoX is to develop our solution and move into funding for scale.”

AutoX received Innovation Funding earlier this month, making Truby all the more grateful for the opportunities and support he’s received. When asked about advice for current and future MBA students, he said, “Start the commercialization process early and get as much support as you can early on in the process. Figure out as soon as possible if your idea has traction and be prepared to pivot or let go of an idea that doesn't have support.”

Center for Neurotechnology to Open on UAlbany's Health Sciences Campus

It will be the latest addition to the University’s growing START-UP NY portfolio

ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 25, 2017) – Stroke patients and individuals with disorders of consciousness (DOC) will soon be able to visit the University at Albany for neurotechnology-based rehabilitation.

UAlbany has announced that g.tec neurology USA, part of the University’s START-UP NY portfolio, is opening a new Center for Neurotechnology on its Health Sciences Campus next month. It will feature state-of-the-art brain-computer interface technology designed for rehabilitation, assessment, communication and training for both stroke patients and those with disorders of consciousness, including ALS, locked-in syndrome, unresponsive wakefulness and minimally conscious state.

An opening ceremony has been scheduled for Oct. 3 at the University’s Cancer Research Center in Rensselaer.

“Expanding our business in Albany was an important step to advance research and development,” said Christoph Guger, the CEO of g.tec neurotechnology USA. “It will also allow us to grow our network of expertise in biomedical engineering and neurotechnology in the United States.”

g.tec neurology USA is a research lab for brain-computer interface neurological equipment that partnered with START-UP NY in 2016. The company’s headquarters are located in Schiedlberg, Austria, with secondary offices Barcelona, Spain and Albany.

Guger said the new center will make an immediate, tangible impact by bringing “technology out of labs and into patients’ lives.”

Treatments to Improve Movement and Speech Recovery

The Center for Neurotechnology will include a “recoveriX-gym,” where stroke patients can learn to move their affected limbs through a virtual reality system and electrical muscle stimulation. Patients will be able to see a visual presentation of their imagined movements, which will in turn aid in movement recovery.

The center will also include a “mindBEAGLE-center” for disorders of consciousness patients to find out if they can follow conversations. Patients with this ability are then able to answer yes and no questions, making communication with neurologists and family members possible.

“The recoveriX gym in Albany will be a special therapy institution where stroke patients can receive our new recoveriX therapy,” Guger said. “This is exciting, as both recoveriX and mindBEAGLE can be installed in clinical institutions like hospitals, neuro rehabilitation facilities or other therapy centers that are specialized in stroke or DOC assessments.”

Research and Collaboration Opportunities

Beyond its potential to help patients, the Center for Neurotechnology will also offer professional development and research opportunities for UAlbany faculty and students are interested in neuroscience.

“UAlbany’s Health Sciences Campus is the Capital Region’s premier location for health-related partnerships – a place where academia, government and the private sector intersect in mutually beneficial ways to further our understanding of health and disease,” said James Dias, vice president for research, UAlbany. “Locating the Center for Neurotechnology here further advances opportunities for significant biomedical research collaborations in our region.”

There are also plans for g.tec to introduce a franchise concept that will allow physical and occupational therapists to open their own recoveriX-gym or mindBEAGLE assessment center in the Capital Region.

“g.tec’s participation in UAlbany’s START-UP NY program will play a critical role in advancing the growth of the company and creating tremendous internship potential for our students,” said Matthew Grattan, director of community and economic development, UAlbany.


Under the state's START-UP NY program, UAlbany targets business partnerships within the framework of the campus' academic mission, capitalizing on strategic priorities in areas such as climate, environmental and economic sustainability; emerging technologies; human health and biomedical sciences; public service and policy; business and entrepreneurship; and liberal arts and sciences.

Eligible business partners include new companies or start-ups, out-of-state companies relocating to New York State, or expanding businesses currently based in-state. Businesses that meet those criteria and the law’s requirement that they align with or further the University’s academic mission may receive up to a 10-year exemption from state taxes, while new employees hired after approval in eligible net new jobs receive state personal income tax exemptions.

For more information about partnering with the University, please contact Matt Grattan.

Innovate518 Coworking day!

UAlbany-led innovation initiative sponsors free access to spaces on August 9


ALBANY, N.Y. (August 8, 2017) – For entrepreneurs, finding an affordable space to bring your business to life isn’t always as simple as setting up in the garage. As social media has ushered in a new level of connectivity, like-minded individuals have joined in by setting up “coworking spaces” – collaborative work environments that provide spaces for people to share equipment, knowledge and ideas.


On Wednesday, August 9, individuals and businesses are coming together to celebrate these spaces that provide a new generation of professionals with the tools to succeed on their own terms.


Here in New York, Innovate 518 is helping to showcase coworking spaces that can be found throughout the Capital Region. The collaboration is led by the University at Albany, with support from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Center for Economic Growth.


Spaces in Albany, Schenectady, Troy and Saratoga will be opening their doors for free on Wednesday, providing an opportunity for professionals to see the benefits of setting up shop in a coworking environment.


“Innovate 518 Coworking Day is a chance for entrepreneurs to share best practices, network and learn in spaces that are designed to foster collaboration,” said Matt Grattan, Director of Community and Economic Development at UAlbany.


Innovate 518 members will be available for interviews from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Wednesday at Saratoga CoWorks, 153 Regent St., Saratoga Springs N.Y. Contact Matt Grattan, at (518) 603-1417 for more information.


"Innovate 518 has done a wonderful job bringing together a community of academic and for-profit organizations that have a common goal of supporting our local entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Jeff Goronkin, CEO of the Electric City Innovation Center. “Flexible office space is a critical necessity in many early stage start-ups as well as access to mentorship, talent and financing.  Connecting with Innovate 518 is one of the best actions an entrepreneur can make."


“Entrepreneurs and business professionals are working differently in the Capital Region and we want more people to come experience it. Troy Innovation Garage is a coworking space where people can collaborate, challenge each other, and be inspired to work better than they ever have before,” said Michelle Schroll, Community Manager of Troy Innovation Garage. “We're a creative community dedicated to each other’s success.”


“The BizLab is happy to be a part of Innovate518 Coworking Day. There’s a reason incubators, accelerators and coworkings spaces are popping up throughout the Tech Valley region: People do their best work in a thriving, energetic environment. Entrepreneurs want to be around other budding business leaders to bounce ideas off of or collaborate,” said said Rick D’Errico, managing director of the New York BizLab in Schenectady. “The simple fact is we need each other to grow as individuals and companies.”


The coworking spaces include:



418 Broadway, Albany N.Y.

Free coworking from10 a.m - 4 p.m. Contact:

Saratoga CoWorks

153 Regent Street, Saratoga Springs NY



Electric City Innovation Center

433 State Street, 4th Floor, Schenectady NY
The ECIC will be holding a networking event in the morning with an introduction to coworking, and free coworking all day for those who register.  Contact


New York BizLab

251 State Street, Schenectady NY

The NYBizLab will make its Magna5 conference room available for free from 9 - 5 p.m. on August 9.



Troy Innovation Garage

24 4th Street, Troy NY

Open house from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Troy Innovation Garage, no registration required.




The Tech Valley Center of Gravity

30 3rd Street, Troy NY

Free coworking from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday. This includes access to open work space, free WIFI and the use of the TVCG's community kitchen. Make your reservations. Contact


IgniteU NY

333 Broadway, Suite 350, Troy NY

For those registered with the TVCG, come check out IgniteU's space and experience the Quackenbush Building as one big coworking environment. Contact


Innovate 518: Collaborating to help startups thrive in the Capital Region


Starting a business is never easy, but access to the right tools can make a world of difference. Innovate 518 is a collaborative effort of incubators, accelerators, and entrepreneurial service providers from New York's Capital Region including Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, and Washington counties, working together to turn the region into a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity. Partners share best practices, networking, mentoring, educational, and financial resources to better assist startup companies.


Innovate 518 is designated as the Capital Region Innovation Hot Spot, a NYSTAR program enabling program funding and a unique set of tax incentives for companies in their earliest stages. Innovate 518 is a partnership between the University at AlbanyRPI and the Center for Economic Growth.


Elevator Pitch Workshop Highlights 2017

Innovate 518 recently held an Elevator Pitch 101 workshop here at the University at Albany. Our Entrepenuer in house - Robert Manasier presented some great material for the companies  and businesses in attendance! 

Pictured above: Treebu 

Pictured above: Treebu 


The opening exercise was how to describe your business in 25 words or less!


Questions to ask yourself: What need does your business satisfy and in what market?

Q: How does your business satisfy the need? Think about your mission statement/ vision - what objectives are described?

Q: Who is your competition? What makes your company different? Go over your business model! This can help you outline its position.



Pictured above: U-Topia one of the Four Core startups working within IgniteU 

Pictured above: U-Topia one of the Four Core startups working within IgniteU 

The seminar ended with each group pitching their startup ideas to the room. This exercise helped the groups develop their pitch in a quick and efficient way. The key is to have a target market and a pure purpose as to how and why someone should invest in your company. 

The seminar ended with each group pitching their startup ideas to the room. This exercise helped the groups develop their pitch in a quick and efficient way. The key is to have a target market and a pure purpose as to how and why someone should invest in your company.