Connecticut McCooe Horiz 300x200By Matthew McCooe, Connecticut Innovations

Think back to where Connecticut was 20 years ago.

A National Hockey League franchise had just left the state, it was one of the only places in the country where incomes were actually falling and we were known more for David Letterman’s speeding tickets than anything resembling innovation.

On the national economic stage, Connecticut was a punchline.

Yet, since then, Connecticut has steadily flown under the radar, evolving from a state that most investors would bypass to a place that saw exits for two homegrown unicorns — startups valued at more than $1 billion — in the past few months.

Logan: "Entrepreneurs can do more than offer rewards to backers."

PLANTSVILLE: Two Connecticut entrepreneurs are taking on the crowd funding and crowdsorcing “space” with a new company Umergence, at

CEO and co-founder David Logan previously served as director of technology at the University of Connecticut, and CFO and co-founder, Jeff Ciarcia was an international trader and portfolio manager at First New York Securities.

The company has just finished its alpha testing, and says it is a one-stop-shop where aspiring entrepreneurs can test, grow, fund and ultimately build their ideas.”

redfinFAIRFIELD: Connecticut has a new real estate company that is hoping that their expertise in software and digital marketing will allow them to disrupt the traditional real estate sales model.

Redfin [NASDAQ: RDFN] is a Seattle, WA based pubic company with $2.6 billion market cap they call themselves “the next-generation real estate brokerage”. The company says it “pairs personal service from Redfin agents with technology to create a better home-buying and selling experience that costs less.”

south side view district rendering previewBy Mitchell Young

NEW HAVEN: In December 2014, digital media entrepreneurs David Salinas and Peter Sena founders of Digital Surgeons a New Haven digital marketing firm with 45 employees were seeking a new location.

Like many other growing New Haven companies they needed a lot of space and parking. DS was growing at 1175 State Street, the Robby Len [Swimsuit factory] Building, first constructed to house Trolleys in the early part of the last century, but they weren’t happy with the status and condition of the building and wanted to own and control their own space.

The pair criss-crossed Greater New Haven looking for a new nest for the fast growing company, but nothing was coming that met their specs.

Email ScamsNEW HAVEN: John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Patricia M. Ferrick, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that Adeyemi Odufuye, also known as “Micky,” “Micky Bricks,” “Yemi,” “GMB,” “Bawz,” and “Jefe,” 31, a citizen of Nigeria, pleaded guilty today before Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to fraud and identity theft offenses stemming from a business e-mail compromise scheme.

According to court documents and statements made in court, the FBI has been investigating a business compromise scheme in which Odufuye and others targeted CEOs, CFOs, controllers and others at U.S. businesses using sophisticated cyber techniques to defraud the businesses of millions of dollars. As part of this scheme, in late 2015, Odufuye and others sent or caused to be sent dozens of e-mails to the controller of a company in Torrington, Connecticut.

cococLeaders in Core and Compliance Management Services Working Together to Expand the Deployment of the Unified Compliance Management Model in the Northeast

NEW HAVEN, SOUTHINGTON: Continuity based in New Haven is a leader in the development and deployment of Unified Compliance Management Systems (UCMS), today announced a joint marketing agreement with COCC, a regional core solutions providers in the community banking industry.

Continuity helps financial institutions manage their regulatory responsibilities and has been one of the fastest growing tech companies in Connecticut. The CT Technology Council, recognized Continuity in the organization’s 2017 Tech Top 40 Awards.

According to the companies the agreement will allow COCC “to market the Continuity UCMS platform to its significant client base in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Jersey.”

Launched in 1967, COCC based in Southington, is a client-owned financial technology company servicing financial institutions throughout the Northeastern United States. According to COCC its “unique cooperative structure has set COCC apart from the competition and is one of the driving forces behind their success.” The company says that COCC is the “fastest growing financial data processing company in the United States.”

“We are very happy to have formalized a marketing relationship with COCC,” said Mike Nicastro, Chief Executive Officer of Continuity. Mr. Nicastro continued, “The Unified Compliance Management System model is growing rapidly, and with the strategic and important influence of the elite core providers such as COCC, that adoption rate will grow even faster.”

“We look forward to working with Continuity in order to provide this unique platform for our clients,” said Joe Trafton, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategic Officer of COCC. “With strong compliance being such an essential part of a financial institution’s strategy, it only allows us to better serve and support our clients.”

profile mcchordSTAMFORD: Austin McChord, founder and CEO of Datto, one of Connecticut’s fastest growing tech companies has donated $50 million to the Rochester Institute of Technology his alma mater.

Dattco is a data protection company with engineering and support offices in downtown Rochester and is headquartered in Stamford.

McChord, is a 2009 alumnus and according ot RIT his gift is the largest donation ever made to the university and one of the largest ever in the region.

“A gift of this magnitude will help propel RIT from excellence to preeminence,” said RIT President David Munson. “We are so proud of our alumnus Austin McChord. He was passionate about his idea and he turned it into a big success. This embodies the creative element that we want to further highlight at RIT. Every student can be involved in creating things that never before existed, and then putting the result into play. His investment in RIT will help our students and faculty make their mark on the world.”

payrailzGLASTONBURY: Payrailz, a digital payments company offering advanced bill payment and money transfer solutions to banks and credit unions, announces that First Data, Live Oak Ventures, Woodforest National Bank, Webster Bank and TTV Capital has raised $6.1 million from a group of strategic and ventur capital investors.

Payrailz is a cloud based digital payments company offering what it says is “advanced bill payment and money transfer solutions to banks and credit unions.”

According to th company, “t‘This group of investors are believers in Payrailz’s product innovation vision and corporate commitment behind producing smarter “do it for me” solutions that leverage the latest advancements in payments technology. These organizations are technology savvy industry veterans who will be key advisors to Payrailz’s efforts.”

First Data is one of the largest credit card processing companies. Live Oak Ventures CEO is also CEO a national small business bank Live Oak Bank, Woodforest National Bank is based in Woodlands, Texas is a $3.7 billion dollar community bank with more than and like Connecticut’s Webster Bank has traditional branches [750 branches].

The investors are participating widely on the company’s board, James S. Mahan III, CEO and Chairman of Live Oak Bank. Previously, he served as the CEO and chairman of the board of S1 Corporation and as the founder of Security First Network Bank: the “world’s first Internet bank.”

Neil Underwood, president of Live Oak Bancshares and Live Oak Ventures. He is a cofounder of nCino the “worldwide leader in cloud banking.”

Mark A. Johnson, general partner of TTV Capital. He is a payments visionary and the former vice chairman of CheckFree.

James D. “Jay” Dreibelbis, president and COO of Woodforest National Bank.

Raymond Merk, vice president of First Data. He also served as the vice president of business development at Sage Payment Solutions.

Fran Duggan Payrailz CEO joined as President in November 2017. He was previously CEO of Innoveera, a payments consultant firm, and prior to that the founder of Payveris, a bill payment start-up, based in Rocky Hill. He also served as a senior executive for 10 years at Webster Bank where he originated and oversaw the development of online banking and payment applications.

Toyota FCHT 5a 1200x801DANBURY: Some good news comes to Fuel Cell Energy [NASDAQ: FCEL] with an agreement with Toyota to purchase hydrogen for vehicle refueling at the Port of Long Beach, California. The SureSourceTM Fuel Cell will generate hydrogen and electricity from a multi-megawatt fuel cell power plant located at the Port.

Toyota has said it is committed to fuel cell vehicles technology and currently sells Camry-sized Mirai fuel cell sedans. The company operates a hydrogen tractor-trailer at the Port.

TIP2017FundingTestTubeSTORRS: UCONN Technology Incubation Program companies have raised $54 million in financing in 2017, exceeding the programs $50 million goal and exceeding the $45.3 million raised in 2016 and $19.2 million in 2015. Grants, Debt, Equity and Revenues all went into that total - with equity financing making up the bulk of the count!

UCONN TIP companies link

QCI LogoNEW HAVEN: Two seasoned Venture investors have led an $18 million Series A investment into New Haven Quantum Circuits Inc [QCI] The new funds came from Canaan and Sequoia, and Tribeca Venture Partners, Osage University Partners, and previous investor Fitz Gate Ventures. Quantum expects to build and sell the “first practical and useful quantum computers.”

QCI was founded by Yale based computer scientists Michel Devoret, Luigi Frunzio and Robert Schoelkopf.

Brendan Dickinson of Canaan and Bill Coughran of Sequoia are joining the company's board.

According to the company the Yale team has “pioneered the field of quantum computing with superconducting circuits, introducing the transmon qubit and techniques for distributing quantum information on wires, and performing the first quantum algorithms and quantum error correction in integrated circuits.”