SHELTON — The teachers grade the students, but who will grade the teachers?
Axiom Education is developing Mentor, a Web-based course and learning-assessment platform designed to help educational institutions from kindergarten through college measure learning outcomes.
The program recently received $150,000 in financing from Connecticut Innovations Inc. (CII) for further product development and marketing.
Mentor is also designed to assist with student course evaluations, grants and general surveys. It was developed by Fairfield University professor Curt Naser, who is also Axiom’s founder and chief product officer. The platform is currently being used at the university, as well as at Loyola Marymount, and Elon universities, the University of San Francisco and the Easton Country Day School.
Axiom’s CII investment was awarded through the latter’s Pre-Seed Fund, which supports the development of new Connecticut technology companies.
NEW HAVEN — If you’re an entrepreneur ready to launch your own tech venture, a golden opportunity is now available, in the form of Connecticut Innovations Inc.’s (CII) TechStart Accelerator Program.
Applications for teams to take part in the fall program are being accepted through August 15. Selected teams will be provided with $25,000 in initial capital to help launch their startups with the help of mentors for development, sales, marketing and legal issues. The teams can then try to pitch for more funding from angel or institutional investors. The three-month program will take place in New Haven from September 17 to mid-December. The first Accelerator program, which saw 80 applicants vying for nine finalist spots, took place this spring.
More information on applying can be found at ctinnovations.com/TechStart.
NORTH HAVEN — The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has Covidien on its hit list.
After the company recalled its Duet surgical staples device in January after reports of injuries and deaths, it was slapped with violations including failure to document its investigations into the incidents, and failure to quickly take corrective action since first receiving complaints in 2009.
An FDA inspection of Covidien’s North Haven plant earlier this year and discovered the violations. The agency asserts that the company did not adequately provide descriptions or evidence of any corrective action.
The FDA dismissed Covidien’s response that a corrective plan was not required, and in June warned that failure to correct the violations could result in seizures and injunction of penalties.
A Covidien spokesman has said the company is working to resolve FDA’s concerns.
WEST HAVEN — Bioscience firm and influenza war-wager NanoViricides has raised $5 million after recent fund-raising efforts, now holding more than two years worth of cash on hand.
The company is using the resources to further fund research into its anti-flu compound. In 2010, it was cleared to raise as much as $40 million via a Form S-3 offering. Eventually the company plans to take its potential flu drug to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Additional equipment may also be purchased with the new capital.
The $5 million investment came from a single source: Seaside 88, a Florida limited partnership that previously invested $20 million in NanoViricides.
The company is creating products that attack and dismantle virus particles that will combat other diseases such as H1N1 swine flu, H5N1 bird flu, HIV, herpes and eye diseases.
NEW HAVEN — Tweed-New Haven Airport is boasting a new image thanks to an updated website at flytweed.com, as well as a mobile app for iOS and Android.
Developed by local firm Digital Surgeons, the new site allows travelers to book flights from New Haven via the reservation system for US Airways, which operates daily flights from Tweed to Philadelphia.
The site offers flight bookings as well as portals for arranging travel to and from the airport, and New Haven visitor information. The airport reports its business is rising, with an 11-percent increase in passengers in 2011 over 2010.
WALLINGFORD — A new state financial resource may help more users “discover” video.
Streaming video provider Discover Video was one of the first companies to receive a $1 million grant from Connecticut Innovations Inc.’s (CII) newest funding vehicle, the Venture & Mezzanine Debt Fund, allowing it to expand sales and marketing efforts, and technology development.
The company provides streaming video equipment and services to broadcasters, schools, corporations and government entities for webcasting. Its products include video encoders and decoders, servers and mobile broadcasting kits. Locally, Cheshire High School is using Discover equipment for live morning announcements and video-on-demand to classrooms and mobile devices.
Discover Video founder Rich Mavrogeanes previously founded another local video streaming company, VBrick Systems. The new Debt Fund is geared to helping growth-stage tech companies in Connecticut expand.
BRIDGEPORT — As the Discovery Museum and Planetarium celebrates its 50th anniversary, it’s about to get some improvements.
The State Bond Commission recently approved $500,000 to fund the installation of new permanent exhibits at the museum, building improvements as well as technology upgrades to the Challenger Learning Center.
The additional funding also will be used to upgrade the exhibits on light, sound and renewable energy, the latter of which will feature donated equipment from Bridgeport solar thermal manufacturer SolarChange.
WALLINGFORD — The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded local hydrogen energy company Proton Energy Systems $1.4 million to study hydrogen fueling stations.
The grant is part of a greater effort to cut energy costs and break more ground in using hydrogen as a fuel source. Proton Energy will also track the performance and progress of innovative refueling systems to make further improvements and lower costs.
The company will first deploy an advanced high-pressure electrolyzer at an existing hydrogen fuel station to double the dispensing capacity of the station’s storage tanks. Proton will also provide data from two other stations that generate hydrogen fuel from water through solar-powered electrolysis.
The state grant is part of a larger $2.4 million round of investments to five state companies.
MONROE — Bank software maker Continuity Control (CC) has attracted new financing as it prepares to relocate from Monroe to New Haven.
The company received $2.25 million from Connecticut Innovations Inc. (CII) as well as from angel investors, which will go toward expanding its support and sales infrastructure. CC last received $1.1 million in July 2011, following a grant of $2.1 million in 2010.
The company was started in 2008, offering software-as-a-service to small banks and credit unions. It now offers its service to banks of all sizes. It currently has 20 employees, half of whom are support staff scattered around the country.
CEO Andrew Greenawalt plans to move the company to a 4,000 square-foot space (its currently occupies a 1,000 square-foot facility) at 59 Elm Street in New Haven within the next few months to accommodate further expansion.
BRIDGEPORT — The greater Bridgeport chapter of the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) has made available online video versions of its most popular workshops. SCORE'S workshops are designed to help small-business owners and start-up business owners improve their companies. Some of the key videos are the popular five-session “Simple Steps to Starting a Business” program. Other videos cover subjects such as business funding, Internet business, patents and social media. The videos are free and can be found at Greaterbridgeport.score.org on the tab labeled "Video Workshops." The videos are being produced through a joint project of SCORE and the Trumbull Education Channel.
Greater Bridgeport SCORE is a chapter of the nationwide SCORE, which offers free business-based counseling, mentoring and workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs and small-business owners.
By staying ahead of the technological curve, Lou Goldberg has made Goodcopy an Elm City institution for three decades
Lou Goldberg is one Elm City business owner who has been around.
Like many other business proprietors, he of course considers great staff, top-quality work and positive cash flow significant factors in staying afloat the competitive business world. What makes Goldberg different from other business holders, however, isn’t his love and passion for what he does or his experience in his industry. As president of Goodcopy Printing & Digital Graphics, Goldberg wields a greater advantage at hand: the ability to embrace.
With more than 30 years’ experience in the ever-evolving world of print media, which many consider to be in certain eclipse, one may ask not only what Goldberg has done to keep his head above water, but how he has surpassed other similar businesses and sailed on to be recognized among the top 100 quick printers in the country.
“The key to surviving the recessions,” he says, “you have to be willing to change.”
By offering a wide variety of services and products including graphic design and typesetting, bindery, mailing and fulfillment, multimedia marketing, web-to-print solutions and various printing, Goodcopy extends “beyond that print production world,” according to 12-year client Jennifer Poudrier of MicroCare Corp.
“Their foundation of the business as a whole has always been valued as a learning organization,” Poudrier says. “Goodcopy thrives on the source of intelligence — they tap into a sort of innovation power in all aspects.”
When Goldberg acquired the small, "two-and-a-half-person staff," ten-year-old company in 1978, his vision was to grow the company from the perspective of understanding the importance of technology and always maintaining the flexibility to adapt to changing business conditions. Today maintaining almost 40 pieces of equipment and a product line numbering about 80, the now 21-employee Goodcopy has received 15 national awards.
Goldberg and his wife Edie, vice president of the CPrint International alliance-certified Goodcopy, also attribute the company’s success to its secret weapon — their creations. What distinguishes Goodcopy isn’t its production services, as there were companies that offered those three decades ago. Design services, which were unusual for a quick print company back then, as Edie Goldberg explains, are what have put Goodcopy “ahead of the curb by being creators.”
“I have to sell Goodcopy — and sell myself,” adds her husband, “and we’re trying to do that all the time.”
To thrive in any industry, it may take that “extra push” to rise above and beyond the norm, the Goldbergs agree. To look at challenges through a different lens, Edie says, involves creativity — which may be exactly what Goodcopy offers that enables the company to be successful.
Lou Goldberg defines creativity as “thinking outside of the box.”
Whether it entails encouraging employees to offer new ideas, introducing innovative changes, examining clients’ needs from an unusual perspective, or learning through adversity, as Edie says creativity courses through the veins of the company.
“From my perspective there [are] many different struggles being an owner of a business for a long time,” Lou explains. “First is developing a team of employees that will produce the quality of work you want produced and creating an atmosphere that encourages that creativity. There’s always a financial struggle.”
So how are these challenges faced? Through being both proactive and reactive, the pair explains. The Goldbergs emphasize their emphasis on the glass being half full for them, while other companies are busy focusing on struggles instead of "blessings." In addition to this positive outlook, Lou Goldberg stresses the importance of staying on top of trends and the need to have extensive involvement with social media to advance in the vast communication world.
With the aim to be a leader in the communications field, for Lou, technology has made it easier to “stay afloat,” as he seeks to identify the next wave of communications technology, "hook onto that" and introduce it to clients with the idea it will become mainstream at some point — and how they'll benefit from it.
"It’s not ‘printing,’" says Lou. "It’s the new way of making a living. I see what is needed in the industry, what people want, and give it to them.”
“It isn’t just about pens and pencils and coming up with creative solutions,” Edie adds. “Having access to all of these different vendors [trade shows in addition to an online presence], we have an opportunity to produce a different kind of solution.”
Then not all dependency lies within the media world. Both Lou and Edie say the majority of business comes to Goodcopy through referral; there is “much to be said about reputation.” The trustworthy and long-standing relationships that have been maintained with clients have occupied a sizable bulk of Goodcopy’s business.
As far as continuing the new client horizon, Lou has got that covered with the help of marketing and sales — thanks to tools such as e-mail blasts — but old-fashioned print still has a place in the mix.
The challenge of adapting to, and even staying ahead, of advancing technology never ceases as the Goldbergs manage to creatively embrace the race to the future, rather than run and hide. Then there are different challenges that require a stronger grasp of the business: namely, the jobs that require thinking not only forward, but backward — literally
As Lou puts it succinctly, “People still need ink on paper.”