I have added a new affiliation with a second startup company, again in the B2B space. As part of my participation in a seed-investment round, I am now mentoring/advising DirectDep. The company offers a cloud platform that enables law firms to book individual court reporters for depositions in real time, with many additional time-saving and quality-improvement features enabled by the technology. This is a description vetted and approved by the company. What follows is my own opinion.
I am pleased to announce that I have been offered and have accepted appointment to the “faculty development and technology transfer advisory board” that counsels the New York State Commissioner of Economic Development on aspects of the “research development program” administered by the Division of Science, Technology and Innovation at DED/Empire State Development Corporation.
The appointment stems from my work over the last decade with business incubators in New York State. Although the board is advisory only, because its work affects the allocation of public resources, I have been required to undergo a thorough background check and to file extensive financial disclosures with the state ethics commission. If, as, and when the board meets and deliberates, I will be rigorously disclosing any consulting assignments I have received from eligible NYS academic institutions. I may be required to recuse myself from advising on those applications that pose actual or perceived conflicts of interest and/or to turn down certain consulting assignments that pose undue risks of conflict.
Effective at the start of this month, I have turned over management of the Business Incubator Association of New York State (BIA/NYS) to Marc Alessi, an attorney and startup entrepreneur. This concludes my decade-long adventure in social entrepreneurship, building a new trade association from scratch. It’s been a rewarding if challenging task, and I’m happy to place it now in the hands of capable, energetic, new leadership.
This was conceived initially as a part-time job I could do while continuing to consult, but it always seemed to take more time and resources than planned. To become sustainable, the association now must grow revenues enough to support both the executive and admin functions. Marc is a former state assemblyman who’s also been serving as the launch CEO of a biomedical-instrumentation startup, and he’s both well suited and fully committed to the challenge.
I warmly appreciate the support I’ve had throughout my tenure from the association board of directors and the membership at large. Several have become good friends over the years, and I thank all for the many kind thoughts expressed at this transition. This change frees me to reallocate more of my time back to consulting projects, and I intend to do so. I also have begun experimenting with angel investing, and I plan to continue to expand that effort insofar as I prudently can.