LI tech accelerator picks 3 start-ups

Long Island's first start-up accelerator program, LI Tech Long Island's first start-up accelerator program, LI Tech COMETS, spearheaded by Peter Goldsmith, president of LISTnet, poses with the winning start-up companies represented by, from left, Luis Gonzales, managing director of Interconnecta, Dr. Praveen Elak, co-founder of Mobitrons, Peter Goldsmith and Blake Cornell, partner Clerk 123, Llc., in the LI Tech Mail, Hauppauge. (Nov. 30, 2012) Photo Credit: Heather Walsh

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Long Island's first program to help guide and develop start-up companies is launching with its initial cohort of participants.

The initiative, LI Tech COMETS, on Thursday named Mobitrons, Clerk 123 and InterConnecta as the first three companies to participate in the accelerator program, which aims to nurture local early-stage companies.

The three companies were selected from a pool of 26 applicants, said Peter Goldsmith, president of the Long Island Software Network. Goldsmith spearheaded the effort to create COMETS, which stands for Connected Organization Mentoring Exciting Tech Start-ups.

"I never thought, when we started the idea in July, it would explode like this," Goldsmith said.

Mobitrons, based in Tarrytown, Westchester County, is co-founded by resident Praveen Elak, 32. It started as a consultancy focused on developing mobile applications. The company now hopes to introduce a platform that developers can use to build mobile apps faster.

Clerk 123, based in Garden City, has developed a document management system that allows people to remotely access files on work computers securely and instantly. The founder, Blake Cornell, 29, of Smithtown, spent six months this year coding the program.

InterConnecta was founded in 2009 as a technology-focused marketing firm. But when the Manhattan business "hit a wall," founder Luis Gonzalez, 39, a Hicksville resident, started developing an online platform for contracting with sales professionals. The program is in beta testing.

The three start-ups will receive free office space in the LI Tech Mall in Hauppauge for six months, mentors in law, accounting, technology and business development, and the chance to pitch their ideas to the LI Angel Network for seed funding.

Ideally, COMETS should help attract more innovative technology companies to Long Island, said David Calone, local venture capitalist and a member of COMETS' steering committee. Calone was an initial investor in TechStars, a national accelerator program that COMETS is modeled after.

"Every place that has had a tech ecosystem develop in the U.S. has had this kind of accelerator program . . . to help build the community and to help focus mentorship activities, and ultimately, fundraising," he said.

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