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Korean firm leaves Stony Brook University and Start-Up NY

C&M Robotics Co. Ltd. of Seoul, South Korea,

C&M Robotics Co. Ltd. of Seoul, South Korea, has moved from Stony Brook University to Chicago, dropping out of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Start-Up NY program, officials said. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

A Korean manufacturer of robotics hardware has moved from Stony Brook University to Chicago, dropping out of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Start-Up NY program, officials said.

C&M Robotics Co. Ltd. of Seoul, South Korea, produces equipment used in making automobile parts. Its executives decided to relocate their U.S. office to be closer to the headquarters of U.S. automakers, most of which are in Detroit, according to state and local economic development officials.

C&M officials did not respond to requests for comment over the past week. The company employed one person at its office on the Stony Brook campus for about one year.

C&M is the 20th business to leave Start-Up NY, which is in its third year of providing tax-free status to companies and their employees for as long as 10 years. Nine percent of the participants that Cuomo has announced have left, leaving the program with 202 companies as of last month.

Long Island now is home to 23 Start-Up NY businesses, most of them at Stony Brook.

Ann-Marie Scheidt, who oversees the university’s tax-free zone, said C&M’s departure wasn’t unusual.

“Proximity to [the company’s] client base in Detroit was a more compelling economic driver than proximity to the support that the university could provide,” she said.

C&M’s admittance to Start-Up NY last year garnered attention because it was among a handful of foreign businesses to be lured to New York State.

The company may have to repay $2,198 in sales-tax savings it received on purchases of equipment and materials for the now-closed Stony Brook office, once an annual review of Start-Up NY is completed, Jason Conwall, a spokesman for Empire State Development, the state’s primary business-aid agency, said yesterday. There is no requirement that the equipment and materials remain in New York State, he said.

C&M had promised to create eight jobs on campus and invest up to $950,000. In its Start-Up NY application, the 16-year-old company said its technology was used to make the Toyota Prius and several Hyundais.

Phillip Kim, an entrepreneurship professor at Babson College near Wellesley, Massachusetts, said the volume of departures from Start-Up NY was par for the course for young tech businesses. “Many things can go wrong” in a company’s early years, including a cash crunch, poorly designed products, lack of customers and unexpected events, he said.

“Any one of these issues can lead to their demise or require founders to change their business approach to survive,” Kim said. “It doesn’t surprise me that some [Start-Up NY] participants will transition out of the program for operational reasons or do not live up to their original growth projections.”

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