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LI Tech COMETS accelerator program launches again

LISTnet’s Peter Goldsmith looks on as Farjad Fazli,

LISTnet’s Peter Goldsmith looks on as Farjad Fazli, left, of Huntington, talks about his startup company Immersive Ubiquity, a developer of applications for new devices like Google Glass. (Aug 29, 2013) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

A local accelerator program to aid startup companies is attempting a second launch.

The Long Island Tech COMETS program Thursday invited three local tech companies to participate in its program, which offers office space, mentoring and access to local investors for startup firms.

The three fledgling companies were Immersive Ubiquity Inc., Prevently, and Shop This Magazine Inc.

COMETS received 65 applications for this round -- the second time the accelerator has offered to help startup companies, said Peter Goldsmith, the president of the Long Island Software & Technology Network, who spurred the creation of the program. For its first iteration, which lasted from January to June, the program got 26 applicants.

Goldsmith said he plans to make some changes in how COMETS, which stands for Connected Organization Mentoring Exciting Tech Start-ups, operates in its second cycle. In the first round, only one participant out of three remained in the program to the end. "We have it much more hands-on, much more focused this time," he said.

Immersive Ubiquity, led by Farjad Fazli, 21, develops applications for new devices like Google Glass and Microsoft Kinect that allow simpler interaction between people and computers. Fazli, a Huntington resident who graduated from Stony Brook University in May, said the idea for the company emerged from a research lab he worked in during college.

Prevently is an online website that helps users manage their health -- offering video conferencing with doctors, an online shop for health products and a personal-health mobile app. Founder Laurence Girard, 21, is taking a semester off from Harvard University to develop the company. Girard, a Huntington resident, said he already has $800,000 in financing from individual investors and is actively seeking investments from Silicon Valley firms.

Shop This Magazine is a mobile app that allows users to browse magazines and buy items within. The founder, Teresa Rivera, 47, of Long Beach, quit her job as a senior manager at Apple's retail stores in Manhattan to start the company last year. The app's test version is currently in development.

Goldsmith said he had reduced the length of the COMETS program to three months from six. He also adjusted the criteria for choosing the participating startups, focusing more on companies that needed help to grow and could commit to working on Long Island.

The COMETS participants will also be asked to move to the co-working space LaunchPad LI in Mineola -- the first program was held at the now-defunct LI Tech Mall in Hauppauge. Several members of the COMETS steering committee applauded the change, citing the new location and LaunchPad's entrepreneurial community as more beneficial to the accelerator program.

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