CenterState CEO Opens Tech Garden II

Posted on December 1, 2015

Leading Entrepreneurial Incubator Expands to Support and Advance the Region’s Innovation Ecosystem; Welcomes 6 New Residents

CenterState CEO today celebrated the official opening of The Tech Garden II, an 18,000-square-foot expansion adjacent to The Tech Garden – the region’s leading entrepreneurial incubator. The expansion responds to the demand for space and innovation programming, as well as advances the direct support The Tech Garden offers to the region’s innovation leaders. Six residents have already moved in to the newly renovated space on the ground floor of AXA Tower Two, in downtown Syracuse, including anchor resident M.A. Polce Consulting, Inc.; VentureTechnica; tuzag; Lake Effect Applications; TangoSquared LLC (DevBox); and the NYSERDA Clean Tech Center.

“Together we have created opportunities for our region’s entrepreneurs that didn’t exist a decade ago,” said Robert Simpson, president of CenterState CEO. “The need for this expansion validates the work, partnerships, and focused strategy that have gone into creating a vibrant and ever evolving innovation ecosystem at The Tech Garden. Through the newly expanded Tech Garden II, it will be able to support even more high potential businesses.”

For the last two years, The Tech Garden has been at maximum physical capacity. It currently supports 70 companies with more than 175 employees. Over the last decade it has adapted and expanded the programs it offers to businesses of all stages. Recently, it was selected as one of the first five New York State Innovation Hot Spots, a program that provides emerging companies sales and income tax relief and the ability to grow into START-UP NY space.

The Tech Garden II’s $200,000 expansion will support the collaborative efforts between CenterState CEO, The Tech Garden and Syracuse University. An additional $50,000 was provided by National Grid to further assist with construction of the space. Improvements include infrastructure such as data network upgrades, leasehold improvement, security control and access, and facility upgrades.

The Tech Garden II’s central location in downtown Syracuse positions it to serve businesses looking for an alternative site off campus where they can take advantage of Innovation Hot Spot and START-UP NY programs.

“Our region’s small and emerging companies hold so much potential and are among our greatest innovators and job generators,” said Liz Liddy, Syracuse University Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost. “By partnering with CenterState CEO and The Tech Garden in this newly expanded space, we are providing businesses started and initially incubated at our higher-ed institutions opportunities to grow, thrive and become self-sustaining businesses here in Central New York.”

"Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the backbone of our local economy," said Congressman John Katko (NY-24). "By connecting the resources of our academic institutions into the fabric of our resurgent downtown community, this Tech Garden expansion fosters the growth of promising businesses and harnesses innovative talent to benefit all of Central New York.”

This expansion also puts vacant space back into productive use within the city center.

“National Grid is proud to take a leadership role in helping to transform a parking garage in downtown Syracuse that only ten years ago stood empty, and with the help of community partners, worked collaboratively to transform it into today’s Tech Garden,” said Melanie Littlejohn, Central New York Regional Executive for National Grid. “The Tech Garden is the crown jewel of downtown revitalization and hub of innovation, technology, entrepreneurship, and startup businesses. The Tech Garden is evidence of the enormous potential that can be reached with the right partners and programs.”

“The robust network of programming and support systems that are accessible through The Tech Garden are helping us grow some of the most innovative businesses our region has to offer,” said Seth Mulligan, Vice President for Innovation Services at CenterState CEO. “Through this new space we are in a better position to continuously adapt our programs to meet the diverse needs of our region’s talent.”

More than 70 residents, virtual residents, partners and entrepreneurs-in-residence are taking advantage of programs and services through The Tech Garden meant to spur business innovation and growth, including mentoring; physical incubation, office and meeting space; business plan assistance; and investment programs such as Grants for Growth.

Grants for Growth is a unique CenterState CEO seed program that supports innovative applied research projects between universities and industry to improve business competitiveness and create jobs. Over 12 rounds, Grants for Growth has invested $3.1 million in small and emerging companies thanks to direct support secured by New York State Senator John Defrancisco.

Today, CenterState CEO announced $425,000 in awards to seven companies:

$150,000 Concept to Marketplace Investments
• tuzag, Inc. is advancing a full-scale trial of its Anonymous Tailored Advertising System, delivering individually tailored display ads within a consumer health care ecosystem that includes key publishers, brands and ad networks.
• Skinny Eats, LLC will expand into a new specialty food manufacturing facility in Binghamton, NY, as well as launch into additional grocery stores in Upstate NY.

$25,000 Proof of Concept Grants
• Solstice Power will construct a field test prototype of its Solstice Hybrid System, a new solar technology which produces three times the electrical energy efficiency of traditional flat solar panels and generates both electricity and heat from a single system.
• Ichor Therapeutics will develop recombinant enzymes to treat age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in people over age 50.
• Gyro Heat Technologies is advancing its revolutionary gas burner that creates electricity while in use and mechanically distributes the heat by rotating the flame.
• Azeer Intimates is a specialty swimwear retail and design company focused on developing on-trend products for women who are underrepresented in today’s market, while improving the online shopping experience through imaging technology.
• Gridstream makes use of the Wireless Grids Corporation’s advanced networking and data communications platforms to deliver monitoring and control of energy and mechanical systems in buildings.

“The Tech Garden’s extraordinary blend of team, programs and resources is essential to helping entrepreneurs turn great ideas into successful companies,” said Dave Bulger, CEO of tuzag, a recent Grants for Growth recipient and Tech Garden II resident. “The access to mentors, space, training and early capital The Tech Garden provides are among the reasons why I chose to launch tuzag in Syracuse. The collaborative partners behind The Tech Garden and its programs have created something truly remarkable that can be a tremendous catalyst for broad, sustained entrepreneurial growth in a number of important industries.”

In the coming weeks, CenterState CEO will release details about its newest business competition. Prior competitions, including the Emerging Business Competition and Startup Labs, have invested more than $1.5 million to date in high potential businesses in the region.

To learn more about these programs and the resources available to entrepreneurs, visit

About The Tech Garden
The Tech Garden’s mission is to stimulate high-tech entrepreneurship, foster the development of emerging growth companies, and support technology commercialization throughout the region. Start-up technology businesses are offered business plan assistance, mentoring and marketing advice, targeted referrals, networking opportunities and state-of-the-art office space from which to grow their businesses. The Tech Garden is an affiliate of CenterState CEO.

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