Darkwind Media, Optel Inc. accepted into START-UP NY

Companies involving gaming and medical device compliance will provide 29 new jobs

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A. Sue Weisler

Darkwind Media makes video games compatible to various platforms.

Two companies with strong ties to Rochester Institute of Technology have been accepted into the state’s START-UP NY business development program, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced today.

“By allowing companies to partner with New York’s world-class colleges and operate in tax-free environments, we are laying the groundwork that will continue to drive the economy and deliver real job opportunities and millions of dollars in investment statewide,” Cuomo said.

Businesses accepted into START-UP NY and create new jobs will pay no state or local taxes for 10 years. State officials say the tax benefits will help accelerate entrepreneurialism and job creation across the state on a large scale.

Darkwind Media is a recent graduate of Venture Creations business incubator. The company develops gaming software and provides consulting services to other game development studios. Darkwind employs 15 people and is expanding to meet international demand for its game porting and development services.

“We are excited to hear the news,” said Darkwind co-founder Matthew Mikuszewski, a 2007 new media interactive development graduate from RIT. “This should help us continue our growth in Rochester as we had hoped.”

Darkwind Media plans to create 11 new jobs while investing $431,000. They will be locating to 40 Franklin St. in downtown Rochester, which also houses RIT’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship.

Optel Inc. is a new venture that provides a variety of services to companies in the medical device field. Optel ensures compliance with the requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s current Good Manufacturing Practices and other medical device manufacturing requirements throughout concept, design and manufacturing phases.

The company also provides medical regulatory compliance assistance. Optel will be locating to Venture Creations and will create 18 new jobs while investing $285,000.

“I think it’s a fantastic program that will allow us to grow faster and create more jobs in New York,” said Jay Eastman, Optel CEO who co-founded the company with his son, Zachary, a 2004 RIT mechanical engineering graduate. “This means I’ll probably start making job offers in the next few days.”

RIT was the first private university admitted to START-UP NY and now has four affiliated companies in the program. Venture Creations graduate ClearCove Systems, a renewable energy company dealing with wastewater treatment, was accepted earlier this month, and Datto Inc., an information backup and disaster recovery firm founded by a bioinformatics graduate from RIT, was accepted in September.

RIT President Bill Destler thanked Cuomo for his efforts in helping young companies thrive.

“We are pleased to see Darkwind Media and Optel become our third and fourth RIT-sponsored companies affiliated with START-UP NY,” Destler said. “This continues to be a win-win-win: For the state, the community and for RIT’s students and alumni involved in these venture start-ups as we collaborate to strengthen the regional economy.”

Interested businesses can get more information at www.rit.edu/startup.

About Venture Creations:

Rochester Institute of Technology opened Venture Creations in 2003 as its business incubator, focusing on opportunities that leveraged the university’s core technical competencies.

Its mission is to create high-growth companies in the Rochester region, provide experiential learning in entrepreneurship to RIT students and to commercialize RIT innovations and intellectual property.

The incubator, at 125 Tech Park Drive, off John Street, just south of the main RIT campus, is supporting 22 companies in various technologies and stages of development. Since 2003, it has graduated 26 companies, created over 400 new jobs, and helped its member companies secure over $36 million in investments.

For more information: https://www.rit.edu/research/vc