Turning his neighbors’ overgrown yards into lucrative landscaping accounts at age 13, CMM attorney Marc Alessi probably wouldn’t have been surprised back then to learn that in 2015, he would be honored as an Innovator of the Year by Innovate Long Island. Marc’s lifelong passion for entrepreneurship earned him an honor in the Biotech category for his work with SynchroPet, a biomedical device company he launched that has licensed three patents from Brookhaven National Lab for a new way to build P.E.T. (positron emission tomography) devices for both small animal and human medical imaging. The inaugural Innovator Awards breakfast, which celebrated Long Island’s “best and brightest ideas,” was held on October 21 at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.
Of counsel to CMM, Marc focuses his practice on corporate law and real estate, assisting small to mid- sized companies and the entrepreneurs that run them. His advice to clients stems from his own experience navigating Long Island’s entrepreneurial ecosystem: he has helped launch and finance a number of early stage companies across a variety of industries, including biotechnology, IT, construction, and real estate. Marc is a founding member of the Hamptons Angel Network and a member of the Long Island Angel Network, previously serving as the executive director and a board member. He also helped establish Accelerate Long Island, of which SynchroPet is a portfolio company. Now Chairman and Founding CEO of SynchroPet, Marc raised the angel round of funding and built the team that is bringing the company’s first devices to the marketplace.
Marc’s enthusiasm for entrepreneurship has informed the variety of roles he has played throughout his career. His history of public service began when he worked for the Civil Service Employees Association early in his career. At CSEA, he says, “I learned that worker rights and the health of a business were not mutually exclusive. That incentivizing workers is good for business. This is a startup enterprise mentality!”
From there, Marc worked as the Downstate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the New York State Comptroller’s Office, where he assisted gubernatorial candidates. Eventually, Marc was inspired to run for office himself. He was first elected to the New York State Assembly in 2005 and served three terms representing the First Assembly District, which included the Towns of Brookhaven, Riverhead, Southold, and Shelter Island. Marc naturally gravitated toward policy areas that would help create an incentive for investments in startup enterprises in New York State. He met with venture capitalists, angel investors, and tech transfer personnel at the state’s top research facilities for advice on what policies at the state level would promote and reward entrepreneurship.
Marc eventually left the political arena to devote his time and experience to helping startups get off the ground and succeed long-term. Marc says these interactions are the most rewarding part of his work as an attorney.
While the Innovator of the Year award recipient has a long list of achievements, he traces his success back to his early years, when the budding teenage landscaper eventually found himself running an 18-employee painting franchise at age 19 while a full-time college student. That drive has only gotten stronger over the years. Marc says, “I find it very gratifying to now have the experience to take an idea and help make it a product and build a business around it. To have the power to take something from all talk to all action and build wealth from it – it’s an empowering place to be.”