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Silver in Rochester for update on high-tech jobs

Zack Seward/File Photo
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver touring lab space at Intrinsiq Materials. Silver's Assembly extended state aid to Instrinsiq and two other companies that are now located at Eastman Business Park.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) was in Rochester Wednesday for a progress report on a high-tech project the state helped fund.

Three early stage companies - Intrinsiq Materials, Quintel USA and Omni-ID - have set up shop at Kodak's Eastman Business Park.

The venture-backed project was first announced two years ago.

Since then, the three companies have filled 39 jobs. The target date for the 250 jobs originally pledged is still about three years away.

"When you're working with emerging companies, it takes longer," said Greater Rochester Enterprise CEO Mark Peterson, who was involved in landing the project. "This is a milestone today because we're at a start point where now we're really going to start to see movement."

The three companies - which were originally funded by Cody Gate Ventures (they're now backed by Rochester-based Trillium Group) - received $9 million in state incentives to lay roots in Rochester. $3 million of that came by way of the state Assembly.

"We have to transform Rochester into a high-tech job-producing community," Assembly Speaker Silver said.

Working out the kinks

Officials at Wednesday's press conference heralded the project as a model public-private partnership. The three companies are still on track to invest at least $100 million in private money, according to José Coronas, a managing partner at Trillium Group.

"This is really the face of an emerging new Rochester," Assemblyman Joe Morelle (D-Irondequoit) said.

But Morelle admits the model - state investment in early stage companies - is still a work in progress.

"True innovation - true products with startup companies or first-stage companies - is difficult," Morelle told the Innovation Trail. "There's far more risk, which is why governments traditionally have shied away from these kinds of things."

Officials say some of the companies are beginning to commercialize their products. Morelle says Intrinsiq, Quintel and Omni-ID are all on track with original benchmarks and job creation targets. 

"We're sort of developing the path and I'm hoping this will be the template going forward," Morelle said.

WXXI/Finger Lakes reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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