Author Archives: Dennis
Publisher: Wall Street Journal
Date: May 21, 2013
Tampa Bay Innovation Center, an innovation and entrepreneurship center for technology businesses, has received a grant of $400,000 from the state of Florida for a St. Petersburg-based incubator to promote business growth by providing access to lab facilities, research institutions, entrepreneurial support and educational opportunities dedicated to the marine science, biotechnology and healthcare technology startup communities.
“We are pleased that the state of Florida is supporting our efforts to create high-tech, high-wage jobs in sectors identified as targeted industries by the City of St. Petersburg, Pinellas County and the State of Florida,” says Tonya Elmore, Innovation Center president. “The St. Petersburg program will build upon the partner network we have established over a 10-year period, but will also include initiatives that will bring new partners to the network.”
The program, named St. Petersburg Technology Incubator, will include recruitment, coaching and mentoring for founders, innovators and entrepreneurs in the targeted industry sectors. Read more here.
Author: Tolu Olorunnipa
Publisher: Miami Herald
Date: May 20, 2013
Gov. Rick Scott vetoed nearly $368 million in spending from the state’s budget, using his line-item authority to strike out scores of projects ranging from a $50 million coast-to-coast bike trail to tens of millions in college and university tuition hikes.
Scott’s extensive veto list is more than twice as large as his list last year, and his largest since his first year in office. It slashed state spending from $74.5 million to $74.1 million. Even with the vetoes, the 2013-2014 budget is still the largest on record, and includes $480 million for teacher pay raises, $8.5 billion for transportation projects, $151.8 million for Everglades restoration and $273 million for ports.
“The Florida Families First budget helps families pursue their dreams by getting a great job and accessing a quality education,” Scott said in an emailed statement. “Teachers will get a pay raise and funds for their classroom supplies so they don’t have to pay out-of-pocket.”
This is Scott’s largest veto effort since his first year in office, when he slashed more than $615 million from the budget. Half of that came from a single-item: spending authority for the Florida Forever land conservation program. Read more here.
Contrary to the prevailing narrative in Washington that our elected leaders are unable to tackle big problems, the two parties are close to reaching an agreement on common-sense immigration reform — an action that will improve the environment for entrepreneurs to start and scale businesses. Continue reading
Florida Venture Forum 2013 Early Stage Conference – Record Number of Presenting Companies and Attendance
Date: May 21, 2013
The Florida Venture Forum hosted its Third Annual Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition and Sixth Annual Early Capital Conference at the Reunion Resort in Orlando, Florida on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 before a record number of attendees.
The Conference began with the statewide collegiate business plan competition and included participation from University of Florida, Rollins College, University of Miami, Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida State University, Florida Institute of Technology, University of Central Florida and University of South Florida. “The caliber of innovation and ideas, and the poise and preparation of the presenters is great testament to Florida’s public and private universities,” said Kevin Burgoyne, Executive Director of the Florida Venture Forum.
The winner of the Statewide Business Plan Competition was Florida Gulf Coast University. The team, under the direction of Dr. Sandra Kauanui, Ph.D. Director, Institute for Entrepreneurship at Florida Gulf Coast University, won over the judges with a flawless presentation and a very compelling product and business plan. Robby Donnelly, COO of Aqua Ramp, gave the presentation.The AquaRamp is an innovative design for an aquatic lift system that provides a simpler, more reliable mode of moving people into and out of swimming pools, spas, and other aquatic recreation areas. The product is an alternative to other aquatic lifts on the market. Instead of imitating its competitors by lifting a person into the air and lowering them straight into the pool, the AquaRamp uses an inclined system to lower a person into the water from wheelchair height. The highlight feature of this product is that it conforms to the newly-revised standards for ADA. Read more here.
Author: Abraham Aboraya
Publisher: Orlando Business Journal
Date: May 20, 2013
U.S. Rep John Mica had a clear message for the modeling, simulation and training industry in Central Florida at a May 20 meeting: Contact Congress.
At the Partnership III building in Research Park, Mica spoke to a packed room, including U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. Topics included the impact of sequestration on the industry, the threat of base realignment and closure and opportunities in other government industries to use simulation to save federal dollars.
Mica asked everyone in the room to contact a lawmaker in the next week to talk about the industry. Read more here.
Author: Nancy Dahlberg
Publisher: Miami Herald
Date: May 18, 2013
With interest in early-stage investing heating up, more than 200 investors, entrepreneurs and service providers came together Wednesday for the Florida Venture Forum’s Early-Stage Conference in the Orlando area.
Eighteen startup companies presented at the conference at the Reunion Resort, including five with medical devices, biotech products and health-tech applications, and four with solutions for the bar and restaurant industry. Presenting from South Florida: Arctico, a company offering purified ice in patented single-serving, tamper proof containers;Bookigee, which creates a new breed of tools and analytics for the book publishing industry; LearnerNation!, a cloud-based learning platform in the hot education-tech space (pictured below); Maxx Technologies, which saves bars money in liquor “shrinkage”; and 71lbs.com, a “set-and-forget, then collect” system for small businesses to easily collect unclaimed shipping refunds. Also exhibiting at the conference: spendLO, a name-your-price platform for services. Most of the companies were trying to raise funding of $750,000 to $2 million, some more.
Their goal: Turn the heads of a few investors and hopefully score a follow-up meeting or two. Read more here.
UniKey Technologies, a Winter Park mobile applications and security services startup, has closed on an additional $1.25M in seed round financing led by ff Venture Capital, New York City, with an option for an additional $1M. UniKey, founded by CEO Phil Dumas in 2010, is a leader in automated access and interaction technology. The company recently introduced its touch-to-open™ technology powering Kwikset’s Kevo keyless entry system. The smartphone enabled technology requires no user phone interaction providing hands-free entry. University of Central Florida alumnus Dumas appeared last May on ABC’s ”Shark Tank”, beating out more than 24,000 applicants who submitted their ideas for consideration on the show.
BitPay, an Atlanta (formerly Orlando) bitcoin payment processing solution startup, has raised an additional $2M in seed round financing led by Founders Fund, which includes three founders of PayPal with participation from Max Keiser’s fund Heisenberg Capital, a London-based fund focused on bitcoin companies. BitPay is now the world’s leading payment processor for bitcoin. ”ECommerce companies see the tremendous value that frictionless international payments bring to their businesses as they expand into emerging markets. BitPay’s ambitions have been global from the outset, and at Founders Fund we have been impressed with the company’s tremendous growth as they sign up hundreds of new customers a day, turning the potential for opportunity into a reality,” said Brian Singerman a Partner at Founders Fund. The terms of the seed round were not disclosed, although 100% of the existing seed shareholders exercised their pro rata rights to maintain their ownership percentage in BitPay. “We were not looking to raise any capital until later this year, but we could not ignore the opportunity to have Founders Fund involved with BitPay,” says Tony Gallippi, co-founder and CEO of BitPay. “There’s no single investment firm we would rather have on our team right now than Founders Fund.” In February 2013 BitPay moved its offices from Orlando to the Atlanta Tech Village in the heart of Buckhead’s Financial District. Read more here.
Author:College of Business Administration Office of Communications
Publisher: UCF Today
Date: May 10, 2013
A UCF student venture earned recognition at the International Business Model Competition (IBMC) held at Harvard University May 3-4. Care Capture, proposed by Mechanical Engineering major Tyler Salem and Computer Science major Juan Roa, took home honorable mention as one of the top eight proposals among the 28 competitors from leading U.S. and international university entrepreneurship programs.
Two other UCF venture proposals qualified for the competition. LightCloud was presented by Ph.D. candidate Malic Dekkar from the Institute for Simulation & Training, and Medical Laboratory Science major James Davis presented Optimed Lab Solutions. Both earned praise from event organizer Nathan Furr, Ph.D., for addressing important problems with innovative technology solutions. Over 1,000 venture proposals competed in regional events, and only 28 qualified for this international competition.
“Our students and their venture proposals were competitive with the top teams from Harvard, MIT, BYU, Wisconsin, and other elite universities. I’m extremely proud of how hard they have worked and how much they have learned,” said Cameron Ford, Ph.D., director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the University of Central Florida College of Business Administration.
Author: Rhonda Abrams
Publisher: Florida Today
Date: May 14, 2013
As an entrepreneur and small-business owner, I have been fortunate to have become friends with, and learned from, many successful entrepreneurs.
But the person who had the greatest impact on my business life was the late Eugene Kleiner, my mentor and dear friend. May 12 would have been Kleiner’s 90th birthday, and as a memorial to him — and to help aspiring entrepreneurs — I want to share some of Kleiner’s entrepreneurial wisdom, enshrined in Silicon Valley as “Kleiner’s Laws.”
One of the “traitorious eight,” widely recognized as the founders of Silicon Valley, Kleiner also co-founded one of the earliest, most successful, and to-this-day most influential venture capital firms in the world — Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield & Byers. He also was committed to supporting entrepreneurs, and was incredibly generous to me with his time and counsel. Read more here.