BioFront Secures Seed Funding Agreement from the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research’s Seed Capital Accelerator Program
BioFront Technologies, a Tallahassee biotech startup focused on producing diagnostic kits and reagents for the detection of viral and allergenic proteins based on technology licensed through Florida State University, has secured a seed funding agreement from the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research’s Seed Capital Accelerator Program. The company, cofounded in 2010 by FSU graduate and company President and CEO Dr. James Robotham, has successfully launched over 15 commercial products within the fields of Allergy and Infectious Disease. BioFront has sold antibodies to some of the healthcare industry leaders, and several large food manufacturers have expressed interest in the company’s allergen products. “Our goal is to provide scientists in academia, industry, and medicine with innovative tools suited to meet their demanding research needs,” said Robotham. “We are focused on becoming a reliable resource of goods and services within the fields of virology and immunology by offering our customers efficient and affordable solutions, and are positioned to create a solid presence in the biotech marketplace.” “BioFront is addressing a critical and growing need in the food service industry concerning detection of allergen contamination in food products,” said Jamie Grooms, Institute CEO. “The company is already generating revenue, and funding through our program will enable BioFront to continue product development and expand into new and growing markets.” 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.
Garmor Secures $300K Seed Funding Agreement from the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research’s Seed Capital Accelerator Program
Garmor, an Orlando advanced materials startup focused on developing low-cost, low-weight and high-strength materials based on technology developed at the University of Central Florida, has secured a $300K seed funding agreement from the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research’s Seed Capital Accelerator Program. Garmor, founded by CEO Anastasia Canavan, has developed a cost-effective method of producing high-quality graphene, a carbon-based material similar to carbon nanotubes and fullerenes. Although graphene was discovered nearly ten years ago, attempts to commercialize the mass production of graphene have not yet achieved affordable price points for many applications. By leveraging a new manufacturing methodology, Garmor plans to initially market its graphene for use in high-volume industries. One particular industry of interest is the reinforced materials markets where graphene adds substantial material improvements. Examples where this technology will be leveraged includes thermoplastics, thermoset plastics, resins and fiberglass composites. The enhanced strength, reduced cost and ultra-lightweight features of Garmor’s graphene in graphene-reinforced materials also facilitate its use in a wide number of transportation and construction applications. “Through sponsored research at UCF, Garmor demonstrated and proved that when used as an additive its graphene improves several material properties of composite materials. This funding, combined with our private investment, enables us to focus on volume manufacturing and customized product development,” said Canavan. “I can’t emphasize enough the importance of seed funding for companies like Garmor that are commercializing university technologies.” “Garmor is a great example of a Florida-based company leveraging advancements in technology, in this case the discovery of graphene, to enable corporations across multiple industries to deploy better products more cost-effectively”, said Jamie Grooms, Institute CEO. “Florida universities and research institutions are making new discoveries every day, improving every aspect of how we live, work and play.” Read more here.
Zentila, a Winter Garden strategic meetings management company, has closed a $2.1M Series A round led by VoCap Ventures of Vero Beach with participation from the Florida Opportunity Fund (managed by Arsenal Venture Partners) and venVelo, both of Winter Park. Zentila, founded in 2011 by CEO Mike Mason, a 25-year veteran of the hospitality industry, provides the first online booking engine for planning and booking meetings and conventions at hotels. It enables corporate event planners to solicit pricing bids and book corporate meetings and conferences. This financing follows Zentila’s recently announced partnership with Northstar Travel Media, the world’s leading business-to-business media company serving the travel and meetings industries, to offer its dynamic sourcing and booking platform on Northstar’s meetings and conventions online facility search. “Communicating travel information has been Northstar’s core competency for more than 50 years, and we are constantly looking to enhance our offerings,” said Bernard Schraer, Senior Vice President and Group Publisher of Northstar Media Group. “Zentila is a natural evolution of our services, enabling us to essentially provide a ‘one-stop-shopping’ experience for our meeting planner users.”
Open English, the leading online language school in Latin America with offices in Miami, Panama, Caracas, Bogota and Sao Paulo, has raised $65 million in its Series D round led by Technology Crossover Venture. Current Open English investors including Redpoint Ventures and Insight Venture Partners also participated in the round. This new capital brings the company’s total venture funding to date to $120 million with a valuation now of $350 million. Open English, which offers live, online classes by native English speakers in 22 countries across Latin America, has grown from 5,000 students in 2010 to more 70,000 current students today. Open English employs more than 2,000 full-time, part-time and contract workers. “There are very few companies that have had that level of funding in ed-tech and certainly for companies in Latin America,” said Andres Moreno, CEO and co-founder. “We’re just really scratching the surface here. We think there is meaningful opportunity to continue to capture market share as people realize this is a better and more cost effective solution than traditional brick-and-mortar schools,” said Moreno, who started the company in Venezuela with his partners with just $700 in 2006. “We will be launching in three new territories outside of Latin America in 2013,” Moreno said, adding that announcements will be coming out in the next few months. Read more here.
Feathr, a Gainesville startup developing a smartphone conference app platform, has raised $150K from four angel investor members of the Tampa Bay chapter of TiE, The Indus Entrepreneurs, for a 20% equity stake in the company. Feathr is marketing its app platform to event organizers which allows conference registrants to connect with each other and with speakers, receive updates on schedules and rooms, share a profile and eventually manage several events. Aidan Augustin and Neal Ormsbee founded Feathr in 2011 as undergraduate engineering students at the University of Florida. Feathr’s seven staff members are current or former UF students between the ages of 21 and 24 who work out of an office in the UF Innovation Hub. Augustin said the funding will pay for the staff to focus full time on Feathr and travel to conferences. Read more here.
Author: Jonathan Marino
Date: April 9, 2013
How bad was VC’s Q1 for fundraising? Consider: the $4.053 billion raised by just 35 funds is the lowest level of cash raised by the fewest firms since at least 2007.
The venture capital community’s fundraising showing for the first quarter of 2013 was so poor, the National Venture Capital Association could barely even look at the state of California and, instead, in its quarterly haul announcement, focused on Massachusetts leading the VC scene’s cash grab.
Still, the landscape is changing. Prior to the fundraising figures being released, peHUB spoke with a number of limited partners and venture capitalists who pointed out first-time VC funds have been chipping into larger GPs’ cash pools. Read more here.
NeuroNet Learning Secures Seed Funding Agreement from the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research’s Seed Capital Accelerator Program
NeuroNet Learning, a Gainesville educational software startup focused on improving children’s memory retention using physical activity based on technology developed at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, has secured a seed funding agreement from the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research’s Seed Capital Accelerator Program. Financial terms were not disclosed. NeuroNet Learning, founded in 2010 by CEO Jonathan Rowe, is developing unique brain-based training programs that use movement to facilitate learning, an approach informed by the latest neuroscientific research on attention, memory and perceptual-motor skills. NeuroNet’s programs help children become independent learners by automating the low-level perceptual-motor behaviors that promote fluency in reading decoding, handwriting and math fact retrieval. Read more here.
Bing Energy Secures Seed Funding Agreement from the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research’s Seed Capital Accelerator Program
Bing Energy, a Tallahassee early stage clean energy startup developing nanotechnology to create a more commercially viable fuel cell based on technology licensed from Florida State University, has … Continue reading