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.”
BitPay, an Orlando bitcoin payment processing solution startup, has expanded its original $510K seed round, announced in January 2013, with additional funding from more angel investors including Ben Davenport, Trace Mayer, and A-GRade Investments. Financial terms were not disclosed. BitPay was started by Anthony Gallippi, CEO, and Stephen Pair in 2011. The company has developed a suite of software tools that allow businesses to collect payments over the bitcoin peer-to-peer payment network. Using BitPay, a business can accept a payment from any country on earth, instantly, with zero risk of fraud. BitPay now has over 3,200 merchants using its platform to accept bitcoin payments, and recently disclosed that in 2012 they processed over $3.3 million in bitcoin payments for its merchants. 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.
Modulation Therapeutics Secures Seed Funding Agreement from the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research’s Seed Capital Accelerator Program
Modulation Therapeutics, a Tampa pharmaceutical startup developing novel treatments for multiple myeloma based on technology licensed from the Moffitt Cancer Center, 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. Modulation Therapeutics is developing MTI-101, a drug with a novel, first in class mechanism of action for myeloma, an incurable blood cancer. “Support from the Institute will enable us to trigger studies to better understand the dosing, toxicology and optimal clinical program for MTI-101, bringing us closer to our goal of IND filing by Q4 2013,” said Michael Cerio, interim CEO of Modulation Therapeutics. “This funding comes at a critical time in our development and, paired with funding we recently received from the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, the company is poised to take its first in class therapy into the clinic. “Modulation Therapeutics is addressing a previously unmet need to treat Myeloma and the devastating prognosis that it delivers,” said Jamie Grooms, Institute Chief Executive Officer. Read more here.
CallMiner, a Ft. Myers enterprise speech analytics company, has closed a $9.6M Series D round from investors Sigma Partners, InterSouth Partners, and Florida Growth Fund. CallMiner, cofounded in 2002 by Jeff Gallino, Kim Brown, and Cliff LaCoursiere, is a leader in enterprise speech analytics. CallMiner’s Eureka product enables organizations to hear and act on the true voice of their customers as captured in contact center conversations. Eureka speech analytics automates the process of extracting information from customer calls uncovering information including customer demands, market trends, and how well agents are meeting their service needs. Inflexion Partners led CallMiner’s Series A round in 2004.
Channel Intelligence, an Orlando ecommerce product company, was acquired by Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) for $125 in an all-cash transaction. Channel Intelligence is owned by ICG Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ICGE) and Aweida Capital Management. CI, founded by its Chairman Rob Wight in 1999, tracks some 15% of all U.S. online transactions, driving some $2B in sales every year through referrals with its CI Boost services: Facebook Platform, Where-to-Buy, Product Search Engines and Shopping Engine solutions. ICG, which buys and builds Internet software and services firms, said it will get $60.5M for its stake in CI and realize a $43M gain from the sale. “Building upon the perseverance and strong foundation laid by CI’s founder and Chairman Rob Wight, I am extremely proud of the work we accomplished at CI,” said Doug Alexander, CEO of CI and President of ICG. ”I am thrilled to see the recognition of value for what this company has accomplished,” said Wight. “Our vision for CI started with the desire to simplify the online shopping experience. Under the leadership of Doug and ICG, CI greatly enhanced its value proposition to its customers and partners. I am very proud to see our vision executed to this great outcome.” Read more here.
Triad Retail Media, a Tampa ad agency that develops online shopping campaigns for retailers, is being acquired by a private equity firm Rockbridge Growth Equity. Financial terms were not disclosed. Triad, founded in 2004 by CEO Greg Murtagh, has developed ad campaigns for Wal-Mart Stores, eBay, Home Depot, and Dollar General. In 2012, Triad recorded $171M in retail advertising and media sales, up 40 percent. ”We’ve basically doubled the company in the past 36 months,” Murtagh said. “With Rockbridge and [its principal] Dan Gilbert [founder of Quicken Loans and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA basketball team], we plan to double the company again in the next three years.” Rockbridge invests primarily in financial and business services, consumer-direct marketing, and sports, media and entertainment industries. It owns equity stakes in Ready Financial Group, Protect America, Northcentral University, One on One Marketing and One Reverse Mortgage. Read more here.
Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim), a simulation technology and integrated training solutions developer with its North American headquarters in Orlando, has been acquired by New York-based private equity firm Riverside Company. Financial terms were not disclosed. BISim’s flagship product, Virtual Battlespace 2 (VBS2), is a fully interactive, three-dimensional, game-based synthetic environment employed for daily tactical training and mission rehearsal by most western militaries. BISim has additional offices in Australia, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and Poland and has important long-term contracts to support military organizations including the United States Marine Corps, United States Army, United Kingdom Ministry of Defence and the Australian Defence Force. Peter Morrison, the CEO of BISim, said “We are very proud that Riverside has chosen to partner with BISim, as a very experienced and mature private equity firm. We look forward to years of further success built upon game-based training technology.” Read more here.