Tech funders, startups already feeling sting of state budget cuts

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The impact of Gov. Rick Scott’s veto of a line-item in the state budget last month is already rippling through the South Florida tech community.

The Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research was slated to receive $5.5 million to provide seed funding to startups. That was one of the $409 million in local items vetoed last month. The move came as a surprise: the program had been funded at the $5.5 million level since 2013, when the seed fund was incorporated into the Institute’s program.

The Florida Institute bridges early funding gaps for companies spinning out of Florida-based universities and research institutions by matching investments up to $300,000. South Florida startups Kairos, Candidate.Guru, Vigilant Bioscienes, Biscayne Pharmaceuticals, DealCoachPro, BlinkBio, EyeLife (now Biim Ultrasound) and Ovation Diagnostics are among the 71 companies that have been funded, most in the last few years. The result has been more than 4,000 jobs paying an average salary of $76,000, according to the Institute. The idea is to build tech companies that stay in Florida and create high-paying jobs, said Jackson Streeter, CEO of the Institute.

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