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Visual Edge Design Adds 6+ Jobs in Clearwater

Clearwater-based website design and internet marketing firm Visual Edge Design is in a growth mode, planning to at least double their 6-member project team to include website designers, administration, internal sales leaders and field sales representatives.

"The hiring effort is on-going. We’re a small company, but we’re in expansion mode; and my plan is to fill the building with personnel. We have a decent sized building with a lot of expansion room," says Morgan Fagerman, president.

Three months ago, Visual Edge Design brought on new company president Fagerman who began to focus on strategic marketing planning and promotion, drawing upon his industry expertise and capitalizing upon a collaborative mix of traditional, social and internet marketing methods, leading to an upswing in business.

For Fagerman, the solution is simple:

"Get all of your marketing ducks in a row. Promote, promote, promote. Then deliver, and make sure your customer service is really top notch," says Fagerman.

Visual Edge Design is committed to being an information resource to customers by offering the on-going support and website maintenance necessary to create dynamic online experiences that effectively create exposure and growth opportunities.

Since launching in 1999, Visual Edge Design grew from providing dedicated website design solutions for niche markets to delivering services to more than 450 clients globally.

The company credits the loyalty of existing customers as a contributor to their market sustainability and continued growth.

"The loyalty of the core clientele of this company is phenomenal. The amount of repeat business is amazing," says Fagerman.

As the firm continues to move forward, team members are additionally focused on developing relationships and partnerships with other companies to deliver website design and internet marketing solutions to an extended network of customers.

For information on hiring opportunities, visit Visual Edge Design’s website.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Morgan Fagerman, Visual Edge Design

LumaStream Makes Big Plans For Lighting

LumaStream offers a turnkey, innovative lighting infrastructure that is not only cost effective but energy efficient and highly controllable.

"We don’t have small plans. We intend to change the world of lighting," comments LumaStream's CEO and Founder Eric Higgs.
 
A high-tech entrepreneur with ties to Silicon Valley, Higgs discovered the product while searching for lighting solutions for the exterior of the parking garage at the Element building in downtown Tampa. He wasn't happy with the cost and quality of available LED products. Teaming up with an electrical contractor, he saw an opportunity. The team learned about a company in Canada that had created the core technology now being used by LumaStream. They bought the company, developed the product and patented the digital power conversion technology.
 
The product converts high voltage lighting to low voltage digitally and then sends it long distances in a highly controlled way. The result is a longer lasting lighting system that is also more efficient and has a higher quality output. Described as an "intelligent power center," the system is also unique because of its control center, which includes a wireless interface that can be used through a smartphone or other mobile device or a push-button wall station.
 
Also a sculptor, Higgs is no stranger to large visual displays, with his artwork being found in major public installations and museums around the world. He credits his fine arts background with helping him create the design for the fixtures.

LumaStream's lighting systems can be found in venues across Tampa Bay including Tech Data, Tropicana Field and the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg.

The company plans to stay in Tampa Bay and is moving its power supply manufacturing from Canada.

"What I like about this area is that it’s one of the top technology hubs of anywhere in the country. The passion, with the incubators and accelerators, and the momentum and desire to support new ventures is absolutely amazing," says Higgs.

LumaStream is one of 13 local businesses honored recently with The University of Tampa’s Earth Charter Sustainable Business Awards. The awards were based on three criteria: people (employee and community well-being), planet (environmental health) and profit (economic viability).

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Eric Higgs, LumaStream

Pure Air Control Services Offers Energy Solutions, Adds Jobs In Clearwater

The innovative energy strategies of indoor air quality consulting firm Pure Air Control Services, Inc. are significantly improving the way we live, work, and play. The firm is now growing its staff to include additional technical field representatives, administration, sales and marketing team members.

"Over the long-term, we will be adding more staff as well as purchasing new equipment. As we grow organizationally, so does our staff," says President and CEO Alan Wozniak.

Founded in 1984 by Wozniak, the Clearwater-based environmental consulting and engineering firm provides professional indoor air quality solutions to healthcare, governmental, military, educational, professional, and international facilities.

PACS developed the Green Clean Institute Certified PURE-Steam Coil Cleaning process as an alternative to foam rinse cleaning the debris-covered coils of HVAC systems. Foam cleaning coils allows dirt and debris to be pushed further into the system, resulting in pressure loss, decreased air flow, failed temperature cooling, and exponentially large energy costs.

"Conventional coil cleaning includes chemicals which are relatively harsh on coils, it’s not biodegradable, and they get washed into the water system, which is not a good green process," says Wozniak.

PACS’ chemical-free process includes steaming HVAC coils up to 350 degrees, causing heat to penetrate the coils while loosening and dislodging dirt and debris that has been lodged into the system. "The energy savings is astronomical," says Wozniak.

As energy costs rose, Florida State University (FSU) began to take a precise look at its HVAC maintenance and operating program. Within one year of implementation, FSU saved over $800,000 in energy costs, a 157 percent return on their initial investment.

The firm has serviced more than 600 million square feet of indoor environments for over 10,000 facilities and recently joined Charlotte County Public Schools' Green Cleaning initiative, focused on alleviating long-term health risks, improving air quality in the educational environment, and saving energy.

"We are improving value every day, both environmentally and by saving energy. We look at health, energy, and comfort. All three have to be incorporated."

For information on hiring opportunities and green energy-saving solutions, visit PACS’ website or call 1.800.422.7873.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Alan Wozniak, Pure Air Control Services, Inc.

M-ize Launches My Products App, Adds Jobs In Tampa

Temple Terrace-based consumer and brand experience start-up M-ize has officially launched its new My Products mobile app, designed to enhance customers’ purchasing experience by connecting them to brands, family and friends via mobile and social networks.

Earlier this year, M-ize opened a 30-member development center in Hyderabad, India, and is now adding designers, software engineers, sales consultants, product managers, data architects and interns to grow their headquarters in Temple Terrace.

Kick-started in May 2012, M-ize was founded by entrepreneur and TiE Tampa Bay Charter Member Ashok Kartham after successfully developing a platform for 4CS, a service life-cycle management firm for high-end industrial products.

Kartham utilized the same life-cycle management concept, but custom-tailored it to the growing mobile and lifestyle needs of consumers. He created M-ize to focus on bringing smarter consumers together to connect them to products, community, advice and technical support by leveraging mobile, social, cloud and analytic technologies.

The new My Products app is a two-ended network where consumers can plug into any given brand’s products while being connected to trends, customer reviews and product information that is valuable to making significant purchasing decisions.

"The key is placing everything about products in a single, digestible format. We give you the big picture and also give you a more intimate picture by allowing you to ping your social network. It’s a more personalized picture," says CMO Bruce Burke.

The My Products app also connects consumers directly to a brand’s support, services and necessary accessories post-purchase.

The advantage for brands? Aggregation of customers during different stages of the purchasing process. The new app also integrates Smart Block for companies, where brands receive the benefit of utilizing the existing app platform while allowing them to customize their theme and share their tailored brand messaging to customers using the app.

"We currently have about one million products in the app. It’s the first generation of what will be a much larger community ecosystem that supports it," says Burke.

M-ize has already launched Support Me, a consumer-end app giving customers access to product support from anywhere.

Both M-ize and key team members are socially and technologically invested in Tampa Bay as well as the firm’s growth and innovation.

Kartham recently invested in the new Feathr app, designed to enhance networking connections at business events. Burke has been selected to receive Google Glass, and plans to utilize key innovations, trends, and technologies to help enhance the consumer experience for M-ize app users.

"Sometimes things come together because people are actually communicating with each other," says Burke.

For information on hiring opportunities and unique business partnerships, visit M-ize’s website.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Bruce Burke, M-ize

Tampa Company Aims To Help You Organize Online Experience

In today's digital world, it can be difficult to keep track of emails, social networks and files in one place. KiteDesk has developed a cloud-based application to address this need and help individuals and companies better organize their online space.

Launched in December 2011, the application links content from user accounts, allowing for real time integration, aggregation and personalized information streams. By integrating multiple sources of data, customers have access to complete and up-to-date information that is easily accessible through multiple portals.

KiteDesk is one of 18 Florida-based companies (five in Tampa Bay) that will be pitching at the Florida Venture Forum Early Stage Conference in Orlando May 15. They are attempting to fund expansion, which will include strategic hiring in sales and marketing.

The company's founders, Jack Kennedy and Jared Rodriguez, have been working together in the software start-up arena for over 15 years. They plan to remain in the Tampa Bay area because of the strong support network for entrepreneurs.

"We see a lot of really positive movement, both in terms of organizations that help us be a catalyst for innovation and funding as well as the great connections in terms of talent in the area," says Jack Kennedy, Tampa native and USF graduate, and current CEO of KiteDesk. "We think it’s an exciting place to be all around, from the ability to hire and the costs to run a business."

The company will be launching a new product that focuses on social customer relationship management (CRM) within the next few months. The product will help companies mine information from employee relationships to create warm introductions to prospective customers.

Long term plans include additional product offerings in the social business arena, including a recruiting based platform. "Our intention is to stay in Tampa and grow in this community," says Kennedy.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Jack Kennedy, KiteDesk

Second-Stage Companies Find Advice At Tech Talk In Tampa

Tampa Bay Innovation Center (TBIC) is hosting a panel of CEOs from local second-stage companies at the May TECH Talk program on May 14 in Tampa.

While opportunities seem to abound for companies just getting off the ground, second-stage companies (or, those with $1 million to $25 million in revenue and 10-15 employees) often find themselves seeking mentoring and other resources to assist with their unique challenges.

"It's a pivitol point for a company," says Danielle Weitlauf, new venture manager for TBIC. "It's often make it or break it when you get to that level."

It's also a point where a lot of job growth occurs, and with a large number of Tampa Bay companies in this stage the opportunities are tremendous. May’s TECH Talk will highlight the importance of these companies to the region while providing success stories to help both those starting out and those in the second-stage.

Panelists from Mercury New Media, Seibert Insurance Agency and CBT Development Corporation will share their stories about the growing pains and unique challenges of second-stage companies, such as attracting and retaining quality employees, positioning yourself for growth, and how to work ON your business instead of IN your business – removing yourself from the day to day details in order to move your business forward.  

TBIC is the local provider for the statewide Grow Florida program for economic gardening at the University of Central Florida, which aims to support these companies to get them to the next step. TBIC’s Economic Gardening program also provides companies with technical assistance to help with business strategy and roundtable events to discuss business management with peer CEOs.

Applications are currently being accepted for the next group of participants in TBIC’s Economic Gardening program.  

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Danielle Weitlauf, Tampa Bay Innovation Center

USF Heart Institute Opens New Genomics Laboratory In Tampa

Did you know your genetic makeup can predict your risk for disease, severity of certain diseases and how they will respond to treatment?

The University of South Florida (USF) Heart Institute is opening a genomics laboratory on May 14 that will use state-of-the art technology and equipment to study this unique, personalized approach to medicine.

The 7,550-square-foot space is located on the fifth floor of the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute and will house technology-heavy laboratories to conduct intensive research on regenerative medicine, genomics (DNA analysis), personalized medicine and heart disease prevention and treatment.

Rather than a traditional trial and error or "one drug fits all" approach, personalized medicine uses individual physiology and genetic makeup to determine the best treatment options.

"The way medicine is practiced today, we don’t take advantage of this wealth of information that can be obtained from someone’s genetic makeup," says Dr. Stephen Liggett, vice dean of research for the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. Dr. Liggett was brought to USF in June of 2012 specifically to develop a program to work on genetic medicine.

The lab was funded by a combination of $8.9 million in funding from the State of Florida and Hillsborough County. Additional funding is being sought to build a larger, stand-alone Heart institute. Future plans for the genomics lab include working with The Villages retirement community in Tampa to gather information from their electronic medical records.

USF plans to hire seven additional faculty and post-doctoral fellows as well as technicians to work in the space.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Dr. Stephen Liggett, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine

Economic Development Flourishes At Riverwalk 2013, Bradenton

From the grassroots,"un-conference" style of BarCamp Sarasota-Bradenton to the more traditional panel discussions at the Economic Development Summit, the entrepreneurial-minded can expect to be informed and inspired at Riverwalk 2013.

May 2 – 5 at the Riverwalk Complex in Bradenton, the community can attend one of four different events, all with the same purpose: to help entrepreneurs and the community at large navigate the changing business landscape.

The series kicks off on May 2 with a "Coding for the Non-Profit" event, bringing together designers, coders and project managers to provide technology solutions for Realize Bradenton – a local arts and culture council focused on downtown Bradenton.

The Economic Development Summit on May 3 at the Manatee Performing Arts Center features keynote speaker Jim Stikeleather, Chief Innovation Officer for Dell, who will speak on disruptive technologies and business models. The event will also feature panelists, including business leaders, funding professionals, educators and entrepreneurs, speaking on the full spectrum of entrepenueurial development, from seed through later stage funding. Panelists will discuss why they chose to create or move their businesses here, changing the perception of a "retirement community" to a place where people purposely come to live and grow their business.

May 4's event is BarCamp Sarasota-Bradenton at Manatee Technical Institute, an "unconference" with an open agenda and talks created on the fly. This participatory event allows everyone to contribute through talks, discussions, round tables and feedback.

The series concludes on May 5 with the U.S. Green Builders' Council’s green technology expo and music festival, as well as a special showing of Fiddler on the Roof at the brand new Manatee Players' Theater.

The event series was created by Spark Growth, a community-based company focused on social enterprise, as well as several non-profit community groups.

"Our goal is to create a destination event that will highlight the attributes of where we live and bring it all together," says Sara Hand, co-founder of Spark Growth. "People won’t just come to the events and get information, but they’ll be impacted and changed, with a call to action. We hope they’ll be inspired."

Some events require registration, others are open.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Sara Hand, Spark Growth

TIE Investors Back Event Networking Mobile App

A group of investors in Tampa Bay is backing a new app designed to better facilitate networking connections at business events.

Four members of the Tampa Bay chapter of TiE, The Indus Entrepreneurs, recently invested in a 20 percent ownership of Feathr, a start-up created by former University of Florida students Aidan Augustin and Neal Ormsbee. The mobile app is designed to create better connections during events and conferences by serving as a virtual business card. It provides profiles and contact information for speakers, exhibitors and attendees, allowing people to connect instantly for meaningful communications. It also provides real-time schedule and room updates as well as logistical information about the event.

"Feathr has assembled a very talented team to build a mobile app to revolutionize the age old practice of business card exchange," says Ashok Kartham, TiE Tampa Bay Charter Member and board member for Feathr.

TiE Tampa Bay was founded in 2012, and is part of a global organization with 25,000 members in 17 countries. The organization provides local entrepreneurs with connections, education, mentoring and financial support. There are 22 charter members who provide most of the investment funding. The group is also open to general members, most of whom are local entrepreneurs and business owners taking advantage of the expertise.

The philosophical foundation’s primary goal is to nurture and invest in up-and-coming companies with good ideas. Quarterly pitch sessions provide general members with a chance to have their idea heard in front of potential investors.

"We hope the Tampa chapter can make a huge difference in helping to grow tens if not hundreds of businesses in Tampa and Florida in the coming months and years," says Kartham.

TiE has already helped Feathr with product repositioning and marketing and billing and accounting systems. The app will be launched at VenturePitch Orlando on May 7.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Ashok Kartham, TiE Tampa Bay

USF Professor Connects Careers In Healthcare, STEM For Women

Grisselle Centeno, Associate Professor at the University of South Florida’s Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, is applying case studies and other active learning tools to encourage more women to enter into STEM careers.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, women are more likely to enter into a career in healthcare than engineering. This could be because, due to the predominantly male field, women may not see a clear career path in engineering. Traditional careers also may not give women the impact on society they often seek.

Centeno is putting these theories to the test with a series of in and out of the classroom experiences to help all students, but especially women, understand how they can apply their engineering knowledge to healthcare-related problems. As a result of the case studies she has implemented in the classroom, several female students have decided to pursue careers as engineers in healthcare/social services as well as become researchers to address opportunities in the healthcare environment.

"If women could understand that they could have an impact on healthcare from an engineering perspective, they would be more engaged and motivated to follow a degree in engineering and join the workforce," says Centeno.

Centeno recently received a $5,000 Faculty Research Award from Women in Leadership and Philanthropy at USF to support her efforts. The award will be used to invite female engineers who work in healthcare environments to campus to interact with faculty, students and the administration.  

Centeno is also developing more case studies with local partners, such as Moffitt Cancer Center and the Veterans Administration to provide real world application.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Grisselle Centeno, University of South Florida

DTCC Expands in Tampa, Adds 255 Jobs

New York based Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) has selected Tampa as the location to expand its operations, adding 255 high-wage jobs over the next three years at more than double the average regional salary of $46,000.

The company is also spending $4.8 million in capital expenditures dedicated to hiring initiatives, new equipment and the renovation of its 180,000-square-foot facility.

Since 2012, DTCC weighed in on several competing offers, considering both Tampa and Jersey City, NJ as locations to expand its financial processing and operations support center. The company will focus its expansion initiatives on adding information technology, infrastructure, operational, human resources and finance specialists.

Hiring will begin immediately, and over the next three years, DTCC will carry out additional hiring and facility renovations in phases.

“Our existing facility gives us the ability to continue to hire. As we continue to expand, we’ll have other support functions that need to grow as well,” says Eric Miller, managing director and head of DTCC Tampa.

The expansion project also includes $4 million in state and local incentives, including a $1.79 million Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund and $1.23 million from the Quick Action Closing Fund.

Nine years ago, as a post 9-11 security measure, DTCC planted a hub in Tampa as a larger business continuity strategy to protect critical financial operations and “decentralize the processing and operations support the firm provides to the global financial services industry.”

“This expansion aligns with DTCC’s workforce location and sourcing strategy and allows us to continue to provide our clients with exceptional service while meeting the needs for long-term sustainability,” says Miller.

DTCC Tampa has since grown from 300 to 530 employees, and cites Tampa Bay as a region with a great technological and veteran talent pool and a prime place to continue its growth while strengthening its local, state and educational relationships.

“Tampa is an excellent environment for businesses to grow and thrive, and it has proven to be the right choice for us.”

The firm has also joined the 100,000 Jobs Mission, a collaborative network of employers dedicated to hiring transitioning service members and military veterans by the year 2020. “We are working very closely with MacDill AFB to help with the training that is required to help transitioning veterans.” To date, 64,628 veterans have been hired through the initiative.

“DTCC has been positively impacting our community in many other ways as well by seeking out our retired military for many of these positions, working with our local universities and supporting disadvantaged schools and organizations in Tampa,” says City of Tampa Mayor Buckhorn.

For information on hiring opportunities, visit DTCC’s website.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Eric Miller, DTCC and Mayor Bob Buckhorn, City of Tampa

Ion Labs Grows, Adds 5 Jobs, Clearwater

Nutritional supplement manufacturing firm Ion Labs, Inc. is adding members to their team while investing in research and development, new equipment and facility space that will enhance production and efficiency.

Ion Labs is now seeking to add a quality engineer, production associates, warehousing personnel and a junior sales associate.

“We’re always looking for good people. It’s a continuous process for us,” says CEO Clayton Desjardine.

Clearwater-based Ion Labs specializes in private label and contract manufacturing of nutritional supplements. The firm facilitates the process of conducting critical research and development for specific nutritional supplements through to packaging, shipping and delivery, thus making the product ready for the market.

Purchased by Desjardine in September 2012, the firm has since added 20 technicians, chemists, managers and support team members.

As the business grows, Desjardine says he strategically invests in production, quality control and sales – effectively growing each service area at the same pace in order to increase production quality standards while effectively managing operations.

With a keen focus on quality control, the firm is currently expanding from its existing 20,000-square-foot space to a 42,000-square-foot facility and has invested in new machinery, expanded its team, and added an additional eight-hour shift to effectively impact the production process.

“We want to create the most sophisticated quality control system that we can," says Desjardine.

The firm has also invested in hiring high quality employees and has an additional focus on building strong foundations for employees and their families. Desjardine plans to begin a college scholarship fund in September 2013, dedicated to the children of Ion Labs’ employees.

“We are supposed to invest in our people. What makes us strong as a company is our people. I’m lucky because we have a group of people who are determined to make this company successful.”

Candidates may find advertisements for open positions on WorkNet Pinellas, Monster, and Career Builder. For more information, call 727.527.1072 or visit Ion Labs' website.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Clayton Desjardine, Ion Labs, Inc.

Ideas Sought Florida Healthcare Innovation Competition, Tampa

Do you have an idea for a product or service that will help improve healthcare? Maybe you want to improve patient engagement or health provider effectiveness? Submit your innovation to the 2013 First Annual State of Florida Healthcare Innovation Competition.

The competition will be held Tuesday, May 14, at the USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) in downtown Tampa. The event is sponsored by Florida Blue, in partnership with the University of South Florida (USF) Center for Entrepreneurship.

A first of its kind for the State of Florida, the goal is to strengthen the life sciences and healthcare sectors throughout the state.

"It brings together the resources necessary to allow innovation to move from concept to the marketplace," says Michael Fountain, director of the USF Center for Entrepreneurship.

The intrinsic benefits are attracting more innovative, up-and-coming companies that may choose Tampa Bay as their home.

"I’d love to see as many of these as we can realize that with the hub we have in medical innovation, they can come here and become a part of our business ecosystem," says Fountain.

Submissions can be entered into one of two categories: the Student Competition, open to current undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a college or university in Florida or the Open Competition, which includes all other Florida residents.

Winners will receive cash prizes. Submissions will also be considered for Florida Blue’s Healthbox Florida Accelerator Program, which provides mentoring, staff and financial support to developing companies.

Applications can be submitted online until midnight April 19.  

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Michael Fountain, USF Center for Entrepreneurship

IGNITE Tampa Bay Stimulates Thought, Sparks Passion

What are you most passionate about? Can you answer that question in a five-minute presentation, using 20 slides that advance every 15 seconds?

On April 25, more than 20 community-minded individuals will take the stage at the Tampa Theatre to inform, educate and engage you about their favorite ideas and projects at IGNITE Tampa Bay.

With the mantra: "Enlighten us, but make it quick!" the event brings together the Tampa Bay community to share their personal and professional passions and experiences in bite-sized presentations.

Topics run the gamut and include arts, technology, health, education and business. You’ll hear Kip Curtis from the Edible Peach Patch Project talk about how community gardens in St. Petersburg are helping at-risk kids stay in school. Michele Northrup – aka the Saucy Queen – will discuss why companies can benefit from collaborating with their competitors. Ashley Mooney will teach how to constructively embrace failure to make it work to your advantage. Kevin Thurman from Connect Tampa Bay will discuss why you are the solution to Tampa Bay’s transportation challenges.

"There are so many people here in the community who don’t get a chance to speak publicly," says Sean Davis, co-chair of IGNITE Tampa Bay. "It’s a great way to get them out there."

Now in its third year, the attendance is expected to reach over 600 this year, with the new larger venue.

The event's unique format forces presenters to get to the point quickly, which further enhances the goal -- to stimulate thought and spark a fire with the audience, igniting them to take action and follow their own passions.

"Lots of people could benefit from understanding more about what’s out there," says Davis. "It starts to get other people thinking about what they can do."

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Sean Davis, IGNITE Tampa Bay

Moffitt Cancer Center Fuels Biotech Startups, Tampa

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center’s Office of Technology Management and Commercialization (OTMC) is fueling medical innovations and helping to launch biotechnical startups within Tampa Bay.

Over the past four years, OTMC has launched 13 startups centered on the technological advancement of new drugs, new diagnostics and new devices that will improve the quality of patient care.

The core focus of OTMC is to set an infrastructure to facilitate the launch of faculty startups. By partnering with faculty, staff and industry leaders, medical innovations and discoveries are placed in an environment where technology can be further developed and eventually translated into commercial products that will benefit patients.

“Startups out of Moffitt are providing a number of benefits regionally and statewide. It’s creating new jobs, drawing attention to our region from outside investors so that we can access capital, and it’s also drawing attention from pharmaceutical companies and biotechnical firms interested in partnering or expanding to the state,” says Jarrett Rieger, director of OTMC.

The annual Business of Biotech conference is designed to create an atmosphere for faculty startups to interact with investors and the medical community to help further their success. The 2013 conference, which drew more than 350 participants as well as industry representation from outside of Florida, featured an investor forum, providing startups an opportunity to pitch business ideas to investors while receiving valuable feedback on developmental and funding milestones.

The 2014 Business of Biotech conference will focus on bringing additional business development officers from large pharmaceutical and biotech companies to foster more industry collaborations with the local area.

“It’s a high priority because the funding environment is changing. Academic institutions are looking to continue to support their innovations and research, and one way is to partner with industry. It is a big effort at Moffitt and other academic institutions to forge those types of relationships,” says Rieger.

Several of Moffitt’s faculty members have launched new companies and are gaining traction towards licensing medical technologies. Many startups are raising capital and have partnered with venture capitalists and the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research to help fund critically needed medical studies.

Tampa’s growing medical market paired with technological innovations is a natural stimulant for the Tampa Bay region.

“The larger our presence in the biotech, life science and medical device area -- the more research and innovation going on here, the greater the probability that we’ll be able to attract biotech businesses to our region.”

For information on OTMC, new technologies, and startups visit their website or call 813.745.6828.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Jarrett Rieger, Moffitt Cancer Center Office of Technology Management and Commercialization
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