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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

Hillsborough County Hosts Hack-A-Thon, Tampa

For the first time, Hillsborough County is opening up data from several of its departments for Tampa Bay coders, designers and others in the technology community to build apps.

The 3-day Hack-a-thon takes place April 12, 13 and 14 at Hillsborough Community College’s Dale Mabry campus, near Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Coders and designers will work in groups to manipulate the data outside of the county’s firewall, so as not to disrupt any programs or services.

Event partners include Hillsborough County, HART, The University of Tampa, University of South Florida, Hillsborough Community College and several private sector businesses.

"It’s kind of like the perfect storm," says Lori Hudson, communications and digital media services director for Hillsborough County. "Everybody’s coming together in a really cohesive manner."

Departments providing data include Permitting, Fire Rescue, Emergency Management, Public Works and Animal Services. There will be 75 layers of county facilities and amenities data that can be mapped.

As part of the Open Data Movement, the county hopes to meet citizens where they are by allowing the community to be involved in the design process.

"This will be a way to develop services and products that people in our community will be able to use," says Hudson.

The event is the beginning of an ongoing effort within Hillsborough County government to grow technology and encourage innovative start-ups and small businesses in Tampa Bay.

Students and community designers and developers can register to participate online through April 4.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Lori Hudson, Hillsborough County

New Mobile App Offers User-Directed Ads, Tampa

Tampa-based MobAdWin offers a new type of advertising medium that uses a mobile app to benefit both customers and businesses.

Users open the app on their smartphones and view ads based on their pre-determined preferences. They then provide feedback about the ads and earn cash and other perks based on their activity. The user maintains complete control over their information, with no cookies to download, monitoring of Internet traffic or other lead-building devices. Participation is voluntary, and contact information remains private.

"We wanted to find a way to advertise with less money and better results, and to track responses and ROI," says Alex Dammous, co-founder of MobAdWin. Originally from Belgium, Dammous moved to Tampa Bay after vacationing in the area, and earned a masters degree in International Law from Stetson.

The users provide feedback about the ads they view, which businesses use to measure the impact of their advertising. Ultimately, the ads also drive traffic to the businesses, presenting a win-win. Current clients include retail establishments, bars, restaurants and small businesses.

MobAdWin recently hired advertising students from the University of South Florida to help grow the business. Originally brought on to assist with promotions at events, the students quickly learned the product and contributed ideas. Dammous responded by moving them into leadership roles. The company plans to continue sourcing local hires as the business grows.

The app is available for iphone or Android.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Alex Dammous, MobAdWin

Absolute Mobile Solutions Adds App Designers, Tampa

Absolute Mobile Solutions, a mobile technology development firm, is growing its Tampa team to include additional designers, project managers and marketing interns over the next month. Absolute now employs 42 team members internationally and six in Tampa.

“Although we have a strong development presence overseas, it is important for us to provide local project management, design and strategy in the U.S.,” says Alfred Goldberg, co-founder and president of the Americas. As the firm grows, adding project managers having specific expertise in mobile technology and design solutions is expected to add to the firm’s success.

Absolute is best known in the technology and software application industry for helping organizations develop and execute lasting mobile strategies.

“We’ve been adding project managers and will continue to add project managers as more projects come along,” says Goldberg.

The firm started as a software application development shop focused on the PalmPilot, and for the past 14 years, Absolute has been one of America’s leading mobile design and development companies. As the software application industry grew from hand-held technology of the ‘90s, Absolute focused its strategies on developing key software applications for the swiftly transforming mobile technology market.

“We started in mobile, and we stayed in mobile," says Goldberg.

In a highly competitive and dispensable technical market, Absolute’s client strategies focus on designing application interfaces that impact the user experience as well as aligning clients’ business objectives with strategic marketing planning that results in successfully attracting and retaining application users.

“About 8,000 new apps get submitted to Apple alone each week. The chances of your app staying unique for very long time is very slim. Our clients count on us to provide the best possible user experience to their users,” says Goldberg.

As a global firm based in Tampa Bay, Absolute has a large presence and plays a major role in the region’s technology arena. Often referred to as the “Forefather of Mobile” in the Tampa Bay region, Goldberg created a mobile design and development curriculum for three universities, including the International Academy of Design and Technology Online -- one of the first in the country.

Advancements in mobile technology continue to increase demand for consumers and companies alike. For companies exploring mobile technology applications as a value-add and sustainable growth option, avoiding missteps is serious business for companies who are not strategically focused.

“People are paying attention to Tampa Bay -- to our work in the cloud, to our work with mobile, and to the quality of life. More than anything, time is what’s going to settle some of the hype and let the world see where the best and brightest are.”

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

Writer: Kaye Brown
Source: Alfred Goldberg, Absolute Mobile Solutions

Socius Marketing Hiring Web Designers & Writers, Tampa

Within seven years, Tampa-based search engine optimization firm Socius Marketing has grown over 400 percent, recently expanding to an 8,300-square-foot office.

With a full-time staff of more than 35 employees, the company is continuing to grow and is hiring additional web designers, web developers, and staff writers. In the last year, Socius has grown an additional 55%, adding more than five new team members.

Founded in 2006, Socius Marketing specializes in creating customized internet marketing solutions, organic search engine optimization and website design and development for national clients in the healthcare, home improvement, office furniture, and military defense industries.

“We continue to grow and are focusing on expanding into new industries,” says President Chris Behan.

Because the firm helps a wide variety of national companies establish brand recognition as well as generate leads for their local networks, Socius’ employees have very specific specialties and capabilities that are a tailored fit for their clients.

“We create original content for our clients’ websites so that they own the marketing solution. We are always looking for talented writers,” says Public Relations Manager Jacintha Anderson.

Hiring employees having expertise in such areas as law, engineering, electronic media, commercial art and multimedia technology is a value-add to Socius’ clients.

Placing a keen focus on targeting client needs and accomplishing results has helped Socius continue to grow in a shifting economy. “Marketing is even more important than ever. By focusing on the results, what converts, and having phenomenal employees, we are able to produce those results for our clients,” says Anderson.

“We are excited to serve our clients and are proud to be a part of their growing businesses as a result of the work we do,” says Behan.

The corporate culture at Socius is built around employees working closely with each other to accomplish company and client goals while experiencing flexible regular business hours -- and half-day Fridays.

Interested writers should have degrees and experience in English, public relations, marketing or communications. Candidates interested in web design and development should have 2-3 years of experience in php, html and design. To apply, visit Socius’ website.

Writer: Kaye Brown
Sources: Chris Behan and Jacintha Anderson, Socius Marketing

Tampa Bay WaVE Announces Inaugural Class In FirstWaVE Accelerator Program

Tampa Bay WaVE recently accepted the first group of startups into its FirstWaVE Accelerator Program.

The companies will receive assistance in all phases of development, including workshops, bootcamp events, mentors, professional services and opportunities to meet with investors and other successful entrepreneurs. They will also have access to the coworking space at FirstWaVE’s new Venture Center in downtown Tampa.

"The program will fill in some of the missing skills sets and experience that my team doesn't have,'' says Brian Burridge, president and founder of Commendable Kids, a startup that is part of the inaugural class.

Commendable Kids is an online experience that helps parents, teachers and other caregivers motivate and encourage children toward achieving goals, reaching milestones and learning new skills.

Parents sign up online, and their children can earn badges for their accomplishments. The parents then add information to their account to illustrate what their child did to earn the badges. They can invite family and friends to become supporters and give the children virtual "high fives.''

As an early supporter of Tampa Bay WaVE, Burridge was eager to be a part of the first class in the Accelerator program.

"Tampa Bay is a lot stronger in tech than anyone realizes,'' says Burridge. "FirstWaVe is laying the foundation that will build confidence in developers and help them know there is support.''

Burridge is looking to the Accelerator program for validation that his company can be sustainable as well as help with marketing to allow him to reach even more families.

The early stage start-ups making up the inaugural FirstWaVE Accelerator class are: SHOOTRAC, Cartooga, Secondhand Living, Drawer, Commendable Kids, Confy.co, Kite Desk and  SavvyCard.

FirstWaVE is currently accepting applications for the next class. The deadline to apply is April 1.
 
Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Brian Burridge, Commendable Kids
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