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2013 Annual Report

Tampa Bay Innovation Center 2013 Board of Directors Christopher Paradies, Ph.D., Chair, President, Paradies Law P.A. Tonya Elmore, President & CEO, Tampa Bay Innovation Center Gail Rogers, Treasurer, CFO, Director of Contracts, Constellation Technology Corp. Suzanne Boland, Secretary, President, RFB Communications Group, Inc. George Gordon, President, Anthem Ventures Shawn R. Hughes, CEO, CertiPath LLC Doug Martin, Management Consultant, Miller Martin Capital Partners, LLC Paul Sacco, Ex-Officio, Non-voting Member, Director, Real Estate Management, Pinellas County Government Mark Swanson, Vice President, Bright House Networks

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2013 Advisory Board Christopher Paradies, Ph.D., Chair, President, Paradies Law P.A. Suzanne Boland, President, RFB Communications Group, Inc. Brian Graham, Managing Partner, Quintic Capital Robert Brady, CEO/Design Director, ROBRADY design Kevin Burgoyne, Executive Director, Florida Venture Forum John Churchman, General Manager, DRS Technologies, Inc. Michael W. Fountain, Ph.D., MBA, Director, Center for Entrepreneurship, University of South Florida 888-317-0085

Shri K. Goyal, Ph.D., Managing Director, Pragati-Path Irene Hurst, Director, USF MBA Programs, College of Business, University of South Florida Robin A. Lester, Managing Director, Florida Growth Partners Doug Martin, Management Consultant, Miller Martin Capital Partners, LLC Mike Meidel, Director, Pinellas County Economic Development Richard B. Nicholas, Jr., COO, E Solutions Corporation Dr. Tom O’Neal, Director, University of Central Florida Technology Incubator Jarett Rieger, Esq. MBA, Director, Office of Technology Management & Commercialization, Moffitt Cancer Center Paul Sacco, Director, Real Estate Management, Pinellas County Government

2013 St. Petersburg Planning Committee Robert Kapusta, Jr., Chair, President/Manager, Fisher & Sauls, P. A Peter Betzer, President & CEO, St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, Inc. Tonya Elmore, President & CEO, Tampa Bay Innovation Center Jeff Hearn, Senior Vice President, Investments, Raymond James & Associates

SAVE THE DATE Moffitt Cancer Center’s Eighth Annual Business of Biotech Conference

Monday February 24, 2014 “Moving Technologies Forward” with keynote speaker G. Steven Burrill of Burrill & Company For more information or to register, visit

Greg Holden, Vice President / Client Consultant, Manning & Napier Larry Langebrake, P. E., Director, SRI International Ed Montanari, American Airlines Paul Sacco, Director, Real Estate Management, Pinellas County Government Chris Steinocher, President & CEO, St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce

Business of

Biotech Moffitt Cancer Center

A Decade of Accelerating High-Tech Enterprise As the Tampa Bay Innovation Center celebrates its 10th year, we can take pride in reaching an important milestone in serving as a valuable resource for innovators and entrepreneurs. Our ever-growing list of “graduates” is a testament to our ability to nurture successful high-tech entrepreneurial businesses in West Central Florida. When the Innovation Center (then known as the Star Technology Enterprise Center or STAR TEC) first launched a decade ago, much of our effort was focused on community awareness and education. The concept of an incubator as a vital part of regional economic development was not yet top-of-mind for most people. It wasn’t nearly as trendy as it is today to mentor, coach and otherwise support startup companies. We were pioneers in understanding how important it is to help entrepreneurs navigate the often rocky waters as they turn a good idea into a solid business model.

foster innovation and grow the high-tech economy in Tampa Bay and Florida.

Building On Our Success This year we introduced three new programs that provided insight, business skills, connections, resources and tools to assist Innovators and Entrepreneurs at various levels of the Innovation continuum - from idea stage to second-stage high-growth technology ventures. Startup Studio features Wendy Kennedy’s – So what, who cares, why you?® and the Kauffman Foundation’s FastTrac® TechVenture™ programs. Entrepreneurs’ Hub includes programs and an online community to support an exchange of ideas. The GrowFL program provided high-growth second stage companies with strategic research and invaluable peer-to-peer interaction.

We are also very pleased to report that we’ve been laying the groundwork Much of our success can be attribfor two new incubators - a technolTonya Elmore, President & CEO uted to an outstanding group of ogy hub in St. Petersburg with an professionals who volunteer their emphasis on the marine sciences and time to serve as mentors to our clients as well as provide healthcare innovation and a Virtual Incubator Program (VIP) direction and insight to the Innovation Center as Board and in Clearwater’s Tech Zone for IT/software startups. The State Committee members. of Florida has awarded us a $400,000 grant to move forward on the St. Petersburg project and the City of Clearwater has We are fortunate to count numerous well-respected indiprovided grants for startups to participate in the VIP program. viduals from major research universities, funding and venture Both programs will provide tomorrow’s technology business capital organizations, industry associations, defense program leaders access to the resources, services, offices, law offices, accounting firms, and community support networking and mentors they need, while organizations among our advisors and committee members. also fulfilling our vision of creating highTogether they make a significant difference in helping us tech, high-wage jobs for our region.

Throughout the years the Innovation Center has been recognized locally, nationally and internationally as a catalyst for spurring economic growth and innovation throughout the Tampa Bay market. 2012 Distinguished Partner – Global Entrepreneurship Week/USA Winner – Tampa Bay Technology Forum’s Excellence in Service Award – 2012 Featured in Kiplinger’s “10 Great Cities for Starting a Business” Winner – Tampa Bay Technology Forum Professional Services Company of the Year – 2009 Featured in’s 2009 Roundup of Business Incubators Finalist – Tampa Bay Technology Forum Professional Services Company of the Year – 2008


a few words Mike Meidel director, Pinellas County Economic Development The Tampa Bay Innovation Center is a valuable resource for our area and a prime part of our economic development strategy. The Innovation Center has a great depth of services to offer and an outstanding mix of mentors and advisors. The Innovation Center provides entrepreneurs an unequaled ecosystem and networked infrastructure of people, resources and capital surrounding new venture creation and growing successful businesses in Tampa Bay.

The Innovation Center’s location in the Young-Rainey STAR Center is ideal in that it gives graduate companies the opportunity to move out of the incubator but remain onsite at the STAR Center which, as a former Department of Energy defense facility, continues to have a significant cluster of defense-related companies. The Innovation Center incubator companies Alakai Defense Systems and Homeland Intelligence Technologies chose this strategy, which allows them to continue building relationships with other homeland security and defense companies and the synergy of being in a center dedicated to science, technology and research.

Randy Berridge president, Florida High Tech Corridor Council Incubators and accelerators such as the Tampa Bay Innovation Center offer companies a solid foundation to grow and create jobs, driving our innovation economy and expanding the growing high-tech industry clusters in the Florida High Tech Corridor region. Many of these companies have also connected with other agencies and universities in our area, including the University of South Florida, the University of Central Florida and the University of Florida. In addition, they have taken advantage of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council’s Matching Grants Research Program (MGRP) to develop commercially applicable technologies.

One such graduate company is Alakai Defense Systems, which provides sensor and technology solutions to the defense and security marketplace. The company has partnered with faculty at the University of South Florida through the MGRP to develop technology aiding the detection of explosives and continues to drive innovation in the field of optics and photonics for these applications. Since graduating, Alakai has expanded to create additional offices and is just one example of the many growing high tech companies that benefit from resources available at the Innovation Center.


clients Incubator 2partsolutions – healthcare technology Alps – manufacturing Bloom Environmental – environmental science eMatters Inc. – environmental science Midwest Technology Ventures, Inc. – software RNT Software – software

GrowFL Participants Alakai Defense Systems – defense technology Apollidon Learning – software CBT Development – software Farmer Mold & Machine Works Inc. – manufacturing Field Forensics – defense technology High Tech Crime Institute – forensic science Mercury New Media – web Siebert Insurance Agency – insurance SmartSAT – defense technology Streamline Defense – defense technology vWorker – software

Accelerator Aladom – web Altorr Freedom Technologies – healthcare technology Doorell – hardware Mikros Systems Corporation – manufacturing Ready Alert Services – software Tattle-Trail LLC – hardware The Talent Shopping Network – web WildBright Technologies, Inc. – software


connecting entrepreneurs 600


Tech Talk

TECH Talk is an educational and networking event developed to meet the interest of the local entrepreneurial community. Our longest running program continues to provide the community relevant topics on starting and growing a technology venture. In the past year, more than 600 participants attended programs that highlighted leadership skills, social media marketing, raising capital, perfecting the pitch and much more. In 2012, the Innovation Center launched a new series—Diary of an Entrepreneur - Tampa Bay Made, Tampa Bay Proud. The quarterly series features successful local entrepreneurs who provide valuable insight on how they launched and grew their ventures in Tampa Bay. Presenters included Barry Shevlin, Vology; Mark Swanson, Telovations; Crystal Culbertson, Crystal Clear Technologies; and Hugh Campbell, AC4S.


StartUp Xchange

More than 160 innovators/entrepreneurs took advantage of the opportunity to network and tap into the expertise of the Innovation Center’s mentor network last year. The program is designed to provide an informal setting for individuals to seek answers to important questions needed to continue their entrepreneurial journey. The program links entrepreneurs, talent in transition, scientists, funders, innovators, technology professionals and engineers – the people who want to make connections in the Tampa Bay innovation marketplace and move their ideas forward. The result : more startup companies have been formed/nurtured; thus becoming future success stories for the Tampa Bay region.


The Tampa Bay Innovation Center’s many programs and services include workshops, networking events, peer to peer learning and access to a network of experienced professionals. The goal is to help inventors and startups abate risk, solve problems faster, shorten the learning curve and increase the likelihood of success.



Idea Camp is an annual all-day workshop that supports inventors and entrepreneurs in fine-tuning their message to clearly define their unique value proposition. Participants are given the opportunity to interact with and gain valuable feedback from angel investors, venture capitalists, serial entrepreneurs and other business professionals. Last year more than 100 individuals attended the workshop, which included presentations on mobile apps, SaaS enterprise solutions, medical devices, healthcare innovations, and other patented technologies. The keynote, Kyle Mastronardo of Nardo’s Naturals, shared his experience of presenting on the hit ABC show, Shark Tank.

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E X H I B I TO For the past six years, The Florida Defense & Technology Showcase (FDTS) has been the number one relationship-building event in the area that provides qualified local defense and technology subcontractors the opportunity to network and gain exposure with national industry contractors. FDTS is hosted by the Tampa Bay Innovation Center in partnership with the Florida Federal Contractors Association. The event consistently receives high marks by both participants and sponsors for its ability to increase local sales and strengthen partner and vendor relationships. Local exhibitors attribute direct sales to their participation in FDTS. This event is continuously supported by the national defense community, the State of Florida and USSOCOM.




The Florida Defense & Technology Showcase

graduate profiles Alakai Defense Systems

Homeland Intelligence Technologies

On a trip to Florida to scout locations for a new headquarters, Ed Dottery liked what he saw at the Young-Rainey STAR Center, a former U.S. Department of Energy defense manufacturing facility, now home to numerous defense-related companies and the Innovation Center, then known as STAR TEC. STAR TEC seemed like the perfect fit for Dottery, who with fellow Army veteran and West Point faculty member, Guy Ontai, had launched a high-tech startup company they called Alakai Consulting & Engineering Inc.

Homeland Intelligence Technologies (HIT) launched not long after 9/11, with a team of people doing research and development on a number of ideas related to the security industry.

Within a year of moving into the the Innovation Center, Alakai had five employees and a prototype remote laser sensor that could detect explosives at medium to long ranges. The novel high-tech device was getting a lot of attention from the military, says Ken Pohl, Alakai’s director of advanced systems. Now six years later, Alakai is poised for success. Having passed numerous field tests, the company’s prototype laser sensor is currently undergoing a redesign to make it more compact, user-friendly and able to handle extreme temperatures in all combat arenas. The next step is the most rigorous test of all, and if it goes well, says Pohl, production could begin at some point in the not so distant future. Today, Alakai has about 25 employees and at least six different ongoing technology projects underway, many in partnership with universities around the country and other defense-related businesses in the area, including Raytheon and L3 Communications. “Tampa Bay has a culture that invites the kind of research and development in technology that Alakai is pursuing,” says Pohl. “Congressman Bill Young has been extremely helpful and so, of course, was the Innovation Center. They provided the services, mentors and relationship that made a big difference for us, especially in our critical early years.”

The company incorporated in 2003 and moved into the Innovation Center in 2006 to take advantage of the center’s resources and expert consultation, says Gary Damon, president of HIT. “Whatever particular challenge we encountered, the Innovation Center put us in contact with the appropriate expert to help guide us,” he says. “Just the exposure and visibility of being there was invaluable.” Since then, HIT has received several patents and has multiple patents pending for a full range of security products primarily for the Department of Defense, says Damon. These include an under-vehicle inspection system, perimeter intrusion detection equipment and sensor technology for ports and waterways, as well as the ECHO (Extreme Conditions Homeland Operations) all-terrain rescue vehicles, which can be used during rescue efforts related to natural or manmade disasters. The company also provides a range of security solutions for a variety of venues and facilities, including sports and entertainment, transportation and airports, chemical and nuclear facilities, shipping, harbors and pipelines. Through HIT’s International Security Academy, the company provides advanced security training for federal, state and local law enforcement and government agencies. Like Alakai, HIT chose to remain in Pinellas County, close to its roots, locating on the Young-Rainey STAR Center campus after graduating from the Innovation Center.

awards Honorable Mention - Cool Tech - 2012 (Homeland Intelligence Technologies)

Governor’s Diversification Award Winner - 2008 (Alakai)

Honorable Mention - Cool Tech - 2011 (Altorr Freedom Technologies)

Winner Tampa Bay Tech Forum Emerging Technology Company - 2010 (Alakai)


Three Startups Jump to the Next Level of Success Field Forensics In 2007 Field Forensics needed a home and some help, says Field Forensics president Craig Johnson. “I had moved the company’s lab from my garage to a sublet apartment that a friend had set up for his own lab,” says Johnson. “We had access to the lab after hours and on weekends.” That arrangement worked for a while, but eventually Field Forensics was at the point where it needed more space, says Johnson. The Innovation Center was the solution. “The Innovation Center provided an Advisory Board, which was invaluable as it helped me think of the business as a whole and not just the problem of the day,” says Johnson. “It’s easy for entrepreneurs to lose sight of the big picture and without an Advisory Board I might have done that.” Field Forensics on-site location at the Innovation Center also increased the company’s visibility locally and regionally, and the close proximity to non-competitive companies working in similar markets was helpful in promoting our products, says Johnson. The company’s first product, a self-contained explosives detection kit, won the 2006 “R&D 100 Award” from Research & Development Magazine. The kit can fit into a short pocket, can detect more than 40 different explosives compounds and has a two-year shelf-life under virtually any storage conditions, says Johnson. It’s currently in use by all branches of the U.S. military, as well as most NATO military forces and other military and police forces around the world. Today, Field Forensics specializes in developing and manufacturing forensics sampling and identification devices for law enforcement, homeland security, and military customers. In 2012, Field Forensics moved out of the Innovation Center and into its own headquarters in the former historic Sealtest Ice Cream facility near the USF St. Petersburg campus.

Finalist Tampa Bay Tech Forum Emerging Technology Company - 2009 (Alakai & Field Forensics) Regional Innovation Alliance Network - Success Story 2011 (Alakai) Pinellas County Emerging Entrepreneur Award 2009 (Alakai)

framework Tampa Bay Innovation Center programs have helped numerous entrepreneurs by giving them the support they need to launch their company, accelerate their growth and achieve their goals, which also served to help drive economic growth and development in the region.

Entrepreneurs’ Hub (eHub) The eHub was created to connect the entrepreneurial community in Tampa Bay via an online network and through Innovation Center events, such as TECH Talk, StartUp Xchange and IDEA Camp. The online network allows participants to share ideas, knowledge, hurdles and successes with other members of the community. The 260+ members include innovators, service providers, and investors.

Launch Lab Co-Working Innovation can come from anywhere. Many startups were born in someone’s garage, spare bedroom or even in the local coffee shop. That can be challenging – both in terms of cramped quarters and isolation. The Innovation Center offers affordable workspace and a small community of like-minded innovators, independent contractors, telecommuters, designers and developers.

StartUp Studio Have an idea that would make a great business? StartUp Studio can help! These hands-on workshops provide participants the opportunity to explore the business value of their idea and communicate what it means to paying customers with guidance from expert coaches, mentors and feedback from other founders.

Incubator Building an idea into a successful business takes subject matter experts, experienced mentors, and trained professionals working collaboratively to form a business strategy. The incubator program provides early-stage startups with a mentor, experienced coach, educational opportunities, networking and additional resources needed to develop an idea into a startup business.

Accelerator Succeeding in today’s market takes more than a great idea – it takes a team of experienced advisors, a collaborative environment, and a customized “road map” of strategic goals and milestones. Our accelerator provides startups access to networks, experts, industry peers, international markets, market research, service providers, university support systems and funding.

Economic Gardening The GrowFL Economic Gardening Program at the Innovation Center supports second-stage technology companies in maintaining their momentum. The program includes CEO roundtables, strategic research and two CEO Forums which featured David Weiss, Software CEO and Tony DiBenedetto, Chairman and CEO of Tribridge in 2013.

Where Do I Fit In? Early-Stage Startup

Use this key to see where you fit into the Innovation Center’s framework. Mentor Investor Ecosystem Second-Stage Company


the numbers

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Tampa Bay Innovation Center 2013 Annual Report  

2013 Annual Report

Tampa Bay Innovation Center 2013 Annual Report  

2013 Annual Report