Issuu on Google+

Second-Stage Companies To Watch

GrowFL’s Growing Impact

Winter 2015

Inspiring Florida’s Entrepreneurs

Positioning Florida

To Lead the

Future Dan Holladay, Managing Director, ICAMR

+

I-Corps New Program Preparing Next Generation University Innovators

Powered by:

C E N T E R F O R I N N O VAT I O N & E N T R E P R E N E U R SH I P

FLTREPcover.indd 1

12/16/14 11:56 AM


FLTREPcover.indd 2

12/16/14 11:56 AM


Contents

FEATURES IV  Positioning Florida To Lead the Future

ICAMR & the Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation

VII Closing the Gap Between the Campus & the Market UCF & National Science Foundation’s I-Corps

X  The Growing Impact of GrowFL Economic Study Confirms Results

GrowFL PROFILES XI Altavian John Perry, CEO XII 3d Cart Gonzalo Gil, Owner XIII Alakai Defense Systems, Inc. Ed Dottery, President XIII 11th Hour Brannon Wright, CEO XIV Beneficial Blends Erin Meagher, Founder XIV Diamondback Towers

Bobby Fleckinger, President

XV PAC Seating Systems Charles Tufano, President/CEO XV GameSim Andrew Tosh, President

JANUARY 2015 • VOLUME 2 • NUMBER 1


Meet Your New Business Partner We are that familiar face when you first enter a crowded room. A firm handshake and a warm introduction. That connection between the status quo and the promise of extraordinary opportunity. Whether you are new to Central Florida or an established business professional in the community, Orlando, Inc., the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, is your strategic partner for success. With high-level networking opportunities, innovative events, exposure to dynamic, regional leaders and access to a wealth of tools and resources, we ensure that our members are equipped to achieve their individual goals. And as a prestigious Five-Star Accredited Chamber—the highest level of achievement awarded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—you can rest assured that you have partnered with the best.

Learn how we’re connecting our members to success! Call 407.835.2444 or visit Orlando.org.

@ORLCC


SETTING THE STAGE TO LEAD THE NATION IN

PHOTONICS MANUFACTURING Ground has been broken in Central Florida on a new type of advanced manufacturing research facility that is positioning the state to compete for major initiatives and thousands of future jobs. The Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (FAMRC), which has a targeted completion date of spring 2016, is part of a forward-thinking initiative led by the University of Central Florida (UCF), Osceola County, Florida High Tech Corridor Council (The Corridor), Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) and Enterprise Florida.

Thomas O’Neal, Ph.D. Associate VP for Research & Commercialization, University of Central Florida

The 100,000-sq.ft. facility being built in Osceola County will be used to pioneer manufacturing processes and materials designed to advance the production of smart sensors. All eyes will be on Central Florida as we prepare to unveil this state-of-the-art research and development laboratory and fabrication facility. An industry-led consortium, the International Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research (ICAMR), is currently recruiting partners from industry, universities and government to utilize the facility and create the world’s most advanced open innovation programs and platforms focused on smart sensors and photonics devices. ICAMR will provide a one-stop shop for state-of-the-art integration of semiconductorbased processes, equipment, materials and circuits for multi-applicable next-generation products. It is the world’s first industry-led consortium designated for the manufacturing of smart sensors, and is the only known center of its kind focused on integrating semiconductor-based processes and materials into future products like smart sensor and photonics devices. What does this mean for Central Florida? Economic modeling indicates that ICAMR is predicted to create 20,000 direct jobs over 10 years. In comparison, a 20-year economic impact study of a similar consortium – Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology (SEMATECH) in Austin, Texas – shows the creation of 36,000 jobs in that region. I am extremely excited about ICAMR’s potential not only in Central Florida, but in advancing the photonics industry as a whole. For more information, please contact Fran Korosec, director of the ICAMR Program Management Office at Fran.Korosec@ucf.edu or 407.221.4346.

“This is a unique opportunity for our state. We are already working diligently to attract the highest-caliber research and development talent to help this consortium meet the needs of high-tech industry in Florida.” — M.J. Soileau, vice president for research & commercialization at UCF


Positioning Florida to

LEAD THE FUTURE

i CAMR & the Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation

{ IV]JANUARY2015

{

“ICAMR is an industry-led, membershipguided consortium, driving technical development and pulling research into the industry mainstream” – Dan Holladay


W

hen the terms were first used, only industry insiders understood them, but soon the “Internet of Things” (IoT) and “Moore’s Law” could be as familiar as Einstein’s famous equation “E=mc2.” Like Einstein’s theories, which shaped the 20th century, these two concepts could well define the first half of the one we’re moving through. The belief that the next stage of computer evolution would be where most data is being generated by “things,” instead of data being generated by people, and that as Intel’s Gordon Moore predicted in 1965, the “number of transistors and resistors on a chip doubles every 18 months,” are both crucial to the positioning Central Florida is doing right now. Thought leaders like Dan Holladay, managing director of the International Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research (ICAMR) and M.J. Soileau, vice president for research & commercialization at UCF and chair of the ICAMR Board, explained they are initially targeting the mega-growth technologies that will lead to over 50 billion devices being connected by sensors by the beginning of the next decade. In fact, by next year, industry leaders expect the international smart sensor market to be at $7.8 billion and could reach $1.9 trillion by 2020. As cutting edge and high tech as it all is, ironically ICAMR currently has their offices in the oldest active courthouse in the state of Florida, built in 1889 in Kissimmee.

Avoiding the Valley of Death

ICAMR has two primary goals: 1) Establish an international consortium focused on the more than $500 billion advanced sensors and devices industries and next generation silicon based devices; and 2) Create and fund a world-class facility for advanced research and development, with the purpose of commercializing and manufacturing with unprecedented processes, tools, prototyping and access to exotic materials. In other words, ICAMR will work to figure out how to take the next step in the production of computer chips and solve the plethora of manufacturing challenges of costeffective mass production. (In 1978 - a gigabyte of memory cost around $1 million; today, the iPhone 5c costs $99 and sports 16 gigabytes of memory, with options for 32.) The facility where this will be done is the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center. “This technology will take us into the future,” said Osceola County Commission Chairman Fred Hawkins, Jr., whose county pledged $61 million to establish a partnership with UCF, the Orlando Economic Development Commission and The Corridor to create the center. According to Holladay, “America’s great research institutions, our universities and national laboratories, have always led the world in developing the next great technological innovations. What we learned was because we left it up to the private sector to take these innovative breakthroughs and move them through all the steps necessary for economical mass production, our technology and the jobs that technology represented were going overseas. This is what we refer to as ‘the Valley of Death.’” Back in 1992 the Semiconductor Industry Association developed a vision, a technology roadmap. It said, “Semiconductor technology is the driving force for the information age. The U.S. semiconductor industry must maintain leadership in this enabling technology if our country’s other information-based industries are to remain competitive in the global marketplace.” They went on to say, “These goals can best be achieved through teamwork among industry, academia and government on precompetitive technology issues.” “ICAMR is an industry-led, membership-guided consortium, driving technical development and consensus for the industry, pulling research into the industry mainstream,” Holladay said. And he should know, having spent over 30 years in the semiconductor industry, equally split between manufacturing and R&D. Holladay joined SEMATECH in 1995, the consortium that made Albany, N.Y. and Austin, Texas two of the nation’s most vibrant technology development and manufacturing hubs. A pattern the partners in Osceola County believe can happen here as well.


The Center

“The Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center is a great example of a team effort to be a leader in adding research, manufacturing and other hightech, high-wage jobs in the region and our state. It is an opportunity to see and be part of Florida’s future,” Randy Berridge, president of the The Corridor, said at a gathering sponsored by the Orlando EDC. The 100,000-sq.ft., two-story building will be built on 20 of the 165 acres set aside for economic development on U.S. Highway 192, across from Osceola Heritage Park. The budget for the first phase is $70 million. The county will be responsible for design and construction, which is expected to begin in March 2015, with a two-year timeline to completion. The center will be the home of research facilities that will design the future generations of sensors, making everything from automobiles, surgical devices, home appliances and a host of other devices safer and more useful. “This is a unique opportunity for Florida,” said Soileau. “We are already working diligently to attract the highest-caliber research and development talent to help this consortium meet the needs of hightech industry in Florida.”

Here are the Details:

• The initial construction will include shell space for the ultimate 100,000-sq. ft. facility and build-out of clean room, office/laboratory and support space based on the available project budget. It is anticipated that approximately one-third of the building will be builtout in the initial phase. Subsequent phases are dependent on the availability of additional funds. • The initial phase budget of $70 million breaks down as follows: 1) A building budget of $50 million for design and construction of the R&D Building,

which will be funded from net proceeds bonds payable from the local government half-cent sales tax to be issued by the County (Sales Tax Bonds); 2) A tools budget of $11 million for acquisition and installation of specialized equipment for research and development, which shall be also funded from net proceeds of the Sales Tax Bonds; and 3) A flex budget of $9 million funded by UCF. • The design and construction of the complete R&D building will cost approximately $75 million with an additional $120 million for tools and other project costs. “This center provides our region with a leapfrog strategy for Florida’s global competitive advantage in the research and development of next-generation universal smart sensors,” said Rick Weddle, president and CEO of the Orlando EDC. “Becoming a leader in advanced manufacturing with the establishment of this center and its related initiatives will help create more than 20,000 high-paying tech-oriented jobs over the next decade.”

Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation In a move that builds upon UCF’s international reputation for its College of Optics & Photonics and its Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL) and the purposes of the new Center, UCF is competing for $220 million in federal and private funds to house a national Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation. This institute will work to address the same type of “Valley of Death” issues mentioned earlier with smart sensors. As part of the effort to capitalize on the progress made and highlight the need for continued investment in American manufacturing, President Obama recently announced a new competition to award more than $200 million in public and private investment to create an Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation, led by the Department of Defense, and the second of four new institute competitions to be launched this year.


{

{

In 1978 - a gigabyte of memory cost around $1 million; today, the iPhone 5c costs $99 and sports 16 gigabytes of memory, with options for 32.

The DOD launching a competition to award more than $100 million in federal investment matched by $100 million or more in private investment to the winning consortia to build the new Institute. These innovation institutes serve as a regional hub, bridging the gap between applied research and product development by bringing together companies, universities and other academic and training institutions, along with state and federal agencies to co-invest in key technology areas that encourage investment and production in the U.S. Photonics is the use of light for applications as diverse as lasers, telecommunications and basically powers the Internet as we know it today. Integrated photonics manufacturing, the next generation of this extremely important technology, has the potential to revolutionize the carrying capacity of Internet networks and to transport information at far greater densities and much lower costs than can be attained today. Beyond the Internet and telecommunications, integrated photonics can revolutionize medical technology – from the development of “needleless” technologies for monitoring diabetics’ blood sugar levels to tiny cameras smaller than pills that can travel within arteries. Integrated photonics are expected to bring the sequencing of human genomes rapidly down the cost curve, making genome sequencing possible for less than $1,000 as compared to $5,000 today. And in national defense, the potential applications of integrated photonics range from improving battlefield imaging to dramatic advances in radar.

President John C. Hitt announced UCF’s decision to go after the federal money at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center in Osceola County. “Together, we are building a new catalyst for our region’s economy while positioning our state as a leader in the manufacturing of the future,” Hitt said. “We are in full-court-press-mode to develop a proposal,” added Soileau. The creation of an Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation in Florida would greatly add to the roughly 30,000 photonicsrelated jobs in the state, said Alex Fong, president of the Florida Photonics Cluster. While a 2009 report by The Corridor and Florida Photonics Cluster put the gross regional product at $3.65 billion and sales of these companies at $7.27 billion, the national impact of the industry rises to more than $3 trillion.

Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center


{

GrowFL Generates $587 Million towards Florida’s Economy and Nearly $20 Million in Tax Revenues

{

The

GROWING IMPACT

of GrowFL

Economic Study Confirms Results

VIII]JANUARY2015


I

n the scientific community, theories must be substantiated with replicable experiments, to confirm their validity. In the commercial arena, the business plan has to be put to the test in real world market applications. GrowFL recently released a statewide economic impact study detailing its influence as a major job catalyst in the state. The report, developed as part of the program’s ongoing effort to analyze and document its productivity and sustainability, highlights how the organization has helped create thousands of new jobs, contributed millions to Florida’s economy and generated additional millions in state and local tax revenues. “GrowFL’s purpose has always been to help companies overcome obstacles and become prosperous,” said Tom O’Neal, associate vice president of research & commercialization at UCF, executive director of both the UCF Business Incubation Program and GrowFL. “Over the past five years, we have proven again and again that we are doing just that. Now we are being recognized as a major catalyst for helping second stage companies succeed, and for enhancing Florida’s economy through job creation. That is an accomplishment we can be proud of.” Typical assistance to companies includes providing market research and new-media marketing, monitoring industry trends, assisting innovation, developing teams, and acquiring consumer feedback.

“GrowFL has been critical to us,” said Mike Potts, chief engineer of feature[23], a Jacksonville software development company. “We wouldn’t be in the position today to expand throughout Florida without their help.” Potts said the GrowFL staff validated the company’s business model and provided the necessary plans to take it to market. “From a strategic standpoint, that’s important to us because we don’t get much strategic advice,” he said. “They’re helping pair us with potential clients to expand to Tampa, Miami and Orlando. GrowFL has the connections we don’t.”

Return On Investment

The groundbreaking National Economic Gardening program was introduced to Florida by UCF in partnership with the Edward Lowe Foundation and the National Center for Economic Gardening. The organization, celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, serves as a laboratory for fostering an entrepreneurial approach to economic development at the state level. Since its inception in 2009, GrowFL has been integral to establishing proof of principle in a number of areas. First, a highly successful program was moved from a small suburb to a statewide level, demonstrating it could be hosted by a university and delivered statewide. GrowFL has also proven successful in providing superior services to second-stage businesses, creating quality jobs at a relatively low per-job cost, and delivering programs to both urban and rural areas. The 2013 Regional Economic Impact Study, conducted by Vernet Lasrado, Ph.D., the assistant director of research at the Office of Research & Commercialization at UCF, concludes that as of June 30, 2013, the GrowFL-assisted companies represented 13,493 direct jobs across the state of Florida. Cumulatively since the inception of the GrowFL program in 2009, it is estimated that these companies have contributed $2.33 billion to the Florida economy. During the study period between fiscal years 2012 and 2013, a variety of state, local and private sector funding sources invested $2.61 million in the GrowFL program. GrowFL activities over the same time period helped generate an estimated 1,399 net new direct, 696 indirect and 1,650 induced jobs, which contributed $587.49 million to Florida’s economy and added an additional $19.78 million in total state and local tax revenues (above and beyond the cost of the program). The greatest economic benefit of this impact was experienced in the manufacturing industry sector. Overall, this translates into a return on investment of $7.58 for every $1 invested into the program between fiscal year 2012 and 2013. According to Chris Gibbons, the founder of the National Center for Economic Gardening, “The GrowFL program has provided not only a proven pathway to a better future through innovation, but a field-tested, robust, low-cost program for getting there. Entrepreneurial growth companies create an inordinate number of jobs that are well-paying with benefits and they innovate much of the new wealth in this country; providing them essential tools to accelerate that process has turned out to be an effective solution to restoring ‘The American Dream.’ UCF has been an ideal host since the beginning by continuing to focus on creating support for entrepreneurship and innovation.”


{

“A startup is a temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model” — Steve Blank

Closing the Gap Between the

{

CAMPUS & THE MARKET UCF & National Science Foundation’s I-Corps

X]JANUARY2015


A

fter 21 years in eight high technology companies, Steve Blank, a Silicon Valley veteran, retired in 1999 and co-founded his last company, E.piphany. He then wrote a book titled Four Steps to the Epiphany that’s been called the book that launched the “Lean Startup” movement, and transitioned from being an entrepreneur to teaching entrepreneurship to both undergraduate and graduate students at University of California Berkeley, Stanford University, Columbia University, New York University and University of California San Francisco. In 2011, at the request of the National Science Foundation (NSF), he modified his Lean Launchpad class and it became the curriculum for the NSF Innovation Corp (I-Corps). In 2012, the Harvard Business Review listed Blank as one of the “Masters of Innovation.” Recently, UCF, which has developed one of the nation’s best innovation and entrepreneurial networks, was selected as one of 15 universities nationwide by the NSF to provide Florida’s first implementation of this flagship program to foster innovation among faculty and students, promote regional coordination and linkages in the innovation ecosystem, as well as develop a National Innovation Network, NSF’s I-Corps™. NSF has also established seven regional I-Corps centers, or nodes, located in innovation hotspots such as Michigan, Georgia, New York City, Texas, Maryland and California.

The NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) is the agency’s signature effort to assist teams of university scientists and post-doctoral or graduate students to go outside of their laboratories and into the marketplace where they can learn first-hand about entrepreneurship while they explore and validate the commercial landscape surrounding their innovation. The primary goal of NSF I-Corps is to provide University scientists and researchers the program, process, and resources to investigate and validate the commercialization of their science. “We are helping researchers and graduate students to develop the entrepreneur skills, mindset and capacity to lead high-growth innovation-based businesses,” said Tom O’Neal, associate vice president of research and commercialization at UCF and UCF I-Corps site executive program director. “Our objective is to increase the number of successful spin-out companies based on University research and innovation.”

Expanding the Impact The $300,000 NSF I-Corps funding will enable UCF to reach even more potential inventors and innovators, with a goal of recruiting and training 96 entrepreneurial teams that could result in 96 new companies over the three-year grant period. Teams will consist of an academic lead (typically a university faculty or staff member), an entrepreneurial lead (a graduate student), and an external industry mentor. Each selected team will participate in a 10-week workshop utilizing the Lean LaunchPad (LLP) curriculum and methodology. Selected teams will leave the workshop possessing a solid understanding of what is necessary to achieve an economic impact with a particular innovation. “The new program will offer up to $3,000 to each selected team to be used as early development seed money to turn their entrepreneurial ideas into potentially viable companies.” said Ivan Garibay, researcher at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and UCF I-Corps site program director. By utilizing a group of experienced advisors to mentor and coach the selected teams, the NSF is counting on cultivating more qualified applicants for larger funding awards, such as the $50,000 offered by the NSF I-Corps Teams program, and up to $1.4 million in awards from the NSF SBIR program. The I-Corps program, which will be housed at UCF’s newly established Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), is developing a new generation of entrepreneurs and increasing the economic impact of fundamental research by combining a method for company creation that has proven successful in Silicon Valley with hands-on coaching and feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, investors and industry executives.


ALTAVIAN

F

inding new markets for existing products and leveraging subject expertise to diversify is one of the key ingredients to entrepreneurial success and business growth, and Altavian has done just that. The company is an unmanned aircraft solutions provider that integrates engineering and manufacturing with services that enable the technology for federal, state, local, and commercial clients.

CEO: John Perry Location: Gainesville, FL Year founded: 2011 Primary Business: Manufacturer of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Employees: 25 Growth Last Year: 754% Website: Altavian.com

An exemplification of a successful relationship between public and private ventures, Altavian has its roots in the development of the Nova II unmanned fixed wing aircraft, developed to deliver survey‐grade aerial imagery. They focus on providing solutions that meet the high-quality standards that their clients expect for their data, with the goal of maximizing the value of unmanned aircraft by ensuring that they can safely and efficiently collect data that is precise, accurate, and timely.

University of Florida. While working on the project, the founders identified a commercial demand for this technology, where the market called for low‐cost, survey‐grade aerial imagery that could be flown at higher resolutions on a more frequent basis. Their mission is to use unmanned aircraft to simplify and increase the effectiveness of data collection in natural resources and conservation; construction and infrastructure; precision agriculture; and inspection and monitoring.

The development was funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the aircraft’s technology was developed by the

3DCART Owner: Gonzalo Gil Location: Tamarac, FL Year founded: 1997 Primary Business: Shopping Cart Software Employees: 110 Growth Last Two Years: 38% Website: 3dcart.com

T

he National Retail Federation said about 127 million shoppers went online for 2014’s Cyber Monday. With this explosive growth of online shopping, providing effective tools to enhance the digital experience, it’s where any software company would like to be. Gonzalo Gil’s 3dcart has been helping online store owners expand their business since the late 1990s. After the year 2000, and the burst of the Internet bubble, he noticed his company started getting less web design work and the demand for their $30,000 custom shopping carts was slowing down significantly. As companies were looking for a way to spend less money to create custom shopping carts to support their

XII]JANUARY2015

and the New York Times.

online businesses, Gil realized he could compile many of the most requested E-commerce features into a simple and affordable shopping cart platform that could be sold to companies as a monthly service. In 2001, the 3dcart was born and the company has been improving and refining it ever since, landing clients like Blue Diamond Almonds, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

During the second half of 2013, 3dcart introduced v6.0, which was completely customizable and easy to use, allowing store owners to effectively open, operate and maintain a successful E-commerce website, The new and improved features integrated into v6.0 represent some of the largest changes 3dcart has made in the company’s history, and over just the past year, it has led to $1.2 billion in transactions through 3dcart stores.


ALAKAI DEFENSE SYSTEMS, INC.

military significance, such as found in explosives and chemical, biological or radiological threats.

President: Ed Dottery Location: Largo, FL Year founded: 2009 Primary Business: Scientific Research and Development Employees: 18 Growth Last Two Years: 77% Website: AlakaiDefenseSystems.com

I

t is the nightmare of any warfighter: the undetected Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) or any CBRNE threat (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive). Knowing this from first-hand experience, Alakai Defense Systems, Inc. states very clearly in its motto, “We were Soldiers; Our children are Soldiers; Our Mission is to protect the Soldier.” Alakai Defense Systems provides next-generation sensor and technology solutions to challenges facing the defense and security marketplace. Within this breadth of experience, they have a particular specialty in laser and electro‐optic remote sensing and systems integration to detect trace molecules of

T

Recently, Alakai patented a laser safety technology called stimulated aversion, which offers a gamechanging capability for industry, law enforcement, and military users of laser‐based sensors. Stimulated aversion eliminates the risk of eye injuries to bystanders from lasers used to detect toxic materials, explosives, drugs, or other chemicals in the environment. In 2013, they secured an $8 million contract (nearly tripling their largest contract), to design, fabricate, test and deploy the Standoff, Covert, Eyesafe Explosives Detection System (SCEEDS; also known as CPEDS2). This fourth generation sensor system that detects explosives at hundreds of meters is described by their army customer as the most advanced, mature, deployable system of its kind in the world.

11TH HOUR

heir clients are the likes of Audi, CEO: Brannon Wright Range Rover, Zumba, Shell Oil, Location: Orlando, FL Kohl’s, Walgreens, Burger King, the Year founded: 1999 NBA, Kellogg’s and many more. For over Primary Business: Conference a decade, Brannon Wright and 11th Hour Branding Solutions has studied the conference and meeting business, creating a powerful name for Employees: 60 themselves in their niche industry. They Growth Last Two Years: 67% pioneered the art of taking a blank canvas, Website: 11thHourBiz.com in the form of a conference hotel or a convention center, and painting whatever their clients ask. They convert bare facilities and forcing ourselves to pass on deals that didn’t meet all our into storybooks that illustrate the message their clients want to criteria did we finally stabilize.” visually communicate, allowing them to spread their creative wings and take conference branding as far as they want to go. The third and probably most critical pivotal moment was According to Wright, three things have catapulted them to success. “As an owner I did everything, from sales to sweeping floors. Taking that necessary leap to bring on experts that would allow the company to grow was critical.” The next pivotal situation was a period in which the company nearly grew itself out of business. “Most people don’t understand that too much growth can be just as dangerous as not having enough. Not until we started becoming selective of our clients

when a Fortune 500 company engaged in the niche business, and this Goliath stormed into the market with a vengeance. “Our small company wasn’t equipped to respond, so we were forced to reinvent how we did our business. This reinvention led to an even more profitable and sustainable model for us.”

JANUARY2015[XIII


BENEFICIAL BLENDS, LLC Founder: Erin Meagher Location: Tampa, FL Year founded: 2009 Primary Business: Coconut Oil Manufacturing Employees: 10 Growth Last Year: 121% Website: Kelapo.com

T

wenty-six-year-old Erin Meagher, a former high school business teacher, heard about the health benefits of coconut oil and wanted to bring the best quality products to grocery stores. Working from her home back in 2009, in 10 short months, she was able to turn that dream into a brand. That brand, Kelapo Coconut Oil, debuted at the Natural Products Expo East show in Boston, Mass., where they landed their first major, national account, which started a meteoric rise that fueled the growth of the company.

I

n spite of a lethargic economy, Diamondback Towers has increased earnings each year since its inception and has more than quadrupled its revenue since 2010. Diamondback Towers has produced distinguished wakeboard towers and accessories of unsurpassed quality and precise composition for elite boat manufacturers for over 10 years, selling directly to boat manufacturers OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) to install on new boats or to sell to existing customers.

Beyond quality and innovation, Kelapo also educates consumers to build brand loyalty. Erin appears on TV and radio stations, visits culinary schools, and hosts cooking classes to spread the message about coconut oil for cooking and baking. They recently opened a new 10,000-sq. ft. production facility to manufacture all Kelapo products.

DIAMONDBACK TOWERS, LLC President: Bobby Fleckinger Location: Cocoa, FL Year founded: 2004 Primary Business: Manufacturing Ski Towers for Boats Employees: 35 Growth Last Year: 23% Website: DiamondbackWakeProducts.com

Their towers are designed at their facility using the most advanced computer technology, creating products based on discussion with their OEM dealers from the best design and safety standpoint. It is housed in a 25,000-sq.ft. facility containing a weld shop, a CNC (Computer Numeral Control) machine shop and storage. In 2004, Diamondback Towers started as a very simple operation producing limited quantities, but quickly earned the business of Correct Craft (Ski Nautique), only to lose that business to a Chinese-based company. In 2011, Correct Craft

XIV]JANUARY2015

Sales increased with more distribution, but it was all backed by the fact that Kelapo was one of the first to market with certified organic, Fair Trade products. In addition to the standard jars of coconut oil, Kelapo introduced unique premeasured baking sticks. Shortly after the sticks, more innovative products came out, including the first and only nonstick coconut cooking spray with no soy.

once again joined ventures with Diamondback, teaming to produce the latest cutting�edge towers on the market. They now produce over 4,000 towers and T�tops a year. In addition to Correct Craft, the company produces wake products for several other boat manufacturers, including Yamaha, Chaparral, Boston Whaler, and Robalo.


P

PAC SEATING SYSTEMS

AC Seating Systems is the only CEO/President: Charles Tufano custom manufacturer in the world Location: Palm City, FL that focuses on private and business jet seating products. Through its 50,000-sq.ft. Year founded: 2002 state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and its Primary Business: Manufacturing unique product development and delivery of Seating for Aerospace Industry process, the company has landed contracts Employees: 95 with aeronautical giants like Dassault Growth Last Year: 186% Aviation, Gulfstream, Bombardier, Standard, Website: PAC-FL.com AeroComlux and Jet Aviation. Recently, they concluded discussions with a large European OEM that has resulted in their first order and signed a lease to expand their facility by 16,000 square feet to accommodate this future growth. Much of PAC’s success is due to their unique design and development approaches, but also the culture of employee In addition, PAC was the winner of the 2014 Manufacturer engagement they have encouraged. Each Monday, 10 of the Year award from the South Florida Manufacturing employees meet with Tufano for lunch – no managers allowed. Association (SFMA). Chuck Tufano, CEO and president, The purpose is to allow commented on the award, “As a relatively young and small them to meet directly with company, it was an honor for PAC to be nominated for this the CEO to learn about prestigious award. The bar is set very high by SFMA and company direction and involves a very rigorous process including their on-site visit, ask any questions without phone interviews, and application process. Winning the award boundaries. is a very big deal!”

GAMESIM, INC. President: Andrew Tosh Location: Orlando, FL Year founded: 2008 Primary Business: Computer Systems Design Employees: 41 Growth Last Year: 30% Website: GameSim.com

G

ameSim, Inc.’s founder Andrew Tosh has worked extensively in both the game and the modeling and simulation industries and saw where technology between these domains could be leveraged. The company recognized that government modeling and simulation customers often asked, “Why do my kids’ console games look so much better than my training system?” GameSim’s core business’s working on console games, including Madden NFL and Mass Effect 3, which uniquely positioned the company to improve the quality of military simulations.

gaming community. Outside of products and developments, GameSim’s customer base ranges from gaming giant Electronic Arts (EA), to integrators including CAE, Raydon, SAIC and ARA, to government contracts with NASA, National Defense University and the U.S. Air Force. GameSim was ranked by Inc. Magazine as one of the 500 fastest growing companies in America, taking the 33rd rank in the Top 100 Florida companies. In addition, GameSim has been approved by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for an incentive program in which they will support the local community by creating at least 40 full‐ time jobs over the next three years, with an anticipated average salary of $62,219 per job, which adds more than $2.4 million in salaries into the Florida economy.

GameSim believes that military simulation and training programs should reach the quality and usability set by the

JANUARY2015[XV


MEET: MISSY STEPHENSON

MANAGER OF COMMERCIAL CUSTOMER SERVICE

MY BUSINESS TO HELP “ IT’S GROW YOUR BUSINESS.”

When she’s not riding to raise money for charity, Missy helps customers like Orlando Harley-Davidson save money, energy and valuable time to put more of their customers behind the handlebars. With OUC’s new Business Service Center, businesses of all sizes get a personal connection to their hometown utility. Missy and her team provide one-on-one, industry expert guidance, navigating businesses on the road to energy efficiency. Learn more at www.ouc.com.


©Sodexo Multimedia Library

QUALITY OF LIFE MEANS PARTNERSHIP No matter who you are or where you are.

It means delivering sustainable, integrated Facility Management and Dining services to 9,000 client sites in the United States, including the Central Florida corridor. Providing strategic insights and innovations to segments that range from hospitals and senior living communities, to universities, schools, event venues, and large or remote worksites. Supporting local community development everywhere we operate with a diverse workforce of 133,000 U.S. employees. Enhance the quality of life for your people and the people you serve – and you exponentially enhance the quality of your business. That’s what we do. Visit www.SodexoUSA.com for more information.

FLTREPcover.indd 3

12/16/14 11:56 AM


VENTURE ACCELERATOR

Offers a place for technology entrepreneurs to transform innovative ideas CENTER FOR ENTREPRENEURIAL LEADERSHIP CENTER FOR ENTREPRENEURIAL LEADERSHIP

and intellectual property into business plans with high growth potential.

UCF’s campus-wide center academic entrepreneurship offers education UCF’s campus-wide academic entrepreneurship offers center education and startup resources to all students through variety of services and startup resources to all UCF students through aUCF variety of a services and initiatives. The CEL seeks to enhancecapacity UCF’s overall capacity and initiatives. The CEL seeks to enhance UCF’s overall for innovation, researchventure commercialization, new venture creation, for innovation, research commercialization, new creation, and economic development by empowering opportunity creation and economic development by empowering opportunity creation andand realization within the campus community. realization within the campus community.

The Entry Point to a Suite of Award-Winning Innovation Services

BUSINESS INCUBATION PROGRAM

Provides emerging enterprises with a strategic path, vital business

OFFICE OF TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER OFFICE OF TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER

Brings UCF discoveries to the marketplace through intellectual Brings UCF discoveries to the marketplace through intellectual

development services and resources, and on-going guidance, motivation

property protection, marketing and licensing processes; connects property protection, marketing and licensing processes; connects UCF researchers their innovations with companies UCF researchers and their innovations withand companies

and support individually tailored to help take companies to the next level.

and entrepreneurs to take the technology to market. and entrepreneurs to take the technology to market.

Entrepreneurs • Students • Researchers Corporations • Investors

VENTURE ACCELERATOR

VENTURE ACCELERATOR

Offers a place technology entrepreneurs to transform innovative ideas Offers a place for technology entrepreneurs to for transform innovative ideas

UCF is committed to promoting innovation, wealth creation and economic vitality of the Central Florida region.

and intellectual property into business plans with potential. high growth potential. and intellectual property into business plans with high growth

The Entry Point to a Provides emerging enterprises a strategic path, vital business Provides enterprises with a strategic path, with vital business Suite of emerging Award-Winning Small Business Development Center at UCF -guidance, provides motivation business seminars development services and guidance, resources, and on-going development services and resources, and on-going motivation Innovation Services Over the last decade, multiple initiatives have been and support individually tailored to help companies to the next level. and support individually tailored to help take companies totake the next level. BUSINESS INCUBATION PROGRAM BUSINESS INCUBATION PROGRAM

Entrepreneurs • Students Researchers created to strengthen innovation •and entrepreneurial Corporations • Investors

and free one-on-one business counseling for small business owners.

success. The UCF Center for Innovation & UCF is committed to promoting innovation, wealth Entrepreneurship (UCF CIE) is a university wide program creation and economic vitality of the Florida region. that consolidatesCentral and coordinates these support activities Small Business Development Center at UCF - providesseminars business seminars SmalltoBusiness Development Center at UCF - provides business university and regional Overleverage the last decade, multiple initiativespartnerships. have been

Provides strategies, resources and support to second-stage

and freefor one-on-one business counseling for small business owners. and free one-on-one business counseling small business owners.

created to strengthen innovation and entrepreneurial success. The UCF Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (UCF CIE) is a university wide program that consolidates and coordinates these support activities to leverage university and regional partnerships.

companies for next level growth.

Learn more about how you can access the entry point of award-winning innovation resources atresources UCF. Provides strategies, and support Provides strategies, to resources second-stage and support to second-stage companies for next level growth. companies for next level growth.

Learn more about how you can access the entry point of award-winning innovation resources at UCF.

at cie.ucf.edu

FLTREPcover.indd 4

Get connected at cie.ucf.edu

Get connected at cie.ucf.edu

12/16/14 11:56 AM


FLTREP Dan Holladay