Building Companies, Changing Lives

Issue 24- December 2014

TAO Connect Receives Institute Funding

The Florida Institute has finalized a funding agreement with TAO Connect, a Gainesville-based company that provides a seven-to-ten week online treatment program for anxiety and other related disorders. With technology licensed from the University of Florida, TAO (Therapist Assisted Online) Connect has developed an integrated software system for providing mental health treatment at half the cost of traditional face-to-face psychotherapy, potentially saving the US health care system $262 million annually.

TAO allows patients to work on behavioral change with clinicians who monitor progress on treatment tasks and symptom change over time. TAO treatment includes online education modules, weekly 10-12 minute videoconferencing with a counselor, daily text messages for support and encouragement, treatment assignment reminders and daily homework that can be completed on a smart phone or a tablet.

Institute-Supported Companies Gain Visibility at Regional Conferences

Last month, three Institute-supported companies were among 23 of the most promising bioscience and medical technology companies in the region who were selected to present at the 16th Annual Southeast BIO Investor and Partnering Forum  in Atlanta. They included Integene International, Trefoil Therapeutics, and OB Medical.   

Additionally, several companies participated in the inaugural 2014 Innovation Awards Business Competition  at the Pensacola Beach Hilton Gulf Front where 20 companies were selected by a panel of experts to showcase their products and services before an audience of entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and potential investors. The top 10 companies competed for more than $215,000 in awards and prizes. Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems (IRIS) with technology licensed from the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) was awarded first place and a $100,000 cash prize, and Robotics Unlimited, also with technology licensed from IHMC, placed third and won a business services package valued at $5,000.

TAO Connect and peerFit, presenting at the Healthbox Investor Luncheon in Miami

Doolittle Institute Holds University Days

In November, the Doolittle Institute along with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) provided a technology transition introduction and networking event to help Northwest Florida technical consumers meet with universities and colleges. Florida Institute Entrepreneur-in-Residence Lawrence Tinker delivered the keynote address, and discussed the commercialization process and resources for emerging technologies and companies.

Startup Quest®Pitch Day


Last month several regions held final sessions for the statewide Startup Quest program, including  Broward, Pinellas and Leon counties. Over a ten-week period, one hundred participants in each region were paired with mentors to gain knowledge, skills, confidence and community support, and prepare for self-employment or other viable career options, and to learn about moving research discoveries into the commercial marketplace. During the course of the program, each team created a comprehensive business plan, culminating in the delivery of a 10-minute pitch presentation to a panel of judges where winning teams were selected.

Regional Program Managers across the state are seeking mentors, judges and other program participants who wish to be involved in upcoming sessions.   Please contact Susan Scully at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

2015 Florida Venture Capital Conference

January 29th – 30th, 2015

The Diplomat Resort, Hollywood, FL

Join the Florida Venture Forum for Florida’s largest statewide annual capital conference where 20 - 25 high-growth Florida companies will be featured before a national and international audience of angel investors, venture capitalists, and industry professionals. For more details and event registration, click here.

About Us

The Institute delivers company building and funding programs to facilitate new venture and job creation through commercially-viable technologies in major industries that are driving the global economy. In addition to providing company support services, the Institute manages the Seed Capital Accelerator Program launched in 2011, and the Florida Technology Seed Capital Fund launched in 2013. For more information, visit