Building Companies, Changing Lives

Issue 26- February 2015

Torrey Pines Hosts 1st Annual Florida Drug Discovery Acceleration Program Conference




On January 23rd, Institute associates joined 100 participants at the Florida Drug Discovery Acceleration Program Collaborator Conference hosted byTorrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies (TPIMS). This program allows TPIMS to share its large collection of compound libraries and expertise, with researchers at universities and non-profit institutes statewide who have an assay and are interested in screening for hit compounds in order to accelerate drug discovery and commercialization.  Compound libraries and services are provided at no cost to collaborators, many of whom presented their research at the conference.  Pictured above are Dr. Richard Houghten, TPIMS, Jane Teague, FICPR, Mayor Gregory Oravec, City of Port St. Lucie, and Elizabeth Walker, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Register Now for the “Being Strategic” Entrepreneur Training Course

March 19th – 20th, 2015
Santa Fe College Perry Center, Gainesville, FL


Join Institute CEO Jamie Grooms and guest presenters for a two-day course on how to become a successful entrepreneur and what it means to be strategic. Attendees will learn how to define challenges, distinguish between strategies and tactics, identify stakeholders, and participate in hands on activities that promote good leadership and successful company growth. For more details and registration contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

SharpSpring Surpasses Company Milestone

SharpSpring, providers of marketing automation solutions, announced that it has achieved a major milestone with over 1,000 companies now using its marketing platform. SharpSpring launched its marketing automation platform in 2014, in part with funding from the Florida Institute, and offers a variety of features to increase and optimize company marketing efforts. The company was acquired in August by SMTP, Inc. (NASDAQ:SMTP), a global provider of email delivery services.

Florida Institute Welcomes Vicki Piazza to the Startup Quest® Team

The Institute is pleased to announce that Vicki Piazza, an accomplished business professional experienced in entrepreneurship, management, and business development, has assumed the Program Manager role for Startup Quest. The role was previously held by Susan Scully who recently joined Gainesville-based TAO Connect. The Institute thanks Ms. Scully for her hard work and determination which contributed to the successful launch and delivery of the Startup Quest program statewide.  
Startup Quest is a 10-week entrepreneurial training program that pairs unemployed and underemployed professionals with yet-to-be commercialized technology and experienced entrepreneurs to learn how to develop business plans, pitch to investors and build successful companies. Regional Program Managers across the state are seeking mentors, judges and other program participants who wish to be involved in upcoming sessions.   For more information contact Vicki Piazza at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Institute CEO Jamie Grooms participating on the "Florida Entrepreneurial Panel" at the Florida Venture Forum’s 24th Annual Venture Capital Conference.

Institute Awarded Economic Development Grant from
City of Gainesville

The Institute was awarded a grant from the City of Gainesville to provide business support services to innovation-based startup companies. During the first quarter, the Institute engaged comprehensively with nine local companies that are providing a range of products and services in information technology, consumer, and healthcare-related industries, and have the potential to drive local and regional economic growth now and in the future. Support provided by the Institute included review of company resource plans and commercialization strategies, development of marketing and business plans, engagement with the investment community, and general business coaching and mentoring.

Register Now for Gold Coast Venture Capital Association Expo 2015
The Gold Coast Venture Capital Association (GCVCA) Expo 2015 will be held from 4-9 pm on Tuesday, February 24th at the Embassy Suites in Boca Raton and will feature approximately 70 exhibitors, half of which will be start-ups and early stage companies from throughout the state of Florida. In addition there will be two panel discussions on entrepreneurship and investment. More details and event registration may be viewed here
Save the Date for University of Florida’s
A Celebration of Innovation Showcase 2015
This year the University of Florida will hold its ninth annual startup showcase,A Celebration of Innovation” on March 10th at the Hilton University of Florida Hotel and Conference Center. The showcase offers a unique opportunity to see startup companies commercializing the latest life science, medical device, and cutting-edge technologies generated as a result of the research conducted at UF. The university has earned a reputation as a leader in commercializing discoveries that cure diseases, create jobs and make the world a better place. UF consistently ranks among the top universities for startup launches and licensing, and in the past 12 years, the Office of Technology Licensing has launched 157 biomedical and technology startups, generating more than $1 billion in private investment. In 2014, OTL received almost 300 invention disclosures on $700 million in UF research, signed 87 licenses and options, and launched 17 companies. More details and event registration may be viewed 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