This week in the Orlando region, from millions to billions, the Orlando region has money and Stax on its mind. Check out these stories and more in this Weekly Tech Round Up. 

Featured Headlines | Upcoming Events | News from the Orlando Region

Message from the Orlando Tech Council Chair

Happy Friday, all. 

Things are happening in the world of tech and innovation in the Orlando region, and we have a lot to talk about!  

First, we want to make sure that you saw the new websitevideocommunity calendar and tech + innovation ecosystem directory that we launched last week. We need your help to start populating these tools, so take a minute to check it out and share with your friends. Let us know if you have questions.  

There were some noteworthy announcements this week that point to the growth and momentum happening in the economy, with investments and new jobs. Like AR/VR company 3D Media which will expand in Orlando, adding to our robust defense technology ecosystem. And Kore.ai which landed one of the region’s largest VC deals, $30.8 million, for its platform that empowers companies to better utilize AI. And check out this article if you want to learn more about why Orlando is a world leader in simulation technology.  

And of course, we are wildly proud of the Orlando Tech Council member formerly known as Fattmerchant. This week it released a new look and name for the fintech company, now rebranded as Stax. Congratulations to the team and thank you for always including the Orlando region’s story in your success.  

We have our next Council meeting next week and if you’re not already a member, let us know if you want to learn more about how you can plug in.  

Stay tuned for more news, events, and ways to connect with the Orlando region’s tech and innovation economy. Also, feel free to share this newsletter with friends and colleagues who can get on our mailing list here.  

Cheers, 
Rajiv Menon 
Founder/CEO, Informulate
Orlando Tech Council Chair 

Profiles in Tech

Michael Tschanz, director of Engineering Technology and Analysis at the Walt Disney Company

This week’s Orlando Profiles in Tech features Michael Tschanz, director of Engineering Technology and Analysis at the Walt Disney Company. Learn about how dinosaurs brought him to Orlando and the plethora of incredible offerings across the region, all a short drive from home. Read more here.

Headlines

An Orlando-headquartered company was featured this week as part of Forbes’ World’s Billionaire list

Austin Russell, founder and CEO of Orlando headquartered Luminar, graces one of the covers of the highly coveted Forbes’ World’s Billionaires edition of the magazine. Luminar speaks often about how the depth of expertise in optics and photonics played a major role in the company’s success. We are thrilled to see an Orlando technology company get its well-deserved time in the global spotlight. Check out the full piece here.  

AR/VR training company 3D Media expands to Orlando

This week, immersive training technology company 3D Media announced it’s moving into the UCF Business Incubator and plans to create 25 new high-wage jobs. The woman-owned business currently operating in Louisiana chose Orlando to better access our cluster of military simulation and training commands and robust modeling and simulation talent pool. The Orlando Economic Partnership worked closely with the National Center for Simulation and UCF to help connect the company to Orlando’s collaborative and supportive simulation ecosystem, a vital asset for attracting innovative technology companies to our region. This announcement yet another recent regional win that demonstrates Orlando’s economic recovery continues to gain momentum. Please join me in welcoming 3D Media to the community. You can read the full release here

Tech firm Kor.ai lands one of Orlando’s biggest VC deals of 2021 

According to the Orlando Business Journal article, “Metro Orlando companies landed $27.2 million from nine venture capital deals in the first quarter, according to the latest Venture Monitor report from Pitchbook and the National Venture Capital Association. That was a big drop from the $133 million local companies landed in fourth-quarter 2020.” But more headlines are rolling in on how local companies are landing investment like today’s headline, Kore.ai, an Orlando based AI platform ready to scale.  Read more about the deal here.

The most visited destination in the nation is also a FinTech hub

Following six years in payments innovation, Orlando-based FinTech startup Fattmerchant has rebranded to Stax, reflecting its transformation from innovative payments company to leading technology and solutions provider in the financial space. In the last year, Stax experienced tremendous growth in software, large business and small business segments and earned recognition for growth in numerous publications. All of this led to a majority investment from Greater Sum Ventures, which represents validation that Orlando’s tech ecosystem is a great environment for entrepreneurs to start and scale tech companies and a profitable opportunity to invest in them. Orlando’s large pool of technical talent, tech educational resources and low cost of doing business created the fertile ground for Stax’s innovation to thrive. And the evolution from Fattmerchant to Stax reflects both the company’s history and future, with its sights set on becoming the next unicorn in the space and Orlando’s first. You can learn more about its rebrand here. Please join me in congratulating Stax by sharing these social media posts from your corporate and/or personal accounts: 

Defense Industry Seeking Applications From Tech Companies: Deadline May 19

Technology companies new to the defense sector are now invited to apply to participate in NSIN Propel, a program delivered by NewLabDecisive Point, and the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN). NSIN Propel program enables the development of next-generation applications of emerging dual-use technology for government and defense. Apply today
 
NSIN Propel is collaborating with the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate (AFRL)—the premier research organization for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) and Cyber technologies—to recruit companies new to the defense sector with technology solutions that can be adapted to address the needs of both the AFRL and the broader DoD community. We are seeking applications from technology companies working in areas including: smart cities, urban tech, mobility, industrial automation, manufacturing, next-gen connectivity, logistics, and supply chain management. 

Deadline to Apply: May 19 
Apply: https://newlab.com/studios/nsin-propel/   

Info Session 1: Wednesday, April 28 at 12pm 
Info Session 2: Thursday, May 13 at 12pm 
RSVP: https://newlab.com/event/nsin-propel-open-call-info-session-2/  

Save the Date | Upcoming Events

Events for the Week of April 26

Monday, April 26
12 p.m., General Assembly – The Power of Inclusivity: Redefining the Tech Talent Pipeline
7 p.m., ODevs – Virtual Meetup – Data Science, SEO and AI, Oh My!

Tuesday, April 27
9 a.m., UCF – SBIR/STTR for Start Ups: Building your Team and Preparing your Budget

Wednesday, April 28
9 a.m., 1 Million Cups (1MC)
12 p.m., NSIN Propel – Open Call Info Session

Thursday, April 29
10 a.m., Foundation for Orlando’s Future – SKILLFUL® Talent Series sponsored by JPMorgan Chase Session 2: Candidate Evaluation

Events on the Horizon

May 6, 13 – SKILLFUL® Talent Series sponsored by JPMorgan Chase
May 10-14 – PNC – Women in Business Week (Including Women in Tech on May 12)
May 11 – The National Center for Simulation – ROI on Competitive Intelligence
May 25-26 – Defense Strategies Institute – Military Virtual Training & Simulation Summit
May 26 – GrowFL – 2021 Statewide Membership Mixer
May 26 – Orlando Economic Partnership – 2021 Florida Legislative Update
May 27 – GrowFL – The Profit Recipe Webinar: Are you running your business, or is it running you?
June 2-4 – VR/AR Global Summit
June 15-16 – 23rd World Aviation Training Summit
June 23-25 – 2021 Serious Play Conference
August 17 – GrowFL – East Central Florida Finalist Celebration
October 15 – Synapse Orlando
October 15-17 – Creative City Project – Immerse

ICYMI | News from the Orlando Region

*Have a story you would like OTC to feature? Email Sheena.Fowler@Orlando.org

The Orlando Tech Council is composed of private industry, resource organizations and public partners that work to develop new programs with the core objectives: strengthen the Orlando region’s innovation resources, create new opportunities for companies to scale, and to amplify the region’s success stories, raising the global profile of Orlando as a leading community for entrepreneurship and innovation.

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Special thanks to our Orlando Tech Council Members