This week in the Orlando region, LiDAR takes to the skies, new local medical device leadership, and Stax has its sights set on unicorn status. 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. 

As usual, we’ve got some great stories to share this week, from LiDAR taking flight with a new partnership with Airbus SE to new leadership at digital health company AireHealth and Stax (formerly Fattmerchant) eyeing $1 billion. 

A new partnership was announced this week between Orlando Tech Council member Luminar and Airbus SE. In this collaboration, Luminar’s LiDAR technology will take to the skies as the companies work to improve overall aircraft safety features with the aim of moving toward autonomous air travel. This is a unique partnership in that it’s not product-based, but research-focused, as the two will test flight platforms across several Airbus business lines. This move, together with numerous other announcements the company has made recently, continues to propel Luminar beyond barriers and shape the future of travel. 

AireHealth announced this week that the company appointed Kien Nguyen as its new CEO and member of the Board of Directors. The respiratory digital health company just recently received clearance from the FDA for a connected nebulizer to track medication, symptoms and behaviors in those affected by chronic respiratory illness, with the goal of reducing unnecessary hospitalizations. Nguyen brings his valuable experience within the medical device and life sciences industries to the AireHealth team. 

In the fintech world, we learned some of the motivation behind the rebranding of Central Florida’s second-fastest growing company and Orlando Tech Council member, Stax (formerly Fattmerchant), lies in its journey toward unicorn status with plans for a potential expansion outside the U.S. with additional acquisitions and mergers. Of aiming for a $1 billion valuation, “It’s not a maybe; it’s definitely,” says CEO and founder Suneera Madhani. We’re keeping an eye out for more news as Stax continues its meteoric rise in the fintech world.  

We’re looking forward to our next Council meeting Tuesday, May 4. 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.  

Rajiv Menon 
Founder/CEO, Informulate
Orlando Tech Council Chair 

Profiles in Tech

Luis Garcia, VP of Emerging Technologies at Full Sail University

Luis (left) on stage with Full Sail University President Garry Jones during the school’s 2019 ‘President’s Message’

This week’s Orlando Profiles in Tech features Luis Garcia, the VP of Emerging Technologies at Full Sail University. Luis discusses how the creativity or Orlando’s tech ecosystem (and so much more) make Orlando a great place to be a geek. Read more here.


U.S. LiDAR maker Luminar partners with Airbus to test autonomous flight tech

This week, Orlando Tech Council member Luminar announced a partnership with Airbus SE to enhance aircraft safety, with the ultimate goal of improving overall aircraft safety features. This news come on the heels of Luminar’s partnership announcement with Volvo Cars as well as their recent IPO. Add in last week’s headline of CEO Austin Russell on the cover of Forbes’ Billionaire issue, Luminar as much to celebrate. Click here to read more. 

AireHealth appoints Kien Nguyen as Chief Executive Officer

Local innovative digital health company AireHealth announced this week that it has appointed Kien Nguyen as CEO and member of the Board of Directors, effective immediately. Nguyen will join a team helmed by Co-Founders Stacie Ruth and Jason Eichenholz, who is also the Co-Founder and CTO of Luminar. In his new role, Nguyen says his primary focus will be “…to execute on the strategy and vision to bring meaningful respiratory care innovation to market faster.” Read the full announcement.

The firm formerly known as Fattmerchant plans to be Orlando’s next $1B biz. Here’s how.

Stax is on a path to unicorn status and a $1b valuation. The Orlando-based company is planning for upcoming mergers and acquisitions and even expansion outside the U.S. The rebranding from Fattmerchant to Stax, which references a ‘technology stack’, positions them perfectly for this growth according to CEO and founder Suneera Madhani. Read more here. 

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 

Info Session 1: Wednesday, April 28 at 12pm 
Info Session 2: Thursday, May 13 at 12pm 

Save the Date | Upcoming Events

Events for the Week of May 3

Tuesday, May 4
4:30 p.m. – Synapse – Libate & Learn Episode 32: Leverage PR to Grow Your Business

Wednesday, May 5
9 a.m., 1 Million Cups (1MC)

Thursday, May 6
9 a.m., Orange County – Orange County Contracting Opportunities
10 a.m., Orlando Economic Partnership – SKILLFUL® Talent Series sponsored by JPMorgan Chase | Series 103: Selection and Onboarding

Events on the Horizon

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 11 – UCF Business Incubation Program – Business Modeling Boot Camp: Cohort#3
May 11 – UCF – SBIR/STTR: Formatting & Readability Tips and Registrations
May 13 – Orlando Economic Partnership – SKILLFUL® Talent Series sponsored by JPMorgan Chase
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

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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