This week in the Orlando region, new investment advances the work of local tech companies and a tech leader finds a way of giving back to support the next generation.
Message from the Orlando Tech Council Chair
Dear members of the Orlando region’s tech community,
This is my last message as your Orlando Tech Council Chair; immediately following this email, your new Chair, Rajiv Menon, will sit at the figurative helm of this ship. It has been an incredible honor to serve as the inaugural Chair of this wonderful organization. As the Orlando the world knows has gotten bigger, the Orlando I know has gotten smaller. Friendships have been forged, connections have been made, and communities have been built. A year ago, we asked who would raise their hand to volunteer to be a community builder.
You answered that call. Thank you.
That said, it certainly hasn’t been the year we expected. Could anyone sitting at our first meeting ever have imagined the world as it sits right now? 2020 was a year no one will ever forget. Amidst what can sometimes feel like chaos in the world, around Orlando, things feel far more promising. Sometimes I’m honest to a fault, so let’s not ignore the facts – we’re surrounded by uncontrolled spread of COVID-19; an untold number of businesses have struggled or failed and our overall economy and workers have suffered.
So without making light of real pain that people feel, we should acknowledge that despite all of that, there are glimmers of hope. There are signs that 2021 will be a very different year: people are getting back to work, there’s a vaccine for this disease that pressed pause on the planet, the government will see a peaceful transition of power. A new day is dawning.
And even through the worst of the darkness – with us being a first year organization and having no formal structure or history to rely upon – our Council had an incredibly productive year developing, orchestrating, and hosting several new programs. Our offerings have helped companies make connections, awarded startups unique opportunities, and imparted critical knowledge to people pivoting during a redefinition of how the world works virtually. It’s a badge of honor that we can point to productive, valuable efforts to keep our community strong.
I’m so proud to see this evolution of our tech community and to see the Orlando Tech Council be one of the success stories of 2020. Thank you to our Leadership team – Sydney, Chris, John, Andrea, Matt, and Kelly. An enthusiastic elbow bump to Sheena, who has truly been the conductor of this train from the get-go, keeping us chugging forward in spite of challenges, big and small (and global). And a huge fist bump to Rajiv, who has poured so much of his passion into OTC design, programming, and efforts; we’re lucky to have him holding the gavel going forward. Mostly, I want to thank each of you for the time, energy, and support you’ve donated to be a part of this project; thank you for believing in this idea and helping make it a reality; thank you for placing your trust in me to lead this diverse, accomplished, talented group of leaders. Thank you.
Nearly every week, I’ve closed this column with a sign-off that I certainly never intended to be recurring, nor did I think would be relevant for a full year. Nevertheless, one final time, I’ll say,
Orlando Tech Council Chair
OneRail completes $6.7 million late seed financing led by Chicago Ventures and Bullpen Capital
The Orlando-based company OneRail connects shippers to an extensive courier ecosystem to automate, optimize and control the entire delivery supply chain, from the demand signal to the proof of delivery. Read more here
Funding app Miventure to target Orlando brick and mortars after investment round
Miventure was created on the foundation that everyone should have the opportunity to become a business investor no matter their income bracket. Read more here
Call to Action: Volunteers Requested to Serve as Business Advisors to Student STEM Case Challenge
From Orlando Tech Council Member Paul Sohl, CEO of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council:
When you’re thinking about your workforce in 10 years, what do you see? One thing we know is that the need for an educated workforce is growing substantially, while the students entering STEM related fields is not growing at the same rate, particularly from our most diverse schools where there is huge potential! Think about it.
I need your help – kids need to be able to see themselves in fields that they may not have ever heard about. Our partnering organization (3DE by Junior Achievement) knows that 56% of their students will enter the field of their Business Advisor/Volunteer. And that’s where you come in.
I need 8 people ~ people who look like these students and who they can imagine coming from a similar background ~ to come with me on an amazing journey for a few hours. High impact/direct contact (all virtual)/reasonable time commitment (3-4 hours) to be Business Advisors to student teams working through a Case Challenge (like the Harvard Case study concept). Are you in? Know someone who fits the bill? I’d love to chat with you about it.
It’s a tech business challenge which is why I thought of this wonderful group.
Just 8…that’s all I need.
In your service, Paul
If interested, please reach out to:
Paul A. Sohl, Rear Adm. USN (ret)
CEO, Florida High Tech Corridor Council
Save the Date | Upcoming Events
Events for the Week of January 18
7 p.m., ODevs – Virtual Meetup – Using AWS with Python
12 p.m., General Assembly – Sunshine State Founders: Meet Chris Stegner from Very Big Things
Events on the Horizon
ICYMI | News from the Orlando Region
- Alluriam’s Dr. Sundeep Ram Helps Clear Student Lunch Debt in Orlando, Florida – FOX35
- One local tech company steps up to help students get virtual learning tools – WFTV
- 5G paving the way for Orlando to become a city of the future – FOX 35 Orlando
- Florida ranks among top 10 states for IT job postings – Orlando Business Journal
- Central Florida’s new $1.5 billion Evermore Orlando Resort to open next to Disney – Attractions Magazine
- Microsoft ousts rivals from CES marquee as show moves online – ClickOrlando.com
- Florida loses out to Alabama for future U.S. Space Command HQ – Orlando Business Journal
- Funding app Miventure to target Orlando brick and mortars after investment round – Orlando Business Journal
- OneRail Completes $6.7 Million Late Seed Financing Led by Chicago Ventures and Bullpen Capital – Business Wire
- Water Softener Orlando Innovative Technology Provides High Quality and Better-Tasting Water Solutions – Digital Journal
- Central Florida high school testing weapon-detection system – Orlando Sentinel
- Collaborating Success: Orlando sports leaders share lessons learned from the ongoing pandemic – Orlando Business Journal
- 15 best productivity apps of 2020 – Fast Company
- Orlando Executives Sign First-Ever Regional Corporate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Pledge – Orlando Economic Partnership
*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.