This month, we announce a new direction and leadership for the Orlando Tech Council and look at a transformational community donation from a leading tech founder and how digital twins will change everything. That and more can be found in the Tech Round Up’s first edition of 2022.
Message from the Orlando Tech Council Chair
Happy Friday and Happy New Year, all.
I hope you all were able to take some time to safely connect with family and friends over this holiday. 2021 was another unusual year and I know we all deserved a break before jumping back into whatever 2022 has in store.
With the new year comes new leadership, and this will be my last official newsletter as the Chair of the Orlando Tech Council. Personally, this tenure has been a great honor for me to be a part of this crucial conversation on how we organize and move our tech community forward. I am humbled by the broad engagement of so many leaders across different industries that have decided to bring their time, money and expertise to this effort.
As we look ahead, with Charlie Lewis taking over as Chair and a new leadership team coming in, the future looks brighter than ever. Even in the middle of a pandemic we have accomplished so much, and that is thanks to the hard work and dedication of our members. And as the OTC has grown and changed, so too has our mission. Over the past months, David Adelson, Charlie and I have taken a hard look at the future not only of the OTC, but of Orlando’s greater tech ecosystem to determine how our Council can best serve the needs of the community at large. Please join us on January 11 at 1:30 for our next virtual OTC meeting where we will discuss the strategic plan for 2022 and how the OTC plans to address the lifecycle of our business community. If you are not a member and would like to attend, please reach out to Lindsey.
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.
Orlando Tech Council Chair
Luminar founder makes transformational donation to Central Florida Foundation
Luminar Technologies’ CEO and Founder Austin Russell has partnered with the Central Florida Foundation, making a personal contribution of $70M to the community foundation focused on addressing regional challenges and creating measurable, sustainable change in the Orlando region. As leader of one of Orlando’s most innovative companies, Russell looks to expand his impact from the region’s economy to its community and beyond by focusing on high-impact efforts for local and system-level improvements. This contribution will have an incredible positive impact on our community, and we applaud Russell’s passion and vision for transformative change in our region. Learn more here.
High rankings for jobs and venture capital
Orlando is making national headlines as a growing market for economic opportunity, with Wallethub ranking the city No. 6 in its 2022 Best Cities for Jobs report. The report, which was also picked up by Business Insider, analyzed 182 cities based on their job market and socioeconomics, finding Orlando to have the third-most job opportunities and the fourth-best job market in the country. Another report by Revolution, the D.C.-based investment firm that kicked off its 2019 Rise of the Rest tour in Orlando, ranks Orlando No. 18 and 19 out of the top metros receiving the most venture capital funds from Silicon Valley and New York City investors. Orlando is recognized as a rising city attracting investor interest and follows Miami as the second-highest ranked Florida city. With a burgeoning innovation ecosystem and a reputation as a growing leader in advanced manufacturing, aerospace, and autonomous vehicles, in addition to hospitality and entertainment, Orlando continues to be recognized as a region ripe with opportunity for entrepreneurs and talent alike.
How digital twins will change everything
Orlando’s development of a digital twin was recently featured in a high-profile piece in TIME magazine. Examining how digital twin technology is transforming everything from manufacturing to medicine, the piece highlights how a digital twin of the Orlando region will prove a backbone infrastructure for regional urban planning, transportation development and more. Beyond a key economic development tool that will be used by our experts, partners and stakeholders to outline opportunities for companies looking to relocate or expand in the Orlando region, this innovative technology will enable public, private and governmental organizations across the region to market Orlando, engage stakeholders, explore solutions for shared challenges and grow our region and economy in a way that advances Broad-based Prosperity™ to all who call our region home.
New investments fuel semiconductor momentum in the Orlando region
Osceola County was awarded $6M by Governor Ron DeSantis through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s 2022 Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, which will be matched by the County to build The Southern Gateway to Osceola County, dubbed NeoVation Way. Valencia College also received a $3.7M grant to launch a 20-week program to train talent for high-paying jobs such as robotics technicians. Beyond creating significant opportunity for Osceola County, NeoCity, our workforce and our entire region, these grants and accompanying local match bolster the competitiveness of our application for Phase 2 of the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) $1 billion “Build Back Better Regional Challenge,” which would fund the expansion of advanced semiconductor manufacturing in our region. Osceola County’s foresight and vision for NeoCity, along with the support of our region’s education institutions and business friendly climate, is what attracted SkyWater Technology to choose NeoCity for its first site expansion. The construction of the Southern Gateway Project, combined with Valencia’s targeted vocational training programs, will enhance our ability to attract additional cutting-edge businesses like SkyWater to focus on our region as a destination for growth. Learn more here.
How Orlando’s collaborative spirit fuels entrepreneurial growth
Datanautix, a business whose AI-powered technology allows users to gain meaningful information about their organization or service, announced a new partnership agreement with Black Box Intelligence (BBI). BBI will utilize Ana, Datanautix’s AI platform, to better understand customer feedback at some of the nation’s largest restaurant brands. A graduate of the UCF Business Incubator program, Datanautix was able to innovate through a key partnership with the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality, allowing the firm to test Ana at with the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton. This success story is a testament to the welcoming, inclusive and collaborative spirit of our region, which allows entrepreneurs access to customers, investors and mentors at every stage of development. Learn more about why Orlando is the perfect testing ground for new ideas and technology here.
Leading the world in medical technology innovation
Longwood, FL-headquartered and Winter Springs UCF Business Incubation program participant LifeBridge 10000 was featured on the cover of the December issue of Medtech Outlook as one of the top-ten emerging medical technology companies in the world. Recognized for its work developing next-generation tumor-treating technology designed specifically for late-stage cancer, the company is the only Florida business represented on the list. This global recognition doesn’t just highlight the caliber of cutting-edge medical technology being developed right here in our region. It showcases the strength of our innovation ecosystem, in which the UCF Incubator Program plays a significant role, and its ability to foster an entrepreneurial environment as well as the resources necessary to help startups scale and succeed. Learn more here.
Save the Date | Upcoming Events
January 11 – Orlando Tech Council Meeting
Please visit the Events section of the Orlando Tech Hub for upcoming events.
ICYMI | News from the Orlando Region
- Simcom holds groundbreaking for new headquarters – AIN Online
- Central Florida training and tech firms see growth as Covid alters workplace learning – Orlando Business Journal
- 2021 Big Deals: Central Florida’s top innovation and growth transactions – Orlando Business Journal
- UCF researchers’ ethanol fuel cells offer new alternative to power cars, technology – UCF Today
- Orlando firms Luminar, OneRail and others unveil innovations at world’s biggest tech show – Orlando Inno
- Osceola inks agreement for $1 billion NeoCity town center – Orlando Sentinel
- Startups at Lake Nona business accelerator show off ‘pocket physical therapist,’ fundraising goals and more – Orlando Inno
- BioFlorida celebrates life sciences innovation in the state AiThority
- Recently-acquired Orlando firm Miventure to launch ‘discovery site’ for startups seeking investment– Orlando Inno
- Aerospace giant Northrop Grumman deepens Orlando foothold with new Central Florida Research Park office – NewsInOrlando.org
- Orlando aerospace venture capital firm E2MC to roll out 2nd investment fund – Orlando Inno
- The future of air mobility: Electric aircraft and flying taxis – McKinsey & Company
For more industry news, visit the News section of the Orlando Tech Hub.
*Have a story you would like OTC to feature? Email Lindsey.Sandrin@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.