This month, Synapse Orlando is right around the corner and we highlight big company announcements and news from across the Orlando region.
Message from the Orlando Tech Council Chair
Happy Friday, all.
First up, I would like to welcome a new leader to the Orlando Tech Council. David Adelson has joined the Orlando Economic Partnership as the Executive Director of Innovation & Technology. In his role, he will oversee the Partnership’s efforts toward expanding the regional innovation economy and also will champion the OTC’s mission and goals. He is a proven entrepreneur, experienced C-level tech business leader, investor, and has successfully exited what is now a global company. He’s will prove an invaluable asset to the our team and we’re looking forward to working together on a number of fronts. Welcome, David.
The biggest news this month revolves around Orlando Innovation Week and Synapse Orlando, presented by Truist. Innovation Week begins one week from today with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer kicking off Startup Weekend Orlando on October 8, and will continue with a Tech Leaders Panel Discussion, Orlando Inno kickoff event, and culminate on October 15 with Synapse Orlando and the “Officially Unofficial Synapse After Party” (Not the real name. Working on that).
Synapse Orlando is shaping up to be an inspiring day to celebrate the breadth of the region’s innovation and technology we’ll bring together our region’s creators, doers, thought leaders and makers, for a one-day innovation celebration at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Following the theme “Experience Orlando,” we have an incredible lineup of engaging exhibitors and an agenda that showcases the breadth of industries our region supports and companies that call Orlando home. New sessions and speakers are being added to the website daily. Be sure to check out the website and purchase your tickets! For all OTC members, be sure to check your inbox for an email from Lindsey with information regarding a special members-only rate for the event.
Are you or anyone you know interested in volunteering for Synapse Orlando? We are looking for approximately 50 volunteers throughout the day. In exchange for donating half a day of your time, you’ll be able to attend the rest of the event for free, with lunch included. Please click here to register. Feel free to send to anyone who may be interested.
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
Orlando’s tech hub gears up to rival Silicon Valley
A new feature in Business Insider magazine highlights how Orlando has been changing its reputation from a place for tourists and retirees to an innovative hub for tech, defense, training and finance. Featuring quotes from Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, STAX Founder and CEO Suneera Madhani, Luminar CTO Jason Eichenholz and Electronic Arts Vice President Daryl Holt, the piece explores how rising and established tech companies, including recent Silicon Valley transplant Red 6, are choosing Orlando thanks to our region’s density of high-skilled talent, ease of talent recruitment, connected transportation network and pro-business environment. Since its publication, the article has been listed as a “Best of the Rest” in the New York Times DealBook, syndicated on Yahoo! and MSN, featured in INSIDER’s daily “10 Things in Tech” newsletter, republished on CryptoPress and included in Florida Trend’s Daily Pulse. This kind of exposure is the result of our tech-focused media relations efforts and will surely give a huge boost to the region’s profile as an emerging tech hub on the national stage.
Two UCF business incubation clients named to Forbes Next 1000
As part of its work to compile a list of the top 1,000 people running sole proprietorships, self-funded companies and pre-revenue startups who are in a position to truly become leaders in the future, Forbes has named two clients of the UCF Business Incubation Program among the first 250 innovators selected. Maryann Kilgallon, founder of Pink Lotus Technologies, which launched POMM Safety Band to alert first responders and caregivers when something happens to the individual wearing it, and Christina Drake, founder of Kismet Technologies, which deploys antimicrobial materials using nanoparticles to kill germs, were both recognized for their accomplishments and potential. Congratulations to these two trailblazing women who are making a tangible impact on our world right from our own backyard.
Lilium goes public
Lilium, a German-based startup developing a revolutionary on-demand air taxi service that is locating its flagship U.S. vertiport (vertical take-off and landing facility) as well as maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and pilot headquarters in Orlando, announced it began trading on Nasdaq. It’s listed publicly as $LILM following its combination with Qell Acquisition Corp. When it opens its vertiport in Lake Nona, it will be the first electric vertical take-off and landing jet in the U.S. The commercial launch is slated for 2024. From innovative technology companies like Luminar ($LAZR), maker of lidar for autonomous vehicles, Skywater ($SKYT), the only U.S. pure play semiconductor foundry and leading destination company Travel + Leisure ($TNL), the pace of innovation and digital transformation in the Orlando region is off the charts.
Checkr, Inc. chooses Orlando for HQ
Innovative background checking technology company Checkr, Inc. announced this month that it will open its third headquarters, this time in Orlando, investing $2.7 million in the region and creating more than 600 new jobs in the next three years. The company chose Orlando over San Antonio and Albuquerque for our large, diverse and talented workforce as well as our fast-growing, tech-focused, welcoming and collaborative business community. But what pushed Orlando to the top of the list was our business community’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, which aligned perfectly with the company’s mission of building a fairer future for all job candidates. Checkr’s expansion to Orlando represents the perfect alignment of our community’s focus on increasing access to opportunities, a crucial measurement in our Orlando Prosperity Scorecard. It is also an example of a well-invested Silicon Valley company choosing to grow and expand in our region thanks to the strength and value of our assets and business environment. We look forward to both the company’s investment in our community as well as supporting its vision of a more equitable future for our workforce. Learn more here.
Here’s a roundup of coverage resulting from our public relations efforts:
- Checkr Selects Orlando As Expansion Site For Its Third Headquarters – HR Tech Series
- Checkr will bring 600+ jobs to new Orlando regional headquarters – HR Tech Feed
- Tech company plans to bring 600+ jobs to Orlando with $55,000 median salaries – Orlando Sentinel
- More than $1M in incentives offered to company to bring 600 jobs to Orlando – WESH
- Make Ends Meet for 9/8/21 – WKMG
New local fund announced as sport tech market poised for double-digit growth
This month, leAD Sports & Health Tech Partners and Tavistock Group announced the launch of the $30 million Lake Nona Sports & Health Tech Fund. Designed for investment in seed-stage companies shaping the future of sports and health technology, the fund will emphasize three investment areas within the industry including connected athletes, health and well-being, and fan engagement. It also provides companies with access to experts and industry leaders, world-class infrastructure and smart capital. Led by experienced Venture Capitalist Thomas H. Rudy, the fund’s investors include both leAD and Tavistock as well as technology entrepreneur Kevin Reid, sports entrepreneur Andrew White and seasoned investor and former professional racing driver Harold Primat, among others. The fund represents a significant addition of venture capital for Orlando’s innovation ecosystem and positions Lake Nona to become the “Silicon Valley” of sports and health tech. Learn more in TechCrunch.
Save the Date | Upcoming Events
October 9-10 – Startup Weekend Orlando
October 9-15 – Innovation Week
October 13 – America’s SBDC – How SBA Can Help Your Small Business Achieve the American Dream
October 15 – Synapse Orlando
October 15-17 – Creative City Project – Immerse
October 19 – Florida Simulation Summit
October 22 – GrowFL – Statewide Membership Meeting
TBD – Orlando Tech Council Holiday Member Mixer
ICYMI | News from the Orlando Region
- UCF to use national award to elevate women-owned businesses – UCF Today
- Electronic Arts invests in Orlando community centers ahead of move downtown – ClickOrlando
- Orlando firm Kore.ai closes big VC round to accelerate its growth – Orlando Business Journal
- Florida Tech’s weVENTURE Women’s Business Center Receives New Small Business, Urban Development Grants – Space Coast Daily
- UCF Recognized as leader in innovation and social mobility by U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings – UCF Today
- The global reach of Florida innovations – Florida Trend
- Orlando startup Datanautix lands big partners while avoiding venture capital – Orlando Inno
- Florida-led project advances automated driving innovation in rural America with $3.5 million DOE grant– Florida High Tech Corridor
- $30M sports tech fund launched in Lake Nona. Here’s what it’s looking for – Orlando Inno
- Using autonomous vehicles in smart cities – Travel Tomorrow
- 3 Orlando sim firms win spots on mega Marines training contract – Orlando Business Journal
- UCF Based Limbitless Solutions and Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children launch clinical trial – UCF Today
- Air-taxi startup Lilium begins trading on Nasdaq; receives $264M less than expected in SPAC deal – Silicon Canals
- HISTORY MADE: SpaceX launches 4 civilians on Inspiration4 mission from Florida – WKMG
- Osceola County looks toward a high-tech future with NeoCity development – Click Orlando
- How much is shuttered Aerion’s supersonic jet tech worth? This firm will find out. – Orlando Business Journal
*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.