10 June 2019                      View this email in your browser
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Orlando Venture Sourcing Weekly

News, analysis, and opinions
Orlando's innovation community.


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Our newsletter promises to keep you informed about the latest tech, startup, and innovation news and events in Orlando.  We will bring you our analysis and opinions as well as those from guest authors from the innovation community. Our newsletter is powered by Orlando Venture Sourcing. Please signup if you haven't already done so and forward this newsletter to your friends.

Weekly Spotlight

The end of a glorious Orlando startup era - Sawtek facility closes in Apopka

Sawtek was a VC-backed startup that developed and manufactured Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) devices for mobile phone handsets.  It was started in Orlando in 1979 by four engineers from Texas Instruments.  It was primarily a military contractor in the 80's.  In the early 90's the VCs wanted out and the company created an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) to buy out the VCs.   Along with employee contributions, the company borrowed $4M from its commercial bank to lend to the ESOP to finance the acquisition shares of common stock from the VCs.  The emergence of the mobile phone handset industry in the 90's, which needed Sawtek's SAW RF filters, propelled the company's meteoric growth to $60M in revenue and it went public in 1996.  With revenue of $160M,  Sawtek was acquired in 2001 by TriQuint Semiconductors for approximately $1.3B - making the founders and a large number of employees millionaires and multimillionaires through their ESOP.  In 2015 TriQuint and RF Micro Devices combined in a merger creating Qorvo (Nasdaq QRVO).  Qorvo last week announced it would shut down the Sawtek facility in Apopka. This brings to an end the most successful startup in Orlando's history.  And an end to a glorious era of local startups like Optium, Raydiance, Triton, AuthenTec, ALST, Teranex, MeshNetworks, Autonomous Technologies, and Broadband Communication Products. 

CytoSen Therapeutics acquired - Dallas/Winter Springs startup commercializing UCF technology

CytoSen Therapeutics, a biopharma startup developing Natural Killer cell therapy for the reduction of relapse in high risk acute myeloid leukemia, has been acquired by Amsterdam-based Kiadis Pharma in an all-stock transaction valued at about $70M.

CytoSen started in 2016 when Dr. Alicja Copik, a researcher at UCF’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, developed a nanoparticle which stimulates natural cancer killing cells, increasing their ability to fight cancers. Copik, along with Dr. Robert Igarashi and other co-founders, formed CytoSen and licensed the technology from UCF and started up at the UCF Research Park Incubator.  In 2018 the company moved to Dallas where key employees and investors were located and where they continued to develop the technology with Nations Children Hospital.  The company continues to maintain a presence at UCF's Winter Springs accelerator. 

"The UCF Business Incubator Program has been a very good vehicle to foster this company to its present form,” Igarashi said. “This was an early stage operation at the beginning and they significantly helped us reach this major milestone."

“This is an outstanding success story for the UCF Business Incubation Program,” said Carol Ann Dykes Logue of the UCF Research Park Innovation District. “While certainly this is an atypical accomplishment, this proves anything can be possible with a great product or service accompanied by a great business.”

Events This Week

Tuesday - LinkedIn Workshop Lunch Talk with Justin Nguyen 12:00 pm-1:30 pm at StarterStudio Downtown
Wednesday - FridayInfoComm 2019 at Orange County Convention Center
Wednesday - 1 Million Cups - Orlando 8:00 am-10:00 am at Rollins College, Bush Auditorium
Thursday - Building the Framework to Support a Modern AI Driven Organization on the World's Most Preferred Cloud Provider 11:00 am-1:00 pm at Pandera Systems
Thursday - Orlando Golang Monthly Meetup - Getting started with gRPC and Go - With Vladimir Vivien 6:30 pm-9:00 pm at StarterStudio Downtown

Find event details and upcoming events at Orlando Venture Sourcing

Orlando Tech News

Find more Orlando tech news at Orlando Venture Sourcing

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Meet the Author
Dennis R. Pape

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