21 October 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

Synapse Orlando 2019 Wrap

This past Friday the Orlando innovation community gathered at Synapse Orlando 2019 at Ace Cafe.  It was a record crowd (1,200 registered).  The compact size and floor plan of the venue (Ace Cafe) produced an "overflowing at the seams" energy that you don't see with events at the Orange County Convention Center and other conventional but larger venues.  With more than 50 speakers in over 20 sessions along with an exhibit area this was indeed an important statement for the innovation community to make here.

I don't need to recap the event as it was well covered by the Orlando business press - in fact the event received more ink (5 articles) than I have ever seen devoted to an innovation event in Orlando:

Marco Santana, Orlando Sentinel:
Sensors, driverless cars and VR: why Orlando’s tech sector thinks its time has come

Alex Soderstrom, Orlando Business Journal:
UCF to launch innovation districts across Central Florida to stimulate startups

Experts: Metro Orlando is driving autonomous vehicles to widespread adoption — soon

Local tech companies find opportunities at first-ever Synapse Orlando

'More than Florida Man': Tech takeaways from first-ever Synapse Orlando

I look forward to seeing the organizers expand on their success - especially with a more intentional connection to Orlando's creative experiential event Immerse - which started later in the evening after Synapse. 

Tony Ruben of Blue Halo Biomedical Wins Pitch Madness


Tony Ruben, CEO of Lakeland healthcare tech startup Blue Halo Biomedical, won the Pitch Madness contest at Synapse Orlando.  Tony competed against two other finalists, Sean Pinnock, Cyberdream and Justin Mitchell, Yak Chat.  The finalists debated 5 questions from the referee and organizer Tyler Kelley. The questions, like: "The company is finally ready for Series A! Unfortunately, it took a lot longer and with many more pivots than you thought. The only Series A term sheets you could get valued the company lower than the cumulative amount of investments you've taken in convertible notes from seed investors. What do you do?" were thought provoking and got to the heart of how the founder/CEO thinks about scaling their startup.  Tony emerged as the clear winner as each of the judges commented on the responses to each of the questions.  As a result of his win, SeedFundersOrlando is investing $5K into Blue Halo Biomedical.  Blue Halo has made a major advancement in catheter technology and it promises to revolutionize their industry.  I am happy to have Blue Halo Biomedical as the first startup in the SeedFundersOrlando portfolio. 

Central Florida Tech Alliance Shutdown Aftermath


Two weeks ago we reported on the rather dramatic and unexpected shutdown of the Central Florida Tech Alliance - a non-profit Orlando group "dedicated to transforming our region into a globally leading tech hub".  At that time the organization said it was dissolving because their "financial model didn’t pan out." Many people questioned what that meant, particularly since the CFTA financial model (revenue from corporate membership dues) is being used successfully by other tech organizations in the state including nearby Tampa Bay Tech, Tech Lauderdale, and Palm Beach Tech.  Now we've learned more from the former CFTA Chairman, Adam Scheinberg, in an article published in the Orlando Business Journal

Scheinberg told the OBJ's Alex Soderstrom: "The vision that we had for CFTA programming simply wasn't possible with the fewer than 50 paying member organizations we had. In the end, we weren't able to get the resources we needed to adequately staff a well-rounded team and deliver on that original vision.”

Finding organizations to sponsor tech groups and events in Orlando is difficult at best.  The fact that CFTA signed up 50 was a major achievement. I am not aware of any other tech group being able to achieve that level of sponsorship support here.  I hope the experience of this fundraising success can be incorporated into a future tech group and that a business model can be developed that matches programming with this level of sponsorship.

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Meet the Author
Dennis R. Pape

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