The Buzz

Written By: Erica Brown

Tech Council Forum on Investing Draws Large Crowd

On April 24, Jamie Grooms, CEO of the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research, met with the Gainesville Area Technology Council to discuss the new partnership between the council and the Florida Angel Nexus.

FAN matches investors with emerging Florida companies in an effort to help the state compete with other areas that have more available investments to support innovation.

Augi Lye, co-founder and CEO of Trendy Entertainment and other successful startup businesses, called Grooms the “godfather” of local technology companies. Grooms brings his track record as a co-founder of Regeneration Technologies and chairman of AxoGen’s board of directors to his position with the Institute.

The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce formed the Tech Council and established its three main areas of focus: fostering the growth of the tech sector through the connection of regional software and IT companies to early-stage capital, promoting a regional technology ecosystem and advocating for regional and federal issues related to technology.

The founding members of the council are Lye, Amir Rubin of Paracosm, Duncan Kabinu of Starter Space and Josh Greenberg of Grooveshark.

Innovation Square Brings New Technology Company to Gainesville

Zeeko Ltd., an international technology company that specializes in ultra-precision polishing machines, announced its decision to locate a research facility at UF’s Innovation Square Gainesville. Zeeko has partnered with real estate company Trimark Properties to create a state-of-the-art research facility just three blocks from UF campus.

“When an internationally successful company like Zeeko chooses to open an office in Gainesville, it really says something about how powerful a player our city has become,” said Trimark Managing Partner John Fleming in a press release.

Zeeko supplies over 70 polishing machines to countries all over the world and also has facilities in Wales and Japan.

Alachua County “State of the Regional Manufacturing Sector Report” Presented

On April 22, the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber’s Manufacturers Council presented results from the “2013 State of the Regional Manufacturing Sector Report.”

The report indicated that manufacturing in Alachua County is on the rise, as local companies say they plan to make $227 million in capital investment and add 628 jobs over the next three years. Of the 25 companies surveyed, 13 indicated they were planning capital expansion over the next three years, and 14 said they planned to add employees.

“With the expansion plans of companies which already reside in Alachua county plus the potential for new companies moving here, we’re confident the manufacturing sector can become a bigger part of the local economy,” said Susan Davenport, chamber vice president of economic development.

AxoGen Inc. Reports 46 Percent First Quarter Revenue Growth

AxoGen Inc., a leading medical technology company dedicated to peripheral nerve repair, reported financial results for the first quarter that ended March 31. Revenue for the quarter grew 46 percent to $3.14 million, up from the company’s $2.14 million in the first quarter of 2013 — a significant increase that reflects sales to new accounts as well as increased product usage by existing accounts.

“Based on our first quarter revenue performance and continued business momentum in April, we are reaffirming that the projected 2014 revenue of $16 million is achievable while maintaining gross margins of 75 percent,” said AxoGen President and CEO Karen Zaderej.

GATOR NET Introduces Gigabit Internet Service

GATOR NET by GRUCom, Gainesville’s only all-fiber-optic Internet service, has announced upgraded speed options of up to one gigabit per second, the fastest Internet available in Gainesville. The new service tier is 100 times faster than the standard Internet connection.

In addition to the gigabit service, GATOR NET is introducing an intermediate option of 100 megabits per second, which is twice the speed of GATOR NET’s standard 50 megabits per second. Pricing for the upgraded tiers will be determined by assorted factors including community size, layout and number of residents.


Depot Avenue Rail-Trail Pedestrian Bridge Earns Another Award

The Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) announced that the “Helyx” (the Depot Avenue rail-trail pedestrian bridge) earned the distinction of Grand Honor Award recipient from the Florida Institute of Consulting Engineers (FICE) in the 2014 FICE Engineering Excellence Awards Competition.

The former railroad bridge, which spans Southwest 13th Street, pays homage to Gainesville’s beginnings, particularly the city’s function as a hub for important rail corridors that crossed Florida during the state’s early development. The engineering feat also captures the spirit of innovation driving the medical and biotechnology research conducted at UF Health and the University of Florida.


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