Category Archives: conferences

NVCA Four Pillar Plan to Restore IPO Market

The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) annual meeting kicks off today with a great mix of sessions and speakers. At a policy level, NVCA Chairman Dixon Doll is also announcing a four pillar plan to help increase liquidity via IPOs.

Pillar I – Ecosystem Partners: consolidation and attrition has limited the number of mid-tier accounting/legal/i-banking firms who can help smaller companies reach the public markets — at least at a manageable cost. The NVCA is encouraging a new set of ecosystem participants and partnering with the largest players in the industry to do the job better.
Pillar II – Enhanced Liquidity Paths: The NVCA is endorsing alternative distribution between buyers and sellers that grows buyers and their commitment to holding long-term. One example provided was Inside Venture, which pre-screens cross-over investors who agree to hold long-term.
Pillar III – Tax Incentives: From globally competitive capital gains rates, to carried interest taxation, to one-time IPO-related tax incentives; the NVCA advocates a suite of tax initiatives that will encourage investment and company growth.
Pillar IV – Regulatory Review: Sarbanes-Oxley and a host of other regulatory moves have created various unintended negative consequences and costs for smaller venture-backed companies. The NVCA advocates a tiered approach to regulation to recognize the different circumstance of large and small public entities.
The full NVCA presentation can be viewed below. It contains a good set of data behind these recommendations, including the impact venture-backed companies have on our economy (12.1M jobs created).

SEMDA Regional Meeting: Physician Advisors

medtehthursday

semdaIf you didn’t catch the Southeastern Medical Device Association’s event earlier this week at Mercer, another is right around the corner, closer to home.  On Tuesday December 9, starting at 5:30pm, you can attend SEMDA’s “Working with Physician Advisors – The New Paradigm“.  The event is being held at the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, 300 E University Ave.

The agenda includes networking from 5:30 to 6:30, followed by:
– Video presentation: Jan Heybroak, MSc, MBA, President of The Arcas Group & Jerri Davis, Legal and Regulatory Compliance Manager for Porex Corporation.
– Panel discussion:  Karen Zadarej, MBA, Chief Operating Officer of AxoGen & Stephen Huggard, JD, Partner at Edwards, Angell, Palmer & Dodge.
SEMDA’s event description states:
“Physicians accepting large sums of money for their consultative roles with life science companies have become headline news, resulting in national guidelines, proposed regulations and new state laws. Yet companies need the input…and credibility…offered by medical experts.

How can your company stay compliant with FDA regulations while still benefiting from physician advisors? What appropriate role can they play without crossing ethical and regulatory boundaries?”

The event is free for SEMDA members and $20 for non-members.

(via Synogen)

BioFlorida Conference

medtechthursday
Guest Post by:
Mike Schmitt, MD
Life Science Analyst and Editor of the Florida BioDatabase
Mike can be reached at M2Schmitt@aol.com

For those involved in the Florida life science industry, if you are looking to “see and be seen”, the annual BioFlorida conference is THE place. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend this years event, held on Amelia Island at the Ritz Carlton on October 19-21.

BioFlorida is the statewide trade association for the bioscience industry and provides networking opportunities, statewide industry events, educational forums and a variety of support services to biomedical companies as well as to investors, government entities, academia, tech transfer and workforce development groups.

The conference attracted over 400 attendees from not only Florida, but from throughout the Southeast and US as well. The roster of keynote speakers was impressive and included some life science “heavy hitters” including:

This years program focused on a diverse range of topics that included but was not limited to the following: early and late stage funding issues, the relevance of IPOs in today’s marketplace (difficult at best), drug discovery, marketing as a decision tool for your company, device technologies, controlling rising healthcare costs along with “a vision” for biotech innovation.

This event is certainly one of the best networking opportunities to “meet & greet” all the movers and shakers involved in the Florida life science scene. I did hear from Patti Breedlove, Associate Director of the University of Florida Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator who said, “ A small dinner hosted by the Burnham Institute gave me a chance to talk to the key Burnham people as well as the head of Max Planck Florida Institute about UF’s Biotechnology Incubator along with the Florida BioDatabase and how it can be effectively utilized to develop our life science industry.”

Hopefully, I’ll make it to the conference in 2009…

Free Money for Life Science Entrepreneurs

medtechthursday
Guest Post by:
Mike Schmitt, MD
Life Science Analyst and Editor of the Florida BioDatabase
Mike can be reached at M2Schmitt@aol.com

sebio

“Free Money” for life science entrepreneurs with up to $100,000 in cash and services!

Now that I have your full attention (I had to get a “hook” in there somewhere—the money may not be totally “free”, but it’s a great deal as start ups go), I’d like to tell you about the SEBIO sponsored annual “Bio/Plan Competition.”

Last post I mentioned the upcoming Southeast BIO (SEBIO) Conference to be held on December 4-5, 2008 in Palm Beach. For those not familiar with this organization, SEBIO is a non-profit public/private partnership to promote the development of the life sciences throughout the Southeast.

One of the exciting events at this conference is the announcement of the winner of the annual Bio/Plan Competition.

This is intended to identify and support newly created venture-fundable entities in the life sciences (the majority of the applicants are from research universities and research labs throughout the Southeast).

Here is how it works…(from the SEBIO website):

  1. The principal investigator/entrepreneur completes a short application outlining their concept and the associated opportunity in broad terms. There is no application fee.
  2. A selection committee chooses 10 semifinalists and pairs each with a team of seasoned professionals who will serve as mentors to the principals. The group’s goal will be to further develop the concept and surround it with a first-class business plan.
  3. Following a period of 5 to 6 months with the assigned mentoring team, a finished business plan will be submitted by the principals to a panel of experts and 4 finalists will be selected. These finalists will present their opportunity to the broader life science investment community at the annual SEBIO Investor Forum held each fall.
  4. The winner of the BIO/Plan Competition will be selected at this Conference and will be awarded unrestricted, non-dilutive venture funds (valued at $100,000 in cash and services) to launch the enterprise and implement their business plan.

In the past, the application process began in February. It’s not too early to start thinking ahead. Readers can check out further details at the SEBIO website (www.sebio.org/bioplan).

SEBIO Update: Florida Catches North Carolina

medtechthursday
Guest Post by:
Mike Schmitt, MD
Life Science Analyst and Editor of the Florida BioDatabase
Mike can be reached at M2Schmitt@aol.com      

Florida is ready to make a good impression at the upcoming Southeast BIO (SEBIO) Conference to be held on December 4-5, 2008 in Palm Beach.  SEBIO is a non-profit public/private partnership to promote the development of the life sciences throughout the Southeast.

Our State has tied North Carolina (this has not happened in recent years that I’m  aware of) with each State having 8 companies selected for the conference (actually, Florida shares an additional company in that NC based Pique Therapeutics has R&D activities in Miami).  Overall, SEBIO has selected 29 companies to participate in this year’s forum.

The conference offers an “early stage” event focused on newly emerging companies along with a “presenting” companies event for those ventures that have completed at least one round of institutional funding.  Public companies are not included in the forum.

This can be an excellent learning opportunity as early stage participants receive direct feed back from venture capitalists and business advisors as they go through the conference process.  Ultimately, 4 of the best are selected for an “Early-Stage Shootout” where they will have a chance to do a full presentation to all of the investors attending the forum.

Selected Presenting Companies of interest to Florida are:

 Selected Early-Stage Florida Companies are:

Since 2005, there have been 15 Florida life science companies that have presented at SEBIO with over $117M raised among this group alone during the past 3 years (this does not include the 2008 participants).  This is an excellent opportunity to gain visibility as well as making a possible connection for VC funding (VC firms from throughout the US have attended including the Southeast, Midwest, West Coast as well as the Northeast regions).

IZEAFest: Like an Obama, Palin, Arrington & CarrotTop Love Child

Imagine combining the best speakers, the best bloggers and Orlando fun into one event-packed conference and you’d have IZEAFest — September 11-13.

The speaker lineup is crazy, including top bloggers such as Merlin Mann (43folders.com), Jeremy Schoemaker (shoemoney.com), Tamar Weinberg (techipedia.com), Loren Feldman (1938media.com), Stephanie Agresta (internetgeekgirl.com), Loren Baker (searchenginejournal.com), Brian Clark (copyblogger.com), Etan Horowitz (Orlando Sentinel), Tony Hung (deepjiveinterests.com), John Chow (johnchow.com), Alexander Schek (fayerwayer.com), and Steve Spalding (howtosplitanatom.com) — and that’s less than half of them.

Bloggers, advertisers, entrepreneurs and social media butterflies will take over Orlando’s Grand Bohemian to discuss topics such as:
– Improving Your Content
– Big Money Bloggers
– Growing Traffic
– What Advertisers Want
– Social Networking for Bloggers
– Compelling Video
– Tools & Plug-ins
– Blog Design

After a couple days of throwing down some knowledge, the event culminates Saturday night with IZEAHunt — a multimedia team scavenger hunt throughout downtown Orlando. My suggestion: wear clothes you won’t mind throwing away at the end of the night. For those still alive Sunday, Universal will experience a blogger takeover the likes of which they’ve never seen — bloggers in shorts and tanks, scary…;-)

If you’re interested in blogging, social media, online advertising or just Florida’s startup/technology scene, don’t miss IZEAFest. Whereas most conferences of this scale cost hundreds or thousands, the $65 ticket price is unheard of — although you do have to consider the “ruined clothes” cost. I hope you join us!

For those of you that don’t already know, IZEA is a portfolio company of mine. Oh, and for those of you still hoping for a picture of the Obama, Palin, Arrington, CarrotTop love child, here you go:

+=

WeMedia, BarCamp and FoWA: Big Month in Miami

Miami’s social media scene continues to grow. Next week is one of the bigger weeks in awhile, with three great conferences.

Feb 26-28: WeMedia
Location: The conference is conducted at the University of Miami, located in Coral Gables, south of Miami International Airport and southwest of downtown Miami. US 1, or Dixie Highway, bisects Coral Gables and is a good pathway to the University.
Schedule

Feb 28: BarCamp Miami
Location: Carnival Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132
Schedule

Feb 29-Mar 1: Future of Web Apps
Location: Carnival Centre, 1300 Biscayne Boulevard Miami, Florida 33132 USA
Schedule
Confirmed speakers include: Kevin Rose, Kathy Sierra, Cal Henderson, Erick Schonfeld, Kevin Marks, Matt Mullenweg, Blaine Cook, Leah Culver, Emily Boyd, Kevin Hale, Dan Rubin, Gary Vaynerchuk, Joseph Smarr, and the ScrapBlog crew

Related images: miami, wemedia, barcamp, fowa, kevin rose, kathy sierra, cal henderson, erick schonfeld, kevin marks, matt mullenweg, blaine cook, leah culver, emily boyd, kevin hale, dan rubin, gary vaynerchuk, joseph smarr, scrapblog

Will I See You at NextMiami?

miami skylineI know it’s late notice, but I am now confirmed for the NextMiami shindig tomorrow night. Jason Baptiste, Nathaniel McNamara and a bunch of other smart folks are getting together Wednesday, July 25, 7:30-11:30pm at 510 Ocean Drive, Miami, FL. You can check the Facebook event page or the NextMiami Ning for more details.

Miami’s startup network is buzzing and gets me excited every time I visit. I look forward to seeing some new faces and old friends…

American Venture Network


Tim and his team over at American Venture have been building a good brand and business, one brick at a time. The network has grown beyond American Venture Magazine — a nice mag I’ve enjoyed reading for a few years — to include VentureCapitalConference.com, BusinessPlanPosting.com, and American Venture Capital Exchange.

Although BPP and AVCE serve a theme I’ve seen on multiple sites, AV’s unique venture conference ticket deals are kind of interesting. AV’s participating conferences will grow with usage, so I’ve been checking for each conference I consider attending — you might want to bookmark and do the same….

GUT: Gainesville Underground Technology

Steve/Colin: you guys can relax now. GUT was a success, big success, like “I can’t wait for GUT 2” success.

For those of you who weren’t there Wednesday night, the guys behind Orangeply pulled together a great unconference in Gainesville — for the underground tech set. The speakers were informative and entertaining. The panels were open conversations and packed with juicy digital music and news distribution nuggets.

If you couldn’t attend, the comic below hits the highlights. If that’s not enough for you, I guess you’ll just have to join us next time.

GUT: Gainesville Underground Tech

I’ve also attached one of GUT’s assigned viewings below — Steve Jobs’ Stanford graduation speech (nice tip Todd):

Gators Put on A Show(case)

Yesterday was Pro Day in the Swamp as draft prospects from the National Champion Gators put on a show for over 100 NFL coaches and scouts. It sounds like Reggie Nelson (running a 4.3 40), Chris Leak (completing 64 of 65 passes) and others left a pretty strong impression on those in attendance. That show, however, is not what this post is about.

Last Friday I attended the University of Florida Technology Showcase 2007, A Celebration of Innovation. The birthplace of Gatorade, Sentricon, Trusopt and Regeneration Technologies has become a nursery of world-changing technologies busting at the seams, with entrepreneurs and investors completing the spinout equation. The Showcase brought together over 200 entrepreneurs, investors, researchers and corporate partners to network, matchmake and gather feedback on this year’s top prospects.

UF’s Vice President of Research Win Phillips and UF’s Office of Technology Licensing dynamic duo of David Day and Jane Muir deserve every kudo they received on Friday, having created a refreshingly open and proactive approach to licensing and company-building. My experience with other university licensing offices pales in comparison. If you’re an early-stage entrepreneur or investor and you haven’t met David or Jane, you should. They’re an investor in our fund and I’ll gladly make the introduction if you ping me with an email.

After various welcomes and introductions, the show started with a diverse set of 3-minute technology briefs — some of UF’s youngest technologies, looking for a partner or entrepreneur. Following that, the core agenda involved two concurrent tracks of presenting companies: Technology and Biomedical.

Because I couldn’t be in two places at once, I focused my time on the Technology track that included:

  1. Prioria (Bryan daFrota): Unmanned aerial vehicles and visual navigation
  2. Pervasa (Sumi Helal): Sensor network adapters and middleware
  3. ChaoLogix (Eric Buffkin): Chaos-based run-time reconfigurable chips
  4. DsPherical (Don Beech): Signal recognition/extraction
  5. GrooveShark (Sam Tarantino): Legal P2P music sharing
  6. ViewRay (Will Wells): Full-motion radiation therapy
  7. Underground Fiber (Huikai Xie): Underground power fault detection
  8. Walleye (Chris Adams): Portable X-ray camera/viewer (yes, like Star Trek)

In parallel, the Biomedical track included:

  1. AxoGen (Karen Zaderej): nerve regeneration
  2. Sabine Neurotechnology (Ryan Kern): DBS surgical guidance system
  3. Ruperion (Chris Stevens): Pancreatic cancer treatment
  4. NeuroPoetix (Caroline Popper): Regenerative medicine therapeutics
  5. Breast Cancer Targeting (William Cance): FAK-based therapeutics
  6. Innovative Diagnostics (Weihong Tan): Chemical biomarker discovery
  7. Ixion (Robert Harris): Cellular therapy for disabetes
  8. Neurological (Anatoly Martynyuk): CNS treatments

I’d seen some of these before, while others were new. On the whole, they did a great job of sharing their excitement and explaining the business opportunities well beyond the science. After canvassing some of my fellow attendees, I’d have to give “Best of Show” golden KangaRuas to Will Wells of Viewray for a very strong presence and presentation, and to Ryan Kern of Sabine for sharing what’s possible when Deep Brain Stimulation moves from disjoint guidance tools to a dedicated, integrated probe guidance system. New readers should see my post last year covering DBS-patient Tyler Staab‘s fight against Dystonia and his Tyler’s Hope for a Dystonia Cure Foundation.

The day ended with an interesting lunchtime talk by Edward Iacobucci, co-founder of Citrix and current President and CEO of DayJet. He seems to savor the entrepreneurial fight at DayJet as much today as he did when founding mega-success Citrix.

Overall, the show was very well run and I feel lucky to live in a town creating this much good stuff. Congratulations to all the entrepreneurs that presented and here’s hoping your first round fortunes shine as bright as Reggie Nelson’s 😉

Selections Announced for 2007 Florida Venture Capital Conference

Congrats to all of the entrepreneurs selected to present at this year’s Florida Venture Capital Conference. The announcement press release is here (list with descriptions included below). Given how many entrepreneurial hotspots exist in the state, it was interesting to see the list broken down by geographies. Many of these names won’t be new to FVB members — we have a talented crop of startups making an impact at home and afar.

Central Florida

  • Avant Healthcare Professionals, LLC (www.avanthealthcare.com), Winter Park: Provider of international nurse and allied health professional recruitment, placement and transitioning services to healthcare systems throughout the U.S.
  • ClearSky Mobile Media, Inc. (www.csky.com), Orlando: Provider of relevant, market-specific mobile data offerings including downloadable content, mobile web browsing, MMS services and managed data services across all wireless technologies
  • Controlled Semiconductor, Inc. (www.consemi.com), Orlando: Manufacturer of lased-based LCD, PDP and semiconductor process equipment
  • Informa Software (www.informasoftware.com), Maitland: provider of specialist information to the global academic and scientific, professional and commercial communities via publishing, events and performance improvement
  • Nanotherapeutics (www.nanotherapeutics.com), Alachua: Biopharmaceutical company that employs its proprietary nanotechnology platform to create innovative delivery methods for new and existing pharmaceuticals
  • Pasteuria Bioscience, LLC (www.pasteuriabio.com), Alachua: Developers of a fermentation process that allows commercial-scale production of naturally-occurring bacteria to prevent crop damage
  • PayPerPost, Inc. (www.payperpost.com), Orlando: The first marketplace for consumer-generated advertising, with a platform that connects advertisers and consumer content creators to deliver marketing messages
  • PlusOne Solutions, Inc. (www.plusonesolutions.net), Oviedo: Provider of software and disruptive business process solutions to manage service networks for retailers, manufacturers and service fulfillment companies
  • PowerPad, Inc., Orlando: The winner of the Florida Collegiate Business Plan Competition, the principal has developed a technology that will unlock the multi-billion dollar wireless power industry with a patent-pending wireless power transmission system designed to power virtually all consumer electronic devices.
  • Quality Assured Services, Inc. (www.ptinr.com), Orlando: Provides fast, accurate, easy to use and cost-effective technology to link consumers with disease conditions that require regular diagnostic monitoring with their physicians, resulting in changing and responsive therapies
  • XOS Technologies, (www.xostech.com), Sanford: Product lines that maximize the value of content, commerce and services for sports organizations and fans by integrating video, data and fan management technologies
  • WiDeFi (www.widefi.com), Melbourne: Fabless wireless communications semiconductor company that develops technology, integrated circuits and reference design products to improve the coverage and performance of wireless systems

Northern Florida and Panhandle

  • Datamaxx Group (www.datamaxx.com), Tallahassee: Designs, delivers and maintains advanced communications and applications technology to the law enforcement, criminal justice, public safety and homeland security markets.

South Florida

  • Blue Frog Solutions (www.bluefrogsolutions.com), Pompano Beach: Provider of software technology and business process outsourcing to the insurance industry
  • BroadBand National, Inc. (www.broadbandnational.com), Vero Beach: Operator of e-commerce platform for comparative shopping by residential and business consumers of digital services
  • DailyMe, Inc. (www.dailyme.com), Hollywood: Allows subscribers to build completely personalized, free, print newspapers, focusing on taking online content to print
  • DayJet Corporation (www.dayjet.com), Delray Beach: Developer of on-demand short-haul jet service of less than 600 miles, designed for regional business travelers, offering reserved individual seats as well as entire planes according to customer schedules
  • Latin3 (www.latin3.com), Hollywood: Provider of “exponential marketing” services in Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic markets, using unique approaches across an array of channels and formats
  • Multiply, Inc. (www.multiply.com), Boca Raton: Distinctive message board that not only allows users to share media and discussions, but also alerts users to everything being shared by people in their network
  • SAF-T-PAY (www.saftpay.com), Miami Beach: Global Internet payment system company catering to the untapped market of non-credit card users around the world who want to use their local currency and also do not choose to reveal personal financial data
  • STS Telecom (www.ststelecom.com), Cooper City: Next generation facilities-based provider of traditional IP and TDM-based voice and data communications services, primarily through T-1 connections

West Central Florida

  • Creative Loafing (www.creativeloafing.com), Tampa: The nation’s second largest publisher of alternative newspapers and websites, reaching 750,000 young, educated readers in the Southeast each week
  • DTI-NanoTech (www.dti-nanotech.com), Sarasota: Division of Discovery Technology International that specializes in the design, manufacture and distribution of novel motorized nano-robotic and nanopositioning systems
  • RedVector.com (www.redvector.com), Tampa: Online education for professionals in the engineering, architectural, interior design, construction, land surveying, building inspection and landscape architecture industries
  • Network Liquidators (www.networkliquidators.com), Tampa: A leading source for buyers and sellers of used networking equipment and accessories that serves more than 8,000 end-user and reseller customers nationwide with top-name manufacturer products that have been rigorously inspected and quality tested by knowledgeable industry-certified technicians
  • Ultramatics, Inc. (www.ultramatics.com), Oldsmar: Sells and delivers highly effective solutions from the position of “best practices through real life implementations” that require complex system integration

Break a leg and check back afterwards to see who garnered a “Best of Show” KangaRua!

Florida Collegiate Business Plan Competition

Congratulations to student entrepreneurs Ryan Tseng (left) and Alex Nogueras (right) who won Florida’s inaugural statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition.

I’ve judged plenty of schoolwide business plan contests, but this statewide effort was the best I’ve been a part of. The two-day competition at the Gaylord Palms Resort (cool place) in Orlando featured 12 teams from nine Florida colleges and universities. The teams delivered written business plans and gave live presentations to a panel of judges interested in start-up business investments. Nearly 100 business, government and academic leaders attended the competition.

The track I judged included everything from alternate energy businesses, to a jet taxi service, to a new in-line game for amusement parks. The winner was Alex Nogueras, graduate of Florida International University, and his G-Force line of ergonomic garden tools. The other track was taken by University of Florida graduate Ryan Tseng and his PowerPad patent-pending wireless power transmision system.

Wireless power is an area I’ve been researching independently so I’ll be following up with Ryan. I’m also trying to recruit one of the entrepreneurs to join a company I’ve funded.

I’m hoping this is just the first of many years for the competition. If you’re a student entpreneur, consider entering next year. If you’re an investor that reviews student-founded businesses, consider volunteering. The competition is well run and great for entrepreneurship across the state.

2007 Florida Venture Capital Conference

Just a get-your-reservations-now reminder for the upcoming Florida Venture Capital Conference at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, February 6-7, 2007. Note that February 4th is Superbowl XLI, being played in South Florida so hotel rooms could be in short supply.

Now is the time to apply if you’d like to present. As a past attendee, sponsor and volunteer ping me with any questions about the conference, presenters, tickets or sponsorship. You can also get the official word at the conference home page.

For a taste of the 2006 conference, check out my recaps here, here and here. FVF Executive Director Robin Kovaleski always runs a great show and 2007 should be no exception!

blogorlando — Partial Recap

I was asked by some to summarize my experiences at blogorlando. Unfortunately, I was closing an investment the same day so my observations are limited. I’d welcome and appreciate sharing from others.

I will start with some kudos for blogorlando sponsors:
Hyku organized, co-hosted the event;
Rollins College for helping host the event;
Blogzerk for providing the domain name (and schwag); and
Jeremy Harrington for the logo design.

The three sessions that didn’t lose me to urgent deal-closing items were Legal Issues, Off the Record and Media Blogs.

The Legal Issues session, led by Andrea Weckerle highlighted a number of questions facing bloggers, from copyright infringement, to parodies, to even Polk county, FL enforcers going after web publishers regardless of geography. My key takeaway is that few issues are black-and-white. Whether something is infringement or fair use has a lot to do with the context of that use. A claim of parody can shield many questionable references, but some obvious flameblogs have taken that excuse too far.

A nuance I haven’t face yet is how comments play into liability. This seemed particularly important to the corporate bloggers in the room, but it applies to everyone. The basic question is “if a comment creates liability, is the blog publisher liable?” As with most of these questions, I heard a bunch of “it depends”. However, there did seem to be a bright line between purely arms-length third-party comments versus those that are prompted, endorsed and/or embellished by the publisher. For example, saying “I agree with commenter X, Sponge Bob Squarepants does purposely promote devil-worship and the creator did steal the entire show from my grandmother” probably gets closer to the publisher-liable line. Comment moderation adds a twist of complexity because allowing a comment to publish could have implications as it relates to DMCA safe-harbors for service providers that are not editors.

The Off the Record session, led by Josh Hallett went better than expected, with plenty of lively conversation. Anytime you start a session with “let’s talk about the things nobody likes to talk about”, there is a risk the whole session will be a dud. I shouldn’t share too much here, but I think one discussion is worth relaying without attribution: the stalker discussion. It was an eye-opener for any blogger who has wondered about how much/little to share their family/kids via their blogs. At least one blogger in attendance had to be careful about stalking ex-husbands, while others shared an open-book policy regarding their family. This is a very personal decision, based upon style, trust, paranoia and audience. One thing that is clear is that public blog posts are NOT a private conversation with a small circle of readers — they become the very fabric of the web, found by plenty of people you don’t know and may not want to know.

The Media Blog session, led by John Cutter of the Orlando Sentinel was pretty interesting, because John wears the hats of both professional journalist and blogger. He shared that the Orlando Sentinel now has 26 blogs, including tips, political, crime and entertainment topics to name a few. Although they launched blogs as an attempt to get more involved with their readers, they’re surprised at how few comments they get. The traffic impact has been substantial, resulting in 70% growth in uniques to their site since launching blogs. I asked about how they measure success (and/or justify additional expense/marketing for blogs) and it sounded like there isn’t a lot of science behind their efforts yet. They focus on enjoyment (bloggers and audience), news tips, story ideas and customer loyalty. On the whole, it was an informative session and blogging (and participating in conferences like this) really does present a more friendly, cooperative face from the newsroom.

So there you have it, only a few sessions for me, but well worth the time. It sounds like I missed some really fun debates earlier in the day — read some other recaps here. I look forward to similar events across the state and comments from others in attendance.

[NOTE: please join the FVB Community and leave comments so we can all start putting some faces to names…thx!]

blogorlando — I’ll Be There!

I’m attending the blogorlando “unconference” tomorrow afternoon and hope to see ya there. They’ve got a nice schedule , blog and multiple sessions planned:

Corporate Blogging

LeadersDave Coustan

Can a corporation blog? Each day more corporations are entering the blogosphere, some get it right, others get it way wrong. As users/consumers/bloggers what do you want to hear from corporations? Session leader Dave Coustan is the corporate blogger for Earthlink. It’s his job to represent a company in the blog world, so he can provide the perspective of the suits (although Dave doesn’t wear suits).

Hyperlocal

LeadersTommy Duncan & Joey Marchy

Can bloggers cover communities more effectively than traditional media? Two Florida bloggers that run local blogs will lead the discussion. Tommy Duncan, of Sticks of Fire, is ‘the’ Tampa blog maestro. Tommy has scooped both local papers in the market and has a number of local bloggers contributing to the site. In Jacksonville, Joey Marchy runs Urban Jacksonville, a blog the focuses only on a few neighborhoods, providing content that might otherwise be overlooked.

Legal Issues

LeaderAndrea Weckerle

Libel, slander…..what are the legal issues facing bloggers? We’ll discuss a variety of topics.

Media Blogs

LeaderJohn Cutter

John is a Senior Editor at the Orlando Sentinel and oversees the Crime Blog, as well as posting frequently on the Hurricane Blog and Space Blog during shuttle launches. Using an overused phrase, John is a reporter that ‘Get’s It’ when it comes to blogs. John will talk briefly about how the Sentinel approaches blogging and then engage the audience. What do you want from a newspaper blog? What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong?

Politics

LeaderBob O’Malley

There is a hotly contested Florida gubernatorial race and a number of critical local races…which candidates are blogging (or being blogged about). How have blogs impacted local and national politics? Working in public affairs and running a popular personal blog allows Bob to bridge the gap between politics and blogs.

Public Relations and Blogs

LeaderDavid Parmet

How can public relations practitioners work with the blogosphere? Those that are doing it right have found a tremendous benefit in communicating directly with their customers via blogs. Unfortunately though, some in the industry have not done it right and we all live with the consequences. PR/social media good-guy, David Parmet, will lead this discussion. It might just be PR people in the room, or perhaps we’ll have a mixture of bloggers & PR folks and have a conversation about the relationship between PR and blogs.

Off the Record

LeaderJosh Hallett

This session will be an experiment. We’ll turn off our laptops and other recording devices and talk off the record about things we can’t blog about. For example have you ever started a post and then said, “I can’t post this”. Sometimes it’s emotional, other times it’s job security. You know you’ve been dying to get it off your chest. Now is your chance. This might be the best session, or the worst…we’ll see.

Tools

LeadersAndrew Odom & Mark Jaquith

What blogging platform do you use? Why? What other tools help you blog? Flickr, Evoca, Qumana? This sharing session well expose best practices and tips & tricks that can benefit everyone.

Video Blogging

LeaderVlad Mazek

How hard is it to create a video blog? What are the strengths and limitations of the medium? We’ll look to discuss all these issues.

Where Is This All Going?

LeadersChris Heuer and Josh Hallett

Simple question, difficult answer. We’ll conclude the day by looking forward. What impact will social media have on society. How can it be used to for benefit?

Women Blogging

Leader – TBD

Silent minority or vocal majority? Blogs have empowered women to connect and speak about issues in powreful new way. Just look at BlogHer as an example. We’ll be posting more details about this session shortly.

Florida Venture Capital Conference Presenters Announced

Merry Christmas! Florida Venture Forum just anounced their Christmas present to some worthy Florida technology companies — presentations at the Florida Venture Capital Conference at Sawgrass. FVCC is always a great conference with good networking, presenters and golf. I’ve met most of the presenters and this year’s slate looks like one of our best ever. Congratulations to Ron and the guys at Proximities, Inc. (Inflexion company), Sue, Jamie, Jorge, Maurice, Chris, Brent, Jay, Rich and all selected entrepreneurs! It looks like 2006 will be a good year for you all!

Presenting companies include:

Central Florida –
Applied Genetic Technologies (www.agtc.com), Alachua: Holds the rights to a portfolio of strategically vital intellectual property in the application of Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) to gene therapy.
AxoGen (www.axogeninc.com), Gainesville: Provides surgeons a biological solution to repair and regenerate peripheral nerves, restoring functionality to patients who suffer peripheral nerve injuries.
Brijot Imaging, Inc. (www.brijot.com), Orlando: Delivers an automated concealed weapons detection system that can detect and identify weapons under a person’s clothing.
ForHealth Technologies (www.fhtinc.com), Daytona Beach: Combines human intelligence with robotic performance to create advanced drug preparation technologies that improve patient safety and reduce cost.
Proximities, Inc. (http://www.proximities.com/), Melbourne: Develops and markets applications for its GO™ RFID wristband, which allows venue and entertainment patrons to quickly and securely gain access to restricted areas, purchase concessions without cash and verify their age.
SkyCross (www.skycross.com), Melbourne: Designs, develops and manufactures next-generation RF and antenna technology for cellular, WLAN, UWB, GPS and mobile video markets.
XStream Systems, Inc. (www.xstreamsystems.net), Vero Beach: Provides revolutionary material identification equipment for the public security markets such as aviation, law enforcement and military.

Northern Florida and Panhandle –
Cogon Systems Inc. (www.cogonsystems.com), Pensacola: Provides patient safety and clinical efficiency through data integration and mobile technology using its MOMENT OF CARE ™ Information System.
Intelligenxia (www.intelligenxia.com), Jacksonville: provides Unstructured Data Analysis Solutions to enable enterprises to lower costs, increase revenues and customer satisfaction by mining the 80 percent of data that is unstructured and currently untapped.
Payformance (www.payformance.com), Jacksonville: Delivers optimal solutions for corporate payments through a range flexible payment products and services. Recruitmax (ww.recruitmax.com), Jacksonville: Manages the entire employee lifecycle, including planning, acquiring, deploying, developing and optimizing, and provides products and services built on best practices, experience, creativity and knowledge.

South Florida –
Comerxia, Inc. (www.comerxia.com), Hollywood: The world leader in cross-border eCommerce services, providing merchants in more than 49 countries with the ability to quickly, easily and with little risk, enter foreign markets and generate immediate incremental revenue.
Data Protection Solutions (www.ezd2d.com), Hollywood: Provides patented disk-to-disk (D2D) data protection technologies: mirroring backup and restore solutions.
Latin Node, Inc. (www.latinode.com), Miami: A global player in the VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) market, Latin Node carries more than 3 percent of global VoIP long distance traffic with its world-wide network of call termination points.
MAKO Surgical Corp (www.makosurgical.com), Hollywood: Develops advance medical devices and procedures for the rapidly emerging orthopedic minimally invasive total joint market.
US Spine, Boca Raton (www.us-spine.com): A spinal implant and device manufacturing company committed to advancing the science of spine and creating the best solutions for patients through the integration and collaboration of surgeons, scientists and engineers.
Visible Assets, Miami (www.visible-assets.com): Using proprietary low frequency RF technology and systems, Visible Assets provides market intelligence, supply chain management and patient safety solutions that reduce the cost and improve the quality of healthcare delivery.

West Central Florida –
Avalon Healthcare Holdings, Inc. (www.avalonhealthcare.net), Tampa: An innovative new health insurance company offering consumer-directed health plans to employers and individuals who need affordable healthcare and live and work in Florida.
CareMedic Systems (www.caremedic.com), St. Petersburg: Offers a comprehensive suite of revenue management applications and enables clients to accelerate their revenue collection process with nearly all payers so they can get paid faster than previously possible.
Carry A Tune Technologies (www.carryatune.com), Tampa: Develops and publishes software products that use specialized computer-aided pitch tracking to teach people how to sing in tune and on tempo.
Highwall Technologies, Inc. (www.highwalltech.com), Sarasota: Provides a comprehensive, patent pending solution that secures a network from wireless vulnerabilities and protects wireless networks from threats and attacks.
Ideal Image, Inc. (www.idealimage.com), Tampa: Developer and owner of the proprietary IDEAL IMAGE operating system and brand, which is the premier system and brand for operating upscale laser hair removal centers across the country.
Real Digital Media, Inc. (www.realdigitalmedia.com), Sarasota: Provides a technology solution and associated services designed to enable dynamic digital signage (narrowcast) networks. The narrowcasting solution is a system that includes media player appliances and hosted management software.
Skyway Software (www.skywaysoftware.com), Tampa: The award-winning provider of Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) design and delivery solutions. The Skyway (SOA) Platform enables companies seeking a competitive advantage to design and deliver custom software applications and services faster and cheaper.
The Gemesis Corporation (www.gemesis.com), Sarasota: Produces gem-quality diamonds in a state-of-the-art diamond growth production facility in the U.S. Gemesis has proprietary, production-ready Split-Sphere High-Pressure High-Temperature (SSHPHT) technology that cost-effectively and consistently produces high-quality diamonds.