Category Archives: kangarua

IZEAFest Day 1: Tweets Galore and So Much More

Call me tired, but instead of detailing the first day of IZEAFest, I’m just gonna share live-tweets and the video streams. I’ll also provide a quick report card on the sessions:
– ShoeMoney Keynote: A-
– Improving Your Content: C
– Big Money Bloggers Panel: A
– Growing Traffic: B
– What Advertisers Want: B
– IZEA Innovations: A
– Overall: A-/B+

The IZEA Innovations unveiled were many, but I particularly liked SocialSpark Causes (Blog for Charity), Smart Blog Rolls, Sponsored Blog Networks (easy-button for large-scale, targeted blog advertising), Affiliate/CPA Posts and CloudShout (real-time presence/communication & one-click blog apps) — including private alpha keys under our chairs. I’ll provide more detail on CloudShout after I’ve had more time to play with it, but Tony Hung did a good job of capturing the potential of CloudShout — imagine an iPhone Apps or Facebook Apps platform, built for your blog or the whole blogosphere.

As I often do for conferences, I decided to award a Day 1 Golden KangaRua to ShoeMoney — delivering great knowledge pulling double-duty for Keynote and the Big Money Bloggers panel. Congrats Jeremy…don’t we need to talk about your next project 😉
OK…OK…it’s self-serving, but I also gotta give major KangaRuas to IZEA’s dev team — the team looked like zombies (worse than the Facebook kind), but their innovations rawked!

Related posts:
ZacJohnson.com
ShoeMoney.com

FVCC Day 1: VC Adventures on Land & Sea

The first day of the Florida Venture Capital Conference typically involves investor activities, and this year was no exception. It started with a 4-person team scramble golf tourney at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort Course and ended with an investor cocktail cruise.

You couldn’t have asked for a better day for golf — not a cloud in the sky and moderate temps throughout the tourney. Although we didn’t score the best, I lucked out with a great team of Louie Laubscher, Kathy Strother and Mark Patten. Everyone did their part, but I have to toss a golden Kangarua Mark’s way — the guy won longest drive AND closest to the pin. How’s that for distance and accuracy? However, our team didn’t place in the money, so you can guess how much support Mark got from the rest of us. Regardless, it was good seeing everyone and an enjoyable day on the course.

The evening brought an investor-only night cruise. I note “investor-only” because more than one entrepreneur highlighted that point when I asked what they were doing tonight. I would provide a “behind the curtain” blow-by-blow of what transpired on the super-secret cruise, but, alas, I wasn’t on it. After being told the yacht cocktails started at 7pm and it would depart the dock at 9pm, I got some lobby laptop work done until 8pm. Within seconds of putting my laptop away for a leisurely stroll to the yacht, I saw it start a slow float away. I literally missed my boat.

I’m sure it was a great evening, capping off a great first day of the 2008 Florida Venture Capital Conference. At least I hope it was…I understand some of the cigars being passed around were $1,600 per box!?!?

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!

Happy Birthday FVB!

Well loyal readers (even that guy who found FVB just because he googled for “horse porn“), it’s been a great year.

My goal for the past year was to blog at least once a week on a variety of Florida, Venture Capital and Technology topics. CHECK! Since that time I’ve done 80 diverse posts, kicked off the FVB community (thanks MyBlogLog!), created a mind-blowing stir by backing THE Consumer Generated Advertising Marketplace (PayPerPost: try it, you’ll like it!), helped launch DisclosurePolicy.org and met a ton of great people in Florida and beyond. A nice surprise was how many non-Floridians follow FVB for general VC topics or to track Florida startup activity.

If next year brings the same level of learning, discussion, networking and investments; I think I’ll just explode. So, to FVB’s subscribers, community members and casual readers, I present a year-end KangaRua — thanks for reading and keep coming back!

FVCC 2006, Day 3: Panels, Presentations, and a Sneak Peek

– Venture Capital State of the Industry: Mark Heesen of the NVCA, as usual, brought a mound of stats and declared the state of the venture industry was good with growing company and fund investments. The majority of funds either raised in the last 24 months or will in the next 24 months. The panel was a bit sedate (at least compared to bio) but all participants brought some nuggets of wisdom.

Themes: more early-stage investing will come with new funds being raised, Florida is getting a lot of attention from outside funds, funds are syndicating with FL/non-FL synergies, more talk about services than I usually hear.

Nifty nugget: west coast VCs talking about simplified devices for the masses, but particularly seniors — think FireFly for grandma.

– Presentations: no blow-by-blow, see prior post for “Best of Show”

– Bio and Life Science State of the Industry: Great panel moderation by Jeff Clark of Aurora Funds on a panel that went deep on bio lingo. Donny Strosberg from Scripps Research was a fresh new voice in the region who should win a lot of supporters for a biotech incubator near Scripps’ ultimate location.

Themes: new treatments actually curing disease not symptoms, personalized medicine (at high price points) continuing to grow, bio taking a long time (5+yrs) but better not take too long (8+yrs), Florida as bio-hub coming but requires more research, capital and entrepreneurs (Jeff told us these guys were smart)

Best question: pretend you are Jeb, how do you make it happen for Florida? Trick question because Jeb announced Tuesday a major new tech/research/development/venture program that was hinted at in earlier news articles. The Governor’s plan probably isn’t perfect, but will make a major impact on Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem — if Florida’s legislature can see the vision. The panel response by Will Brooke of Harbert wins my “Best Panelist” KangaRua for shear inspiration and believability — Will’s got a future in politics.

– Post-FVCC Sneak Peek: After the show, huddled in a small, nondescript conference room, seed/early-stage life science investors got a peek behind the curtain at some of Florida’s life science research engines. Presenters from UF, Moffitt, UMiami and even Mayo were on hand to provide a sneak peek at what’s coming for cancer diagnosis, differentiated tumor treatment, periodontitis diagnosis, drug delivery, asthma treatment and others. Because of our university relationships, I’d seen many of these technologies but they stepped it up for this forum. I especially liked the opportunities where an entrepreneur was coupled with the inventor/scientist, and look forward to watching these companies mature into the next generation of Florida Venture Capital Conference presenters…

So that’s it…I hope you enjoyed it and feel free to comment with any of your FVCC 2006 observations!

FVCC 2006, Day 1: Duffers and Dinner at Florida Venture Forum


If the 2006 Florida Venture Capital Conference is any indicator, the venture vibe is up in the sunshine state. The conference ran Mon-Wed of this week and was full of good presenters, networking and activities. I’ve jotted down a few thoughts from Day 1 of the conference below and will cover Days 2 and 3 in separate posts:

– Investor golf at TPC Stadium Course: Beautiful course, tight, not too long, plenty of balls in the water. I had the pleasure of playing the scramble with Gary Andresen (RBC Centura), Jonathan Cole (Edwards & Angell) and opening keynote Brian Swette. Although we scrambled the whole day, our 7-under came close to the money — all thanks to my teammates.

And, yes, I put two in the drink aiming for #17’s island green. Having a Chivas Regal sample table at the #17 tee was either a cruel prank or welcome solace, I’m not sure which. Despite the distraction, John hit an amazing shot that landed near the left fringe and spun immediately right, stopping 6ft from the hole and winning closest to the pin!

– Visiting VC Dinner: Inflexion hosted a dinner for out of town investors and syndicate partners that evening and had a great mix of funds: large and small, life science and IT. Good deal talk and general networking, I even heard an “inside” rumor that Oprah might run for President in ’08?!

…more to come…

The KangaRua has landed…