The Village View

Monday, December 29, 2008

Florida, the Next Hotbed of Venture Capital?

My mom is way ahead of the New York Times. For years, she has been sending me any piece (however small) of news about venture capital and Central Florida. Her motives are beyond purely making sure I'm up-to-date on the latest technology investment news; she's on a mission to get me to move back to my home state (for those of you interested I'm a native of Titusville. What you haven't heard of it???) Problem is, I'm a high tech guy (mostly software) and Florida is a hard sell career-wise. There is certainly some activity as well as groups/companies doing interesting things. I had the chance a few years ago to meet with the nice folks from the UCF Technology Incubator. Also, I met with a few folks from an Orlando VC firm when they were in New York.

Mom had actually sent me notice of the launch of the Florida Opportunity Fund a couple of weeks ago. It will be interesting to see what effect this has on venture capital and entrepreneurship in Florida. For selfish reasons, I hope the money helps to further develop local software companies. That way I could someday come home (and stop paying New York income taxes!)

The state of Florida wants to tap into the billions of venture capital dollars invested in young companies each year. It is seeking venture capital funds in which to invest money from the $29.5 million Florida Opportunity Fund, established by the state to funnel more venture capital to Florida start-ups.

The fund will look for regional and national venture capital funds that have done business in Florida and plan to invest in young Florida companies, particularly those developed at Florida universities and research institutions. Then, the fund will invest portions of its $29.5 million in those funds, with the goal of creating and growing Florida businesses.

By the way: how did I miss that BI vendor Pentaho was Orlando based? I spent the last year working in SAP's Business Objects unit so I should have known this. (I could get to their office in 45 minutes from my folks' house).


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