University of Florida Celebration of Innovation - Showcase 2009

This past Tuesday I attended the University of Florida’s Celebration of Innovation - Showcase 2009 organized by the UF Office of Technology Licensing.  As in years past (this was the third year of this event), this was an opportunity for entrepreneurs, investors, and service providers (some 240 were physically present and another 60 listened via WebEx) to gather in Gainesville to network and hear about start-up companies commercializing technology from UF’s research labs.

Following brief remarks by UF’s president, Bernie Machen, and VP for Research, Winfred Phillips, Jonathan Cole of New World Angels and his panel of Jim Counihan from Prism VentureWorks, Garheng Kong from Intersouth Partners, and Mark Dunkel from Southeastern Technology Fund gave an informative, but sobering, assessment of the state of the VC funding in the current economy.  Their remarks are similar to those I have heard at other recent conferences and blogged about here and here.

Following a brief survey by UF OTL’s David Day and Jane Muir of new UF technologies ready for licensing, the CEOs from 16 UF start-up companies each made 15 minute pitches in two parallel sessions, Technology and Lifescience:

Technology Session

(Century Ballroom B)

Lifescience Session

(Century Ballroom C)

3:00-3:15pm Kairos Microsystems
High Performance Silicon Semiconductor Technology
James Spoto
Therapeutics for Retinal Degenerative Disease
Dr. Muz Mansuri
President and CEO
3:15-3:30pm Prioria
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Bryan da Frota
Drug Detection Solutions
Instant Surface Testing for Drugs of Abuse
David M. Martin, Ph.D.
3:30-3:45pm AZonic Solar
Low Cost Manufacturing of CIGS Photovoltaic Cells
Doug Meyer
Apeliotus Ophthalmics
Contact Lens Drug Delivery Systems
John Edwards
3:45-4:00pm Red Lambda
Identity-Aware Network Security Solutions
Robert Bird
Banyan Biomarkers
Novel Method to Monitor Traumatic Brain Injury
Gary Ascani
4:00-4:15pm Sestar Technologies
Revolutionary Solar Energy Products
Mike Starks
Founder and CEO
Software Applications to Improve Clinical Trials
Jeff Williams
4:15-4:30pm Delta R Detection
Ultra Violet Based Explosive Trace Detection System
Thierry Dubroca
Retinal Device for Increased Surgical Precision
Navroze Mehta
4:30-4:45pm Rapid Mobile
Mobile Network Emulation Technology
Edwin Hernandez
Interactive Educational Products
Ben Noel
4:45-5:00pm dEmo Speech Technologies
Auditory-Based Method for Measuring & Modifying Voice Quality
Dana Nemenyi
X-Ray Robotics
A Dynamic Radiographic Imaging System
Kevin Bowles
Interim CEO

I spent most of my time listening to the technology presentations, although I did manage to catch a few of the lifescience presentations. Of those presentations that I heard, the most compelling to me were 1) Sestar, which is developing a flexible polymer photovoltaic material that can be incorporated in any number products (e.g. synthetic turf and fabric) to generate electricity and 2) X-Ray Robotics, which is developing an x-ray imaging system that can form, in real-time, images of a body while in motion.

The University of Central Florida scheduled and subsequently cancelled a similarly titled Innovation Showcase in Orlando two days after this UF event.  I don’t know why it was cancelled, but the breadth and quality of technologies and companies presented by these 16 CEO entrepreneurs in Gainesville as well as the superbly organized conference put together and graciously hosted by David and Jane sets the bar very high for those that follow.

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