Orlando, Fla. (January 17, 2020) – The UCF Downtown Innovation District added a key component to its unique business offerings, the establishment of a new incubator space in the heart of the downtown business district.
The new space, located in the Church Street Exchange building, provides an option for Innovation District clients to utilize a wide range of programs as they continue to grow their businesses.
“Over the past 20 years, we’ve shown how incubation spaces can truly help grow businesses and it made sense for us to return as downtown’s tech community has blossomed over the past decade,” says Rob Panepinto, Director, Innovation Districts Strategy and Partnerships for the University of Central Florida. “While this is a significant milestone for this district, it’s just one piece of the overall strategy to build a unique service to support the growth of innovative companies in our targeted industries.”
The new incubator will be the eighth incubator in the UCF Business Incubation Program and the third connected to the new Innovation District strategy.
Last year, UCF launched three Innovation Districts in Lake Nona, Research Park/Space Coast and Downtown Orlando. While each Innovation District includes traditional incubation services, they also offer other benefits, such as unique corporate partnerships, innovation labs and more.
One other key element of the Innovation Districts is the types of companies they work with. For instance, the Downtown Innovation District will focus on technology companies who are clustered in the digital media, smart city, education, financial and hospitality segments.
Each of the first four companies to join the Downtown Innovation District fit into one of those key industries. They are:
- 360 Converge is a CRM SaaS platform for automotive dealerships. (Financial/automotive)
- ViewStub, which has launched a platform to stream, promote, and manage ticket sales for events. (Hospitality)
- Omnimodal, which provides cities with real-time, multimodal dashboard insights for public transit, parking and bike/scootershare. (Smart Cities)
- StudyDate, which is bringing a premium academic resource to the higher-education system and its students. (Education)
For companies like Omnimodal, being a part of the UCF Downtown Innovation District is a key part of their long-term growth plans.
“Having made the rounds over the past two years in the local accelerator community from Rally to UCF I-Corps and VentureScaleUp to StarterStudio, the UCF Innovation Districts is a perfect next step on our startup journey,” says Nathan Selikoff, CTO and co-founder, Omnimodal. “We so value the UCF Innovation Districts team’s expertise and experience, and they’ve already been a tremendous help with everything from financial management and sales strategy to legalese and product management. We are incredibly grateful for their on-going support as we work to grow our business.”
Omnimodal first got its start with the Rally Social Enterprise Accelerator back in 2017 and most recently participated in the Seed Fund Accelerator program at StarterStudio, which is co-located in the same space as the UCF Incubator. In fact, three of the first four companies joining the Downtown Innovation District are StarterStudio Seed Accelerator alumni.
“Our mission is to help founders find their market, shape their companies, and launch. The critical next phase is all about scaling the company they’ve built and that’s exactly what the UCF Incubation Program is known for.,” says Lilian Myers, executive director, StarterStudio. “Having UCF right here allows our starters a seamless transition to ensure their businesses grow fast with access to everything they need on their journey. We think this closer affiliation between our programs will have long-term impacts on our region’s economy.”
The long-standing partnership between UCF and the City of Orlando has led to the success and ongoing growth of the UCF Business Incubator Program, which includes locations in Orlando, Lake Nona and now in downtown with the creation of the Innovation District.
“By offering our entrepreneurs and startups unique and innovative spaces to pursue big ideas and create dynamic and strategic new partnerships, we further our goal of diversifying the economy and creating high-quality jobs,” says Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “The Innovation District’s proximity to downtown and Creative Village also ensures we’re connecting UCF and Valencia students to valuable resources and opportunities to grow their career path within the downtown core.”
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For more information media should contact –
UCF Business Incubation Program: Carol Ann Dykes Logue, 407-635-9882, firstname.lastname@example.org; Rob Panepinto, 407-467-5789, email@example.com; Alan Byrd, Alan Byrd & Associates, 407-415-8470, Alan@ByrdConnections.com
About UCF Innovation Districts: The University of Central Florida recently launched three Innovation Districts to provide unique resources to companies with the potential to scale into national and international businesses. Each Innovation District is highly focused on targeted industries and technologies based in that geographical area.
In these districts, there are a wide range of support services and programs focused on giving the entrepreneurs the tools they need to grow. There will be five, overreaching aspects of support, including innovation labs, traditional incubator services, industry connectivity, experiential programming and program partnerships.
Innovations Districts are centered around existing clusters of industry tied to the expertise of both the University and the overall community.
Specifically, they are:
- Research Park: Defense/Military, MST, Cyber, Photonics, Robotics, Energy, Space
- Downtown Orlando: Digital media, Smart City, FinTech, Education, Hospitality Tech
- Lake Nona: Lifesciences, Healthcare, Medical Simulation
The UCF Innovation Districts are part of the larger UCF Business Incubation Program.
About the UCF Business Incubation Program: The University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program is a community resource that provides early-stage companies with the tools, training and infrastructure to become financially stable, high growth/impact enterprises. Since 1999, this award-winning program has helped over 390 local companies reach their potential faster by providing vital business development resources.
With seven facilities throughout the region, the UCF Business Incubation Program is an economic development partnership between the University of Central Florida, the Corridor, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties, and the cities of Apopka, Kissimmee, Orlando and Winter Springs. For the 2016/17 and 2017 /18 fiscal years, the activities of these participating firms have helped sustain more than 6,275 local jobs and have had a cumulative impact of more than $888 million on regional GDP and more than $1.59 billion on regional sales. During the same period, the program has returned $12.03 for every $1 invested in the program. For more information, visit www.incubator.ucf.edu