Florida Funders’ Tom Wallace sees a ‘sleeping giant’ in the Sunshine State
There’s a large pool of untapped funding for young technology companies in Florida.
Only a fraction of the state’s 400,000 accredited investors — people who are financially sophisticated, have $1 million in net worth and can deal with securities not registered with financial authorities — currently back local startups, said Tom Wallace, managing partner of Florida Funders in Tampa.
Wallace wants that to change, because access to capital historically has been a major challenge for Florida tech firms.
“Our hidden gem, our sleeping giant if you will, in this state is this bevy of accredited investors,” Wallace said, at the Vinoy Business Alliance Thursday.
Restaurateur Bill Georgiou: A tale of two Burgs
Bill Georgiou opened the Burg Diner, in the old Cuban Delight restaurant building at 49th Street and 30th Avenue North, three years ago as a companion to his other business, the Burg Bar & Grill.
Approaching its 10th anniversary in the trendy Grand Central District, the Burg Bar & Grill is a neighborhood beer joint (Georgiou thinks of it as having a Cheers, everybody-knows-your-name vibe). It features an eclectic menu of gourmet burgers, sandwiches and Greek food. A lot of Greek food.
Business briefs: LumaStream raises capital, PikMyKid and RankMiner win awards, and more
- LumaStream Inc., a St. Petersburg company that makes LED lighting systems for homes and businesses, is in the midst of another capital raise.
- PikMyKid is a co-winner in the 2018 Miami-Dade County City of Tomorrow Challenge. The Tampa company, with a mobile app and platform that makes school transportation more efficient, will get $50,000.
- RankMiner, a St. Petersburg-based voice analytics company, took third place in the BMO Harris/1871 Innovation Program pitch competition, and was awarded a $10,000 prize.
Lara Warn (Pup Active)
Those who are “dog friendly” probably know about Pup Active, a St. Pete-based clothing line made especially for dog lovers. Founder Lara Warn launched Pup Active in 2016 with the goal of creating fun apparel that helps to protect dogs; Warn is passionate about rescue, and a portion of sales goes to animal rescue initiatives.
Drawing its name from the French slang word for coffee (and its original African name), Kahwa Coffee roasts and brews here in St. Petersburg.