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Jeff Vinik’s latest investment and 4 other things to know in Tampa Bay business news

Margie Manning



Portrait of Jeff Vinik. (Scott Iskowitz/TBL)

Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik led a Series B funding round for Silk Inc., a Boston-based natural chemistry company.

Vinik, who is on the board of directors of Silk, was joined by the Kraft Group and Roy P. Disney in funding the $30 million round, which will allow Silk to launch their safe chemistry into the trillion-dollar fashion and textile industry and scale up production to meet global demand.

The company produces a liquid silk that is biodegradable, biocompatible and an alternative to petrochemicals found in everyday consumer goods.

“The investment in Silk is really an investment in the future, one in which we are advancing people’s health, while achieving environmental stewardship, business performance, and technical innovation,” Vinik said in a news release. “The team behind Silk, and their strategic approach to Liquid Silk technology’s applications across the skincare and apparel landscape, is both innovative and creative at a time when these sectors desperately need more of both.”

BayCare’s ‘genius bar’

BayCare Health System has opened its first TechDeck in its HealthHub in Largo.

BayCare TechDeck

TechDeck is similar to a Genius Bar at an Apple store, BayCare said. It provides advanced and high-tech products including weight scales, blood pressure cuffs, wearable technology and various apps that can be connected to personal digital devices. The products allow patients to monitor the status of their health and patients have the option to report that health data to their primary care physicians.

TechDeck is staffed by certified health technology coaches who help patients learn how the technology can enhance their overall health and wellness.

A second TechDeck is scheduled to open in March at the BayCare HealthHub in Valrico.

St. Pete’s Roundhouse Creative in clean energy spotlight

Roundhouse Creative in St. Petersburg  is one of a half-dozen companies featured by Clean Energy Florida, a new online portal that features examples of business leadership in the investment and use of clean and renewable energy across Florida.

Roundhouse Creative, which provides video production and creative services to help clients tell their stories, is located at 1980 Central Ave. in the city’s first “net zero energy” building, said founder Andrew Lee.

Not only does the company save money by not having an electric bill, but it has positioned itself as unique in the industry, Lee said. “We incorporate our sustainability commitment as part of our brand and corporate culture,” he said in a video posted on the website.

USF tech transfer leader wins leadership award

Valerie McDevitt, associate vice president for technology transfer and business partnerships at the University of South Florida, won the BioFlorida Leadership Award.

BioFlorida, the state industry association for biotechnology, handed out the leadership and several other awards at its state conference earlier this week in Fort Lauderdale.

The Leadership Award recognizes the BioFlorida volunteer who has taken on a leadership role within the organization, dedicated significant time to BioFlorida’s mission and has acted as a true ambassador to BioFlorida and the industry, the organization said.

Small business assistance

The SunTrust Foundation announced the winners of the 2018 Lighting the Way Awards, giving a total of $2.7 million in grants to 36 nonprofit organizations across the South and Midwest to build stronger, more financially confident communities. The SunTrust Foundation more than tripled the total grant money awarded in the previous year by providing a $75,000 grant to each of the 36 nonprofits.

The Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of South Florida received a 2018 Lighting the Way award and a $75,000 grant from the SunTrust Foundation.

The funds will be used to help small businesses in the Tampa Bay region take advantage of international opportunities and government contracting technical assistance, the SBDC said.

Eileen Rodriguez, regional director of the Florida SBDC at USF, and Kaushal Chari, associate dean of research and professional programs at University of South Florida Muma College of Business, were on hand in Atlanta for the awards ceremony Wednesday night.

The SBDC was one of 36 nonprofits across the South and Midwest to receive a 2018 Lighting the Way award from SunTrust Foundation, part of SunTrust Bank (NYSE: STI).












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