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Meet Tampa Bay Tech’s Emerging Technology Company finalists

Margie Manning



Knack co-founders David Stoker, Shawn Doyle, Samyr Qureshi and Dennis Hansen (PHOTO CREDIT: Michelle Stoker Photography)

Three young companies that want to disrupt their industries are in the spotlight as they vie for a top award from Tampa Bay Tech.

assessURhealth, Knack and SC2 Corp. are finalists for the Emerging Technology Company of the Year award. The category recognizes a fast-growing Tampa Bay-headquartered company creating an impact through innovation, disruption and a steadfast commitment to giving back to the community.

It is one of a dozen categories for the awards program. Tampa Bay Tech, Florida’s largest technology council, will name award winners Nov. 9 at an evening ceremony at Armature Works. Register to attend here.

The awards are one way to highlight Tampa Bay’s growing tech ecosystem and attract the attention of companies and high-skill workers who are considering relocating to the area.

Both Knack and SC2 were founded outside of the area, but moved here. Knack, which uses technology to connect college students and mentors, launched at University of Florida in Gainesville in 2015 with four co-founders: Samyr Qureshi, CEO; Dennis Hansen, chief product officer; Shawn Doyle, chief marketing officer; and David Stoker, chief technology officer.

Knack co-founders David Stoker, Shawn Doyle, Samyr Qureshi and Dennis Hansen

SC2, a big data firm, also is an area transplant. The company was founded in 2008 by Army Colonel Robert E. Guidry in Virginia and moved to Clearwater in 2015.

Robert Guidry founder and co-CEO, SC2

assessURHealth, a Tampa company with an electronic mental and behavioral health screening tool, was founded in 2015 by David Schlaifer, who is CEO, and Mallory Tai Taylor, chief operating officer, after Taylor experienced personal loss from suicide and Schlaifer experienced a loved one’s attempt.

The #EndTheStigma Wall at assessURhealth

St. Pete Catalyst asked each of the emerging company finalists about their businesses. Their responses are lightly edited for length and clarity.

St. Pete Catalyst: What problem does your company’s technology solve?

assessURhealth: In healthcare, mental health is severely underserved. 45 percent of suicide victims saw their primary care provider or emergency department within 30 days of their suicide. Our solution allows providers to screen for multiple risk classifications (depression, anxiety, opioid risk, somatic symptoms, alcohol misuse, postnatal depression and PTSD) on a patient-driven iPad. Since the patient is taking the assessment themselves, there is room for more honesty, allowing the provider to address/start the conversation about a potential mental illness, substance abuse problem or preventing a suicide.

Knack: Knack helps universities and colleges boost student graduation rates and career readiness by enabling peer tutoring/mentoring opportunities. Knack’s platform allows universities to supplement and expand coverage of student support services, invest in student development by creating on-campus jobs for high-achievers, and strengthen university advancement initiatives via corporate sponsors

SC2: In the face of growing concern surrounding use of “the cloud” and numerous hacking attempts and data breaches, thousands of companies and government agencies are left looking for ways to keep their data private, while still being able to take advantage of emerging capabilities. SC2 fills this specific need with private, client-controlled systems that mimic public cloud capabilities. The Equitus line of products offers powerfully advanced analysis of social media, video, text, transaction data, intelligence data and combinations of these. Equitus Intelligence, for example, has the power to uncover crucial connections between information stored across thousands of sources in far less time than it would take an entire team of analysts working with another system.

St. Pete Catalyst: What’s the next big thing you are working on?

assessURhealth: We released a new product version in early 2018 that upgraded the application and added a client portal. We also integrated the “self-harm” alert feature into our client portal, which places a notification next to anyone who answered anything but “Not at All” to the question “Have you thought of harming yourself or others?”

Knack: Right now, we’re heads down on product development and sales and marketing efforts.

SC2: The entire CRM [customer relationship management] industry has gone into the public cloud. SC2 is developing an Equitus CRM system that allows big retailers and other vendors to keep their data private, while maintaining the same reliability and ease of use as the major, cloud-based CRM providers.

All three companies said they are growing. Knack, with seven full-time employees now, anticipates having 10 full-time workers in the next year. SC2 has 25 employees now and expects to add 25 more next year and about 50 in 2020.

Look for more profiles of Tampa Bay Tech award finalists and winners in the coming days in St. Pete Catalyst.

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