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Florida Funders takes part in $4M seed round for application management provider

Florida Funders, a Tampa-based hybrid of a venture capital fund and an angel investor network, announced on Thursday its investment in Intecrowd's $4 million seed round. Intercrowd provides application management services and serves over 350 clients. Florida Funders invested $300,000 in the seed round from the Florida Funders’ Fund 2, LLC. Florida Funders’ investment in Intecrowd marks the eighth Florida-based company investment this year to date.  

County announces first General Fund millage rate reduction since 2007

The Pinellas Board of County Commissioners approved the final millage rates and budget for the 2022 fiscal year on Tuesday. The $2.9 billion budget is balanced and includes funding to support community priorities such as infrastructure, affordable housing, and behavioral health. It will also stabilize the Transportation Trust Fund. Despite reporting inflationary-driven growth of $135.9 million, the budget includes the first voluntary millage rate decrease in 14 years, saving Pinellas homeowners an average of $25.44. Pinellas County continues to have the lowest per capita debt among large Florida counties.

Tampa General Hospital announces $550M investment plan

Tampa General Hospital will embark on what it's calling its "largest master facility plan" in the hospital's history--a $550 million investment. TGH will add to its physical footprint, improve facilities and add new buildings, TGH announced on Wednesday. The master facility plan will have an economic impact of over $967 million and create more than 5,952 jobs. The new structures include a newly opened Intensive Care Unit,  four floors to Tampa General’s Bayshore Pavilion, renovations and an expansion for its burn center, a freestanding emergency department and other projects. 

Construction starts on $8M pedestrian overpass on U.S. 19

Construction has started on the new pedestrian overpass on U.S. 19 north of Harn Boulevard in Pinellas County. The $8 million project is expected to be completed in early 2023. The Winter Park-based construction firm Hubbard Construction Company is leading the project. 

Pier Oktoberfest celebration is Saturday

The St. Pete Pier will host its inaugural Oktoberfest celebration, “Piertoberfest," Saturday (Sept. 25). It's a celebration of German foods and beers, with live music from Bavarian bands, and more General admission tickets for the 12-10 p.m. event, $10, are available here (along with additional event information).

New species of jellyfish named after USF professor

A USF professor with an illustrious career researching jellyfish will now have a new species named in his honor. Monty Graham, Director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO) and professor of integrative biology at USF, has authored or co-authored over 85 peer-reviewed scientific articles throughout his 25-year career, mostly focused on jellyfish behavior. A former student of Graham's from the University of Southern Mississippi was on the research team that discovered the species off the coast of Dauphin Island, Alabama. Officially known as Aurelia montyi, it is one of 28 different Aurelia species that are also known as “moon jellies,” because of their resemblance to a full moon. Aurelia montyi is native to the Gulf of Mexico and can grow to be the size of a dinner plate, although their sting is relatively weak. The FIO is housed at USFSP and serves as Florida’s hub for oceanographic research and education.

St. Pete’s Pop Goes the Waffle is a finalist in a national incubator program

St. Pete entrepreneur Sara Fludd, who founded Pop Goes the Waffle, an innovative waffle wholesale and e-commerce company, is one of the finalists to be part of a national incubator program hosted by Stacy's Pita Chip. Fudd was one of 10 applicants selected out of more than 9,000 applicants for the Stacy's Rise Project. The 12-week program is meant to help women-founded companies. The 10 winners will each receive a $10,000 grant, mentoring from Frito-Lay and PepsiCo leadership, and the opportunity to participate in a speaker series featuring Frito-Lay leadership and founders. The only other Florida-based entrepreneur selected was Julie Butcher, who founded The Vegan Knife, a company in Estero that offers a line of allergy-friendly and vegan cupcakes, cakes and donut mixes. More about the program can be found here

New 64-unit subdivision slated for Palm Harbor

A stormwater application has been for a 64-unit villas subdivision located on 21.47 acres at 4706 Pleasant Ave. in Palm Harbor. The project, named Harbor Landing, would be located south of Klosterman Road, east of the Pinellas Trail and near the Innisbrook Golf Course. The site is currently vacant with wetland areas. The project team includes Texas-based homebuilder D.R.Horton Inc. and Clearwater-based Gulf Coast Consulting Inc.

Former Merrill Lynch advisory team joins Dynasty

Leading wealth advisors R. Scott Bills, Brett Bills, Teresa Friess, Aaron Seeman and Joshua DeLoach announced a new partnership with St. Pete-based Dynasty Financial Partners to launch Colorado-based Nilsine Partners. The group of advisors launched their new RIA after leaving the investment management giant Merrill Lynch. Nilsine Partners is an independent registered advisor offering services including banking and lending. It specializes in customized portfolio management along with a variety of financial planning services such as multi-generational, philanthropic and trusts, according to the announcement. As part of the agreement, Dynasty will provide what's known as middle and back-of-office support to the new group. “As we continue to evolve and grow the business to meet the needs of our clients, the opportunity and necessity to expand our offerings in the independent world helped accelerate our timeline. We now have the ability to be solutions-based, not product-driven,”  R. Scott Bills, CEO and partner, said in the release. The Colorado-based firm sees opportunities to place a strong emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, specifically to expand its philanthropic and family office services.   

Bucs start season hot behind arm of Tom Brady

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quest to defend their Super Bowl title is off to a near-perfect start as the team improves to 2-0 on the 2021 season. The Bucs beat the division-rival Atlanta Falcons 48-25 on Sunday, behind quarterback Tom Brady’s five touchdown passes. Brady, 44, also threw for four touchdowns against the Dallas Cowboys last week. With just 13 more touchdown passes, Brady will have thrown for more scores in his 40’s than he did in his 20’s, with one less season as a starter. While there are some concerns at the cornerback and running back positions, Tampa Bay’s offense appears to have picked up where they left off in February.

USF issues surveys to aid in presidential search

The search for the next president of USF is well underway, and on Monday the Presidential Search Committee sent surveys to students and faculty to gather feedback on what qualities the next leader should possess. Mike Griffin, Chair of the search committee, said the responses will help create a position profile the committee will use to attract and recruit the best possible candidates. The survey is available until Sept. 30. Griffin said he will be leading a listening tour in the coming weeks to meet with stakeholders from all three university campuses, along with key groups from the surrounding communities. Rhea Law is currently serving as the interim president.

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