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Embarc Collective company acquired

Yaro, a digital health company that is a member of downtown Tampa startup hub Embarc Collective, has been acquired by Virgin Pulse. Financial terms were not disclosed. Virgin Pulse provides enterprise Software-as-a-Service solutions that simplify health and wellbeing. The company is using technology acquired from Yaro for a new benefits navigation solution called Virgin Pulse Navigate. It will  help consumers better understand, find and pay for healthcare services according to their specific needs and preferences, a news release said. “Startup acquisitions are exciting no matter where they happen. It's a signal that the team has built a solution of tremendous value. In the case of Yaro, it only took 18 months for them to get from idea to exit, which demonstrates the strength of the team, the business and the execution,” according to a post on the Embarc Collective website.

TAO Connect adds services

TAO Connect has added training programs in alcohol literacy and sexual education to its online platform. The Alcohol Literacy Challenge and the Dimensions Learning sexual education program are both evidence-based and available to both new and existing TAO customers, a news release said. TAO Connect, based in St. Petersburg, is a digital platform designed to make behavioral therapy more accessible and effective.

Tampa Bay named talent hub

Lumina Foundation has recognized Tampa Bay as one of the first “talent bubs” in Florida for its efforts to attract, retain and cultivate talent. Being named a Talent Hub indicates that Tampa Bay has shown the capacity to work collaboratively toward a significant increase in the number of residents with college degrees, certificates and other credentials beyond a high school diploma, a news release said.The designation includes a $125,000 grant to the LEAP Tampa Bay College Access Network, awarded in partnership with The Kresge Foundation. Grant funds are earmarked for efforts to re-engage adult learners who started post-secondary education or training, but did not complete it. “This new designation demonstrates that national leaders in educational attainment believe in Tampa Bay’s ability to share resources and expertise for the greater good of our vibrant community," said Tonjua Williams, president of St. Petersburg College, one of 17 founding LEAP partners.

Power Design settles wage enforcement action

Power Design Inc., a St. Petersburg-based electrical contractor, agreed to pay $2.75 million to settle a lawsuit with the office of the attorney general for the District of Columbia. The settlement resolves a 2018 lawsuit against Power Design, alleging the company and two subcontractors misclassified more than 500 electrical workers as independent contractors instead of employees to cut labor costs. Power Design contested the allegations but agreed to a consent order to resolve the lawsuit and avoid further litigation, a news release said. Under the terms of the settlement, Power Design will be required to pay $879,056 in back wages to workers, pay $1.8 million to the District of Columbia, and pay $50,000 to support apprenticeships, job training, or workforce development programs, according to the release.

Radian sells Clayton Services

Clayton Services, a loan due diligence and credit risk management firm, has been acquired by Covius Holdings Inc. About 550 Clayton associates, primarily in the company's Tampa and Denver operations centers, will be joining Covius, a news release said. Financial terms were not disclosed. Clayton previously was owned by Radian Group Inc. (NYSE: RDN). Radian will retain some Clayton operations, including Five Bridges Advisors, Green River Capital, Red Bell Real Estate, Radian Title Insurance and Radian Settlement Services Inc. Covius, headquartered in Glendale, Colorado, provides services and technology to financial service firms.

WellCare, Centene set date to close their deal

WellCare Health Plans Inc. (NYSE: WCG), one of the largest companies in the Tampa-St. Pete area, won't be a stand-alone independent business for much longer. The managed healthcare company is being acquired by Centene Corp. (NYSE: CNC) for $17.3 billion.  Centene and WellCare announced Wednesday morning that they have satisfied all regulatory requirements to complete the pending transaction, including review by the U.S. Department of Justice. The two companies expect to close the transaction on or about Jan. 23, a news release said. At the same time, WellCare is expected to complete divesting its Medicaid and Medicare Advantage plans in Missouri and its Medicaid plan in Nebraska, while Centene divests its Medicaid and Medicare Advantage plans in Illinois. The combined company will be based at Centene's St. Louis headquarters and will have about 22 million members across all 50 states.

KnowBe4 provides funds for cybersecurity law program at Stetson

Clearwater cybersecurity training company KnowBe4 said it would donate $250,000 to Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport. Funds will be used to create a scholarship fund, to establish and grow a cybersecurity law program, and to provide security awareness training to employees  The donation is an opportunity to contribute to the community and help fill the need to educate and train more cybersecurity talent, Stu Sjouwerman, KnowBe4 CEO, said in a news release.

Report: Lucky’s Market closing nearly all its Florida stores

Lucky's Market will shut down all but one of its Florida stores, according to a report in the South Florida Sun Sentinel.  Twenty stores will close as of Feb. 12, and that list apparently includes including Lucky's Market in Tyrone Square, which opened in June 2018. Only the West Melbourne store will remain open in Florida. A request for additional information from Lucky's corporate headquarters was pending return. In December, grocery giant Kroger said it would divest its interest in Lucky's, a Boulder, Colorado-based natural food retailer.

CVS debuts nine Tampa-St. Pete HealthHUBs

HealthHUB, CVS Health's new store design, has debuted in nine CVS Pharmacy locations across the Tampa-St. Pete area. The new store format features a broader range of health care services to help patients better manage chronic conditions, more products and services focused on overall health and wellness, and trusted advice and personalized care, a news release said. CVS Health has 53 HealthHUB locations operational in five states and plans to bring its HealthHUB store format to 17 states in the first part of 2020 as part of its national expansion.The nine local stores are: 

  • 8001 9th Street N, Saint Petersburg
  • 30387 U.S. Highway 19 N, Clearwater
  • 1000 East Tarpon Avenue, Tarpon Springs
  • 5357 Ehrlich Road, Tampa
  • 704 W Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Seffner
  • 5905 U.S. Highway 301 S., Riverview
  • 2322 Land O Lakes Blvd., Lutz
  • 1929 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Wesley Chapel
  • 5010 S Florida Avenue, Lakeland

Lighting company partners with Marxent

Marxent, a St. Petersburg-based technology company, has a new content partnership with Regina Andrew, a lighting and home decor design firm in Detroit. Regina Andrew will provide 500 distinct, high-end lighting and decor products to retailers through Marxent's 3D Cloud content network, a news release said. Retailers will be able to include the Regina Andrew products in 3D room planners and other applications. Regina Andrew is the first lighting manufacturer to syndicate products through the Marxent 3D cloud. Regina Andrew 3D content will be available to all Marxent 3D Cloud subscribers in the first quarter of 2020, following an initial rollout to Macy’s mobile augmented reality app and IRL 3D Room Planner application.

Tampa-St. Pete companies make Fortune’s ‘most admired’ list

Raymond James Financial, Tech Data Corp. and WellCare Health Plans Inc. are on Fortune's new list of "most admired" companies. Raymond James (NYSE: RJF) in St. Petersburg ranks No. 248 on the list and No. 3 in the securities and asset management industry. Tech Data (Nasdaq: TECD) in Clearwater ranks No. 289 on the list and No. 2 in the wholesalers: electronics and office equipment category. WellCare (NYSE: WCG) in Tampa ranks No. 320 on the list and No. 5 in the healthcare: insurance and managed care industry. Publix Super Markets Inc, a grocery chain based in Lakeland, is No. 48 on the list and No. 1 in the food and drugstores category. Fortune polled nearly 3,800 industry executives, directors and analysts to develop the list. See the full list here.

Mainsail opens corporate housing business

Mainsail Lodging & Development, a Tampa-based hospitality company, is opening Mainsail Corporate Housing, the company's first brand entry into the corporate housing industry. The expansion comes on the heels of Mainsail's Jan. 1 acquisition of Commonwealth Corporate Suites, a news release said. The new Mainsail Corporate Housing will initially serve the Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina markets. Leading efforts to establish the new brand in Virginia and the Carolinas is Sarah Everhart, vice president of Mainsail Corporate Housing and former president of Commonwealth Corporate Suites. 

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