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St. Petersburg manufacturer advances in industry ranking

Cavaform International LLC, a St. Petersburg company that manufactures precision injection molds and components for the plastics industry, is No. 48 in a new ranking of mold and tool makers by Plastics News. Cavaform, with $11 million in mold making and tool sales in 2018, advanced 20 spots in the ranking, the biggest jump of any firm on the list, the industry publication said. Also on the list is Precision Tool & Mold in Clearwater, which ranked No. 136 with an estimated $350,000 in sales last year.

Where Tampa, St. Pete, Clearwater land on this fastest-growing cities list

Personal finance website WalletHub has released a new fastest-growing cities list, based on 17 key measures of both growth and decline over a period of seven years. Among the 515 U.S. cities on the list, St. Petersburg ranked No. 157, Tampa was No. 67 and Clearwater was No. 323.  The top city on the list was Lehigh Acres, part of the Fort Myers metro area in southwest Florida. See the complete list and WalletHub's methodology here.

Tampa insurer sets terms for IPO

BRP Group Inc., the Tampa insurance distribution firm that does business as Baldwin Risk Partners LLC, could raise $246 million in its initial public offering. The company, which filed a preliminary prospectus last month, set terms for the IPO on Friday, saying it would offer 16.4 million shares priced at $14 to $16 each. BRP Group expects to begin trading on the Nasdaq exchange with the ticker symbol BRP the week of Oct. 21, according to MarketWatch.

Cracker Barrel buys Maple Street Biscuit

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. (Nasdaq: CBRL) acquired Maple Street Biscuit Co. for $36 million in cash. Maple Street, founded by Scott Moore and Gus Evans in Jacksonville in 2012, currently has 28 company-owned and five franchised fast casual locations across seven states, including a restaurant at 662 Central Ave. in downtown St. Petersburg. The brands share many similarities such as scratch cooking and an emphasis on hospitality,  Moore said in a news release. Moore will remain CEO of Maple Street. Cracker Barrel plans to convert its Holler & Dash Biscuit House units into Maple Street locations in the coming months.

St. Pete, Pinellas County get FEMA funding

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded the city of St. Petersburg $3.8 million for debris removal from Hurricane Irma, according to an announcement from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). Pinellas County received two awards — $4 million for debris removal and $3.1 million for emergency protective measures. Hillsborough County received $4.9 million for debris removal. The local governments are among several in Florida that will receive a total of $143.6 million to recover from the 2017 storm, Rubio's office said.

Weatherford Capital gets backing for new investment fund

Weatherford Capital raised $26 million in equity for Weatherford VC III LLC. It’s the most recent of several investment funds raised by Weatherford Capital, a family-owned private investment firm in Tampa managed by former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford and his brothers, Sam Weatherford and Drew Weatherford. Forty-three investors have participated to date in the latest offering, which is seeking a total of $35 million, according to an Oct. 10 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company did not respond to requests for additional information about the fund.

UT boosts revenue in FY 2019

The University of Tampa Inc. reported $245 million in operating revenue for the 12 months ended May 31, a 6.3 percent increase in operating revenue from the prior year, according to financial statements filed for bond holders. The increase in net assets, or surplus, in fiscal year 2019 was $42.3 million, down 3.9 percent from FY 2018.  A surplus at not-for-profit organizations such as UT is similar to net income at for-profit companies. UT reported a $5.7 million loss on the disposal of assets in its most recent fiscal year. That's the result of the complete renovation of the Riverside Center to create the new Southard Family Building and the demolition of the Edison Building to make way for construction of the new Ferman Center for the Arts, a spokesman said. UT also renovated half of the Bailey Arts Studio to make way for the new digital fabrication lab (Fab Lab) during the year. Total enrollment for the fall semester of the 2018-19 school year was 9,335, compared to 8,839 in the fall semester a year earlier.

Tampa cannabinoids company sells consumer products division

Canavation Product Group acquired the consumer products division of Teewinot Life Sciences, a Tampa company involved in the biosynthetic development and production of cannabinoids and their derivatives. Terms of the deal were not publicly disclosed. Canavation also acquired a patent issues to Teewinot. The deal allows Teewinot to focus on commercialization of its CannSynthesis platform, as well as the advancement of its pharmaceutical pipeline, a news release said.

Tampa Hillsborough EDC rebrands

The Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation is changing its name to the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council. The rebranding – along with a new strategic action plan — will position the organization for greater success as it enters its second decade, Craig Richard, president and CEO, said in a news release. The Tampa Bay EDC will continue to serve Tampa and Hillsborough County exclusively, while continuing to partner with its regional allies in global trade and other initiatives, the release said. The organization will begin using the new name and unveil its new logo at its annual meeting in Tampa on Oct. 29 at the Straz Center.

Tampa’s Oracle Elevator makes its 30th acquisition

Oracle Elevator has acquired Affinity Elevator. With offices in Pensacola and Panama City, Florida, Affinity Elevator provides elevator maintenance, repair and modernization services. The deal helps Oracle expand its footprint and connect markets along the I-10 corridor from Florida to Texas, a news release said. Financial terms were not disclosed. It's the 30th acquisition since 2004 for Oracle, based in Tampa and the largest independent provider of elevator maintenance, repair, and modernization services.

Tech Data partnership adds to security portfolio

Tech Data Corp. (Nasdaq: TECD), a Clearwater IT distributor, has joined forces with Akamai Technologies (Nasdaq: AKAM) in a partnership aimed at increasing cybersecurity for clients. Tech Data customers in the U.S. and Canada can use any of three Akamai packages: web application firewall protection, accelerated performance of web and mobile applications, or  enterprise traffic protection and remote application access, a news release said. The additions to Tech Data’s security portfolio provide a cloud- and data-center-agnostic delivery platform with a defense-in-depth approach, a deeper and broader approach to cybersecurity, the release said.

Seattle-based consulting firm plans St. Pete, Tampa offices

Slalom, a Seattle-based consulting firm focused on strategy, technology and business transformation, said it will open offices in St. Petersburg and in Tampa as part of an expansion throughout Florida. The company just debuted in Miami and said in a news release that it will also open sites in Orlando and Jacksonville over the next 24 months, employing 600 people statewide. Slalom currently has 31 offices across the United States and in three countries. Clients include more than half the Fortune 100 and a third of the Fortune 500, along with startups, not-for-profits and innovative organizations of all kinds. 

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