Investors offered Jacksonville startups $21.7 million last year

By Will RobinsonReporter, Jacksonville Business Journal

Jacksonville ranked 40th out of American City Business Journal's 44 markets for the amount of venture capital raised by local companies in the past year, according to an ACBJ analysis of data collected by Pitchbook and the National Venture Capital Association.

Investors offered Jacksonville startups $21.7 million last year.

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PS27 Ventures

Jim Stallings

Data Council, a supply chain verification company for organic, natural and specialty products, took home the biggest check in 2016 with $3.85 million raised from angel investors. In 2016, Jacksonville had 13 investment deals and 12 funded companies.

But Jim Stallings, managing partner of PS27 Ventures, thinks there is more funding activity beneath the surface.

"I think there is more angel funding -— individuals to startups — than is being reported," he said.

PS27 invests in early-stage companies that it then trains for a year or more in everything from sales to building a company culture. After PS27's hands-on process, its companies are primed for a second round of fundraising, Stallings said.

Though Stallings said PS27-backed companies have been successful in getting late-stage funding, he conceded that they often have to look outside of Jacksonville to do so. PS27 maintains relationships with angel investors across Florida and Georgia, he said.

"We're one of the few that invest in early-stage companies," Stallings said. "It works for us because we get a strong pipeline of (early-stage) companies."

Read the full story from the Jacksonville Business Journal.

BlueWave in GuideWell Innovation’s Health+Accel Program

BlueWave has been selected to participate in GuideWell Innovation’s Health+Accel program. Just 10 companies were selected from over 200 applicants! Congratulations Blue Wave team!

Peer-to-peer Roundtable with Quang Pham

PS27 Founders shared their stories and questions with Quang Pham who is the Founder, Chairman & CEO of Espero BioPharma.

In 2015, Mr. Pham founded Espero, a biopharmaceutical company focusing on the late-stage development and commercialization of medicines to treat cardiovascular diseases, the leading cause of death worldwide. Espero has three FDA-approved drugs and a robust clinical pipeline.

He also founded Lathian Systems, an innovative company that provided online data and marketing services to pharmaceutical and biotech companies. As Chairman and CEO, he raised $14 million in venture capital and corporate funding for Lathian, grew the business, and led its eventual sale to D&R Communications, a direct marketing company.

Following service as a U.S. Marine Corps aviator, Mr. Pham began his business career in sales roles with Merck and Genentech. He is a published author and holds a B.A. in Economics from UCLA. He has also received the BioFlorida’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, named a Veteran of Influence by the Jacksonville Business Journal (JBJ) and recognized as a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2017 Award. In July, the JBJ recognized Espero as the fastest growing private company in Northeast Florida.

He currently serves on the Board of BioFlorida and is a past director of InHouseUSA, Inc., the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and the Chapman University Argyros School Board of Advisors.

5000 Role Models of Excellence Visit SmartBox

SmartBox hosted a job shadow experience for the young men with a focus on entrepreneurship. 

Through the presentation, students were able to gain leadership skills and were able to see how through mentoring and hard work, they too may one day have the opportunity of owning and growing their own business. 

The students enjoyed hearing about how SmartBox got started, learning trivia about various businesses and visiting a customer to see firsthand how the vending  process operates.  Of course, they enjoyed sampling the products.  The overall takeaway was that they now have hope that they can make a goal for themselves that can be achievable if they do the research and work hard. 

This was certainly among our most beneficial events this summer. Because of your presentation, we now have students who feel that with vision, mentoring and hard work, they too may one day realize the benefit of owning and growing their own business.
— Lawrence M. Hills Jr., MHRM District Supervisor, 5000 Role Models of Excellence

Caregiver Accelerator Now Accepting Applications for Jacksonville

 As a partner of the Caregiver Accelerator we are happy to share the start of their accelerator program in Jacksonville. 

The demands for caregiving services and products outweigh the supply available today. In fact, the caregiver marketplace is expected to reach $72 billion by 2020. AARP has determined target areas ripe for innovation, including: care coordination, social well being, activities of daily living assistance, health and safety support, transitions of care and caregiver quality-of-life support.

Pulling from all areas of Jacksonville through the remote program, the next Accelerator program launches August 8th and runs through September 12th.  Do not miss your chance to be part of this hands on, interactive program that will assist you refining your business message, strategy and team.To apply visit

intoGo partners with 904 Happy Hour on local event platform

Via Jacksonville Business Journal

intoGo, an app designed to provide personalized lists of events, restaurants, sites and more, has partnered with 904 Happy Hour, an entertainment and marketing company focused on events and venues, to transform the way Jacksonville locals find events.

“intoGo thrives on creating disruptive technology and we believe this new event platform is a big step towards disrupting the way events have previously been found in our community," said intoGo CEO Zachary Schwartz. "We want to make it easier for people to simply see what’s happening this weekend.”

Zachary Schwartz

Zachary Schwartz

The intoGo app, free to download on Apple and Android, now offers an event platform that gives users a curated list of the biggest upcoming events in Jacksonville. Users can look ahead at events coming in the next seven to 30 days. They can also search events by date, distance or venue. The app learns from users' feedback and personalizes their results. Users can purchase tickets to events and even request an Uber from within the app.

By bringing their services together, intoGo and 904 Happy Hour hope they've created a one-stop shop for local events.

"We are excited to partner with intoGo to help launch a new platform for North Florida residents and visitors to find events and things to do around the area," said 904 Happy Hour President Charles Wagoner. "This new resource will allow everyone who has a smartphone the power to efficiently find events, activities, restaurants and places of interest without having to search for a magazine rack or spend hours browsing social media and the internet."

In May, intoGo became the official city tourism platform by signing an exclusive agreement with Visit Jacksonville. It also won One Spark's technology category in 2015 under the name TheCity.Guide.

904 Happy Hour's social media channels have won "Best in Jax" and boast more than 120,000 followers. The company is responsible for The Beaches Oktoberfest and Freedom Festival.