Via. Will Robinson – Reporter, Jacksonville Business Journal
Four companies squared off in a pitch competition themed off the TV show 'Shark Tank' at the conclusion of PS27's fourth annual Leadership Week.
Entrepreneurs presented ideas for a vending machine full of over-the-counter medicine, homes made out of maritime shipping containers, big data software for real estate developers and a bottled water that promotes skin health. The four companies were competing for a $1,000 prize and were being judged by local entrepreneurs Quang Pham, Richard Sisisky and Tom Leonard.
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Via. Will Robinson, Reporter, Jacksonville Business Journal
Brandon Stallings, founder of SmartBox, is on a mission to modernize the vending industry.
"There is so much being left on the table in the vending business," said Stallings. "It's nowhere near where it could be."
His company offers vending machines complete with cloud-based inventory tracking, touch screens and loyalty apps, as well as "GoMarkets," convenience store-styled marketplaces that can fit in an office break room and are fully automated. Meanwhile, only 11 percent of vending machines nationwide have a simple card reader.
Stallings entered the vending industry in college, operating 10 vending machines thanks to an investment from his father, Jim Stallings, managing partner of PS27 Ventures. Surprising his father, Stallings wanted to stay in the vending industry after he graduated from Florida State University.
"If you’re going to do this gig, it takes hustle, and we need to see more of that,” Stallings remembers his father telling him. "That's when I decided to become a student of the game."
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PS27 Founders shared their stories and questions with each other during October's Peer-to-peer Roundtable.
Written by Will Robinson, Reporter, Jacksonville Business Journal
Early-stage startups are invited to PS27 Venture's fourth annual Leadership Week, an intensive and hands-on training in leadership development, Nov. 6 through 9 at the University of North Florida.
The event has already attracted more than 30 participants from about 10 companies and will close its registration Oct. 20. Training focuses on the leadership abilities of founders and key team members in areas including emotional intelligence, communication, planning and even personal wellness.
Jim Stallings, managing partner of PS27, said that in the last five years of local investing in early-stage companies, he's learned that 70 percent of a company's probability of success is determined by a founder's personal skills - adaptability, communication skills and the like. That is why the training event focuses on developing these skills.
"I want (participants) to walk away from this realizing that they have a lot of control over their destinies," Stallings said. "The strongest asset they can have is leadership."
The training series asks a lot of its participants, Stallings warned. Participants are expected to complete assignments before the week begins, then participate in work sessions, pitch competitions and more from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. during Leadership Week. The event ends with a Shark Tank-like pitch competition in front of three investors and an audience, followed by a keynote address by Web.com President and CEO David Brown.
Participants are encouraged to enter as a team. The program costs $250 for an individual or $500 for a team of any size. Interested entrepreneurs can apply at http://www.ps27ventures.com/leadershipweek/.
Via. Daniel Smithson, The Gainesville Sun
BLUEWAVE, company that produces a “Rapid Disinfection Device,” was chosen by GuideWell Innovation, a branch of GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation, as one of 10 young companies to participate in Health+Accel, a new program and pitch competition in Orlando’s Lake Nona Medical City with the purpose of expediting entrepreneurial ventures focused on aging well, says a news release.
More than 200 startups representing 29 countries and 24 states plus the District of Columbia applied for the event, the release says.
BLUEWAVE’s Rapid Disinfection Device is a water-, detergent- and chemical-free plasma infusion device that rapidly disinfects items that are difficult or nearly impossible to treat by standard cleaning products. It can accomplish disinfecting items in about five minutes, with its active ingredient, according to the release, proven to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria, virus and fungi. Read more.