The Florida Venture Forum, Florida’s largest statewide support organization for investors and entrepreneurs, and Space Florida awarded a total of $100,000 to several entrepreneurs this week.
During the annual Florida Early Stage Capital Conference Wednesday in Tampa, the investors and organizers announced EVQLV, Novineer Inc. and Revterra Corporation as the award winners.
Grand prize winner EVQLV, a Miami-based startup focused on revolutionizing therapeutic antibody development through machine learning, received $40,000 of Space Florida’s Accelerating Innovation (AI) Award.
The company took home the largest prize among 19 presenting companies selected from a pool of more than 150 applicants by a committee of active Florida venture capital investors.
First runner-up Novineer Inc., a Daytona Beach-based software company, was awarded $30,000 and tech firm Revterra Corp., founded in Houston, Texas, won second runner-up and received $20,000.
OverTheShoulder and Pet HealthCare Innovations were the recipients of the 13th annual 2022 Statewide Collegiate Startup Competition, each receiving a check for $5,000.
“This year’s applicants exemplify the ingenuity and forward-thinking that is essential to success in the today’s business climate. The ingenuity of this year’s winners is a testament to the innovative and entrepreneurial culture we have fostered here in Florida,” Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello said in a news release. “Together with the Florida Venture Forum, we are proud to support these businesses as they continue to push boundaries and bring new technologies and solutions to market.”
The companies eligible to win originated from the aerospace, artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality and cybersecurity sectors.
The panel of onstage judges included Ben Patz, co-founder and managing partner at DeepWork Capital; Time Cartwright, partner and co-founder of Fifth Avenue Family Office; Shari Dingle Constantini, co-founder and president of Kismet Technologies; and Ron Lau, senior vice president of corporate development and capital programs at Space Florida.
Here’s more on the winning companies:
EVQLV: The company, which also has a New York office, was in the Techstars Boston program. The healthtech startup’s AI is designed to quickly and intelligently design therapeutic antibodies with a lower risk of failure. The company recently entered a partnership with Twist Bioscience Corporation (NASDAQ: TWST), which offers high-quality synthetic DNA using its silicon platform to discover novel antibody-based therapies.
Novineer: The company plans to bring a 3D printing design and simulation software to market that will streamline the process of designing, modeling and fabricating parts. The company is raising $500,000.
Revterra Corp.: The tech company is developing a grid-stabilizing kinetic battery for charging electric vehicles. It recently raised $6 million in a Series A round. The company is raising $2.5 million. Its product will be a modular 400-kilowatt base unit and will aim to help EV drivers recharge their cars in 15 minutes or less anywhere, without the need for an overhaul of the existing electric grid.
Highlights from several other presenters:
WeCare: The startup from the University of Tampa developed wearable clothing, patches and fabrics that contain bioceramics for patients who are recovering from cancer. It can also be used by cardiovascular patients. CEO and President Melody Vissman has first-hand knowledge of the tech, as she used biocosmetics when she suffered injuries as an athlete and needed to accelerate her recovery time. The technology promotes tissue healing through an increase in blood flow, which in turn helps remove harmful products of cellular damage.
SpectroFlow: The Sarasota County-based startup is developing a patient-friendly medical device to preclinically detect and manage lymphedema, a disease that causes a build-up of lymph fluid in the body. The non-invasive technology measures fluid variation. CEO Michael Dillhyon said the emergence of telehealth has amplified the need for monitoring the disease remotely.
Intelligent Observation: The top cause of patients suffering from illnesses while staying in a hospital is related to hygiene of the health care staff. The Miami-based company has developed a patented technology to monitor hand washing and hygiene to create a safer environment. Founder and CEO Seth Freedman said the company has 60 contracts with hospitals, and $3.5 million in recurring revenue, and is raising a $2 million round.
Kitchenery: The Tampa-based company develops inductive power transfer technology that allows kitchen appliances to be charged on an electrical pad, creating a way for appliances to function without a cord. Co-founder and CEO Akshay Bhuva presented images of its line of cordless appliances, such as blenders and mixers that will go into production next year. The Techstars-backed company raised its first round of intuitional funds.