December 17, 2014
Jane Muir

“Being in this building is not about real estate — it’s about being part of a program.”
— Jane Muir, associate director, UF’s Office of Technology Licensing

Photo: Eric Zamora

Florida Innovation Hub

Florida Innovation Hub

Photo: Eric Zamora

INSPIREation Hall

Construction on INSPIREation Hall is set to start next year.

Photo: UF

Infusion Tech Center

Infusion Technology Center will include labs and office and retail space.

Photo: UF

NanoPhotonica

UF spinoff NanoPhotonica, based in Orlando, makes material for video displays, solar cells and other photoelectric devices.

Photo: Eric Zamora

« RETURN TO RESEARCH FLORIDA

UF's Innovation Hub nurturing tech gurus

The University of Florida's new Innovation Hub aims to create ‘collision' among entrepreneurs.

Amy Keller | 5/31/2013

In a corner office on the second floor of the Florida Innovation Hub, three University of Florida engineering grads are writing code for a new mobile app called Beacon that can scan mobile phone users’ surroundings and provide them with digital information — everything from a weather report to coupons and a list of daily specials. Down the hall, a team at a company called Feathr is working on that company’s signature product — a smartphone app that allows users to create and exchange interactive digital business cards. One floor up, Matthew Herbolich is on a conference call working to drum up some new funding for TruVitals, a startup that is looking to commercialize a wireless monitoring technology that uses radio waves to detect vital signs such as respiration and heartbeat.

“Right now we’re up to 26 companies ... and I anticipate by the end of the summer, we’ll be getting close to full capacity,” says Jane Muir, associate director of UF’s Office of Technology Licensing and director of the new, 48,000-sq.-ft. Florida Innovation Hub at UF “super incubator.”

Nurturing startups isn’t a new concept for UF. Since 1995, companies at the University’s Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator have attracted more than $1 billion in investments, contracts and grants. Successful spinoffs have included Pasteuria Bioscience, acquired in 2012 by Syngenta for $113 million. The incubator recently took top honors when it was named 2013 international Incubator of the Year by the National Business Incubation Association.

Sid Martin, however, is in Alachua, about 20 minutes northwest of UF’s campus., and the UF community wanted an incubator “right here on campus. It makes collaboration with the university researchers that much easier,” says Stephanie Warrington, chairwoman of the board of BioFlorida and a serial entrepreneur who has worked with eight Gainesville startups.

UF’s Florida Innovation Hub is the centerpiece of a new 40-acre Innovation Square development aimed at fostering collaboration among the university and high-tech businesses in downtown Gainesville. In 2014, construction will begin on a 185-bed residence hall called INSPIREation Hall, designed to be an “entrepreneurial incubator” for undergrads who have ideas for a business. Also in the works is a 150,000-sq.-ft. science and technology building designed to house companies at all stages. Work on the building, called the Infusion Technology Center, will begin in June and include lab space, office space and retail.

Tags: Education, Research & Development, Technology/Innovation, Research Florida

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