July 23, 2014

Biotech

One-Stop Venture Capital Shop

Mike Vogel | 1/1/2009

Gary Keller
Gary Keller [Photo: Matt Dean]
Gary Keller, 44, started in October as executive director of the Florida Institute for Commercialization of Public Research, a new attempt by the state — funded with $900,000 — to recoup its investment in Florida universities and research institutions. Keller was an entrepreneur in the tech sector in Chicago before coming to Boca Raton to launch the institute, which consists largely of just him.

Florida Trend: All the state universities have technology transfer offices. Why is the institute necessary?

Gary Keller: The institute is an initiative by the state to provide a one-stop shop for venture capitalists who are looking for the opportunity to invest in Florida startups, for entrepreneurs seeking their next startup opportunity, as a way to make it very easy to support putting together the critical pieces to build early-stage technology companies in fulfillment of the state’s plan to diversify the economy.

FT: Why Boca?

GK: The legislation stipulates the institute will be based in south Florida. It was seen that this would be a desirable place where people would want to come as a first opportunity to look at commercial opportunities available.

FT: Progress so far?

GK: We have established the institute’s office in the FAU research park. We have established a board of directors. We have engaged our first entrepreneur, Navroze Mehta from MDI Partners, in developing commercialization plans for two medical technologies out of FAU. Florida has extraordinarily talented and experienced people that have the ability to make their efforts and their investments bear fruit in their own back yards.

Tags: Southeast

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