FEATURED NEWS

Florida Venture Forum, Space Florida, DeepWork Capital, and FPL Announce Winners of $300,000 in 2024 Early Stage Venture Conference Investment  

Florida Venture Forum, Space Florida, DeepWork Capital, and FPL Announce Winners of $300,000 in 2024 Early Stage Venture Conference Investment  

MIAMI AND TAMPA, Fla.—June 6, 2024—Florida Venture Forum, Florida’s largest statewide support organization for investors and entrepreneurs, announced today the recipients of $300,000 in award dollars and investment during its 16th annual Early Stage Venture Conference in Orlando.  

The conference also included the Space Florida AeroTech Summit, featuring presenters and programming relevant to the space and aerospace industries, and the Forum’s Statewide Collegiate Startup Competition, during which startup teams from 10+ Florida colleges and universities competed for award dollars. A panel of judges evaluated each eligible company’s presentation and supporting materials.  

AWARD WINNERS 

The funding below was provided by Forum members Space Florida, DeepWork Capital, and Florida Power & Light’s Innovation Hub, 35 Mules.  

Accelerating Innovation Award – $75,000 from Space Florida
X-Lumin, Chief Growth Officer, Zev Suissa
Merritt Island, FL 

X-lumin is powering the widespread use of wireless communication services to enable others to digital, secure, and exchange data “from light.” They provide turn-key systems for ground-to-space laser communication, land-based optical wireless communication, and space situational awareness with advanced integration capabilities.

Grand Prize – $50,000 from Florida Power & Light 
HelixVM, Founder & CEO, Robert Rodriguez 
Boca Raton, FL  

HelixVM has built a software platform that dramatically increases physician productivity while increasing patient access. There are two go-to-market strategies — the first being the “Uber of Healthcare,” known as the HelixVM Marketplace. The HelixVM Marketplace provides rapid healthcare, often without a video visit, to patients across the U.S. As patients enjoy healthcare at any time, physicians appreciate significant income opportunities. In 2024, HelixVM will introduce the second strategy, leveraging its platform and marketplace expertise to extend these dramatic productivity enhancements into physician practices.  

Runner Up – $20,000 each from Florida Power & Light and Space Florida 
Algas Organics, CEO, Johanan Dujon  
Miami, FL

Algas Organics addresses the deforestation and sustainability challenges faced by packaging, paper, and pulp companies by replacing traditional deforestation-derived wood-based fiber with a novel, cost-effective seaweed-based solution. Their low-cost seaweed-based pulp fiber can be blended with wood pulp to produce paper and packaging whilst reducing deforestation. 

Runner Up – $20,000 each from Florida Power & Light and Space Florida 
Lonestar Data Holdings Inc., Founder & CEO, Christopher Stott  
St. Petersburg, FL 

Lonestar Data Holdings’ goal is Global Backup, Global Refresh, and Global Restore. Their mission is to apply abundance thinking and exponential technologies to the endless possibilities of lunar data storage for the human race, and in so doing to the exploration of the Moon and beyond. Lonestar’s vision is fueled by remarkable investors led by Scout Ventures, 2 Future Holdings, Seldor Capital, and the Veteran Fund, Irongate Global Capital, Atypical Ventures, Kittyhawk Ventures, and Backswing Ventures. Lonestar is committed to a carbon negative future.

Collegiate Award – $5,000 each from Florida Power & Light and Space Florida 
Unbound Disability Claims Inc, Co-Founder, Alyssa Wilbanks 
Orlando, FL – University of Central Florida  

Unbound Disability Claims is on a mission to transform the Social Security Disability application process, providing a lifeline to the 62% of applicants facing improper denials. 

Collegiate Award – $5,000 each from Florida Power & Light and Space Florida 
Abigail Sinu, Co-Founder, NanoSense 
Boca Raton, FL – Florida Atlantic University  

NanoSense stands at the forefront of accessible medical diagnostics, spearheading a revolution in healthcare through its groundbreaking nanosensor array technology.

Capital Investment – $125,000 from DeepWork Captial  
X-Lumin, Chief Growth Officer, Zev Suissa 
Merritt Island, FL 

X-lumin is powering the widespread use of wireless communication services to enable others to digital, secure, and exchange data “from light.” They provide turn-key systems for ground-to-space laser communication, land-based optical wireless communication, and space situational awareness with advanced integration capabilities.

Rob Long, president and CEO of Space Florida, said, “We extend our congratulations to all six companies that were awarded investment dollars at this week’s Early Stage Venture Conference. Innovators like these are crucial for meeting the demand of the burgeoning commercial space industry, and we look forward to seeing the great work they will do to propel Florida forward.”  

“We extend our congratulations to the winning Florida startups and all those who participated,” said Danielle Mousseau, Manager of Florida Power & Light Company’s 35 Mules Innovation Hub. “Their success not only reflects their dedication and talent within the ecosystem, but also emphasizes the innovation thriving within Florida and in the emerging technology industry we have here.” 

“The presenting companies showed why the early stage ecosystem in Florida is alive and well,” said Benjamin Patz, Manager of DeepWork Capital. “We were impressed with the quality of the companies presenting and will be reaching out to several for further discussions.” 

Kevin Burgoyne, President and CEO of the Florida Venture Forum, said, “Congratulations to our winning companies – and all our presenters, who were chosen from hundreds of applicants in a very competitive process. And thank you to our partners and members at DeepWork Capital, Florida Power & Light Company, and Space Florida, and to all our sponsors, attendees, staff and volunteers. This year’s conference shattered several records, including beating our prior attendance record by 25+%! We take this a very positive sign for Florida’s startup ecosystem.” 

  

### 

 
Media Contacts:
Pat Schneider, pat@flventure.org
Alayna Curry, APR, acurry@spaceflorida.gov
 

About the Florida Venture Forum
The Florida Venture Forum is Florida’s largest statewide support organization for investors and entrepreneurs, helping fast-growth companies connect with sources of capital from across the country. Since 1984, over 2000 companies have presented at Forum events and raised upwards of $16B in equity capital, producing billions more in economic value to Florida. The Forum’s 500+ members represent a “who’s who” of venture capital and private equity dealmakers, including equity and debt investors at all stages, major law, accounting, and investment banking firms, and large corporates active in the innovation ecosystem. The Forum provides programs and programming statewide throughout the year in addition to hosting major annual conferences like the Florida Venture Capital Conference, the Statewide Collegiate Startup Competition, the Early Stage Venture Conference, and industry-focused events including aerospace and healthcare. For more information, visit: https://flventure.org/ 

About Space Florida
Space Florida is where leading aerospace companies get everything they need to see their new ideas take off. As the state’s aerospace finance and development authority, Space Florida brings a mix of unrivaled experience, unmatched financial tools, and unbeatable location to the table by providing critical business financing opportunities for the aerospace industry, managing infrastructure investment in the state’s spaceport system, and facilitating research and development, workforce, education, and investment programs.  

About DeepWork Capital
DeepWork Capital invests professionally managed committed venture capital in growth-oriented, early-stage companies in the technology and life science sectors. We partner with visionary entrepreneurs building disruptive companies. DeepWork works closely with other investment groups and takes a hands-on approach with its portfolio companies. For additional information, please see https://www.deepworkcapital.com. 

About Florida Power & Light Company
As America’s largest electric utility, Florida Power & Light Company serves more customers and sells more power than any other utility, providing clean, affordable, reliable electricity to approximately 5.9 million accounts, or more than 12 million people. FPL operates one of the most fuel efficient and cleanest power generation fleets in the U.S. and in 2022 won the ReliabilityOne® National Reliability Award for the seventh time in the last eight years. The company was also recognized by Escalent in 2022 as one of the most trusted U.S. electric utilities for the ninth consecutive year. FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Florida-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), a clean energy company widely recognized for its efforts in sustainability, corporate responsibility, ethics and compliance, and diversity. NextEra Energy is ranked No. 1 in the electric and gas utilities industry in Fortune’s 2023 list of “World’s Most Admired Companies” and recognized on Fortune’s 2021 list of companies that “Change the World.” NextEra Energy is also the parent company of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which, together with its affiliated entities, is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun and a world leader in battery storage. For more information about NextEra Energy companies, visit these websites: www.NextEraEnergy.com