GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Innovation Hub at UF, a business super incubator located halfway between the University of Florida campus and downtown Gainesville, created 85 jobs and secured $7.2 million in private investment after less than a year in operation, figures show.
Four companies have already graduated, most recently Shadow Health, which started with three employees and now employs more than two dozen.
“We are required to collect data and report back to the Economic Development Administration for the $8.2 million they granted us,” said Innovation Hub Director Jane Muir. “We contacted each of the companies and were thrilled with the numbers they reported in just ten months.”
Built with an $8.2 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and a $5 million contribution from UF, the 48,000-square-foot Innovation Hub is a unique innovation ecosystem that houses not only startup companies, but also service providers, including accountants, attorneys, venture capitalists and product designers that sponsor events, host educational workshops and donate at least eight hours of their time each month to the startup tenants.
The Innovation Hub is one of the only incubators in the nation to house a leading university technology transfer office in addition to those service providers. The Innovation Hub also houses the UF Development Corp., which is responsible for developing Innovation Square, and other partner organizations that nurture high-tech companies such as UF Tech Connect and the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research.
UF Tech Connect, housed in the Office of Technology Licensing, recently received a $645,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to support its efforts to commercialize university research and create technology-based startup companies. During the last fiscal year, UF Tech Connect client companies created 230 new jobs and generated $180 million in private investment. During that same time period, the UF Office of Technology Licensing received 324 invention disclosures executed a record-setting 79 licenses, and helped start 15 new companies founded on those new discoveries.
“OTL staff, Tech Connect staff, Innovation Hub employees and Resident Partners all work in collaboration,” said David Day, director of the UF Office of Technology Licensing. “We all want these startup companies to succeed and we all help them do this in different ways. Education and networking opportunities are particularly vital.”
The Innovation Hub will celebrate its one-year anniversary with an open house from 2 to 5 p.m. Oct. 19 featuring demonstrations by technology-based startup tenants. Registration is available at http://anniversaryopenhouse.eventbrite.com/. A special tour is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Oct. 20. http://anniversarytour4.eventbrite.com/.