From hair removal to explosive detection, 6 diverse Tampa Bay firms will pitch for capital
Wake up and good morning. Of 19 Florida companies pitching their futures to financiers at the upcoming Florida Venture Forum (Feb. 3-4 in Hollywood, Fla.), six of those businesses are from the immediate Tampa Bay area.
What do each of those 19 get to do? They earned the right to give 12-minute presentations to an audience of venture capitalists, private equity investors, angel investors, investment bankers, financial intermediaries, service providers and entrepreneurs. Recession or not, investors are looking for companies with good ideas and drive. The Florida Venture Forum says presenters from the last 19 Venture Capital Conferences have been able to raise over $2 billion to date.
Who made the cut from Tampa Bay? Here's a peek at the six businesses:
1. Claro Scientific LLC, Tampa: Uses optical profiling diagnostic technology to analyze the composition and character of micron and sub-micron particles, fluids, microorganisms, and cells. The company's founder is Dr. Luis Garcia-Rubio.
2. Field Forensics, Largo: Manufactures trace-explosives detection kits and home-made explosive identifiers. One product may be a hot button for investors -- its FAST (Forensic Aroma Sensing Technology), a method of sniffing out explosives in air cargo containers that doesn't require users to make significant changes to their existing security protocols. In March 2008, the company moved into a new headquarters at the Young-Rainey Star Center in Largo.
3. Footprint Logistics Systems, Clearwater: Software services company provides shipping, storing, tracking and reporting on goods to help improve their operational efficiencies for small-medium business warehouse environments. The web site calls the business Datex, so the two names are not clear as to who's who. We'll try to clarify.
4. Ideal Image Development Inc., Tampa: Calls itself the "largest pure-play" full-body laser hair removal services company in the United States with 49 corporate owned Ideal Image clinics and 16 franchises.
5. Tower Cloud Inc., St. Petersburg: Supports wireless carriers by deploying fiber optic and wireless backhaul networks built to serve high bandwidth demands. Good timing for this company given the explosion of mobile wireless devices hogging up bandwidth to use the Internet. CEO is Ron Mudry who some of you may recall was founding CEO of Progress Telecom, a telecommunications owned by Florida Progress Corp. (bought by Progress Energy, in turn just bought by Duke Energy).
6. Tridelity 3D North America, Tampa: It says it's a German-based company pioneering 3D viewing solutions that do not require 3D glasses. Display TVs are now being "launched aggressively" into the U.S. market. Tridelity 3D North America says it's based in Tampa but I can't seem to find a location online outside of New Jersey.
Good luck to our local companies seeking fresh backing to expand.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist