Tampa's UTEK founder Clifford Gross resurfaces up north to commercialize Canadian technology
Wake up and good morning. Here's a classic (with a name twist) "where are they now" posting. Clifford Gross (photo, left), who founded Tampa's UTEK Corp. to serve as matchmaker between research-hungry corporations and university R&D departments looking to commercialize their work, has resurfaced.
Gross, a former ergonomics guru at the University of South Florida, stepped down from UTEK in 2008 (more Venture details on this here) after the company reported an annual $8 million loss. Gross was succeeded as CEO by the younger Doug Schaedler (photo, right), who reinvented UTEK -- with a new name -- as a consulting firm (details here). More on that in a moment.
Gross, who effectively disappeared from Tampa Bay view in recent years, had moved to Canada. And now he's been named the head of a Halifax, Nova Scotia organization called Innovacorp that helps "high potential early stage Nova Scotia companies commercialize their technologies and succeed in the global marketplace."
Gross is not from Nova Scotia, but built a nearby home near Berwick about five years ago. "I’m passionate about this province, its people, its natural beauty and its potential," he said in a press release announcing his appointment. He starts Feb. 1.
For those familiar enough with UTEK to be scratching their heads, let's clear this up right now. After Gross left Tampa's UTEK, the company was renamed Innovaro. Here's the story on that and its rebranding strategy here.
So, we have Gross running Canada's Innovacorp. And his former Tampa UTEK company is now called Innovaro. Everybody straight?
As for the local Innovaro, its fate is less clear these days. Schaedler's long gone as Innovaro stumbled -- no thanks to the nasty recession of recent years. As for Innovaro, a company that bragged of a stock price over $20 a share in late 2006 now struggles at $1.29. Asa Lanum, now Innovaro CEO, last month brought in veteran salesman Dennis Hooker to try and revive the business.
Good luck to the local company and Cliff Gross up north, eh?
Gross photo courtesy of Innovacorp. Schaedler photo by Scott Keeler, St. Petersburg Times.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist