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Robert Trigaux

What happens now that Tampa's Innovaro shares tumble below a buck?




Wake up and good morning. You probably knew it best when it was called UTEK Corp., the Tampa firm that served as a middleman between corporations looking for university research that could be commercialized and universities looking for businesses wanting to bring promising research to the market. UTEK founder (now retired) Dr. Clifford Gross was a University of South Florida ergonomics professor who made his name inventing a range of products, including the Black & Decker wares that fit comfortably in a human grip.

Well, in recent times UTEK got renamed Innovaro and restructured into a consulting firm. The idea was to make the company less dependent on its small investments taken in the fledgling companies it helped assemble, and more dependent on the more reliable cash flows of fees.

Too bad it's not working. Innovaro's stock is wheezing along at about 96 cents. Any time a company's shares that traditionally cruised at well above a dollar falls under a buck, well, that's trouble. The stock chart above shows Innvaro's decline over the last six months.

dougschaedlerexinnovaroceoscottkeeler.jpgInnovaro ex-CEO Doug Schaedler (see photo) inspired the shift in strategy (more here on that) for UTEK/Innovaro and perhaps it would have been more successful if it had not occurred during the most wrenching of recessions. But Schaedler is now long gone from the company and new CEO Asa Lanum is in.

So here's the question: What happens to Innovaro with sub-$1 stock price and a questionable plan for the future? Watch for quarterly earnings to come out after the stock markets close on Nov. 12.

(Schaedler photo by Scott Keeler of the St. Petersburg Times.)

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Thursday, November 11, 2010 8:02am]


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