Three nonprofits strengthen local eco-system for tech entrepreneurs in educational programming, available co-working space and startup funding.
ORLANDO, Fla. – January 5, 2016 – In 2016 entrepreneurs in Central Florida will have even greater access to three crucial ingredients for startup success, thanks to three local nonprofits, all based in one location in downtown Orlando.
Canvs, a co-working space established in 2014 with the mission to make it easier for anyone in Central Florida to start and grow a technology company, has seen high demand for its flexible workspace options and supportive community atmosphere. Already the largest co-working space in the region, it will expand again in 2016 with 18 private offices and an additional community conference room.
Its location in the revitalized Church Street Exchange building is already recognized for its frequent arts and technology events and is home to 200 members and more than 100 companies.
Canvs is also home to Starter Studio, a technology accelerator that is now accepting applications for its fifth class of “Starters” who will take their ideas to a viable product during an intensive 12-week program. Starter Studio received more than 70 applicants for the ten slots it eventually filled in its most recent class. The 29 graduating companies of it first three classes generated revenues of more than $4 million in 2015, employed 90 people and have received more than $2 million in investment funding to date.
FireSpring Fund, launched in 2015, is the area’s first nonprofit seed-stage investment fund that will invest in early-stage, high-growth-potential technology startups in the same way that angel groups now invest. Its pay-it-forward strategy is distinct from these groups in that the success of companies that receive funding will return back to the fund when they successfully exit from the business.
The fund is on track for its first-year goal of raising $1 million. In addition to a five year goal of $5 million for its “evergreen” strategy to be self-sustaining, FireSpring Fund will also launch an advanced accelerator program in 2016.
Donna Mackenzie, executive director of the three nonprofits, confirms “entrepreneurship in Central Florida truly is ‘a force’ to be reckoned with. I consider Canvs, FireSpring Fund and Starter Studio to be key components to building a flourishing eco-system for technology entrepreneurs. They provide three things: places that grow entrepreneurs, programs that educate them to take their ideas to the next level, and funding that will help them to start here and stay here to stem local brain-drain. I am truly excited to see the impact we will have in 2016.”
For More Information
FireSpring Fund: www.firespring.org
Starter Studio: www.starterstudio.com