Innovation Florida launches as a startup advocacy group

Innovation Florida, a non-profit advocacy group to support startups, has been launched by the Greenspoon Marder law firm and The South Florida Accelerator (TSFA).

Innovation Florida will provide support to startups in the areas of policy advancement, academic outreach, workforce development, talent acquisition, and entrepreneurialism, a press release by the co-founders said. A web portal will serve as the aggregator for all Florida Innovation activities, advancements, fundings, exits, corporate registry, jobs board and a shared resource center for their members.

Other founding sponsors include Sprint’s Brightstar Corp., Citrix Systems, Levatas and AAJ Technologies.

Innovation Florida will leverage strategic alliances with Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity, The Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, the Beacon Council and Palm Beach County’s Business Development Board, the press release said. Greenspoon Marder and the accelerator said they also will utilize their strong relationships with the state universities’ presidents and trustees, the legislature and the startup community, venture capital and tech communities that do business in Florida.

State Sen. Maria Sachs was among the attendees at a forum last week that preceded the announcement of Innovation Florida.

“As we continue to collaborate with Florida’s thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and institutions of higher learning we discovered that Florida’s technology sector was missing the value components of an innovation ecosystem. Innovation Florida will bring advocacy at a local, state, and international level. Without a dedicated Florida-centric advocacy organization, the potential to grow Florida’s innovation corridors is compromised,” said Thomas Buchar, Managing Director of TSFA and Innovation Florida. “Greenspoon Marder embraced the Innovation Florida strategy and we are delighted to collaborate with them. We also have to thank State Senator Maria Sachs for championing the initiative and Cissy Proctor, Executive Director of Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity for their support.”

 Thomas Buchar has teamed up with longtime tech Christopher Malter

Thomas Buchar and Christopher Malter of The South Florida Accelerator

(RELATED CONTENT: Profile of The South Florida Accelerator. SFBW cover story on Greenspoon Marder.)

Gerald Greenspoon, co-managing Director of Greenspoon Marder, said Innovation Florida will build on his firm’s deep roots in the business and technology fields.

“We are honored to continue to work with The South Florida Accelerator to leverage our strategic relationships and advocate for Florida’s innovative entrepreneurs and technological pioneers, many of whom will become the future leaders of our state’s business community,” he said.

Michael Marder, co-managing director of Greenspoon Marder, said, “Florida’s entrepreneurs have the potential to bring innovative change and technological developments to our state, as well as to the country as a whole.”

Christopher Malter, Managing Director of The South Florida Accelerator (TSFA) said, “Greenspoon Marder understands the challenges the region has faced to advance the knowledge-based economy. Their participation as a founding sponsor of the TSFA and now a co-founder of Innovation Florida is indicative of their commitment to Florida’s technology sector and we are delighted to further our strategic relationship with Gerry, Michael and their team.”

Here are comments from the other sponsors:

  • Michael Singer, Brightstar’s chief strategy officer: “From our world headquarters in Miami, Brightstar Corp. has a long and rich history of innovation in the mobile industry and an equally bright future. As one of the largest tech companies based in Florida, we support innovative change and technological developments leading to a stronger knowledge-based economy.
  • Andy Cohen, Citrix’s VP of strategic development: “From its founding over 25 years ago to its position as a leading public software company, Citrix has been based in South Florida and is an enthusiastic supporter of the local economy and technology ecosystem. We are pleased to be able to partner with Innovation Florida and its mission to advance and grow the vibrant innovation economy in our region. “
  • Ryan Gay, CEO of Levatas: “We love being a part of Innovation Florida. The access to a technology-centric and innovative ecosystem has been both a great way to grow our business as well as contribute to Florida’s growth and reputation as a leader in the startup economy.”
  • Amjad Shamim, CEO of AAJ Technologies: “The leadership and vision provided by Innovation Florida is a breath of fresh air. The ability to align public and private sectors to forge a forward thinking win-win relationship is what Florida needed and what TSFA was able to deliver. In addition, the ability to attract tech startups and venture funding to create jobs and wealth is what differentiate TSFA from other organizations.”




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