Congratulations to Capacitech Energy LLC for receiving 2nd Place at the Florida Venture Forum (2019). Founded by CEO, Joe Sleppy, Capacitech Energy is an Orlando-based company that specializes in advanced energy storage technology. Capacitech Energy’s cable-based capacitor technology (CBC) is an energy storage component that is unique because it looks like a wire and stores energy. The CBC can be customized, giving it an exclusive value. Capacitech Energy was one of three Orlando-based companies to participate in this year’s Florida Venture Forum. This was their second consecutive year of participating.
The Florida Venture Forum is the largest statewide support organization for entrepreneurs and investors in Florida. It helps growing companies to connect with investors and sources of capital from all around the country.
Michael Wright is an attorney with over 30 years’ experience, specializing in commercial real estate investment. He established MMI Development to acquire, invest in, develop, and manage commercial real estate properties, either through land assemblage or purchasing existing income-producing properties, including multifamily, office, and retail. His strategy has always been to buy, improve, operate, and sell.
Before founding MMI Development, Mr. Wright was a partner at Gray Robinson, P.A., Of Counsel at Smith Mackinnon, P.A., and an Associate at Akerman Senterfitt, P.A. and Senior Real Estate Counsel at Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company. During that time and in those positions, he handled well over two billion dollars in commercial real estate transactions focusing on complex finance transactions, land use and development, and title insurance claims and defense. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Mississippi and his undergraduate degree in Economics and Finance from the University of Southern Mississippi. Michael is also an Instrument Rated Private Pilot with 1,000+ hours.
Lilian Myers is a founder and principal with EconomyFour, a social impact organization that assists public and private sector enterprises to rethink a future of long life and life stage for the workforce, product innovation, and investment. Prior to EconomyFour, Myers was IBM’s Global Leader for Ageing and the Longevity Economy where she brought 25 years of health and consumer commerce as a co-founder and early-stage executive with several companies, including ones acquired by Siemens, Aetna, and Google.
A passion for startups, leadership in areas including corporate development, marketing, product management and internationalization has kept her close to entrepreneurs in roles including coach and mentor at the University of Central Florida in Orlando’s Venture Lab, board member at StarterStudio.org, advisory board member at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, and advisor at the Guidewell Innovation Center in Lake Nona, FL. Lilian regularly conducts workshops, speaks, and publishes on longevity, long-life, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
Economy Four – https://economyfour.com/
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/lilianmyers/
Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, is visiting cities around the country to find markets ripe with entrepreneurial talent that have been left behind by the greater tech investment community. At each stop local entrepreneurs pitch to win a $100k investment.
Case and his team visited Orlando as their first stop on their road trip to see what our startup scene had to offer.
Orlando had roughly 150 submissions, the most received from any city. Eight finalists were selected:
Rise of Rest Finalists
* AireHealth: Drug delivery for respiratory illnesses through a portable and connected nebulizer.
* Alertgy: The company has developed a blood-glucose monitor and alert system.
* Doghead Simulations: The company’s Rumii platform is a social VR product that conducts virtual meetings in a simulated 3D environment.
* Edukate: Financial wellness platform has personalized guidance and benefits information.
* FleetZoo: A platform for vehicle fleet owners to track their assets.
* InitWeather: Using artificial intelligence, InitWeather has developed weather forecasting products for the energy and finance industries.
* Millebot: This company specializes in large-scale 3D printing for on-demand production.
* Pangian: An AI-powered social network for telecommuters.
The quality of the pitches were very strong. Each entrepreneur only had four minutes to pitch. Knowing from experience judging and winning pitch competitions, that is not an easy task. It is often much easier to give a 15 minute pitch than cover all of the relevant points in only 4 minutes! The finalists all did a great job – there was not a weak pitch in the bunch and the judges definitely had their work cut out for them!
Congrats to the winner of $100k AireHealth!
CEO quick pitch: AireHealth’s connected-portable nebulizer is designed to help you be proactive with your therapy, even on the go. Our goal is to help you catch and prevent worsening symptoms.
I’m happy that Orlando shared some of our finest emerging entrepreneurs and startups with Steve Case, and the Rise of the Rest crew.
Big props to all finalists! Everyone did a great job.
I was also very pleased with how our community came together for the Rise of the Rest event. Let’s continue to build on this momentum and show the world that Orlando is a great place to start, scale and invest in startups.
Experienced Principal Broker with a demonstrated history of working in the real estate industry in Central Florida and around the state. Specializing in both commercial and residential property as well as real estate investments and development. Worked with the largest planned unit development in East Orange County.
Fundraising for the Orlando Museum of Art and the Council of 101 since 1995, The Zebra Coalition, Foundation for Foster Children, Women Playing for T.I.M.E., Lighthouse of Central Florida, Bridges of Light Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation including major fundraising for mayoral candidates, judges and member of Congress.
We received an update from local food entrepreneur Jesse Wolfe this evening, which can be seen below. It is great to see how he and his business, O’Dang Hummus, is progressing.
Several months back Jesse sat down with Josh Wilson, our podcast host for an interview that you don’t want to miss. During this podcast Jesse shared his experience starting and scaling his business, his pitch on ABC’s SharkTank, and the lessons learned throughout his entrepreneurial journey.
April 17th, 2019 update via Jesse Wolfe
Monday I had the absolute honor of speaking at the 2019 Walmart Pre-Open Call Summit.
Just two short years ago I filled out the application for Walmart Open Call, and was selected to Pitch O’Dang to their team. That event changed everything, and allowed us to become one of the fastest growing food companies in the world today. Getting to speak and give back to fellow entrepreneurs embarking on the journey was absolutely incredible, and truly humbling.
Thanks to Walmart for being such an awesome partner for small business.
It has been great to see Jesse and O’Dang Hummus progress. They’ve come a very long way from pitching O’dang at the UCF Business Plan Competition many years ago as a student, to landing a deal on SharkTank, getting into Walmart…and now being asked to share his lessons and journey with Walmart with other hopeful and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Keep rocking Jesse! We’re proud of you – David Brim
We are excited to share that local energy startup Capacitech has received funding from Varnadore Financial.
We received word about this funding from Joe Sleppy, CEO of Capacitech Energy, and learned more from a press release published on the UCF Incubator website (content included below).
Congrats Joe and team! Keep rocking and making Orlando proud.
Orlando, Fla. (April 10, 2019) – As Orlando’s Capacitech Energy looks to scale its wire-shaped capacitor innovation, the firm has entered into a partnership with Varnadore Financial to expand its company.
Varnadore has provided funding for Capacitech. This will enable the company to nearly quadruple production.
“Establishing manufacturing is one of the largest remaining bottlenecks for the company to start manufacturing our innovation and generating revenue” says Joe Sleppy, CEO, Capacitech Energy. “Plus, we are very excited to expand our operations in Central Florida, helping us work with more local partners and build the infrastructure to support manufacturing jobs in the near future.”
Capacitech will be using RTP Systems in Melbourne to build the equipment and tools needed for the expansion. It will be housed in Orlando’s Sisom Thin Films, which is building prototypes, and KCP Products for manufacturing. Sisom and RTP Systems will also be supplying the raw materials.
Varnadore was formed in 2011 as a small-business consulting and accounting firm. In 2016, it increased its services to also be a private equity investment firm. It is owned by David and Seth Varnadore , who are father and son.
“When Capacitech came to our attention, we were immediately interested, because it is an exciting startup with forward thinking ambition,” says Seth Varnadore , founder, Varnadore Financial. “Once we met Joe Sleppy and his management team, we knew we wanted to be involved with Capacitech and we look forward to a long, productive relationship with Joe and his team.”
Capacitech Energy was formed to bring the development of a cable-based Capacitor to market. That technology was developed at the University of Central Florida in 2014.
There are many applications for this technology. Capacitech is currently focused on building the cable-based capacitor inside DC power cords to help batteries in solar power systems and IT backup power systems last longer. It can also help miniaturize electronics and could greatly enhance the energy, automotive, healthcare and IT industries.
Once brought to market, the National Science Foundation calls the technology transformative.
“Adding energy storage capability to these cables is transformative and has the potential to be employed in a myriad of electrical and electronic applications,” the National Science Foundation wrote in its abstract of a recent grant award.
# # #
For more information media should contact –
Joe Sleppy, CEO, Capacitech Energy, 727-434-1229, firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol Ann Dykes Logue, Site Manager, UCF Business Incubation Program, 407-207-7426, Carolann.email@example.com
Alan Byrd, Alan Byrd & Associates, 407-415-8470, Alan@ByrdConnections.com
About Capacitech Energy: Capacitech is bringing a new type of capacitor to market. This capacitor, unlike traditional capacitors, is shaped like a wire rather than a soda can. This unique form factor has a plethora of advantages. Most significantly, its thin and flexile nature gives way to embed Capacitech’s Cable-Based Capacitor (CBC) inside power cords. This enables Capacitech’s customers to build capacitive, high-power density energy storage into the infrastructure of systems to improve power quality and complement batteries up without needing to change circuit designs. We are initially targeting the residential solar power market and will scale to IT backup power systems, EVs, wind turbines, and more in the future. For more information, visit capacitechenergy.com
About the UCF Business Incubation Program: The University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program is a community resource that provides early-stage companies with the tools, training and infrastructure to become financially stable, high growth/impact enterprises. Since 1999, this award-winning program has helped over 390 local startup companies reach their potential faster by providing vital business development resources.
With seven facilities throughout the region, the UCF Business Incubation Program is an economic development partnership between the University of Central Florida, the Corridor, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties, and the cities of Apopka, Kissimmee, Orlando and Winter Springs. For the 2016/17 and 2017 /18 fiscal years, the activities of these participating firms have helped sustain more than 6,275 local jobs and have had a cumulative impact of more than $888 million on regional GDP and more than $1.59 billion on regional sales. During the same period, the program has returned $12.03 for every $1 invested in the program. For more information, visit www.incubator.ucf.edu
Cliff Ingari –PRESIDENT, SimSTAFF Technical Services
Cliff Ingari is President of SimSTAFF Technical Services, LLC based in Orlando, Florida. He was the prior President of AVT Simulation where he brings more than 35 years of Military Simulation and Training experience and executive leadership to, both growing and scaling technology companies from startup to over $30M in annual revenues.
In August 2017, Cliff divested his interest in AVT Simulation, which he led with his former business partner, Robert Abascal for over 15 years. During those 15 years, he helped create 2 other successful training companies, acquired the third company from a large defense contractor, and then sold that company to another large defense contractor after a business model transformation.
Prior to joining AVT in early 2002, Cliff held several Project Management positions in the training and simulation industry. He has been involved in the development of the F-14D Fighter Weapons School (“Top Gun”) training program, the A-6E, the Apache Helicopter simulation program and the Close Combat Tactical Trainers (CCTT) program.
Cliff began his simulation career in 1983 serving in the United States Air Force where he trained F-4D and F-16 pilot’s flight instruction and tactics.
His passion is aviation, leadership, mergers/acquisitions, business coaching and entrepreneurship where he finds opportunities to serve the local Orlando business and Academic communities with mentorship, coaching and guest speaking in the Central Florida area to help other entrepreneurs navigate the challenges and successes of entrepreneurship. He has served as a Business Coach to numerous companies under the Rollins Business Accelerator (RBA) Program, and as a mentor to a group of aspiring entrepreneurs under a 10-week Startup Quest® Entrepreneurial Training Program, a Workforce Innovation Fund grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Cliff also participated in the Camaraderie Foundation’s Mentor/Protégé program where he had the honor of mentoring a United States Marine Corp Veteran.
Cliff currently serves on the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Industry Advisory Board, the University of Central Florida Business Incubator Veteran’s Initiative Board and the Rollins College Leadership Center Business Advisory Board.
Cliff received both his Bachelor’s Degree in Aeronautical Science (Cum Laude) and his Master’s Degree in Business Administration (with distinction) from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Connect with Cliff on LinkedIn
Senior Rafaela Frota developed the idea for Wawwe, Inc. (We Are What We Eat) when she was 14. Now she’s achieved major praise for her nutrition-assistance app .
Big props to WAWWE for winning the 2019 JOUST new venture competition. UCF is one of the largest Universities in the country. Winning this competition is a great testimony to the potential viability of the idea, your plan and the traction you’ve had to date.
I am very familiar with UCF’s JOUST. While I was a student I won the competition twice (2007 & 2008). To date I am the only two time winner! I have also judged the JOUST competition numerous times and have been a screener / judge for the submissions for the last few years.
BIG props to WAWWE, which stands for “We are What We Eat” and their founder Rafaela for taking home first place and $12,000.
CEO Quick Pitch: “When it comes to nutrition, what to eat and what not to eat, many people are very lacking in awareness,” says Frota, a photonic science and engineering major in her senior year. “The hope is that Wawwe can be a tool to help navigate that. Whether it’s a recent diagnosis or a dietary choice, people can use Wawwe as a tool to help find something to eat without having to do extensive research.”
I’m excited to see the great things that you continue to do with this momentum.
Keep rocking Rafaela! Congratulations.
Orlando, Fla. – March 25, 2019 – PlanSource, a leading provider of cloud-based benefits administration technology, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Vista Equity Partners (Vista), a leading investment firm focused on enterprise software, data and technology-enabled businesses. Vista partners with management teams to foster operational excellence, paving the way for sustainable growth opportunities, innovation and impact in the markets they serve. Vista’s acquisition of PlanSource marks the beginning of a new phase of growth for the software provider.
A big congratulations goes out to the PlanSource team for their recent exit.
You are a shining example to other local entrepreneurs on what is possible if you have the right idea, team and execution.
We look forward to connecting with you and your team to share your story in the upcoming weeks. There are a lot of lessons you have learned through your journey from start, to scale, to exit, that can inspire the next round of successful Orlando Entrepreneurs. You are an inspiration.
Paul serves as CEO of Foundry Commercial, bringing more than 27 years of commercial real estate brokerage, development, investment, and management experience. As one of the founding members of Foundry, he and the team have grown the platform to over 300 employees, serving clients across 12 offices and an investment platform that has completed over $1 billion in investment and development joint ventures, including an active development pipeline of over seven million square feet of industrial projects.
Prior to joining Foundry, Paul spent 15 years with Trammell Crow Company, most recently as Managing Director of North Florida. At Trammell Crow Company, he helped create the largest property management company in Florida and grew the division to become the company’s most profitable business unit in the region, with more than 35 million square feet under management and a full-service division of more than 200 people in three cities.
The traveling road show that will come through Orlando this month and reward tech startup with $100,000 has named the eight finalists that will vie for the prize.
Officials with former AOL CEO Steve Case’s “Rise of the Rest” tour, so-named because of Case’s belief that the next big tech company won’t necessarily come from Silicon Valley, released the names Tuesday.
Read more of the Original Article on the Orlando Sentinel website.
Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest competition is a great way for investors outside of Orlando, as well as non-traditional startup investors, to see that Orlando truly has investable companies worth scaling and celebrating. There has been a lot of energy surrounding the competition and we are looking forward to seeing each company represent Central Florida as they duel for dollars.
Our community is also excited to learn the 8 companies selected out of 150+ that applied.
A Big congratulations goes out to Orlando’s Elite 8:
Good luck everyone!
Your success is the communities success as well. Keep rocking!
RPA/AI – CEO Coach – Consultant
A pioneer in the Robotic Process Automation technology movement, Richard Milam brought a revolutionary operational efficiency solution to organizations worldwide with his conception of Foxtrot, the flagship product of the company he founded, EnableSoft, Inc.. Subsequent to the 2019 acquisition of EnableSoft by Nintex, Foxtrot RPA is now a key component of the world’s leading end to end Digital Process Automation solution. Prior to founding EnableSoft in 1995, he worked for the inventor of the ATM as an implementer of ATM networks around the world, held sales and consulting positions for several of the largest banking software companies, and served in the United States Navy as a nuclear-trained engineer in the Navy’s submarine service.
Previous Interview Episode:
Cress V. Diglio has been a Business Intermediary since 1999. Despite being one of the youngest Brokers in the industry at 28 years old, Cress achieved immediate success. Since that time he has been involved in over 500 successful transactions. In 2019 Cress celebrates his 20th anniversary in Business Brokerage.
In 2010-2011 Cress was recognized for having the largest closed transaction in the entire Sunbelt Franchise worldwide. The Business Brokers of Florida recognized Cress as Central Florida’s Top Dollar Producer in 2011. Cress joined Transworld Business Advisors as a Regional Vice President in 2013. During his tenure at Transworld Cress was a member of their prestigious President’s Club from 2013-2017. In June of 2018 Cress joined Calder Associates, a highly successful M&A Firm with offices in the N.E. USA and Australia. Cress is Calder’s Associates Managing Partner and a member of their Board of Directors.
Cress is well respected in the Business Broker Community. He has been an active member of the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA) since 2003. Cress is a Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) , Merger & Acquisition Master Intermediary (M&AMI), a graduate of the IBBA’s Train the Trainer and a Certified Instructor teaching classes on franchising, pricing businesses and analyzing and recasting financial statements. He served 4 years as head of the CBI exam and 2 years as the IBBA Education Chair. In 2013 Cress was presented with the honor of Fellow of the IBBA. In 2015 Cress received the highest honor in his profession when he was named Chairman of the IBBA. Cress and his father hold the distinction of being the only Father and Son to hold the position of IBBA Chairman.
Cress has won numerous awards and accolades within the Business Brokerage profession including; 2017 IBBA Chairman Award, 2017 IBBA Deal Maker Award, 2017 IBBA Outstanding Producer Award and 2018 Lifetime CBI Certification Award.
Cress is active in his local community. He proudly serves on City of Life Foundations Board of Directors. Cress is a founding member of the Citrus Club’s Young Executive Board. His influence on the Board led to the formation of the Philanthropy Committee. Cress is a co-founder of The Diamonds are Forever Casino Night Extravaganza benefiting Central Florida charities. Cress served on the Citrus Club’s Board of Governors for six years. In 2009 Cress was recognized by the Orlando Business Journal as one of Orlando’s top 40 under forty.
GuideWell Innovation is pleased to announce that Kirstie McCool-Chadwick has joined the organization as Executive Director. Kirstie’s role will be to connect Florida’s health and wellness entrepreneurial ecosystems into the state’s health care spectrum, and to lead the award-winning GuideWell Innovation Center in Lake Nona, Fla. The GuideWell Innovation Center, which opened in 2016, is nationally recognized as an industry leading health innovation hub for entrepreneurs. Kirstie’s focus will be to expand GuideWell Innovation’s strategic partnerships, design and execute curated programs for entrepreneurs in the health and wellness sectors, engage industry stakeholders, and advance a state-wide network that connects health innovators and stakeholders.
Before joining GuideWell Innovation, Kirstie served as the President and CEO of the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA), a non-profit serving over 600 business incubators, technology accelerators and entrepreneurial economic development organizations in over 60 countries. Kirstie was also the Executive Director of two Florida-based technology accelerators, Starter Studio and Igniting Innovation, that collectively mentored more than 150 companies that have since raised over $60 million in equity capital. She also led four Central Florida collaborations that resulted in over $7 million in operational funding for high impact entrepreneurship hubs across Central Florida that include Starter Studio, Tampa Bay Wave and UCF’s Maker Space.
Kirstie was founding director of Startup Florida under President Obama’s Startup America initiative, and was the Director of the University of Central Florida’s Venture Lab, where she facilitated the spin-out of several technology companies based on faculty inventions, and mentored hundreds of local entrepreneurs. Kirstie also served as the Executive Director of the Winter Park Angels, and was the co-founder and CEO of DigitalOwl where she raised over $13 million in venture capital.
Kirstie was the recipient of the Orlando Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Award, the Working Woman Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, and the Dr. W. Judson King Entrepreneurship Memorial Award. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Computer Science from the University of Central Florida (UCF), and holds an MBA from UCF.
“We are very excited to have Kirstie join GuideWell. She brings passion and broad experience in creating high impact entrepreneurial programs and ecosystems, and will leverage this expertise to help develop high-growth health tech companies across Florida,” said Tamara StClaire, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at GuideWell. “Kirstie’s start-up wisdom and industry track record in accelerating early-stage companies will be invaluable, and she is passionate about providing entrepreneurs with programs and resources to help them build impactful companies that serve today’s complex health industry.”
About GuideWell Innovation
GuideWell Innovation, a subsidiary of GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation (GuideWell), drives collaborative innovation for the family of forward-thinking companies that make up GuideWell. Headquartered in OrlandoLake Nona Medical City at the GuideWell Innovation CoRE (Collaborative Resources Ecosystem), GuideWell Innovation focuses on transforming the health system into a more integral and useful part of people’s everyday lives by fast tracking the delivery of next-generation health solutions. For more information, visit GuideWellInnovation.com.
Husband to Brenda, Father to 5 Incredible young adults, Super PawPaw to 3 Awesome Grandkids
Dysfunctional Serial Entrepreneur with only a 35% Success Rate
Former USAF C-130 Pilot and Hurricane Hunter
100% Blessed By God, Receiver of a ton of grace and mercy he doesn’t deserve!
KonaDocks – Big Kahuna – Manufacture of Floating Docks serving Planet Earth www.konadocks.com
BabyBella Pizza – PawPaw to the CEO (Isabelle, who is only 4 years old) – Serving the best-tasting Pizza featuring “Florida Orange Blossom Honey Dough” www.babybella.pizza
Banyan Partners – CEO – Immigration Service located in India, China, and Vietnam to help entrepreneurs Immigrate to the USA and start USA businesses www.banyanpartners.com
MakoInsure – Partner – Insurance agency serving real estate clients in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. www.makoinsure.com
CubaKat – CEO – Work in process of operating a high-speed ferry from Florida to Havana in less than 3 Hours www.cubakat.com
Sweet Emma Honey Company – PawPaw to the CEO (Emma, who is only 3 years old) Beekeeping company making honey almost as sweet as Emma
Ben Hoyer is the founder and director of Downtown CREDO, a social enterprise focused on improving quality of lives by cultivating networks of meaning, impact, and community, the President/COO for Rally: the Social Enterprise Accelerator and board chair for Orlando Together.
CREDO operates three name-your-price coffee shops; leads CREDO Conduit, a co-working society convening Orlando’s creative class, and facilitated the emergence of two innovate non-profits. The net effect of these efforts is a burgeoning network of people from all levels of affluence taking up lives of meaning, impact, and community.
Finding himself in the social-enterprise and coffee world almost by accident, Ben has followed where the CREDO has led him. It’s a statement of conviction that is calling folks to action and improving their Quality of life.
Nintex, which develops an intelligent automation suite used by more than 8,000 clients across 90 countries, today announced that it has acquired Orlando, Florida-based robotic process automation (RPA) provider EnableSoft for an undisclosed sum.
Foxtrot’s roughly 20-person workforce will join the Nintex team “as quickly as possible,” Nintex CEO Eric Johnson said, bringing the latter to over 500 employees globally.
“Acquiring EnableSoft … delivers on Nintex’s strategic plan for offering the industry’s most complete process platform to manage, automate, and optimize business processes across all departments and industries,” he said, adding that he expects the deal will help Nintex’s revenue top $150 million this calendar year. “[It] aligns perfectly with our product design principles: to make solutions that are powerful and easy-to-use, drive fast time-to-value, lowest total cost of ownership, and incredible satisfaction.”
I am very pleased to hear about the acquisition by Nintex.
I have had the pleasure of knowing Richard, the CEO of EnableSoft, and his family for years. He is an exceptional guy and very down to earth. He has a lot of wisdom to share, some of which he did through a recent interview on our Orlando Entrepreneurs Podcast.
Congratulations Richard and team!
Way to inspire so many of our local entrepreneurs and make Orlando proud.
RepScrubs provides health care facilities with time-sensitive vendor attire that improves infection prevention and vendor management protocols while reducing costs. The RepScrubs system includes real-time vendor tracking reports for hospital staff about who has been in the OR.
Jeff Feuer is a former sales director for a major medical device company. Feuer was sending reps into operating rooms for years when he noticed a problem with how vendors were handling their scrubs: leaving the hospital, going to Starbucks, coming back to the hospital, going home to their families – many times wearing the same pair they wore in the OR.
For some time, Dr. Munro and Dr. de la Roza had observed the anxious expressions of family members on returning to the waiting room at the end of the surgery, and their sense of relief on learning that all had gone well. They started texting updates to nervous families throughout their child’s surgery. At the time, it seemed like the right thing to do. Little did they know that they would be transforming medical communication and opening a window into the operating room.
At the end of the surgeries, families were overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for a simple picture of their loved one or a short text explaining what was happening during the surgery. Families repeatedly told them that it was as if they “never left their loved one’s side”, and had never felt “so at ease” while awaiting the outcome. Following extensive research, Dr. Munro and Dr. de la Roza soon realized that a text update approximately every thirty minutes could impact the waiting room experience like nothing before. The addition of pictures and videos from the operating room only served to enhance that experience.
As they updated more families during surgeries, the surgeons themselves began to take notice and became more involved. Dr. William DeCampli, a pediatric cardiac surgeon and the co-director of The Heart Center at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, began updating families with a short video at the end of the surgery to let them know “your little one did great and I will be out to see you shortly.” The impact of this type of medical communication was tremendous.
Dr. Munro and Dr. de la Roza started conceptualizing and refining their solution with the help of Patrick de la Roza to become an easy to use, HIPPA compliant software platform that they would call “Electronic Access to Surgical Events” or EASE. The EASE system was developed, the apps were created, and on March 4, 2013 EASE Applications, a company dedicated to improving medical communication, was officially launched by Dr. Hamish Munro, Dr. Kevin de la Roza, Patrick de la Roza, and Dr. William DeCampli.
Since that day, EASE has been focused on improving medical communication, reducing anxiety, increasing understanding, and creating a better healthcare experience. EASE is bringing hospital communication and the surveying of patients and their families into the 21st century. Created by doctors for families, the team will not rest until everyone in a surgical waiting room can stay connected to their loved one throughout the medical experience.
Mr. de la Roza has built and led high-performance teams with a demonstrated track record in strategy, business development, leadership, and execution. Mr. de la Roza has over 20 years experience in a variety of industries including health care, real estate, and retail. He currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of EASE Applications a communications platform for improving patient satisfaction and family experience. As a co-creator of EASE, he helped take the company from an idea to a nationally recognized platform in top-ranked US hospitals. He previously provided executive oversight for a 50,000 square foot medical innovation, surgery training and education institution at Advent Health. The Advent Health Nicholson Center trains over 15,000 clinicians a year in the latest surgical techniques and medical innovations. Mr. de la Roza’s strong entrepreneurial background has allowed him to successfully launch two startups, provide strategic direction, execution of business operations and acquire investor funding.
In his other roles with Advent Health, he was responsible for developing the overarching and unified digital marketing and brand strategy, content strategy, social media strategy and search engine optimization strategy for Adventist Health System. Mr. de la Roza also has an extensive background in residential and commercial real estate sales. During his tenure, he led the sales and marketing efforts at Baldwin Park in Orlando, Florida.
Fred B. Clayton
President and CEO, Orlando Union Rescue Mission
Freddy Clayton is a fifth-generation Floridian who joined the Board of Directors of the Orlando Union Rescue Mission in 2010. He served as Vice Chairman until he became President and CEO in 2015. He began his professional career as a lawyer, handling litigation in state and federal trial and appellate courts, and left the practice of law to enter business. He co-founded and sold two successful businesses, the first of which manufactures systems that generate and dispense fragrances for commercial applications. The second company creates and distributes interactive, web-based training programs for medical personnel. He received his A.B. from Davidson College and his J.D. (with honors) from the University of Florida College of Law. He and Susan, his bride of 40 years, raised their two grown sons in Orlando. Freddy and Susan are members of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Orlando, where they have been active in leadership roles and various ministries since they joined the church 30 years ago.
One of our significant efforts over the past two years is to educate the community about the Mission’s programs and objectives. Most folks think we are a shelter for slightly dangerous men, and that we house those guys every night, feed them supper and breakfast, and then release them every morning to torment nearby neighborhoods. That impression is hugely misleading. Our ministries focus on long-term residential programs that equip our guests to escape homelessness permanently. Guests live with us for an extended period, typically from six months to two years, while they get the education training, counseling, and other assistance to enable them to live independently and self-sufficiently for the rest of their lives. We have two major facilities – our Men’s Home where 120 single men live with us, and our Family Home, where we serve 136 men, women, and children. Everything – food, shelter, clothing, toiletries, and personal items – is free to our guests, and we accept no (really, not a penny) of government funding. We are funded entirely by private, voluntary donations.
We have an accredited high school for adults on our campus, and every adult who moves into the Mission must get a high school diploma (we award actual diplomas, not GED certificates). We have an in-house substance-abuse recovery program for the majority of our adult guests, who need that help, and we participate in Celebrate Recovery, the Christ-centered 12-step program. We have a full preschool, where we educate and care for the young children of our guests, and we have a full range of after-school activities every day for our school-age kids (tutoring, homework monitoring and help, physical activity, Bible studies, social time, and arts education). Our adult guests participate in Jobs Partnership, a faith-based jobs-preparedness program that has been very successful, and participation in our chapel activities is mandatory.
Send Fred a message to schedule a tour and see the impact this organization is having in Orlando.
Here is a link for our website:
Orlando’s startup community received a boost Friday in its effort to shift the city’s business image from one that highlights tourism into one known more for technology.
Former America Online CEO and Chairman Steve Case announced that he had chosen Orlando as the kickoff location for the latest version of his Rise of the Rest five-city tour, which awards $100,000 to a startup at each stop.
The eighth tour, which includes stops in Orlando, Tampa, Miami, the Space Coast and San Juan, Puerto Rico launches April 29.
“We want to reposition [Orlando] as not just about hospitality and Disney but also about building businesses and startups,” said Case, who has been leading his Rise of the Rest tour since 2014. “There is a lot of excitement but it needs a catalyst to get more people investing.”
I am very excited that Steve Case has recognized Orlando’s startup community to be one worthy of attention and investment. Orlando does have investment-worthy startups and has been able to attract investors, even though many of these investments often go unnoticed by the media and general public. I’m noticing an increase in attention overall, even though we still have a long way to go to catch up to Silicon Valley, Boston, Atlanta, or even Miami.
The press that the Rise of the Rest initiative, organized by the former CEO of AOL Steve Case, has been able to attract locally also is great for our startup ecosystem. It shows other investors that may be conditioned to focus on other asset classes that a highly respected national business figure does indeed see Orlando’s startup community as a viable and fertile location for investment.
I’m looking forward to seeing the pitch contests and what company will earn the $100k investment.
Keep rocking Orlando! Onward and upward.
Bill Peppler, COO of Kavaliro
With more than 20 years of experience in the technology, financial staffing, and consulting industries, Bill Peppler, COO is responsible for overseeing operations and developing additional new markets for Kavaliro across the United States. Before coming to Kavaliro, Peppler worked in the Orlando, Seattle and San Diego markets for international staffing and recruiting organizations. He has recruited for clients such as Microsoft, Amazon.com, Boeing and various Fortune 500 customers. After establishing an office in Seattle, he was offered an opportunity to do the same for clients in Southern California. He has been recognized as an employment expert in such publications as CNN Money, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Inc Magazine, Fortune Magazine, Orlando Business Journal and The Orlando Sentinel among others. Peppler has lead Kavaliro to being named as a Best Place to Work in various Business Journals, successfully had Kavaliro named to the Inc. 5000 7 consecutive years, and has brought about technical innovation that provides custom-tailored solutions.
Peppler is also a Founding Partner of the successful HR technology company, FYRE, which had a successful exit through strategic acquisition to Peoplenet/BullHorn in only 36 months and is still a leader in the HR automation industry.
Peppler received his BA degree from the University of Central Florida in 1996 and a Master’s degree in Business Management from Troy State University in 2002.Honors: