O’Dang Hummus founder, Jesse Wolfe, shares his experience with entrepreneurs seeking to grow with Walmart

By: David Brim

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.

My $.02s

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

Capacitech Energy Gains Momentum after Funding from Varnadore Financial

By: 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, joe.sleppy@capacitechenergy.com

Carol Ann Dykes Logue, Site Manager, UCF Business Incubation Program, 407-207-7426, Carolann.dykeslogue@ucf.edu

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

The Philosophy of Service: Interview with Cliff Ingari

By: Josh Wilson

The Philosophy of Service: Interview with Cliff Ingari

00:00 / 00:42:28



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


WAWWE, Healthy-living App Wins 2019 UCF Joust Venture Competition

By: David Brim

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 .

Source: today.ucf.edu

My $.02s…


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 based PlanSource Acquired by Vista Equity Partners

By: David Brim

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.

Source: plansource.com

My $.02s:

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.

Well done!


The Power of Persistence: Interview with Paul Ellis

By: Josh Wilson

The Power of Persistence: Interview with Paul Ellis

00:00 / 00:50:01

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.

Twitter (company): @FoundryCRE
The Power of Persistence

8 finalists announced for Orlando $100,000 ‘Rise of the Rest’ competition by AOL’s Steve Case

By: David Brim

By Marco Santana


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.

Source: www.orlandosentinel.com

My $.02s

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:


  • 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.

Good luck everyone!

Your success is the communities success as well. Keep rocking!

David Brim

After the Sale: Interview with Richard Milam

By: Josh Wilson

After the Sale: Interview with Richard Milam

00:00 / 00:46:30

Richard Milam


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:

A Pioneer in Automation – Interview with Richard Milam





Selling a Service Business: Interview with Cress Diglio

By: Josh Wilson

Selling a Service Business: Interview with Cress Diglio

00:00 / 00:50:27

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 Taps Kirstie McCool-Chadwick as Innovation Executive Director

By: David Brim

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.