Matt Leiter and some colleagues at Sarasota product design firm Robrady hope to turnaround the Gulf Coast's middling reputation for connecting venture capital with startup companies.
The first step: an alternative investment road show hosted by Robrady and its venture capital unit. The inaugural event, scheduled for March 29 and March 31 at Robrady's headquarters, will be a networking opportunity for investors and the principals of four local companies.
“People generally don't hear about these companies,” Leiter tells Coffee Talk. “It's hard to get a forum because there's not really a platform for it.”
The events aren't elevator pitch sessions, says Leiter. Instead, it's an invitation-only, informal opportunity for companies and investors to get to know each other.
The companies scheduled to appear at the first event include:
• ID Stronghold: The firm makes and sells ID badge holders, wallets and credit card sleeves that create a secure buffer to protect against data theft. Local entrepreneur Walt Augustinowicz founded the Englewood-based firm. (See Business Review, July 9.)
ID Stronghold, which has grown from $1 million in annual revenues in 2008 to $4 million last year, has partnered with Robrady on some design work. Former chief of staff for Gov. Jeb Bush and one-time head of the Florida Department of Transportation Denver Stutler will represent ID Stronghold at the event.
• Ziivaa: A Sarasota-based startup that sells a product for women's health and wellness invented by a Florida chiropractor. The product is scheduled for a summer release.
• XCPT Communication Technologies: The Venice-based firm develops software that enables a dentist to look at a patient's X-rays and other scans in real-time. The company has been listed as a presenter at events hosted by the Gulf Coast Venture Forum, a Naples-based organization.
• Safe IRA Investments: Based in Sarasota, the company buys and sells foreclosed properties, tax deed sales and trustee sales. It works primarily with investors' IRA accounts.
A second investment road show is scheduled for Tampa in late April. To request an invitation to the Sarasota event, send an email to [email protected].