May 6, 2024

The University of Florida and Tech City: Awe-inspiring Spaces for the Next Generation of Startup Founders

Last week, PS27 team members and PS27 Foundation board members visited Gainesville and Alachua to meet with organizations that support entrepreneurs.

PS27 Tour’s the Malachowsky Hall for Data Science & Information Technology

Malachowsky Hall for Data Science & Information Technology

Our first stop was visiting Malachowsky Hall for Data Science & Information Technology at the University of Florida. The 263,000-square-foot facility serves as a collaborative space for key departments from the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering and other disciplines to promote advancements in today’s most promising field, AI.

Grace Winkler and Michael Gold, UF IGNITE

Our tour was led by Grace Winkler, Director of the Innovation Gator Network for Inspiring Technological Entrepreneurship (IGNITE).

“At IGNITE, it’s our goal to connect students with real-world experiences so that they can develop a network of professionals to launch their careers. We’ve partnered with PS27 for programs like the Female Founders Forum and are so excited to have their team visit our incubator on campus,” Winkler said.

Malachowsky Hall’s 30 lab spaces are designed to encourage cross-pollination among researchers from different fields. A high-bay lab, suited for drone research and experiments, is complemented by a viewing area that allows visitors to observe the activity inside.

The building also includes office spaces for student groups and a maker space that can be reserved for tech workshops and other student-developed collaborations and prototyping.

University of Florida Innovation Academy Leaders

University of Florida Innovation Academy

Through four years of classes on entrepreneurship, creativity, leadership, and ethics, Innovation Academy helps students develop an innovative mindset. Over lunch, the PS27 team met with Jeff Citty, Director of UF Innovation Academy, and Diane “DP” Porter-Roberts, Academic Coordinator and Faculty, to learn more. The minor in Innovation provides Innovation Academy undergraduates with an overview of the major functional elements of innovation.

We first connected with the University of Florida Innovation Academy at startGNV‘s Startup Sprint and have worked with their team to help judge student projects, including the Catalyst Challenge.

Catalyst, the Innovation Academy summer showcase that serves as a launching point, inspires students to move their ideas beyond the classroom and apply their innovative solutions to their communities even after the course ends.

Christine Caven Participating as a Judge for IA Catalyst

UF Warrington and The Gator Hatchery

The Gator Hatchery is a student business incubator at the Warrington College of Business that provides all UF student entrepreneurs with co-working space, office support, mentors, and other resources necessary for early-stage growth. We sat down with Professor Jamie Kraft, Director of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center, to learn more about the programs and events that encourage students to become founders.

Jamie Kraft Points Out Gator Hatchery Success Stories

Gator Hatchery businesses have access to the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center’s network of individuals, alumni companies, and other resources fledgling companies may find valuable. PS27 has served as a resource for Warrington students by speaking to the Principles of Entrepreneurship classes and creating opportunities for students to get involved with the PS27 Internship Program.

PS27 Team Huddles Under Solar Panels at Tech City

San Felasco Tech City: The Epitome of Solar Power

Inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of Alachua County, San Felasco Tech City is a community that cultivates an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and environmental responsibility. Our team met with co-founder Mitch Glaser, CEO of Emory Group Companies, for a tour of Tech City, home to over 60 early-stage companies.

The first stop on our tour: Fracture. Co-founded in 2009 by CEO and University of Florida graduate Abhi Lokesh, Fracture is a fast-growing, direct-to-consumer e-commerce company that allows customers to print digital photos directly onto glass.

Combined with five first-of-its-kind solar trees and the world’s largest array of bifacial solar, Tech City is sustainable like none other. In addition to office space, Tech City offers a range of single-family, modern homes that will each come with a bike for all residents to promote healthy living.

Our team left Gainesville feeling inspired and empowered after engaging with these brilliant organizations aimed at supporting startup companies and the next generation of entrepreneurs. We can’t wait to see what happens next, beyond investing.

Empowering Entrepreneurs with the PS27 Foundation Board Members

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