Local start-ups compete for $100K investment deal

Eight Orlando-area start-up companies are pitching their concepts and technology to a panel of venture capitalists, hoping to win a $100,000 investment deal.

Former AOL CEO Steve Case kicked off his 2019 Rise of the Rest bus tour in the City Beautiful, shining a spotlight on the entrepreneurial spirit of Central Florida. 

Case, the founder of investment firm Revolution, says Orlando could be the next Silicon Valley.

“There’s a lot of exciting things happening around Orlando. Most people in Orlando probably don’t know that and certainly most people around the country don’t, and that’s what we’re trying to change with Rise of the Rest,” Case said.

Tim Guliani, President & CEO of the Orlando Economic Partnership, says the national attention could result in venture capitalists setting their eyes and money on the Orlando market.

“The rest of the world needs to know that entrepreneurs are here, they’re growing, this is an opportunity to invest,” Guliana said. 

“We have successfully printed in plastic, cement and metals already,” said Serge Stockert, co-founder & chief operating officer of Millebot.

One of those start-ups hoping to win the investment is Millebot, a local company selling 3D printers that ship and produce in a shipping container. 

Stockert says the mobility of the printer and the ability to print in plastic, cements and metals make it unique.

“It’s exciting, it’s something we’ve been waiting for because we do have a big, impressive technology that we can show to the world, especially coming out of Central Florida,” Stockert said.

Guliani hopes the Rise of the Rest Road Trip helps to retain talent and attract new talent to the area.

“Whether you’re a student, whether you’re an entrepreneur, whether you’re just looking for the next opportunity, we want people to know that those opportunities do exist here,” Guliani said.

Case says that Orlando is on its way to being known for more than Disney World.

“Hopefully, 50 years from now, it won’t just be about the hospitality side of thing, but it really will be about the start-up community,” Case said.

One hundred and fifty-three local start-ups applied for the competition. Eight were selected to pitch for the investment. 

Case hopes this spotlight attracts investors to Orlando to help fund the companies not selected for the $100,000.