A Celebration of Innovation Startup showcase 2017

A Celebration of Innovation is a unique opportunity to see startup companies commercializing the latest life science, medical device, and cutting-edge technologies generated as a result of the more than $700 million in research conducted annually at UF.

A Celebration of Innovation startup showcase includes numerous opportunities for networking, learning about the startups presenting, and sharing an enthusiasm for innovation and entrepreneurship that changes our world.
In the opening session, a number of people praised OTL Director David Day for all he has achieved for the UF and local community in his 16 years of service. He received a standing ovation after saying "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish," his farewell speech in which he made us laugh as he inspired us to do the right thing and make the world better for it. The assistant vice president for technology transfer at the University of Florida is retiring in June.
Top left: Dr. David Norton, vice president for research, highlighted the work of OTL Director David Day in his "Innovation Update" talk. He introduced incoming director Jim O'Connell (top middle and right), who shared a few words including the advice he'd received as David Day's replacement (essentially, "tell better jokes" and "don't mess up David's masterpiece." Bottom left: Jane Muir, director of the Innovation Hub at UF, introduced the 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year, Stephen Gatto (bottom right), who received the award with thanks and shared a bit of inspiration with the audience.
The opening session featured a panel demonstrating the life cycle of innovation. This panel captured the story of MAKO Surgical, a startup company meshing custom knee replacement implants with robotic precision in surgery. Participating in the panel, from left, is Sid Martin Biotech Director Mark Long (as moderator), Dr. Scott Banks (the inventor of the implants), Dr. Maurice Ferre (the founder and original CEO of MAKO), Dr. Tony Natale (original investor in the company), Dr. Tristan Altbuch (orthopaedic surgeon who uses Makoplasty, as the combination of custom implants and robotic precision is called), and Dr. John Byatt (the licensing officer who created the license that moved the technology from the lab into the marketplace where it could make the world a better place). The technology was purchased by Stryker for $1.65 billion. Audience members had an opportunity to ask questions of the panelists.
A dozen startups companies presented their pitches at this 11th annual showcase. At top left, Jack Kendall of PlasmaChip presented his company that is developing artificial intelligence based on biology. The neural connections in his technology correlate to the human brain. At bottom right, Thomas Bigger of Curtiss Healthcare reacts to a speaker on the platform. Bigger is a serial entrepreneur, responsible for gaining millions of dollars for the startup companies he has founded. The crowd at showcase included inventors, inventors, and entrepreneurs, some who have pitched their companies at previous UF showcases.


Photos by Katie White, marketing & communications specialist, Innovation Hub at UF

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