Jun 6, 2024

$300K in winnings announced at Florida Venture Forum’s Early Stage Venture Conference


Home | Florida Venture ForumThe 16th annual Florida Venture Early Stage Conference brought together over 400 investors and entrepreneurs and announced the recipients of $300,000 in award dollars and investment this week.

The Florida Venture Forum is Florida’s largest statewide support organization for investors and entrepreneurs, helping fast-growth companies connect with sources of capital from across the country. Since 1984, over 2000 companies have presented at Forum events and raised upwards of $16B in equity capital, producing billions more in economic value to Florida. The Forum’s 500+ members represent a “who’s who” of venture capital and private equity dealmakers, including equity and debt investors at all stages, major law, accounting, and investment banking firms, and large corporates active in the innovation ecosystem. The Forum provides programs and programming statewide throughout the year in addition to hosting major annual conferences like the Florida Venture Capital Conference, the Statewide Collegiate Startup Competition, the Early Stage Venture Conference, and industry-focused events including aerospace and healthcare.

Florida Early Stage Venture Conference Logo 2024A record breaking year for attendance, the Florida Early Stage Venture Conference featured presentations from 40 selected early stage companies, as well as keynote speakers, educational sessions, and other networking opportunities. The two-day conference also included the Space Florida AeroTech Summit, featuring presenters and programming relevant to the space and aerospace industries, and the Forum’s Statewide Collegiate Startup Competition, during which startup teams from 10+ Florida colleges and universities competed for award dollars. A panel of judges evaluated each eligible company’s presentation and supporting materials.

Kevin Burgoyne, Florida Venture Forum

The funding below was provided by Forum members Space Florida, DeepWork Capital, and Florida Power & Light’s Innovation Hub, 35 Mules.

Kevin Burgoyne, President and CEO of the Florida Venture Forum, said, “Congratulations to our winning companies – and all our presenters, who were chosen from hundreds of applicants in a very competitive process. And thank you to our partners and members at DeepWork Capital, Florida Power & Light Company, and Space Florida, and to all our sponsors, attendees, staff and volunteers.”

35 Mules on LinkedIn: #innovation | 55 comments

Danielle Mousseau, 35 Mules Innovation Hub

“We extend our congratulations to the winning Florida startups and all those who participated,” said Danielle Mousseau, Manager of Florida Power & Light Company’s 35 Mules Innovation Hub. “Their success not only reflects their dedication and talent within the ecosystem, but also emphasizes the innovation thriving within Florida and in the emerging technology industry we have here.”

Rob Long, president and CEO of Space Florida, said, “We extend our congratulations to all six companies that were awarded investment dollars at this week’s Early Stage Venture Conference. Innovators like these are crucial for meeting the demand of the burgeoning commercial space industry, and we look forward to seeing the great work they will do to propel Florida forward.”


  • X-Lumin (Merritt Island, FL) – Accelerating Innovation Award – $75,000 from Space FloridaX-lumin is powering the widespread use of wireless communication services to enable others to digital, secure, and exchange data “from light.”  They provide turn-key systems for ground to space laser communication, land based optical wireless communication, and space situational awareness with advanced integration capabilities.


  • HelixVM (Boca Raton, FL) – Grand Prize – $50,000 from Florida Power & Light
    HelixVM has built a software platform that dramatically increases physician productivity while increasing patient access. There are two go-to-market strategies- the first being the “Uber of Healthcare,” known as the HelixVM Marketplace. The HelixVM Marketplace provides rapid health care, often without a video visit, to patients across the US. As patients enjoy health care at any time, physicians appreciate significant income opportunities. In 2024, HelixVM will introduce the second strategy, leveraging its platform and marketplace expertise to extend these dramatic productivity enhancements into physician practices.


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Algas Organics CEO, Johanan Dujon, with his 2nd runner up check.

  • Algas Organics (Miami, FL) – Runner Up – $20,000 each from Florida Power & Light and Space Florida
    Algas Organics addresses the deforestation and sustainability challenges faced by packaging, paper, and pulp companies by replacing traditional deforestation-derived wood-based fiber with a novel, cost-effective seaweed-based solution. Their low-cost seaweed-based pulp fiber can be blended with wood pulp to produce paper and packaging whilst reducing deforestation.


  • Lonestar Data Holdings Inc. (St. Petersburg, FL) – Runner Up – $20,000 each from Florida Power & Light and Space Florida
    Lonestar Data Holdings’ goal is Global Backup, Global Refresh, and Global Restore. Their mission is to apply abundance thinking and exponential technologies to the endless possibilities of lunar data storage for the human race, and in so doing to the exploration of the Moon and beyond. Lonestar’s vision is fueled by remarkable investors led by Scout Ventures, 2 Future Holdings, Seldor Capital, and the Veteran Fund. Irongate Global Capital, Atypical Ventures, Kittyhawk Ventures, and Backswing Ventures. Lonestar is committed to a carbon negative future.


  • Unbound Disability Claims Inc. (Orlando, FL) – Collegiate Award (University of Central Florida)– $5,000 each from Florida Power & Light and Space Florida
    Unbound Disability Claims is on a mission to transform the Social Security Disability (SSD) application process, providing a lifeline to the 62% of applicants facing improper denials.


  • Dr. Kevin Cox, Director of FAU’s Adams Center for Entrepreneurship, with Collegiate winners Abigail Sinu and Noor Habona from NanoSense.

    NanoSense (Boca Raton, FL) – Collegiate Award (Florida Atlantic University) – $5,000 each from Florida Power & Light and Space Florida
    NanoSense stands at the forefront of accessible medical diagnostics, spearheading a revolution in healthcare through its groundbreaking nanosensor array technology.

  • X-Lumin (Merritt Island, FL) – Capital Investment – $125,000 from DeepWork Capital
    X-lumin is powering the widespread use of wireless communication services to enable others to digital, secure, and exchange data “from light.” They provide turn-key systems for ground to space laser communication, land based optical wireless communication, and space situational awareness with advanced integration capabilities.

Perhaps most impressive is this year’s Collegiate Winner, Abigial Sinu, from NanoSense who competed against all traditional college students as a high school student from Florida Atlantic’s A.D. Henderson University School & FAU High School which just received top honors in the 2024 Niche ‘Best Schools’ rankings, earning No. 3 as best high school within the state of Florida. Abigail is dual enrolled at Florida Atlantic University and involved in the FAU Wave Program, an NSF I-Corp participant, and Won First Place at the FAU Business Pitch Competition (Undergraduate Student Track) earlier this year. Abigail is dual enrolled at Florida Atlantic University and with aspirations to graduate with a Double Concentration in Medical Biology & Neuroscience and Behavior, expected in the summer of 2025.

One company, X-Lumin received not one, but two awards, and one of which was Capital Investment from DeepWork Capital, the Orlando-based capital investment firm known for launching and leading the Florida Opportunity Fund.

Profile photo of Ben Patz

Ben Patz, DeepWork Capital

DeepWork Capital, invests professionally managed committed venture capital in growth-oriented, early-stage companies in the technology and life science sectors. We partner with visionary entrepreneurs building disruptive companies. DeepWork works closely with other investment groups and takes a hands-on approach with its portfolio companies.

“The presenting companies showed why the early stage ecosystem in Florida is alive and well,” said Benjamin Patz, Manager of DeepWork Capital. “We were impressed with the quality of the companies presenting and will be reaching out to several for further discussions.”

Kevin Burgoyne, CEO of Florida Venture Forum, also shared, “This year’s conference shattered several records, including beating our prior attendance record by 25+%! We take this a very positive sign for Florida’s startup ecosystem.”

To learn more about Florida Venture Forum, visit www.flventure.org