29 episodes

Investing in Florida Technology explores the exciting landscape of Florida's tech startup market. Hosted by the Managing Director of Florida Funders; Tom Wallace, each episode features a leader in technology, their start up journey and best investment practices.
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Investing In Florida Technology Florida Funders

    • Technology
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

Investing in Florida Technology explores the exciting landscape of Florida's tech startup market. Hosted by the Managing Director of Florida Funders; Tom Wallace, each episode features a leader in technology, their start up journey and best investment practices.
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    Elias Torres: Elevating Minority Founders

    Elias Torres: Elevating Minority Founders

    When you paint a picture in your head of the American Dream, what do you see? For many of us, it involves the vision of being ‘self-made’ and designing our own destiny, no matter where we came from. 
    For Elias Torres, the choice his mother made when she immigrated from Nicaragua to Tampa would prove to be a fortuitous one in helping him realize that dream. After his early start at IBM, Torres became committed to the vision of entrepreneurship. With Drift, his current company, he has proven time and again that Latino founders deserve a place amongst the world’s biggest capital projects. 
    Torres is the founder and CTO of Drift, the world's leading conversational marketing and sales platform. Drift helps businesses connect with customers who are ready to buy. After just three years in the market, Drift has become one of the fastest growing SaaS companies of all-time and was named to the Forbes Cloud 100, LinkedIn Top 50 Startups, Entrepreneur's Top Company Cultures, Boston Business Journal's Best Places to Work, and SaaS Company of the Year by the NEVCA.  
    Listen to today’s episode of Investing in Florida Technology and hear how Elias made the incredible leap from struggling to take orders in English at his fast food job as a teen to becoming Chief Technology Officer of his own company. He also discusses dealing with imposter syndrome, starting with a new company just weeks before the 2008 crash, and the major expansion plans he has for Drift.
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    Some Questions Asked: 
    You came here at a young age from another country, can you tell us about that? (01:37)What was your first entrepreneurial venture? (12:32)Can you tell us about Drift, your current company? (17:30)Can you explain to the listeners the difference between venture capital and private equity? (31:29)Would you ever consider moving Drift’s headquarters to Florida? (39:59)
    In this episode, you will learn:
    How and when Torres became interested in tech (03:48)Torres’s early start with IBM (06:42)What the original vision was for Drift (21:43)Why venture capitalists love first generation immigrants (25:49)
    Connect with Elias:
    LinkedInWebsiteDrift
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    • 47 min
    David Blumberg: From the Bay to the Magic City

    David Blumberg: From the Bay to the Magic City

    It's been more than 18 months since the COVID-19 pandemic started and we experienced weeks of lockdowns, quarantines, and a total reconfiguration of the way we work.
    For venture capitalist David Blumberg, the pandemic took him from his ancestral home of California across the country to Florida. Realizing that he was no longer chained to his fixed, physical office in San Francisco, he took the plunge and moved over 3,000 miles in order to take advantage of the up-and-coming vibe of Miami, as well as the state’s business-friendly regulations and taxes. David learned how to take advantage of the pandemic and was able to recognize it as -- as he puts it -- a catalyst of virtualization, innovation, and decentralization.
    Blumberg is the founder and managing partner of Blumberg Capital, a  private Venture Capital firm investing in early-stage IT, digital media, social media, mobility, Internet, e-commerce, payments, SaaS, and tech-enabled services. He also serves as a board member of Credorax, Trulioo, IntSights, and Slync.io. David holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and an MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.  
    Listen to today’s episode of Investing in Florida Technology and find out how David made the leap from studying government to becoming a venture capitalist, how he embraces virtualization, and why he believes that the 21st century will be one of massive innovation and productivity for office and service work. 
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    Some Questions Asked: 
    Can you tell our audience a bit about your background and where you grew up? (01:54)You have this tie with Israel, when did that start? (14:10)What do you see in Florida and Miami? (22:41)What are you looking for in a founder? (29:38)
    In this episode, you will learn:
    Why Miami made the top of David’s list when he and his family decided to relocate (03:16)About taking ‘acorns’ and turning them into unicorns (09:41)How patience has paid off for Blumberg Capital (12:57)A little about the Israeli company that David and Tom are both investors in (20:01)Venture capitalists either follow the NASCAR model or the marionette model (33:59)
    Connect with David:
    LinkedInBlumberg CapitalTwitter
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    • 36 min
    Brian Murphy: the Importance of Reinvention

    Brian Murphy: the Importance of Reinvention

    What happens when a brand new tech startup finds itself in the middle of one of the worst financial crises the country has ever seen? With a little luck, some intuitiveness, and a lot of hard work, a pivot in the right direction can not only save a company, it can create major success, too. 
    Brian Murphy founded ReliaQuest in 2007, just as the US was plunging into the Great Recession. While he didn’t know it yet, a DoD contract would come to be instrumental in the company’s pivot from IT to cybersecurity. In the years following, Murphy was able again to lead the company with flexibility to a market that better suited them. 
    Murphy is the CEO and founder of ReliaQuest, a cybersecurity company serving enterprises globally. ReliaQuest, the leader in Open XDR-as-a-Service, is known for being the force multiplier for security operations teams. He also serves on the board of Embarc Collective, a Tampa Bay-area startup incubator, and is an official member of the Forbes Technology Council. 
    On today’s episode of Investing in Florida Technology, Murphy speaks about the evolution of ReliaQuest, his advice to founders that are just starting out, and how he still finds time to serve as a chairman on the board of Embarc Collective. He also discusses the big pivot that brought ReliaQuest to where it is today and what he sees happening in the industry looking ahead. 
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    Some Questions Asked: 
    Can you tell us a little about your background? (01:50)How did you make the switch to recurring revenue? (06:20)Have you had any trouble attracting talent in Florida? (08:47)How did COVID affect ReliaQuest? (12:02)Where is most of your hiring taking place? (14:06)Are you being acquisitive? Or are you still just growing organically? (15:58)
    In this episode, you will learn:
    What inspired Murphy to start ReliaQuest (2:41)A little about the software team at ReliaQuest (07:50)About the growing cybersecurity industry in Tampa (10:57)Brian's experience with bootstrapping (14:53)Where Brian sees ReliaQuest going in the next 5-10 years (23:04)
    Connect with Brian:
    LinkedInReliaquest
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    • 25 min
    Hugh Campbell - Entrepreneurship as a Team Sport

    Hugh Campbell - Entrepreneurship as a Team Sport

    Discipline, initiative, and responsibility are all skills you would expect a young person to learn in the military. But what about teamwork and learning to successfully collaborate with others as a whole greater than its parts? For Hugh Campbell, his time in the US Army taught him this invaluable lesson. 
    When Campbell entered West Point fresh out of high school, he never dreamed of the opportunities that would soon be accessible to him. Through his work as a communications officer, Campbell learned invaluable lessons about leadership, problem-solving, and tech. After leaving the military and joining the private sector, Campbell put to work the skills that he had honed, which led directly to his many successes and a career as an “accidental entrepreneur.” 
    Campbell currently serves as President of AC4S Technologies, a hybrid cloud solutions provider. Prior to his current position, he served as CEO of AC4S for 16 years. Before that, he held positions in planning, designing, and implementing large-scale telecommunications networks for companies like Intermedia Communications and Accelacom. He also serves as Chairman of the Board for the CEO Council of Tampa Bay and as a member of the board of trustees for BayCare Health System. 
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    Some Questions Asked: 
    Where did you grow up and how did you end up at West Point? (04:07)Where did you go after you left the military? (07:10)How did West Point and the military prepare you for being an entrepreneur? (11:21)How can people like me invest more in minority founders? (18:25)
    In this episode, you will learn:
    About AC4S Technologies and where the name came from. (02:25)How Campbell became what he calls an “accidental entrepreneur.” (08:21)The advice Campbell has for young, hungry founders who are just starting out and why it’s so important to make sure you’re really vetting the partners you’re going into business with. (12:34)Why being an entrepreneur isn’t for the faint of heart and easily discouraged—and why it’s best to play the game as a team sport. (15:22)
    Connect with Hugh:
    LinkedInAC4S Technologies
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    • 26 min
    Arnie Bellini - The Case for Being an Early Adopter

    Arnie Bellini - The Case for Being an Early Adopter

    We’ve all had that lightbulb moment at least once in our lives, where we have a striking realization seemingly independent of everyone else around us. What we don’t all have the privilege of experiencing? Having that moment lead to an early adoption of and investment in what would quickly become the most important, groundbreaking technology on the planet. 
    Arnie Bellini began his career at Price Waterhouse just as personal computers began their evolution from space-age technology to household necessity. Realizing the potential of this type of tech, he quit his consulting job, founded a company to help small businesses optimize their servers, and never looked back. 
    Bellini is co-founder and former CEO of ConnectWise, a provider of IT services to companies in the Tampa market and the publisher of the industry's most widely-used business operating system.  He currently serves as managing partner of Bellini Capital, an investment firm based in the Tampa area. 
    Listen to today’s episode of Investing in Florida Technology and learn Bellini’s start-up origin story at the dawn of the PC, why he believes it’s so important to balance your work life with family and hobbies, and how he equates the lessons he gained training to swim the English Channel to his business philosophy. 
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    Some Questions Asked: 
    What was the dynamic like between you and your brother when you started your company as business partners? (03:32)When you started, did you envision that you would be building a company that you would sell for over a billion dollars? (04:24)When was the tipping point when you realized that you had become more of a software company? (11:08)How is your family involved in Bellini Capital? (16:18)What advice would you have for founders out there? (20:13)What kind of investments and things are you looking for that excite you? (24:32)
    In this episode, you will learn:
    A bit about Bellini and his experience as a founder of ConnectWise. (02:09)How Bellini became a programmer—out of necessity. (08:24)About Bellini’s experience becoming one of the few people over 50 to swim the English Channel. (12:52)How Bellini Capital is working to help preserve the Florida Wildlife Corridor. (16:56)The importance of work/life balance in order to avoid burnout as an entrepreneur. (21:52)What Bellini finds most exciting in the world of up-and-coming technology. (27:41)
    Connect with Arnie:
    LinkedInConnectwise
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    • 32 min
    Reuben Pressman - Your Passion Makes a Difference

    Reuben Pressman - Your Passion Makes a Difference

    Have you ever had a moment of recognition that an issue you were experiencing was readily solvable, and you might just be the one to figure out how?
    Reuben Pressman started on the journey that brought him to where he is today when he began coding as a 10-year-old. As a student at the University of South Florida, he realized that the majority of the learning he was doing was going on outside the classroom—and that student involvement was a huge blind spot at his and many other schools.  
    After this a-ha moment as a student, Pressman set out to make it easy to collect usable data, then give the tools that institutions needed to make an impact. Launched in May of 2014, his company Presence has spent the last seven years doing just that.  
    Pressman is the founder and has served as CEO of Presence for more than nine years. The software serves to help universities improve retention rates by tracking data related to student involvement patterns and behaviors. In addition, he was recently announced as the CPO at Modern Campus, a higher education software company. He also serves as Entrepreneur in Residence for the city of St Petersburg, Florida.
    Find out why Pressman believes the most important trait in an employee is their ability to be a team player and the fortuitous way he first connected with Tom, in today’s episode of Investing in Florida Technology. 
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    Some Questions Asked: 
    What can you tell us about Presence and the journey that brought you here? (03:08)Who was your first customer? (05:17)Where was the tipping point when you realized you would be able to scale and grow the company? (08:20)Tell us about your time as the Entrepreneur in Residence for the city of St Pete. (12:50)What made you decide that it might be time to sell? (17:54)
    In this episode, you will learn:
    How Presence and its mission grew out of Pressman’s observations about his own college experience. (03:20)How Pressman worked through all of the bureaucracy involved in selling to universities. (06:42)The fundraising journey behind Presence. (09:45)Pressman’s advice for founders who are just starting out right now. (14:47)Where Pressman sees himself going after Presence. (21:02)
    Connect with Reuben:
    LinkedInPresenceTwitter
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    • 27 min

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