Open to Ideas

Resources for businesses big and small are attracting bright minds and big ideas to Lake Nona

June 08, 2021

From major corporations to budding entrepreneurs, Lake Nona is a place where new ideas can become a reality – whether you’re imagining the next-generation of sports and health technology solutions in the leAD Lake Nona Sports & Health Tech Accelerator, testing new healthy home technology at WHIT, or still brainstorming at home.

In fact, our Move Nona autonomous shuttle program is a great example. The leadership team at Beep had a trailblazing idea to redefine mobility with a sustainable autonomous vehicle (AV) shuttle solution. All they needed was a place and a partner who could bring their idea to life. After conversations with the leadership team in Lake Nona, Beep was able to go from concept to operations with AV shuttles running on the streets of Lake Nona in less than a year. Move Nona is now the largest and longest-running, single-site AV fleet in the country.  

Lake Nona is home to a wide variety of cutting-edge workspaces, from Class A office buildings to home offices wired with gigabit connectivity, in addition to accelerator programs to help companies big and small bring their ideas to life within Lake Nona’s living lab environment.

Below is a roundup of resources that you’ll find in our entrepreneurial ecosystem and some inspiring words from innovators who are already here today.

Verizon 5G Innovation Hub

At the Verizon 5G Innovation Hub startups can develop and test 5G-enabled solutions across a variety of existing industries in Lake Nona including health care, wellbeing, education, retail, sports, and autonomous mobility.

Speaking of the latter, Verizon is already collaborating with Beep to improve safety features in our fleet of Move Nona autonomous shuttles. At the Hub, located within the MS2 space across from Lake Nona Town Center, startups have access to a powerful 5G network, both shared and private workspaces, 3D printers, and flexible power accessibility.

One of six startups in the accelerator’s first cohort, NESTRE, is working on an app to train your brain for better cognitive health, mental wellness, and human potential. NESTRE’s founder and CEO Dr. Tommy Shavers said, “the network, resources, experts, and training have been top notch and have helped us transform in a short amount of time and find clarity in who we are and what we’re doing.”

leAD Lake Nona Sports & Health Tech Accelerator

The Verizon 5G Innovation Hub shares its workspace with the leAD Lake Nona Sports & Health Tech Accelerator. The open floor plan was designed to be shared with as few fixed elements as possible to accommodate innovations both big and small for entrepreneurs working on the future of sports and health technology.

One of six startups in the accelerator’s first cohort, NESTRE, is working on an app to train your brain for better cognitive health, mental wellness, and human potential. NESTRE’s founder and CEO Dr. Tommy Shavers said, “the network, resources, experts, and training have been top notch and have helped us transform in a short amount of time and find clarity in who we are and what we’re doing.”

GuideWell Innovation Center

Health care experts and entrepreneurs are reimagining the future of digital health and exploring the next industry breakthroughs at the GuideWell Innovation Center. Located in Lake Nona’s health and life sciences hub adjacent to the UCF Lake Nona Medical Center and the UF Research & Academic Center, GuideWell features a variety of collaborative and private workspaces, a 250-seat theatre in the round for special events, and more.

One of those entrepreneurs is Reuben Gobezi, MD who relocated the headquarters of his home-based physical therapy business to GuideWell. “We wanted to move our PT Genie headquarters to Lake Nona where there is a lot growth and opportunity for new businesses in the tech and biotech space,” he said.

UCF Life Sciences Incubator

The GuideWell Innovation Center is also home to the UCF Lake Nona Life Sciences Incubator, a collaborative effort of its own between the University of Central Florida (UCF), the City of Orlando, Lake Nona’s developer Tavistock, the State of Florida, and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council. The incubator features a fully equipped, Biosafety Level II wet lab facility, conference rooms, and offices.

Recently, the UCF Life Sciences Incubator startup axiVEND graduated to a bigger space where it expects to hire new employees. The company specializes in providing sophisticated instruments and test-development solutions to companies involved in the research, development, and production of diagnostics test kits, sensors, and microarrays. During axiVEND’s 18 months in the UCF Life Sciences Incubator, the startup benefited from lab space to grow its enterprise and virtual training to better plan for financial stability.

WHIT

Putting your innovations to the test in a real-life environment is what we’re all about in Lake Nona. Take our WHIT prototype healthy home (Wellness Home built on Innovation and Technology)– it’s another one of those collaborative spaces we’ve been talking about, but this one is focused on healthy home innovations that can be installed and tested in a model home like no other.

Located in the Laureate Park neighborhood, WHIT has helped entrepreneurs test smart windows, drone delivery systems, lighting solutions, innovative kitchen models, and more within a real-life home setting.

Fred Maxik, founder of Lighting Science, is responsible for the smart home’s current lighting features including LED lights in the kitchen that disinfect the countertops. He said, “WHIT offers a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with like-minded, forward thinkers. We have the ability to demonstrate technologies and novel designs that are capable of improving our lives today.”

Virtual Resources

From artists and athletes to students and scientists, Lake Nona has something for every entrepreneur. Whether you have a big business or small startup, we’ve got you covered with opportunities to support your idea’s growth and development.

Not sure where to start? Join us at our Lake Nona Startup Series, a virtual meet-up for local entrepreneurs to network, share ideas, and learn more about how our business community can support each other. Never miss a meetup by following us on Facebook (@LearnLakeNona).

Our partners at the Verizon 5G Innovation Hub in Lake Nona are also hosting a series of virtual events designed to showcase how 5G solutions will transform our daily lives. If you’re curious about how 5G can impact your business, these events are for you! Learn more from expert panels and roundtable discussions featuring some of the top minds in the industry. For more information on upcoming events, visit www.5ginnovationlakenona.com.

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