Since it opened in 1995, UF Innovate’s Sid Martin Biotech companies have raised more than $8.6 billion in funding. More than 80% of that funding—a full $7 billion of that sum— has been raised in the past 10 years alone. To this I like to say: We grew up!
We were one of the first incubators, certainly in the area, and we had to educate not only the entrepreneurs but also ourselves on the types of companies that would succeed, the need for seasoned CEOs, and how to obtain investments.
With the successes of our companies and the fact that Sid Martin has won Best Global Incubator of the Year twice, I think we’ve succeeded.
Now … to the next level.
The Alachua community is really motivated to diversify the economy to provide greater opportunity to its residents, which means that Alachua hits well above its weight as a startup community. By continuing to make the right decisions to compound its streak of wins, The City of Alachua has developed a core competency in collaborating with industry. Currently, 46.1% of Alachua County’s biotech startups are located in the City of Alachua.
The city’s mentality is what makes Alachua such a good home for Sid Martin Biotech’s 44,000-square foot location in Progress Park. With the completion of the San Felasco Parkway, convenience of access to Progress Park will only increase. I’m also looking forward to the growth of San Felasco Tech City; the continued success and growth of local publicly traded companies such as Axogen, RTI Surgical and ThermoFisher; and the graduate companies such as Lacerta Therapeutics, Applied Food Technologies, Encor, and MLM Biologics, that have decided to stay and grow locally.
In addition to the San Felasco Parkways, more land is now available for development, and I hope we can recruit and secure an anchor tenant for the Progress Park area, which would enable this area to continue to expand and thrive. That’s my vision for Alachua and North Central Florida.
But for a period of time, I felt like we—Gainesville and Alachua—were just running in place. That’s changed in the past four or five years; now there’s an energy, a collaboration of entities that want to make this area the area to live, work, play, and grow your company. It’s exciting.
I have great faith that this will continue to be the place for bioscience entrepreneurs feeding, fueling, or healing the world to grow their company. To me, that is the next level, and we’re rising to it.