While Metro Jacksonville believes things are a bit more complex than the reason highlighted in this editorial, here's a look at why SocialMonsters.org believes the city could be the next Silicon Valley. We'd like to know if you agree.
Ed Baldwin, founder of the Jacksonville tech startup Profile Gorilla, announced at the convention last week plans for a clustered grid within the city’s urban core that will promote existing sites and resources that support startup culture and activity. Baldwin said its boundaries will largely mirror those laid out in the Downtown Vision Inc.’s Northbank district.
One of the goals of the conference is to brainstorm solutions for some of the challenges facing local entrepreneurs, such as potential sources of investment and ways to make Jacksonville a national leader in the innovation space.
Kevin Koym, founder/CEO of Tech Ranch Austin, said while Austin’s startup scene is considered one of the most thriving in the country, “It’s important to know it ain’t always been that way — emphasis on the ‘ain’t’”
It’s an old story in Northeast Florida, where there have long been tales of founders and investors running into each other on airplanes heading to Boston or Silicon Valley to meet with other people. That’s not good for long-term development of the sort of entrepreneurial culture that Jacksonville is looking to grow. For that to happen, we need robust players on both sides of the process — those looking for money and those who have it to invest.
“There’s no shortage of good ideas out there,” said Jim Philip, a partner at Harbor View Advisors in Ponte Vedra Beach, which invests in early- to mid-stage companies. “It’s how you make yourself and your idea stand out.”
The beta rollout features 3 teams at different growth stages - Idea, Launch, and Growth. Team members meet regularly to support each other and follow a process proven to accelerate growth. Professional investors, marketers, business strategists, and others will also mentor the teams.
Barker said bringing the innovation community together as a kind of district in Downtown would not only build upon the momentum of Jacksonville’s reputation for entrepreneurial activity but also breathe new life into the Landing, which has struggled to bring in foot traffic and keep commercial tenants.
“Leave your lonely office, coffee shop, or garage behind. ... Work on your project, network, or just be inspired by the company of innovators” — that’s the pitch from a group who knows a thing or two about pitching.