Gainesville, the university city, home of championship sports teams, a top-ten academically ranked university, and a mecca for start-up companies – including those in the manufacturing sector.
A good example is engineering design company Apex Tek Labs. The startup develops software, does prototyping, welding and machining. Augi Lye, Founder, and CEO, and a stalwart of the Gainesville business community states, “It takes a lot of good people (to create a business). You break out of that shell and trust other people to take your idea to the next level.”
Captozyme, which began in UF Innovation Hub on SW 2nd Avenue, is now a privately held company, and produces enzymes that remove oxalate (a rare disease) from the diet while in the stomach. This and other products clear the gastrointestinal tract.
AGTC (Applied Genetics Technologies Company), headquartered in Alachua, uses its proprietary gene therapy platform to develop products designed to transfigure the lives of patients suffering from severe diseases.
Ology Bioservices, also located in Alachua, focuses on biologics development and manufacturing. The company produces high-quality biopharmaceutical products, intensive research and development, and process development.
Tucker-Davis Technologies, also located in Alachua, builds products for fundamental and applied research in neurophysiology, speech, and hearing sciences. New Frontiers in Neuroscience is the tag-line. But it could have merely been Designing Products with Our Customers’ Real-World Situations in Mind; this exemplifies Tucker-Davis as well.
“We make tools for people who study the brain.” Says Tim Tucker, President of TDT.
Heavily invested in advanced manufacturing machinery and systems, the company’s design and engineering is synced with state-of-the-art production equipment. In addition to the corporate headquarters in Alachua, TDT has a presence in Canada, Korea, Japan, Italy, China, and Australia. Additional representatives are throughout the United States.
The mission of RTI Surgical, (Regeneration Technologies, Inc.) headquartered in Alachua, is to, “Promote a higher standard of patient care and create value by leveraging employee talents to develop the highest quality surgical solutions,” according to its marketing piece. This surgical implant company started as a small tissue bank at the University of Florida; now a global player with locations in Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, and Jacksonville, Florida. RTIs’ international footprint includes German, Singapore, and The Netherlands. On NASDAQ – RTIX, The 2017 gross profit statement reveals an increase to $142.5 million, that comes to 51.0% of revenues.
“We are pleased to have delivered on our 2017 commitments through four consecutive quarters and produced organic growth in every core product category.” Said Camille Farhat, Chief Executive Officer. For 2018, the outlook is very positive, helped by a stable market, and the acquisition of Zyga Technology announced in January 2018.
GTEC (Gainesville Technology Entrepreneurship Center), a business incubator located in southeast Gainesville has as its primary goal, to increase the number of services, technology, and light manufacturing firms locally. This mission statement of GTEC assures that there will be many startups in the manufacturing sector for years to come. Creation of products requires hard work and a network of professional connections with diverse needed expertise. GAIN – Gainesville Area Innovation Network, plays a highly important part as well. This organization connects entrepreneurs in the tech, life sciences, and manufacturing arena.
Additionally, Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator and the Center for Innovation and Economic Development are birthing startups in various fields including manufacturing.
The manufacturers listed here is only a tiny segment of the growing, and spectacular iceberg. There are many more startup manufacturers in Gainesville and surrounding our area; headed by individuals with a shared interest and idealism, and each founder and founder teams are to be commended and exalted for taking the plunge of enterprise passion for superbly enhancing the lives and businesses in Gainesville and Alachua County. Startups, in general, shape the future by creating something meaningful and practical for specific industries and for the public good.
By Michael W. Robinson