Orlando has all the ingredients to become the next big startup hub • TechCrunch


There is a lot of potential. Orlando is to Texas what Austin is to Texas, what Atlanta is to Georgia – a growing hub where startups from around the world flock to dream, innovate and grow.

The numbers are showing potential: New Pitchbook data shows that just over $360 million was invested in the Orlando-Kissimmee metro area in the first half of this year, up from $144 million in H1 last year. Q2 2022 saw $320 million invested, tracking $90 million and $30 million more than those allocated in Q2 2021 and 2020, respectively.

Not entirely surprising, Q3 saw a drop from the $160 million invested last year to nearly $23 million this year. But compare that to PitchBook’s numbers for Gainesville: The Gator City received $9.57 million in capital investment this year. Or even Port St. Lucie, which has about $12 million in capital allocated this year.

“There’s so much happening so fast that we’ve been tight-lipped about how we’ve told the story, but there’s a lot of stealth technology being built here.” David Adelson of the Orlando Economic Partnership

“When people hear Orlando, they don’t think technology,” Jordan Walker, co-founder of the Orlando-based messaging platform, told TechCrunch. “People automatically think of Disney World theme parks, but there’s a lot of innovation here.”

“The Orlando tech community is a very inclusive and very collaborative community,” said David Adelson, Chief Innovation Officer of the Orlando Economic Partnership. “There’s so much happening so fast that we’ve been tight-lipped about how we’ve told the story, but there’s a lot of stealth technology being built here.”

TechCrunch took a vibe check to see what’s happening in Orlando’s growing venture scene, as well as what needs to be done to keep it growing. Founders and investors cited efforts in the entrepreneurial community, while Adelson highlighted the city’s plans to become a metaverse hub. All of this can lead to one thing that Orlando needs to make a big deal of: light.

Walker co-founder Hunter McKinley told TechCrunch that “every major city has lights. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Austin Capital Factory have been leaders in driving innovation to their cities.”

“Look at the places that seem to stand out in the city and meet the most influential people,” he continued. Orlando needs Suarez or Capital Factory to own it.

Orlando: The Silicon Swamp?

Orlando does well as a venture hub. With one of the largest schools in the United States, an art scene from the University of Central Florida, and a great climate, it has a low cost of living compared to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and even Miami.



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