SOURCE: SRI International

April 23, 2008 08:00 ET

SRI International Teams With Tampa Bay Technology Forum to Help Emerging Technology Companies

May 14th Open House Scheduled to Recruit Tech Startups for Joint Advisory and Mentoring Program

TAMPA, FL--(Marketwire - April 23, 2008) - SRI International, an independent nonprofit research and development organization, and the Tampa Bay Technology Forum (TBTF), Florida's premier technology industry association, today announced that SRI will serve as a strategic advisor to TBTF's Emerging Companies Academy (ECA).

The Emerging Companies Academy works with companies ranging from raw startups to companies that have a shipping product but are looking to accelerate their growth. The program and resources made available to technical entrepreneurs help them refine their plans and prepare them for everything from product launch to raising angel or venture investment.

SRI and the ECA will identify a select group of early-stage technology companies that could benefit from SRI's innovation and technology expertise. To launch this effort, SRI and TBTF will co-host a day-long ECA open house and evening reception on Wednesday, May 14th at the University of Tampa's Vaughn Center. Any technology startup company interested in pitching its business concept and making a case for participation in the ECA program may apply for this opportunity. For ECA participants, SRI will provide business and technical mentorship, which could include strategic counsel, market analysis and assessment, business planning, customer identification and selected operational assistance. SRI will also serve as a liaison between the emerging companies and local and Silicon Valley venture capitalists.

"The Emerging Companies Academy is a hands-on program for assisting early-stage technology companies in the Tampa Bay area," said Amy Norman, president and CEO of TBTF. "By collaborating with SRI, the ECA can now offer its participants added expertise in technology development and the innovation process. The creation and growth of these new companies will add momentum to Tampa Bay's growing technology ecosystem."

Jonathan Baer, a senior executive with Threshold Ventures, will serve as the SRI senior mentor to the selected companies. Companies will learn about management team development, new market opportunities and how to best establish strategic partnerships. Baer, a former venture capitalist in Silicon Valley, has been a consultant to SRI on many projects and initiated the formation of SRI's spin-off company Artificial Muscle Inc. in 2004.

"I look forward to working with TBTF and the wealth of technology-based companies in the region," said Baer. "There are great companies in every corner of the world, and the Tampa Bay area is no exception. I am excited about working with these dynamic companies to help them achieve the next milestone in their business success."

The Emerging Companies Academy provides entrepreneurs with the tools and resources needed in an emerging technology business. Seasoned advisors and volunteer mentors evaluate the needs of emerging companies and provide a pragmatic road map for product and business development, operational guidance, or other disciplines critical to start and sustain a company in fast moving and highly competitive technology markets.

The collaboration between SRI and the ECA will focus primarily on high-technology ventures in the fields of software, telecommunications, information technology, energy, sensors and other hardware devices. Companies in the biotech, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and semiconductor industries will also be considered.

The ECA is currently working with about 30 companies and is recruiting additional companies for its May orientation workshop. The ECA is offered free of charge to any technology-based startup in the central Florida area. For more information, go to or contact Ken Evans at Participation at the May 14th event requires advance registration. Interested companies must apply to be considered for the one-on-one mentoring sessions by submitting a two-page executive summary no later than May 7th. See the website for event details.

About Tampa Bay Technology Forum

Founded in 2000, the Tampa Bay Technology Forum (TBTF) is a professional association whose members work together to make the Bay area a place where technology and innovation thrive. TBTF's 450+ member organizations represent more than 45,000 employees, including technology entrepreneurs, business and community leaders, investors, government representatives, researchers and educators. For more information, visit

About SRI International

Silicon Valley-based SRI International ( is one of the world's leading independent research and technology development organizations. Founded as Stanford Research Institute in 1946, SRI has been meeting the strategic needs of clients for more than 60 years. The nonprofit research institute performs client-sponsored research and development for government agencies, businesses, and foundations. In addition to conducting contract R&D, SRI licenses its technologies, forms strategic partnerships, and creates spin-off companies.

SRI began operations at its new facility focused on marine technology in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2007. SRI's expansion in Florida is supported by the City of St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, and the State.

Contact Information

  • Michelle Bauer
    Tampa Bay Technology Forum
    (727) 510-2524
    Email Contact