Grassroots High-Tech Incubator Groundswell Startups Assists Companies With Venture Capital Funds

By  //  May 24, 2021

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The EDC figures prominently in Groundswell’s plans for startups

Get support for your startup idea: Groundswell Startups’ high-tech founders, with a diverse pool of pro-bono mentors, include experts in intellectual property, manufacturing, human resources, product and business development.  Groundswell Startups also host dozens of events each year in an effort to celebrate major milestones and raise awareness of major obstacles and solutions within the startup environment. These events yield new collaborations and introductions to potential founders and teams.

The grassroots high-tech incubator and co-working space founded in 2016 by Jenna Reid, Bud Deffebach, Mark Mohler and John Vecchio have already assisted more than 175 fledgling companies and helped 30 of these gain access to more than $50 million in venture capital funds.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – What does a home lure course for dogs have in common with a company that manufactures performance wear from 100 percent certified ocean plastic? What unites a cutting-edge AI company and a manufacturer of wristbands that noninvasively monitor blood glucose levels?

They were all once the business dreams of Brevard entrepreneurs, now turned into reality thanks to Groundswell Startups.

The grassroots high-tech incubator and co-working space founded in 2016 by Jenna Reid, Bud Deffebach, Mark Mohler and John Vecchio have already assisted more than 175 fledgling companies and helped 30 of these gain access to more than $50 million in venture capital funds.

We dig deep into pitch decks, financial models, term sheet, funding sources, etc.,” said Groundswell COO Jarin Eisenberg.

“We see Groundswell Startups as being a catalyst for change. We have created a space where people can take risks, pursue their dreams, and do it within a community of incredibly talented individuals who are willing to step in and help. They are deeply invested in each other’s success.”

Groundswell Startups, the grassroots high-tech incubator and co-working space founded in 2016 by, left to right, Mark Mohler, John Vecchio, Bud Deffebach and Jenna Reid, have already assisted more than 175 fledgling companies and helped 30 of these gain access to more than $50 million in venture capital funds.

Even better, all the handholding, mentoring and strategizing comes at the wonderful cost of absolutely nothing to the startups.

Deffenbach purchased, built out and donated Groundswell’s headquarters at 2412 Irwin Street in Melbourne. Prior to Groundswell’s appearance on the scene, the buildings occupied by the incubator and its startups and members were boarded-up, vacant eyesores across from Riverview Park.

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Not only has Groundswell breathed life into new businesses, but it has also brought energy and vibrancy to a formerly overlooked area of South Melbourne. Funding comes from sponsorships, co-working memberships and office rentals.

“We are a nonprofit and one of the only incubators in the state that does not receive government funding,” said Eisenberg.

“We are a nonprofit and one of the only incubators in the state that does not receive government funding,” said Groundswell COO Jarin Eisenberg. (City of Melbourne image)

Groundswell members such as Jaycon Systems and Catania Enterprises provide in-house expertise in all aspects needed to successfully launch or refine a product.

“Everything you need to get your business started can be found through the connections made at Groundswell,” said Stefanie Catania, CEO/CFO of Catania Enterprises.

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The network includes full-scale product design, in-house 3D printing capabilities, website and graphic design services, marketing, sales and business development guidance and even a prototyping lab for small-run manufacturing.

“We are also home to a network of highly skilled professionals who co-work out of Groundswell,” said Eisenberg. “It is all under one roof, making for a really strong collaborative culture where everyone taps into each other’s resources.”

The growth culture nurtured by Groundswell is also a dream come true for the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast. “The EDC has long supported and partnered with Groundswell because resources like these help build an eco-system on the Space Coast supportive of innovation and entrepreneurship,” said EDC President and CEO Lynda Weatherman.

The growth culture nurtured by Groundswell is also a dream come true for the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast.

“The EDC has long supported and partnered with Groundswell because resources like these help build an eco-system on the Space Coast supportive of innovation and entrepreneurship,” said EDC President and CEO Lynda Weatherman.

“Today’s startups can become tomorrow’s major employers and we’re excited to see what the significant brainpower of our community comes up with next.”

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Entrepreneurial gray cells are indeed active in Brevard, in large part because of Groundswell Startups. Groundswell graduate Swift Paws, for example, has raised more than a quarter-million dollars with Groundswell’s help and is surpassing annual sales goals of their home lure courses for canines.

Tomahawk Robotics, another Groundswell-mentored startup, just celebrated the opening of its new 8,500-square-foot facility. Sea Threads, a company that upcycles ocean plastic into performance wear, will host a kickstarter launch party in early June.

Glucose monitoring wristband manufacturer Alertgy, one of the original tenants of Groundswell Startups, was named among the 30 fastest-growing private companies to watch in 2018 by “Silicon Review.”

Groundswell Startups’ high-tech founders, with a diverse pool of pro-bono mentors, include experts in intellectual property, manufacturing, human resources, product and business development.

The EDC figures prominently in Groundswell’s plans for startups.

“We have greatly benefited from the tremendous job they have done bringing business to the Space Coast and helping to create a diversified economy,” said Eisenberg.

Startups can take as little or as long as they need to get into gear. Groundswell’s Idea Stage Accelerator, a 10-week cohort-based program with Starter Studio, helps startups with idea validation, customer discovery, business models and funding sources.

“Every journey is different, but they all need access to quality vetted resources and we help them do that,” said Eisenberg.

For more on Groundswell, visit Swellstartups.com

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The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, a community coalition, is the official economic development organization for Brevard County. The Economic Development Commission is committed to helping businesses locate and expand on Florida’s Space Coast. We work collaboratively to support companies in their exploration of Florida’s Space Coast with the goal of attracting and growing quality businesses, creating jobs, encouraging new investment – and helping shape Brevard County’s economic future. Learn more about the EDC HERE.

 

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