A number of life Science startups are opening offices in Palm Beach County after being accepted into FAU Tech Runway®’s seventh class, known as “Venture Class 7.” Two of these accepted companies applied as a result of a connection facilitated by the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County (BDB).
FAU Tech Runway® hosted its 2019 Launch Competition and Demo Day on Tuesday, May 7 at the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University, revealing 21 winners, two of which were BDB projects. 20Lighter, a telehealth company specializing in cutting edge health-related and quality of life outcomes, is relocating their corporate headquarters from Wyoming to Boca Raton. Secret Sequence, a DNA sequencing company allowing one to obtain their DNA data anonymously, is a start-up based in St. Lucie with plans to open an office in Jupiter to participate in FAU Tech Runway’s new Jupiter programming.
20Lighter is changing the world by improving the health, physical and mental well being of their clients, and is the only program targeting not only weight-loss, but the causes of obesity and associated illnesses like hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. Two Flagship Programs include a unique combination of smart technology, patent pending nutritional planning, and all natural anti-inflammatory supplementation. After a successful brick & mortar launch, the company conducted a national search for a homebase to grow their telehealth business and chose Boca Raton after the BDB showcased Palm Beach County’s technology and healthcare industries, as well as introduced them to several community partners, including FAU Tech Runway®. 20Lighter recognized the opportunities to collaborate with businesses, medical centers, and investors in the community and won a $15,000 investment from the 2019 Launch Competition and Demo Day.
“The BDB was instrumental in helping us identify the benefits of relocating to Palm Beach County,” said Dr. Jess Barnes, CEO & Co-founder of 20Lighter. “We felt supported and connected from day one and are excited to not only help the community get healthier, but also contribute to the state and local economy.”
Secret Sequence is the first direct-to-consumer genetics company created with privacy and anonymity as its primary mission. Unlike 23andme, Secret Sequence never asks for your name or identity, and never sells data to any third party entities like pharmaceutical companies. They also delete customer data after it has been downloaded by their clients to ensure the customers never need be concerned about the information being used in any way in the future. Co-founder Jason Corbiere has a history of Parkinson’s Disease in his family and always wanted to know if it was in his future. He, and partner Austin Maier, created Secret Sequence to allow customers to get the benefit of genetic testing, ensuring that information would never be tied back to them.
“The staff at Secret Sequence is honored to be chosen for FAU Tech Runway, and excited for the opportunities that will come with relocating to Palm Beach County,” said Co-founder Jason Corbiere.
“Both companies will join Palm Beach County’s entrepreneurial, life science ecosystem. The solid partnership between the BDB and FAU Tech Runway® will continue to grow and foster the life sciences industry,” said Kelly Smallridge, President and CEO at the Business Development Board.
“The City of Boca Raton welcomes all of the innovative start ups that are coming into Boca Raton. They will be a great addition to the entrepreneurial climate that continues to grow,” said Mayor Scott Singer, Mayor of Boca Raton.
“FAU Tech Runway is an ideal location for start-up life sciences companies, especially medical device companies or those commercializing applications of AI software to medical or scientific uses, because the cross-pollination with engineers and programmers in the community, in addition to the close proximity to FAU, are immeasurably valuable resources for a nascent firm, which is why eight of the twenty-one companies entering Venture Class 7 are in the life sciences,” said Robert Mino, Vice President of Life Sciences at the Business Development Board.
About FAU Tech Runway: FAU Tech Runway® is a South Florida public-private partnership that serves as a hub to accelerate technology development and incubate startup companies. This incubation and acceleration happens in a 28,000-square-foot collaborative working space that provides entrepreneurs with a complete ecosystem to house, educate, mentor and fund their companies from origination through venture funding. Since its inception in 2014, FAU Tech Runway® has launched and served 72 startup companies, which have collectively raised more than $63.5 million in capital, created more than 350 jobs and generated more than $64.7 million in sales revenue. The annual Launch Competition selects 21 of the most promising companies for the year-long Venture Class program.
About Business Development Board: The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County is the official public/private economic development organization for Palm Beach County and Enterprise Florida. Founded in 1982 as a not-for-profit corporation, our primary purpose is to attract and retain new industry, business investment, high quality jobs and workforce development through corporate relocations, expansions and international trade. During the past five years, the BDB has assisted companies that have created more than 12,822 direct jobs with average salaries greater than $69,062, resulting in more than $777 million in capital investment to Palm Beach County and an economic impact that exceeds $6.87 billion. Additional information can be found at the BDB’s web site, BDB.org, and LifeHelix.org.