For Elias Janetis, Founder of Squeeze LLC, Palm Beach County has provided a solid platform for entrepreneurial success. “This is a great place to grow a tech company,” he said. “There is a planet of talent, the taxes are favorable for entrepreneurs, and everyone loves the weather.”
Drawing on the resources of Florida Atlantic University’s FAU Tech Runway®, Janetis is determined to build Squeeze into a leading consumer services company. “By aggregating various comparison tools, we help consumers get the best deals on their recurring bills, such as loans, mortgages, insurance premiums and telecommunications charges,” said Janetis, an experienced Boca Raton entrepreneur who founded Squeeze last year. “We want to be the Expedia of the consumer finance sector.”
FAU Tech Runway® is one of Palm Beach County’s many resources for business startups and early-stage companies. Entrepreneurs seeking capital, workers, knowledge or advice can turn to organizations like CareerSource Palm Beach County, Adams Center for Entrepreneurship, Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship and Palm Beach SCORE, as well as entrepreneurship programs at four colleges and universities.
For example, Palm Beach Tech Association is a West Palm Beach-based nonprofit dedicated to turning the region into a technology hub, according to Joe Russo, Executive Director. “We are working with Fortune 500 companies, startups and educational institutions to drive that momentum forward.”
Russo believes Palm Beach County has the financial and human resources to help smaller companies grow their teams and scale up their operations. “We also want businesses here to hire local contractors and service providers and support their neighbors,” he added. “That’s all part of building our ecosystem here.”
After moving his prior company, Mobile Talk, to Boca from Pennsylvania 12 years ago, Janetis has enjoyed both the business climate and quality of life available in Palm Beach County. “Taxes are favorable for entrepreneurs, and there is plenty of talent in the market, without the hyper-competitiveness of New York or San Francisco,” he said. “I also love the weather, as well as the great restaurants, cultural activities and other things to do here.”
Since envisioning Squeeze in 2015, Janetis has been busy building his new company. “I went through the entrepreneurial boot camp at FAU Tech Runway and learned some new things, while also mentoring some of the younger entrepreneurs,” he said. Now a “graduate” of the program, Squeeze currently has 10 employees and is based at Research Park at FAU.
Since its inception in 2014, FAU Tech Runway® has launched and served 52 startup companies, which collectively have raised more than $46 million in capital, created nearly 300 jobs and generated more than $23 million in sales revenue. “In four short years, FAU Tech Runway has grown into a vibrant public-private partnership that mobilizes essential resources for South Florida’s next generation of global entrepreneurs,” said Rhys Williams, Managing Director, FAU Tech Runway® and Associate Vice President, Division of Research.
“Visionary community members, students and faculty seeking to launch or accelerate their ventures now have a hub through which to office, train, finance, launch and scale their new tech-based businesses,” added Williams. “We could not be prouder of the FAU Tech Runway entrepreneurs’ accomplishments and the mentors, advisers, staff, financial supporters, allied professionals and student interns who have selflessly contributed to their successes.”
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This is a digital version of an article showcased in the Quarterly Palm Beach County Business magazine. To read the full issue, please visit the BDB’s publication page.