Apply to present at Florida Early-Stage Capital Conference with $300K prize pool. Miami’s Kind Designs was 2023’s big winner.

The Florida Venture Forum, Florida’s largest statewide support organization for investors and entrepreneurs, recently announced that its 16th annual Florida Early Stage Capital Conference will feature a record $300,000 in award dollars and capital investment from Forum members Space Florida, DeepWork Capital, and Florida Power & Light’s Innovation Hub, 35 Mules. Applications to present are now open.

The Early Stage Capital Conference, taking place June 4-5, 2024 at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, will include the Space Florida AeroTech Summit, which will feature presenters and programming relevant to the space and aerospace industries, and the Forum’s Statewide Collegiate Startup Competition that includes startup teams from 10+ Florida colleges and universities.

The Accelerating Innovation Award, with a prize of $75,000 from Space Florida, is open to companies with a focus in the aerospace and related industries. The $50,000 Grand Prize, from Florida Power & Light, is open to the presenting startups of any sector, as are the two Runners Up who will receive $20,000 each from Florida Power & Light and Space Florida. Two winners in the Statewide Collegiate Startup Compettion will recieve $5,000 each from Florida Power & Light and Space Florida.

In addition, the Orlando-based venture firm DeepWork Capital will make a minimum $125,000 equity investment in one of the winning companies.

Last year’s top-winning company was Kind Designs, which won Florida Venture Forum’s Aerospace + Emerging Tech competition. The Miami-based startup went on to raise $5 million in venture funding. In the last year, Kind Designs has tripled its robot fleet and Kind Designs installed the world’s first 3D-printed seawall in Miami in January 2024.

“Presenting at Florida Venture Forum events is a fantastic way to gain exposure to top venture investors in a setting where they are open and actively looking for investments. Kind Designs presented in 2023 and shortly thereafter we closed several investments directly as a result of connections made at the event,” founder and CEO Anya Freeman [pictured above] said in a statement. 

There is no cost to apply or to present. Startups can apply here. The final deadline is May 10 but applicants are encouraged to apply sooner.

In addition to the chance to win funding, presenting companies get an opportunity to get their company in front of the investor community. According to the Forum, applicants should be early-stage technology, tech-enabled, healthcare, or aerospace companies, with market traction and strong growth potential.


Nancy Dahlberg