Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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April 22, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Southeast Shoutouts | Florida is in the spotlight this week

With electric vehicle sales not as robust these days, VinFast is scaling back the size of its manufacturing plant in North Carolina.

From Tampa, FL:

Vu Technologies, the Tampa production firm known for its massive LED screens, has expanded its network of studios worldwide. As we noted in this March 2023 article, the Nashville location was the third after Tampa and Las Vegas. Now, according to the website, there are 27 locations – 17 in the U.S. and the balance around the world.

From Miami, FL:

Miami Inno reports that one of South Florida’s most prominent technology founders is partnering with Miami Dade College to provide work experience opportunities to students.

Rony Abovitz, whose latest venture is named SynthBee, will give Miami Dade students the chance to earn internships, fellowships, and job opportunities at the software company. The founder of both Mako Surgical Corp. and Magic Leap, he said the goal is to provide innovative work experiences to locals pursuing careers in technology.

Abovitz was part of the founding team of Mako Surgical. Launched in 2004, the robotic surgical arm maker was eventually acquired by Stryker for $1.65 billion in 2013. He went on to start Magic Leap, an augmented reality company, where Abovitz attracted billions in funding for the business and hired hundreds of employees in South Florida before stepping down in 2020.

Also from Miami:

Miami Inno also reports that Miami-Dade County is taking a novel approach in the world of local government: Providing start-ups a chance to pilot their technology in one of the largest cities in the U.S.

It started a year ago when Mayor Daniella Levine Cava launched the Miami-Dade Innovation Authority, a nonprofit that invests in early stage businesses solving problems in areas that affect the lives of locals. That can include everything from solutions to improve housing, health care, transit and the environment.

The MDIA is supported by $9 million in funding pledged by the county, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Citadel Chief Executive Officer Ken Griffin.

After two Innovation Challenges in 2023 – one solely on repurposing Sargassum for beneficial use and the other to improve the passenger experience at Miami International Airport, the MDIA is accepting applications through this Friday for its third Innovation Challenge: Using digital technology to improve cargo operations at PortMiami.

From Moncure, NC:

New plans submitted to Chatham County show Vietnamese electric vehicle (EV) maker VinFast is scaling down the size of its manufacturing plant in Moncure. That’s according to a report by WRAL News which obtained a copy of the foundation plans VinFast submitted to the county in December 2023. The revised plans reduce the footprint of the factory’s general assembly building to 782,255 square feet. That’s roughly a 20 percent reduction from the original plans for a 995,500-square-foot building. Chatham County approved a foundation permit for that size in July 2023.

The news also comes as interest in EVs is reportedly declining compared to hybrid vehicles.


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