SharpSpring Joins Florida Institute Leadership Circle

Company Received Seed Funding from Institute to Support Early Growth

Mar 10, 2016, 10:00 ET from Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. and BOCA RATON, Fla., March 10, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research (Institute) announced today SharpSpring (NASDAQ: SHSP) has become a Gold Level member of the Institute's Leadership Circle, making it the first Institute-funded company to give back to the organization after achieving significant growth.  SharpSpring is a global provider of cloud-based marketing technologies that was funded through the Institute's Seed Capital Accelerator Program in 2012. The company is headquartered in Gainesville where it currently employs over 80 resources.  

Leveraging a $2B research base, the Institute supports new company creation based on publicly-funded research, and bridges early funding gaps for companies spinning out of Florida universities and research institutions. The organization works collaboratively with technology licensing officers across the state to connect the dots between research, discovery and commercialization, and supports companies whose products are solving some of today's toughest healthcare, business and societal challenges.

SharpSpring, which is led by CEO Rick Carlson, has achieved significant growth since being founded in 2012.  In early 2014, it launched the SharpSpring marketing automation platform, which allows small and mid-sized businesses engage better with their customers and increase sales. Today, over 3,000 businesses use SharpSpring to improve their marketing communications. 

"The Institute supported our efforts early on, providing seed funding and resources, which enabled us to complete, test and launch our products into the commercial marketplace," said Carlson. "We are continuing to grow and hire additional staff in the Gainesville area, which would not have been possible without that early support. We are happy to give back in any way we can, and contribute to the good work the Institute is doing."

"Companies like SharpSpring exemplify the high-wage, high-skill job creation potential of innovation-based businesses in Florida, as well as the commercialization value of technologies being developed in our communities," said Jamie Grooms, Institute Chief Executive Officer. "We are grateful for the opportunity to have worked with Rick Carlson and the SharpSpring team early on, and appreciate the company's commitment to future Institute programming very much."   

About the Institute

Formed by the Florida Legislature in 2007, the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research is a non-profit organization that works collaboratively with the technology licensing and commercialization offices of Florida's state universities and private research institutions to leverage a $2B+ research base and form investable companies that create clean jobs in new industries that are driving the global economy. The Institute provides company building services, and seed funding through the Florida Technology Seed Capital Fund, to promising Florida startups. Forty-eight companies have been funded to date, and the Institute's economic impact through June 30, 2015 was $379 million, a return on investment of 14 times to the State of Florida. 

About SharpSpring

SharpSpring, Inc. (NASDAQ: SHSP) is a global provider of cloud-based marketing and email software solutions, ranging from marketing automation to scalable transactional email, email marketing, and mobile marketing services. The company's product lines, include SharpSpring, SMTP and GraphicMail, are known for their innovation, flexible architecture, ease of use, and cost-effectiveness — all backed by high-quality, multilingual customer support.

Jane Teague
Chief Operating Officer
Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research


SOURCE Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research