MISSION

Our mission is to leverage our network of successful and accessible business professionals to cultivate and support Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Through financial commitments, education, partnerships and mentorship, BRIDGE represents a unique and valuable resource to driving economic development in the Sarasota-Manatee region and beyond. 

 

UPCOMING SPECIAL EVENTS

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Get Involved!

Whether you are interested in becoming a member, applying for funding or becoming a sponsor, we want to hear from you. BRIDGE believes that mentoring rising entrepreneurs and creating partnerships with universities, community organizations, innovative companies and other angel groups is key to improving start-up success and ROI. The result is a more connected and vibrant community to grow an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

 

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Become a Member

Join and receive exclusive benefits including access to our deal portal, a unique social and professional network and education around the lucrative asset class of angel investing. Our members work collaboratively to support entrepreneurship while building their investment experience and portfolios.

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Apply for Funding

 Your application is the first step towards growth! Just click to Pitch and you'll be directed to our Gust platform to submit the required materials. We are looking for Florida-based entrepreneurs showcasing proof of concept, product/service market fit and traction, nearing less than 2 million in annual revenue.

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PARTNER

Our Sponsors are crucial towards building an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Their support allows us to expand our efforts towards developing and implementing community outreach and educational projects, and providing networks and strategic opportunities for our portfolio companies.

IMPACT

Why Florida is a hot bed for investing right now

 

Florida is the third largest state in the US boasting a diverse economic landscape in arts and entertainment, top universities, growing entrepreneurship, a thriving real estate market and a top tourist destination. Florida attracts some of the wealthiest and most successful thought leaders in the US from all over the world with an interest in making an impact in retirement by investing and mentoring. They bring their unique experience and resources to the next generation of innovators.

While Florida is known for being a top tourist and retiree destination, it comes as a surprise to most people that it is also an exceedingly entrepreneur-friendly state. According to a Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council report, Florida is the fifth best state to start a business. The ranking is based on small business-related taxes, regulatory environment and government spending.

Other reports cite the growing rise of angel funds, incubators, top universities, low cost of living and, of course, the weather. And the data just keeps getting better. Inc.com reported that 340 of its 2018 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies are located in Florida.

Perhaps more surprising to most people is that according to a 2017 Statista report, Florida ranks 7th in Venture Capital investing, behind the usual suspects: California, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Texas and Washington.

The outlook is also promising for young entrepreneurs, especially in the Sarasota-Manatee region. According to MoneyRates.com, they topped the list in 2017 as the best city in Florida to start their own business ventures. The ratings scored high population growth rates, education attainment, young adult affluence and the business tax environment.

What may help Sarasota-Manatee stay at that top ranking is the prevalence of successful business executives, entrepreneurs and investors who have chosen to retire here. Scores of them lend their vast experience to mentor startups and college-age students to set them on their own paths to success.

All-in-all Florida is one hotbed of innovation!

 

About ReWired Solutions

In 2018 Bridge Angel Investors collaborated with New World Angels and funded Sarasota-based company ReWired Solutions. Rewired Solutions, their first BRIDGE investment, is making its mark by significantly reducing costs associated with high volume recruitment. Their customers and prospects are typically Fortune 500 companies, whose recruitment demands can be up to the tens of thousands each year. Rewired digitally models employees who represent a company’s “Hero”, those most critical to their success, by using a proprietary set of tools and algorithms. They then deliver Hero “look-alike” candidates through targeted ad campaigns across multiple social media platforms and an automated engagement and screening process. Rewired’s solution also means that companies with vastly different corporate cultures and skill sets, such as their clients Lockheed Martin, Deloitte, Walmart, Best Buy, and locally, PGT Industries, can all find their right Heroes. 

 

 

Managing Team

BRIDGE was co-founded in 2017 by Tom Gardner and Sam Guren. Tom is a former Johnson and Johnson group executive; CEO of several successful early-stage companies focusing on healthcare and most recently Founder and CEO of Sarasota startup Omeza, LLC.

Sam is currently a Managing Partner for Guren Capital and has deep roots as a Venture Capitalist; funded Apple, Yoplait, Staples, Founder, Sports Authority and ULTA. Sam has prior experience leading KKR’s first investment effort, managing William Baird’s Venture Capital/Private Equity Group and serving as Managing Partner for Hyde Park Angels.

Executive Director Wendi Chapman, Esq. is President of Chapman Capital Development supporting development and operations for small businesses including the Brenn Foundation and Omeza. She is former Vice President of the San Francisco Marathon and former General Counsel and Executive Manager of Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation.


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Wendi L. Chapman, Esq.
Executive Director/Executive Committee Chair

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Sam Guren
Founder, Managing Member

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Tom Gardner
Founder, Emeritus Member


 Member Investors

Our angel investor members have prior experience as Fortune 100 business executives, successful serial entrepreneurs and investors. Members represent a broad sector of industry, well-suited to support your growth and help to make you successful. Members get first access to invest in the hottest new companies in Florida!

Partners

When BRIDGE first launched in 2017, Founding Partner GenSpring Suntrust Wealth stepped up to help establish the newly formed angel fund. GenSpring understood the need for an investment fund geared to emerging startups that would diversify and spur economic growth through innovation. Since then, Supporting Partners continue to support the BRIDGE mission by helping to build deal flow and enabling educational forums for both entrepreneurs and investors. BRIDGE deeply appreciates their support and continues to actively seek other Supporting Partners to join us.

Founding Partner

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Supporting Partners

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Community Partners

Community partners are organizations committed to the impact of investing in innovation in Florida on a local level in Sarasota - Manatee and on a national level throughout Florida and beyond. We partner with other Florida-based angel investment groups, local universities, economic development agencies and non-profits to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem.