Captozyme Among 50 Startups Recognized by GrowFL as a 2017 Florida Company to Watch


Entrepreneurial styles, corporate cultures give these second-stage companies competitive advantages

Two University of Florida incubators and GrowFL are pleased to announce that startup Captozyme is among the 50 statewide winners selected for the 2017 Florida Companies to WatchSM. Captozyme, a biotechnology company developing therapeutic enzymes to prevent oxalate kidney stones, has developed its business in both the Innovation Hub at UF and the UF Sid Martin Biotechnology Institute in Alachua. It is one of 50 companies selected from more than 500 nominees throughout Florida for the award, hosted by GrowFL, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation.

Captozyme’s management team, competitive market position and strong community involvement were among several factors that put them in contention for the award, along with the 49 other winners.

“These stand-out companies are all led by entrepreneurs, and have demonstrated their capacity and intent to grow,” said Dr. Tom O’Neal, executive director of the Florida Economic Gardening Institute and associate vice president for the University of Central Florida’s Office of Research and Commercialization.  “They also all have critical intellectual property or a niche position that gives them a competitive edge in their markets.”

Captozyme strives to develop therapies to treat and manage rare and metabolic diseases. Its products remove oxalate from the diet and body by degrading it to safe by-products. Oxalate is the most common component of kidney stone, and removing oxalate reduces the risk of kidney stones. The startup’s products can act throughout the gastro-intestinal tract, from the stomach to the large intestine to efficiently degrade oxalate.

“Captozyme is definitely a ‘Florida company to watch’,” said Mark Long, director at SMBI. “They continue to make tremendous progress in research and development as a client of the Sid Martin Biotechnology Institute.  We are proud of this recognition, and we are sure Captozyme will continue to be a ‘company to watch’ as they grow here in Alachua County!”

Captozyme has incubated in two University of Florida facilities, the Sid Martin Biotechnology Institute in Alachua and the Innovation Hub at UF. It recently acquired new headquarters in Alachua and plans to consolidate all operations there later this year. The startup has been led by CEO Helena Cowley.

“Captozyme is honored to be named a 2017 Florida Company to Watch by GrowFl,” Cowley said. “Part of our success can be attributed to the supportive environment of the University of Florida incubators that we have been members of throughout our company’s development.”

The 50 companies named the 2017 Florida Companies to Watch generated more than $1 billion in revenue and added more than 1,300 employees between 2012 and 2015.

Together, the companies project a 53 percent increase in revenue and 36 percent increase in job growth compared to 2016.

Companies named to the list will be officially recognized October 14 at the Straz Performing Arts Center in Tampa.

Below is the list of all the Florida Companies to Watch winners:

  • 3D Digital
  • A1A Solar Contracting, Inc
  • AdRizer
  • Amazing Explorers Academy
  • Azure Water Company
  • Big Top Brewing Company LLC
  • Boys Electrical Contractors
  • Captozyme Inc
  • com, LLC
  • Cribb Philbeck Weaver Group
  • Dixie Belle Paint Co
  • Dougherty Manufacturing
  • GenCare Resources
  • Global ETS, LLC
  • Global Safety Management
  • Grimaldi Candy Company
  • Human Potential Healthcare Workforce Solutions, LLC
  • Hydra Engineering & Construction, LLC
  • Hydro-Dyne Engineering
  • Inspired Technologies
  • iProcedures
  • JAX Refrigeration, Inc.
  • Jaycon Systems
  • Just Ryt Foods, Inc
  • Parks Consulting, Inc. (KPC)
  • Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice
  • Lightspeed Voice
  • LiveTrends Design Group
  • Lukos
  • Madrid Engineering Group, Inc.
  • Marion Precision Tool, Inc
  • Mini Doughnut Factory
  • com
  • Natural Vitamins Laboratory LLC
  • PropLogix
  • Raneys Inc
  • REDCON Solutions Group, LLC.
  • RedTeam Software
  • SawStreet LLC
  • Society+
  • Sorensen Moving and Storage
  • Spoleto My Italian Kitchen
  • Stickboy Creative
  • Up-Rev
  • Verdex Construction
  • Winco Mfg., LLC
  • Xplor Inc
  • Yachtico Inc.
  • Zennergy LLC

“This is a strong group of companies that deserve this special recognition given annually to the state’s top second stage companies,” said Dr. O’Neal.

Second-stage companies are defined as those with six to 150 full-time employees and between $750,000 and $100 million in annual revenue. There are many programs and incubators promoting start-up businesses; GrowFL is the only Florida program that focuses exclusively on second-stage companies.

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More About GrowFL:

GrowFL provides strategies, resources and support, including strategic research and peer-to-peer CEO mentoring and leadership development, to second-stage Florida companies.  Created by the Florida legislature in 2009 and grounded in the philosophy of Economic Gardening® —  growing existing businesses in a community, region or state — GrowFL is a critical component of the state’s economic development strategy and Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.  GrowFL is certified by the National Center for Economic Gardening through the Edward Lowe Foundation.  Website:

About the Edward Lowe Foundation:

Established in 1985, the Edward Lowe Foundation is a national, nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurship through research, recognition and educational programs, which are delivered through entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs).  The foundation focuses on second-stage companies — those that have moved beyond the startup phase and seek significant, steady growth. In addition, the foundation has a second mission of land stewardship and is committed to preserving the natural resources and historically significant structures at Big Rock Valley, its 2,000-acre home in southwest Michigan.