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Last week Lumina was honored as a Startup to Watch by Tampa Bay Inno. The sold-out event, held at the Embarc Collective, brought together hundreds of entrepreneurs from the area to talk about their businesses, get tips from investors and learn from each other.

Lumina: A Startup to Watch

Lumina CEO Allan Martin joined the keynote panel discussion facilitated by Tampa Bay Inno’s founding reporter Lauren Coffey.  Karri Zaremba, a co-founder at Venuetize and Danielle Rushton, a co-founder at Wherewithal also participated in the wide-ranging conversation.

The panelists were asked to give their thoughts on everything from the biggest challenges they’ve faced, the state of innovation and entrepreneurship in Tampa Bay, goals for 2020 and advice for those just starting out.

Following are excerpts of Martin’s comments during the panel.

Building Something that has Never Been Built

“Commercialization [has been our biggest challenge.] We are building something that has never been built.  It’s an enterprise style of search that can, for example, complete the equivalent of 340,000 Google searches in a single click. We still go in meetings with sophisticated data scientists who say what we actually do cannot be done.  We have to prove it every single time. And sometimes they still say, ‘I saw it, but I don’t believe you did it.’”

An Algorithm to Change the World

“2020 will be a big year for commercialization for us. I know the innovation that is occurring is still very real and ongoing in development.  Literally today, our cofounder, Dr. Morten Middelfart finished an algorithm that should make artificial intelligence 20 percent faster in terms of learning. If you can imagine that kind of innovation happening right here in Tampa. Most people say that only happens in Silicon Valley or Austin, maybe Raleigh. But I am certain that particular algorithm alone is going to change the world, let alone other things that are happening.”

Growing a Business in Tampa 

“There is a lot of money in Tampa that is looking for opportunities. We’re still as a community trying to figure out how to make sure the marketplace becomes aware of the most promising opportunities. I think the Synapse conference is really powerful. I think what you [Tampa Bay Inno] are doing tonight in Tampa Bay is very powerful.  Florida Funders is doing a good job. The [Tampa Bay] Wave is doing a good job. So, we have a lot of good things happening here and there is more capital than you can imagine in Tampa.  You just have to be patient and keep pushing to identify it, but it’s here.” 

Thinking Grand and Loving Your Team

“Look at your mission and ask yourself if it inspires you. Because if it doesn’t it inspire you, it will be very hard to recruit and very hard to attract capital. Think big and really aspire to do grand things. The more grand those things are, the more you will be able to attract the right talent, the right capital and the right customers.”

“The next thing I would say is love your team. Be patient with everybody you are working with and make sure you are taking the time to get to know them. Because this is much harder than anyone understands.  When you need people to work around the clock for weeks at a time, all the time you’ve invested in loving them, getting to know them, and supporting them will come back to you again and again and again.”

The Power of One More Day 

“This is my 18th start up.  The biggest challenge is when your back is against the wall and it feels like you are out of all hope to have capital or sales or whatever it’s going to take to have the funding to continue.  You need to have the faith to just go on to the next day and see what happens: one more day. I feel like I have spent the past 32 years telling myself, ‘One more day. One more day.’”