Central Florida Roundup
NanoRAD takes on germs with powerful new non-toxic anti-microbial disinfectant
Nano Germ Killer
Three-year-old Orlando-based Kismet Technologies has developed a patent-pending nanotechnology called NanoRAD that aims to revolutionize infection control for the health care sector and other industries.
CEO and founder Christina Drake, a materials science engineer with degrees from the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida, came up with the idea for NanoRAD during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when she walked into a grocery store and observed an employee incorrectly trying to disinfect a door handle. (The employee didn’t leave the disinfectant on the handle long enough for it to work before wiping it off.) Working closely with two other UCF scientists and with funding from the National Science Foundation and the Florida High Tech Corridor, Drake and her team came up with their core technology — a material based on cerium oxide nanoparticles that are modified with small amounts of silver to make them more lethal to germs.
The company is getting help bringing the product to market from Shari Dingle Costantini, founder and former CEO of Avant Healthcare Professionals in Casselberry. Costantini spent the majority of her career helping the health care industry tackle staffing issues and workforce shortages. Now retired from that job, she is Kismet’s president.
Costantini says the disinfectant — which can be applied to an array of surfaces as a transparent coating — is “an incredibly robust anti-microbial,” killing more than 99.9% of bacteria and viruses (including the common cold, COVID-19 and norovirus) within two hours of application. It continues to work for up to three months and is non-toxic to humans.
- Truist promoted Steve Fisher from middle market leader for Central Florida to Central Florida regional president. He replaces Sandy Hostetter, who retired.
- Helicon Chemical, an Orlando-based startup that makes high-performance rocket propellant, closed on $2 million in funding with lead investor Harlow Capital Management.
- Wendover Housing Partners has signed a 10-year lease with Bezos Academy, which will open a tuition-free, Montessori-inspired preschool in Catchlight Crossings, a 1,000-unit affordable housing community being developed on 20 acres donated by Universal Parks & Resorts. The school will be able to accommodate up to 100 children and is the fourth Bezos Academy planned for Central Florida.
- Hurricane Ian caused numerous seawall failures in Volusia County and significant beach erosion. Frank Rendon Park, Lighthouse Point Park and the Ponce Inlet jetty also sustained major damage.
- The DeVos Family Foundation donated $1 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts in Central Florida and across the state.
- The non-profit owners of the Kinneret Apartments in downtown Orlando, an affordable housing development for seniors, sold the two 15-story towers to New York developer Fairstead for $57.7 million. Fairstead plans to spend $18 million renovating the buildings and has vowed to keep the senior apartments affordable with residents paying no more than 30% of their income for rent.
- The Orlando Utilities Commission is selling its “jetport” property south of downtown near Orlando International Airport to Prologis for $44.8 million. OUC acquired the property in 2007 from Southern Co. as part of a settlement and termination agreement after plans for a coalfueled power plant development project at OUC’s Stanton Energy Center were scuttled.
- Waypoint Residential — a developer with offices in Atlanta, Boca Raton, Charlotte and Dallas that focuses on high-growth markets in the Sunbelt — is seeking to build a 300-unit apartment complex called Mason Daytona Apartments north of LPGA Boulevard in Daytona Beach.
- Catalyst Development Partners, an Atlanta-based multifamily developer, is seeking to build five, four-story apartment buildings on land the company is acquiring adjacent to a Walmart Supercenter in the Shoppes at Coronado development in New Smyrna Beach.
- Kalogon, the Melbourne-based startup that makes smart wheelchair cushions that sense pressure points and redistribute support, landed $3.3 million in seed funding and federal grants to help develop and expand its patent-pending technology.
- The University of Central Florida received nearly $800,000 in Department of Energy funding for a project it’s working on with the University of Miami to create ceramic-based materials to improve the efficiency of hydrogen-fueled turbines that may one day be used in clean power plants.
- Melbourne Orlando International Airport has joined Port Canaveral’s growing list of Foreign Trade Zone operators, allowing the airport to purchase jet fuel for its international flights duty-free. British airline TUI Airways recently began trans-Atlantic service between the United Kingdom and Melbourne Orlando International and projects flying in 135,000 tourists annually with its weekly service.