Gator Engineering startup improves nursing education

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Behind every successful technology startup is a proud college of engineering. Shadow Health – the first company to receive $200,000 in equity financing through a new state program designed to bring research from public universities to market – has it’s origins in UF’s Department of Computer & Information Science & Engineering. Since 2004, professor Ben Lok, along with his research assistant Aaron Kotanza, has been working on a technology that allows nursing students to learn interactively from a simulated patient, an avatar. He formed Shadow Health with serial entrepreneur David Massias, who is currently the company’s CEO. Kotanza, who earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. from UF, is the current CTO.

The software they developed is being used by 230 nursing schools around the country, including UF, and by 20,000 students. Those numbers are expected to more than double before the end of the year, thanks to the recent boost from the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research.  

 The funding is only offered to firms who can secure a two-to-one match from private investors. Shadow Health had drawn in five times the institute’s amount to date.

 For more information on what Shadow Health is doing and how they intend to grow, visit the Gainesville Sun article.