Downtown Pensacola Tech Takes Off

Keen on growth, Smith says the plan is to graduate from CO:LAB within the year and to move into its own offices — all while scaling up the business.

“Right now, we have three employees and we’d like to double that within the next year,” said Smith. “Then the plan is to get to 30 employees by three years, and to 100 by five. We chose Downtown Pensacola because it is such an attractive place for people to work. We can do what we do anywhere, but we chose Pensacola.”

Few facilities highlight the diversity of tech’s footprint in Pensacola like the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC). As a not-for-profit research center that’s part of the State University System, IHMC has built an international reputation for excellence in artificial intelligence and robotics.

IHMC’s CEO and founder Ken Ford, a former Director of NASA’s Center of Excellence, said another research endeavor is now underway — a collaborative effort aimed at investigating and maximizing human health, resilience, and performance.

“IHMC’s international reputation in robotics and artificial intelligence speaks for itself,” Ford said. “Our Healthspan Resilience and Performance team will focus on innovative ways to extend the capabilities and resilience of high-performing humans such as astronauts, fighter pilots and elite special operators.”

The team’s work is focused on improving the performance of elite military members who face unparalleled stressors. But the ultimate applications could be far-reaching, offering substantial health benefits to the general population.

IHMC’s multidisciplinary, collaborative approach is critical to its success, Ford says, particularly as it looks to lead the creation of a human performance economic center of excellence in the region. IHMC received a grant for nearly $6 million from Triumph Gulf Coast to help in this effort.

“Investments like these will build capacity in the regional economy to support the robust ecosystem needed for the human performance industry cluster and keeping more of that work in the region,” said Ford.

Downtown Pensacola is where nearly 500 years of history meets high tech. Downtown is ripe for businesses looking for quality of life in a vibrant city, access to a rich talent pool, a thriving medical community, entrepreneur launch pad and so much more.

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