Kismet Technologies rejected overtures, stayed in Orlando

Christina Drake heard the overtures.

As she built her company Kismet Technologies in Orlando, there was a stretch where she’d hear the questions once a week.

They would ask whether she would ever consider relocating to a tech hub like Boston or Austin, Texas.

No deal, she would say.

“I like how things are growing in Orlando,” she said. “This was the right place to be for what we are doing.”

The plan, so far, seems to be working.

Kismet recently landed a National Science Foundation grant, which followed shortly after a $5 million seed funding round.

Ray Villegas, who works in economic development for Lake County but was UCF Business Incubation Program’s first program manager for mentorship, said Drake and her business partner Shari Costantini have put the work in.

“I can’t think of anyone I’ve come across who deserve it more,” he said. “The results they are seeing so far and potential impact they can have on a global basis is exciting to witness in real-time.”

Drake credits her network of advisers – including Villegas – and other supportive people at the University of Central Florida with some of her success.

“I was really tied to UCF,” said Drake, who earned her Ph.D. from UCF in 2007. “I had access to researchers I knew and could build relationships quickly. In March of 2020, Kismet was just an idea. But to have it made and tested by the end of that year, you don’t do that in a vacuum.”

All she had to do was explain her idea and, it seemed, everyone else said, “Let’s get that done.”

Drake spreads the credit around the region to a number of group.

However, she did single out Cenfluence, an organization in the region that has been working at bringing the range of clusters in Orlando together.

Through that, Kismet was able to connect wtih Orlando Health.

“There are just a lot of really helpful people who want to see businesses succeed in Central Florida,” she said. “They try to make sure you get the support you need.”