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Jared Nurse, Orel Yoshia, Djuan Gayle, Jaimie Davis, Logan Carlson, and Nicolee Brown are part of Madd Technologies LLC, a technology start-up run entirely by students at Florida Polytechnic University

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Florida Polytechnic University students launch tech start-up

The group has help from a Florida Poly entrepreneurship coordinator.

A group of Florida Polytechnic University students decided to take the fate of their future careers into their own hands by building on the “crazy idea” to start their own tech company.

Eight students hanging out late one night decided to launch a consumer electronics and software start-up aimed at delivering product design, web design and app development

“We had this crazy idea to start a company,” said CEO Djuan Gayle, a senior majoring in computer engineering. “We’re going to a technology school and we want to change the world, so why not be able to put all of that under a company and just make it happen.”

In honor of the group’s off-the-cuff idea and willingness to tackle unusual projects, they named the company Madd Technologies.

Recent Madd Technologies projects include designing a university app. The group also designed a smart refractometer to measure grapes for peak ripeness for a client in the wine industry.

In addition to providing technology services for local businesses, Madd Technologies is working on developing its own products, such as an algorithm that uses artificial intelligence to recommend clothing to customers.

“When you’re an engineer, everyone in the industry is looking for experience and as a student it can be difficult to gain that experience,” said Jaimie Davis, a junior electrical engineering major and the company’s technology officer. “Being a part of this company and working on project management skills and overall communication really helps all of us become better engineers.”

Florida Poly Technic Entrepreneurship Coordinator Justin Heacock helped the students launch their company.

“It’s been a learning curve because it’s not like we’re going to business school, and Justin has been really good at helping with that,” Gayle said. “We go to him and he just finds the time.”

Gayle said the company is hoping to soon grow to about 15 team members and move into an office space in Lakeland and hopes to eventually be located near the University, providing both jobs and internships to other Florida Poly students.

“For the whole four years of college, we’ve been entrepreneurial-minded,” said Logan Carlson, a senior majoring in computer engineering and the company’s research and development officer.

Madd Technologies’ leadership said they hope other students will see their success and be motivated to follow their own “crazy ideas.”

“We learn by doing and one of the hallmarks of studying at Florida Poly is being able to get your hands on stuff,” Davis said. “But being in this company since my freshman year has really given me a lot more than I could ever expect from a college education.”

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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