One Spark

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A Florida group that connects investors with startup companies is venturing into Jacksonville. It’s an Orlando-based network called the Florida Angel Nexus, and its members spoke with potential investors at the University of North Florida last week.

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; Larry Hannan, Florida Times-Union reporter; Claire Goforth, Folio Weekly writer; and WJCT analyst John Burr.

Topics include the latest on Jacksonville's human rights ordinance, the start of the state legislative session, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Florida's death penalty.

One Spark


The One Spark crowdfunding festival has had a management shakeup. Co-founder and CEO Elton Rivas has resigned, he announced in an email Monday. His resignation follows six employees’ being laid off last year.

In his email, Rivas thanked his supporters, saying it’s been an honor to lead the journey.

At the same time, One Spark Board Chairman Peter Rummell announced Monday the festival will continue operating under a newly formed corporation called One Spark Ventures.

Big changes are planned for the 2016 One Spark crowdfunding festival. Organizers say the event will return to its roots by scaling back the number of days, adopting a tighter physical footprint in the city's urban core, and featuring less creators than previous years. We look at the future of One Spark with founder Elton Rivas and board chair Peter Rummell.

We discuss the week's top news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Dan Scanlan, Florida Times-Union reporter; Claire Goforth, Folio Weekly reporter; and WJCT analyst John Burr.

Topics include a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office employee being arrested for having ties to a cocaine ring, One Spark 2016's smaller footprint, and more.

Bonnie Zerr / WJCT

Next year’s One Spark Festival promises to be smaller and shorter than in the past.

Organizers of what’s billed as “the world’s largest crowdfunding festival” announced a number of changes Monday.

One Spark board member Rena Coughlin says, for one thing, the length of the festival had become overly burdensome, so they’re cutting it back to three days.

Rethreaded / Facebook

A local nonprofit dedicated to helping women break the cycle of the sex trade plans to celebrate the fourth anniversary of its founding this Saturday.

Rethreaded helps women out of prostitution and human trafficking by giving them a stable job.

The organization produces items like scarves, pillows and baby bibs out of donated T-shirts.


For a company in Atlanta, winning the technology category at One Spark was just the beginning of what has been a successful year.

PartPic recently received a $1.5 million investment from a group of more than a dozen angel investors, venture capitalists and other funders.

Bonnie Zerr / WJCT

  Last week, the One Spark crowdfunding festival eliminated most of its full-time staff.

In this week’s Business Brief, analyst John Burr tells WJCT News Director Jessica Palombo the festival’s future is uncertain.

One Spark Festival Lays Off Most Employees

Jun 24, 2015
Bonnie Zerr / WJCT

The group behind Downtown’s One Spark festival has slashed its staff and is reorganizing.

Bonnie Zerr / WJCT

An innovative engineering-teaching program for elementary students is expanding after winning an education award at Jacksonville's One Spark festival.

Growin’GEERS, is a program for children to explore engineering concepts using critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

The program won at One Spark festival’s Education Awards sponsored by the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership.

Deborah Gianoulis, president and CEO of the Schultz Center, says the center’s primary mission is to improve the quality of teaching.

Shannon LeDuke / WJCT

St. Augustine will commemorate 450 years as the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States this year. Anniversary planning has been an arduous process for St. Augustine City officials, and with only six months to go, there is still much to be done. The 450th has been the subject of many heated discussions, with many questioning the finances and the plans. We speak with Dana St. Claire, director of the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration, and Alexa Epitropoulos, reporter with the Jacksonville Business Journal.

Note: This episode was recorded in from of a live audience at MOCA Jacksonville the night of April 9, 2015.

On our final broadcast from the One Spark 2015 crowdfunding festival, we look at what goes into choosing the winning projects for several special awards with jurors Lukas Costas, Grace Belangia, Jay Harris and Jane Evans.

Jason Pratt, co-owner of the outdoor design company and successful One Spark 2014 creator Pratt Guys, and One Spark volunteer Kristyn Galane join us to discuss what goes into making the festival happen.

Shannon LeDuke / WJCT

 Note: This episode was recorded in front of a live audience at MOCA Jacksonville the night of April 8, 2015.

  As crowds descend on downtown for the first official day of voting for One Spark 2015, the crowdfunding festival's founders Elton Rivas, Dennis Eusebio and Varick Rosete join us to discuss how it started and what is new this year.

We also learn about some of the film projects currently being screened at the MOCA Jacksonville theater from filmmakers Michael Glinski, Derek Boyd Hankerson, Keagan Anfuso, Drew Brown, and Kim Murray.

Peter Haden / WJCT News

The third annual One Spark is off and running.

'The World's Largest Crowdfunding Festival' got off to a slow and thoughtful start Tuesday with a day-long speaker summit.

One Spark Communications Director Meredith O'Malley Johnson says the talks covered topics helpful to creators, such as "how to be innovative, entrepreneurship, and how to be successful starting a business."

O'Malley said the talks were full of "really great advice, especially for creators in the audience."

The list of summit speakers included Jeff Hoffman, founder of