“It feels like everybody is just two degrees away from everybody else.”, Nathan Selikoff said when asked why he makes Orlando his home. Orlando is a big city, but it’s small enough that its social networks are easy to navigate. Everybody knows somebody who knows somebody who controls major resources or who can help shape public policy.
Selikoff is the co-founder of Omnimodal, an Orlando startup seeking to make transportation infrastructure more open and navigable, which has its home on “the Boulevard of Dreams”. Seriously.
The coworking space that they call home is located in a building once occupied by an architectural firm, a firm that erected little homefronts and street signs in the building to show off their architectural flair, homefronts that now serve as offices for local businesses and entrepreneurs working alongside one another. Omnimodal – Omni for short – has a corner space just off the mini main road that runs through the middle of the space, and they have a terrific view.
The coworking space is Conduit, and Omni moved into the building when they did. Conduit began as a cross-disciplinary project with the Florida Hospital Innovation Lab in 2016, eventually expanding to the new space in partnership with SunGate Capital.
Omni’s been with Conduit for a long time. Nathan Selikoff, co-founder of Omni, has been with them since February of 2016 – to him it embodies the best of what Orlando has to offer, what leads him to make the city his home base.
Navigating this world is the biggest challenge Omi currently faces. “The big transition is from thinking about what a better world would be to thinking about what levers of power you actually have to pull to make that happen”, Selikoff said. It’s the basic challenge of any social enterprise, really.
Selikoff and his Co-Founder, David Thomas Moran, first met through the Transit Interpretation Project (TrIP), an initiative where artists and creatives were given an all-day bus pass and rode around Orlando and created art to express their experiences. Selikoff and Moran hit it off right away, full of ideas for how to make transportation better for everyone. They determined that the biggest and most direct way for transportation to improve is for there to be more data, and for that data to be open.
Right now Omni is working to establish itself as a consultancy. A year from now they aim to be well underway with the work of improving Orlando’s infrastructure in conjunction with an agency or other institution. But it doesn’t have to wait – anyone can take the bus, the train, the bike, or even walk if it’s close enough. They encourage people to take that jump, to see what the experience is like and how that experience can be improved, and to take as much data as possible. In Omni’s vision, transportation is something that not only can be used by everyone, but can also be known and improved by everyone too. In transit as in most things, we’re all in this together.