April 20, 2017

Miami real estate-tech startup Gridics raises $1.1 million from developer Avra Jain and others

Gridex

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Efficient isn't a word most people would use to describe a planning and zoning process, but a Miami-based real estate technology startup wants to change that.

Gridics announced Thursday that it has raised a $1.1 million round of seed funding. The round was led by Dune Road Capital and included John Dyett, managing director of Salem Partners, Robert Kall, CEO and co-founder of Cien.ai, and Miami real estate developer Avra Jain. 

Gridics, short for Grid Analytics, is a real estate dataa and software development company founded in 2015. From applications on its platform,  users can visualize real estate data in order to make smarter investment and development decisions while streamlining inefficient processes in the real estate world, the company said.  For example, the Zonar.City application helps bridge the gap between the private sector development community of architects, developers and attorneys by automating development feasibility analysis and streamlining the development plan approval process. 

"By creating a solution that can digitize and automate any zoning code, the Gridics team has created a way to streamline an antiqued process," said Peter Richards, managing partner of Dune Road Capital.

The company, which has raised over $2 million  to date, is focused on further strengthening its product and driving adoption of its Zonar.City application. 

"Our new automated compliance module allows cities and developers to quickly check development plans against site-specific zoning requirements.  Cities that integrate their code with Zonar.city will streamline their zoning approval processes resulting in faster approvals, improved transparency and significant reductions to backlogs," said Gridics CEO Jason Doyle, in announcing the funding.

Gridics is also developing a Market Intelligence application, which allows real estate professionals to conduct hyper-local market analysis.  More than 1,000 members of the Miami Association of Realtors have joined Gridics since February, the company said.

 

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Latest national data on female-led teams show little progress, but there's hope for South Florida's future

  Womeninvestimage

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

17 percent: The percentage of tech startups that have at least one female founder. That number hasn’t budged much since 2012, Crunchbase’s updated study found.

Crunchbase’s inaugural study on female founder representation of U.S.-based companies was published in May 2015; this week it published an update.

Other findings from Crunchbase, an open-source database spun out from TechCrunch that tracks startups and funders:

For companies with an initial raise in 2016, female-founded companies are weighted toward education (32 percent), e-commerce (31 percent), healthcare (21 percent) and media and entertainment (21 percent) startups.

Female-led companies are raising less as they go up the venture food chain, Crunchbase found. In 2016, companies with at least one female founder raised 19 percent of all seed rounds, 14 percent of early-stage venture and 8 percent of late-stage venture rounds. They companies raised 17 percent of seed dollars, 13 percent of early-stage dollars and 7 percent of late-stage dollars.

Let’s put that in dollars and sense: Across all funding stages in 2016, $10 billion went to companies with at least one female founder contrasted with $94 billion invested in male-only founder teams, Crunchbase found.

Read about the study here.

Anecdotal evidence in South Florida suggests the numbers may be similar in South Florida but higher in the future. From my own observations, the number of women at tech events and conferences has been growing, albeit very slowly. I would be interested to know how much Refresh Miami’s female membership has grown percentage-wise, for instance.

But there seems to be more women-led companies developing in the very early stages. South Florida now has an accelerator for female entrepreneurs – Babson WIN Lab – and organizations aimed at growing more female angel investors such as Aminta Ventures are developing here. StartUP FIU’s second cohort of its Empower accelerator, open to all, is about 40 percent women. In the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge this year, which attracts pre-venture companies from all industries at the earliest stages, 48 percent of the entrants this year had female-led teams (either the CEO was female or the majority of the co-founding team was female), up from 12 percent in 2009. All this suggests more women-led businesses may be growing in our midst.

Stay tuned.

April 18, 2017

PetSmart to buy Chewy.com, and the price fetched may be eye-popping

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By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

The biggest e-commerce acquisition deal in history could be going to the dogs.

PetSmart, the nation’s largest pet-supplies retailer, has agreed to acquire Dania Beach-based Chewy.com, the market’s No. 1 online retailer.

The combination of Phoenix-based PetSmart, with 1,500 stores nationwide, and Chewy will enhance both companies’ reach, the companies said Tuesday. The acquisition, which is subject to customary regulatory approvals, is expected to close by the end of PetSmart’s second fiscal quarter.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. However, tech media site Recode is reporting that the deal in place is valued at $3.35 billion, according to its sources. That would make the sale of Chewy the biggest e-commerce acquisition to date, even larger than Wal-Mart’s $3.3 billion deal for jet.com last year.

“We are focused on improving our customers’ experience in-store and online as we continue to execute against our long-term strategic initiatives. Chewy’s high-touch customer e-commerce service model and culture centered around a love of pets is the ideal complement to PetSmart’s store footprint and diverse offerings,” said Michael Massey, PetSmart president and chief executive officer, in the announcement.

Chewy, which had been rumored to be a candidate for going public, has seen explosive growth since it was founded by Ryan Cohen (pictured above) and Michael “Blake” Day in 2011. The privately held company registered $26 million in sales during its first full year in business and logged more than $900 million in sales in 2016, the company said.

Although it was not yet profitable, Cohen said in February Chewy was projected to increase revenues to nearly $2 billion this year — nearly a 7,600 percent growth spurt in just six years. Today it has about 5,000 employees nationwide.

[READ MORE: Chewy has seen fantastic growth, but can it keep up the pace?]

The company built its following — more than 2 million customers nationwide — on customer service. Among its many campaigns, it sends hand-painted pet portraits as thank you gifts to 700 randomly selected customers every week.

“Since we started Chewy, we have been dedicated to understanding and satisfying the evolving needs of our customers to deliver the highest quality pet products and customer service,” said Cohen, Chewy’s CEO. “Combining our strong e-commerce expertise with PetSmart’s best-in-class infrastructure, footprint and breadth of offerings including services will help us wow our customers even more.”

Chewy will operate as an independent subsidiary of PetSmart run by Cohen and will remain focused on its current business strategy, while PetSmart will continue to execute its strategic initiatives across the combined company, PetSmart said.

Chewy tried to reassured customers on social media Tuesday that Chewy wasn’t going anywhere and the level of service would not change after the acquisition.

According to 1010Data, Chewy.com holds 51 percent of the online pet food market, including 40.5 percent in direct sales and 10.2 percent in subscription sales. But Chewy always had bigger aspirations.

“If you look at where we are today in the business, we’re still scratching the surface in terms of the total addressable market. We want to be No. 1. We’re No. 1 online. We want to be the largest pet retailer in the world,” Cohen said in a Miami Herald cover story in February.

Chewy had raised several rounds of capital — about $236 million in total — to support its growth. On Feb. 1, Wells Fargo Capital Finance had become the latest investor, announcing an agreement to lend $90 million over the next five years to Chewy.

Nancy Dahlberg: @ndahlberg

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Miami fintech company DadeSystems receives $2 million in funding

DadeSystems, a Miami-based provider of account receivable automation solutions, raised $2 million in funding to accelerate its growth from Miami early-stage venture firm Ocean Azul Partners.

The funding  will be used to  accelerate engineering and product enhancement efforts as well as expand the sales team, digital marketing and client services, according to the announcement.

"We're pleased with the progress of DadeSystems and excited about the product suite, relationships and potential for growth," said Bill Pruitt, managing director of Ocean Azul Partners, in a statement. "We look for capital efficient companies developing new markets using differentiation and providing value to create a defendable market position and grow rapidly. DadeSystems is aligned with our investment strategy."

DadePay AR Automation, part of the SaaS suite of fully integrated products, automatically captures all incoming payments, including cash, checks, ACH, EFT, and credit cards.  Using patented technologies, payments are automatically matched to open invoices and update the companies' ERP systems.  All checks received are electronically transmitted to the bank for immediate deposit, the company said. DadeSystems serves multiple industries including distribution, food and beverage, manufacturing, financial, transportation, wholesale, property management, healthcare, retail, travel and agriculture. 

"Last year was another strong year as we exceeded our revenue and customer acquisition targets. Securing this additional funding allows us to expand our product suite and services and grow our presence as the preferred payment solution in the marketplace," said DadeSystems CEO Bill Zayas.

 

 

 

 

WIN Lab accepting applications for Cohort 2

WINLAB

Cohort 1 of WIN Lab Miami.

WIN Lab Miami is looking for female entrepreneurs ready to think big and scale their businesses.

Created by the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson College, Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab provides women entrepreneurs with an inspiring community and a rigorous, experiential eight-month program that aims to catalyze innovative thinking and enable them to successfully launch or transform businesses.

For information on eligibility, program requirements and the application process. visit www.thewinlab.org/apply

Deadlines

  • Application Due May 12 at 5PM EST
  • Semi-finalist Interviews, May 12 to June 9h
  • Pitch Days, June 29–30
  • WINners Announced July 15

Fees

  • $0 until April 4 at midnight (extended from April 1st)
  • $25 from April 5 until April 15 at midnight
  • $50 from April 16 until May 12 at 5PM EST

 

Admissions Criteria

Power as SheO

The WIN Lab is dedicated to catalyzing women founders who are passionate, committed, and want to build scalable ventures! These women will form part of a diverse cohort that will build their business as they accelerate their entrepreneurial journey as peers. Their potential and drive may speak louder than their business concept. We look at the entrepreneur and their potential, not only their traction to date.

Think Big Ventures
WIN is industry agnostic and curates cohorts that include products and services from all sectors. The accelerator is looking for high-growth, well-vetted, BIG ideas, with a clear secret sauce and strong positioning in the market.

Timing is Everything
WIN seeks businesses that are in beta stage with a functioning prototype, a strong go-to-market strategy, and are positioned to scale. This will enable them to best leverage Lab resources. We are open to candidates that are slightly earlier or later stage if they have a clear idea on how they will leverage the WIN experience (i.e. idea stage or growth stage that are franchising or launching a new product or service).

Community Fit
Applicants should be ready to join and contribute to an entrepreneurial community. We are looking for founders that are willing to fully engage by committing time and energy to the program and their peers. WIN Lab provides its entrepreneurs with an immense amount of expertise, coaching, and resources, and we ask for commitment and contribution in return. Participants (WINners) are required to show up to weekly sessions, meet monthly milestones, provide feedback to their fellow founders, and operate with openness and transparency during the program. 

Team
Research shows that start-ups with co-founders are more likely to achieve early success and scalability. We seek founders that are part of strong, women-led, teams with co-founders and/or employees that are committed to venture growth (founder agreements must be submitted before entering the Lab). Solo founders that are actively seeking team members or have a strong organizational plan in place are encouraged to apply. 

- Submitted by WIN Lab Miami 

April 17, 2017

You be the judge: Vote in the Business Plan Challenge People's Pick

Challenge illustration

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

A way to combat restaurant food waste, an online platform for dental prosthetics, or a line of toys for boys of color? Or maybe it’s the sharing economy for trucking, the sharing economy for home-care services, or a grow-light for cannabis?

Or how about or a tool to negotiate consumer debt, a guest management platform for the hospitality industry, or a new clinic for mental health therapy? In the education space, an app that helps kids on the autism spectrum communicate with their parents, a solution for schools to combat bullying and a tool to bring families together at storytime complete the offerings.

Who is building the best new business? You tell us!

Today, we unveil the top six finishers in the Community and FIU Tracks of the 19th annual Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge, and we are asking you to support your favorite competitors. The People’s Pick is open for voting.

With just a couple of days’ notice, the contenders, all with emerging South Florida companies, presented elevator pitches under the hot lights of the Miami Herald and FIU studios.

To vote for your favorite startups, here’s what to do:

Find the voting page here or at hrld.us/BizPlan2017. View the short videos of the finalists’ elevator pitches. The six selections in the FIU Track follow the Community Track. Then scroll to the bottom of the voting page to cast your ballot, voting for one video in each track. You may vote once per day.

Lastly, get out the vote! Give your favorite entrepreneurial team more support by asking your social networks to vote. . Use hashtag #2017BizPlanMiami to follow along.

Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. April 24. The top voted team from each track track will be awarded the People’s Pick and honored in the May 8 Business Monday section along with the judges’ selections.

The contenders are:

COMMUNITY TRACK

Apollonix, pitched by Jessica Shin and Terri-Ann Brown, is the first online marketplace for ordering oral prosthetics and provides a win-win solution for both dentists and labs in this $10.9 billion industry.

Cargo42, pitched by Murilo Amaral and Alfredo Keri, is a B2B marketplace for local trucking. It helps shippers find lower rates, access quality service and have their goods delivered on time by matching them with pre-verified trucks with empty space in them.

Caribu, pitched by Maxeme Tuchman, marries video-calling and e-books to provide an interactive experience when family members are far apart. You simply make a call, choose a book together, and read or draw in real time as if you were in the same room.

Melanites, pitched by Jennifer Pierre, designs and creates diverse toys, storybooks and games that celebrate brown boyhood. Its mission is to inspire children of color to dream big, stand tall and live out their childhood.

Modulux Lighting, pitched by Bill Cummings, has created an LED-based grow-light product called GroMax focused on the massive cannabis market. GroMax lights are modular, programmable and scalable and can be assembled like Lego Blocks to create an efficient lighting solution for any size grower.

School Climate Solutions, pitched by Maribel Gonzalez, delivers customized on-demand content for educators, parents and students that helps improve school environments and creates pathways that lead to academic and social success.

FIU TRACK

DoUCare, pitched by Maurice Pinto, is a cloud-based platform that connects freelance caregivers to families seeking nonmedical home-care services for elderly loved ones. Careseekers get immediate or future-scheduled care services through a phone or web app. Caregivers get access to an online marketplace that gets them hired at the rate of their choice.

Ketamine Health Centers, pitched by Dennis Diaz and May Nunez, will own, develop and operate multiple outpatient clinics to provide ketamine infusions, a new treatment modality for patients suffering from mental-health disorders. The clinic provides an innovative use of the FDA-approved anesthetic ketamine, gaining recognition in the medical community.

MunchSquad, pitched by Tara Demren and Eliana Alba, is a mobile app providing a real-time marketplace that allows restaurants, bakeries and supermarkets to reduce surplus food being thrown out at the end of the day by having it sold at a discount to students. MunchSquad also facilitates partnerships with homeless shelters for the distribution of remaining food.

Nuvola, pitched by Juan Carlos Abello, provides guest management software that helps hotels monitor and respond to hotel and guest needs and activities. Nuvola, staffed entirely by professionals with hospitality industry experience, has created a customer-service platform with mobile applications designed to be used by the hotel staff and by hotel guests.

SettleiTsoft, pitched by Rich Rudner, provides a web-based and mobile accessible platform that offers 24/7 assistance to debtors and creditors as a bridge to facilitate and streamline the debt-negotiation process. It is designed to replace the traditional methods of debt resolution with an intuitive, interactive, transparent and secure online debt settlement process.

Use Your Words, pitched by Yanesa Montenegro, will develop an app used by parents to teach language and communication to their pre-verbal and nonverbal children on the autism spectrum. At its core, the app will be an interface of buttons with symbols representing words the child will press to communicate with parents, and will offer video tutorials and a progress recording feature.

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

READ MORE: Find the complete list of semifinalists, including the High School Track, here.

April 16, 2017

What would a venture capitalist say about that? Startups get chance to find out

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By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Access to capital is lacking — that’s a common refrain among Miami area entrepreneurs, and particularly in minority communities. So Derick Pearson and Felecia Hatcher, founders of Code Fever and Blacktech Week, thought let’s bring the venture capitalists here. 

At a recent conference Pearson talked Marlon Nichols, co-founder and managing partner at Cross Culture Ventures and former investment director at Intel Capital, into agreeing to be Code Fever and Blacktech Week’s first VC in Residence. As part of the program, thought to be one of the first of its kind, top venture capitalists will spend a month in Miami advising and guiding black, Latinx and Caribbean entrepreneurs. Nichols, who generally splits his time between offices in L.A. and Silicon Valley, took up residence at WeWork earlier this month and has been holding office hours, fireside chats and lunch and learns that will continue throughout the month to help sharp founders think through the businesses that they are building. 

It wasn’t a hard sell and the arrangement is benefiting both sides of the table. 

“You can’t beat coming to Miami in April, but more importantly, Miami is rich in culture and our investment thesis is about understanding global culture to try to predict where consumers are going to spend their dollars,” said the Jamaican-born Nichols, who leads one of the relative few black-led venture capital funds in the U.S. “Black and Latinx cultures have been known for early adopters, so for understanding what is going on in those communities as well as the Caribbean community, Miami is a melting pot. For me it is a lot of learning.”

The new VC in Residence program is one of a number of Code Fever initiatives, which include producing Blacktech Week and Weekend, and it recently received $1.2 million in Knight funding. Entrepreneur-in-residence programs are commonly hosted at universities and accelerators to support entrepreneurs, solve problems and help innovate. Code Fever believes that borrowing from this model and inviting VCs to spend a month in residence in communities where there’s little access to funding can help reshape the way black communities are valued in the innovation sector. 

It’s a big challenge. Only about 1 percent venture capital funding goes to black founders, and only 13 black women founders in the entire nation have raised a million dollars or more in venture capital. 

In the half-hour office hour visits so far, Nichols has met with tech startups developing products or services for student debt, media content, cloud-based secure storage, educating inmates, dentistry and others. Most of the entrepreneurs are not yet at the stage for venture capital or do not have appropriate businesses for that kind of funding, but the door is still open. 

Some were interested in advice for preparing themselves for investment, others wanted mentorship on starting up or just wanted to talk strategy. And it hasn’t been all tech — Nichols met with a cupcake entrepreneur who wanted to talk about the best way to grow her business. 

And when companies are ready for investment, he wants to know about them. “I think gone are the days when all investments happen in Silicon Valley. ... Amazing companies can be created any where in the world and I want to keep my finger on the pulse of that. ... The biggest thing I will get out of this is developing a network here – with entrepreneurs I will keep in touch with, with angels here and organizations. They will help be eyes and ears for great investment opportunities here.”

Nichols is also holding frequent fireside chats, bringing in entrepreneurs who have experience starting and growing companies. “The best resource for new entrepreneurs is successful entrepreneurs as well as unsuccessful entrepreneurs,” he said. “There is just a wealth of knowledge that can be learned from both.” 

Last week, Nichols hosted entrepreneurs Brian Brackeen of Miami-based Kairos and Chris Bennett of Wonderschool and Soldsie.com for a fireside chat, dinner and networking. Bennett grew up in Miami but moved to San Francisco in 2009. While both entrepreneurs have raised millions in venture capital and angel funding and gave advice on that, they also dished on the realities of startup life — including 180-degree pivots, botched pitches with important VCs, building and overbuilding without reaching product-market fit and somehow keeping a team focused through the toughest months. We also learned that Brackeen wakes himself up at 3 a.m. because he does his best work then, but don’t bother him at 3 p.m. — that’s nap time.

Bennett is a big proponent of accelerators – he participated in NewME and 500 Startups — and he said he would do another one today. He also said the benefit to Silicon Valley is there are so many entrepreneurs, engineers and investors to learn from. “Talk to as many VCs as you can, because you learn what they care about. ... The best way to get ready for talking to VCs is to join an accelerator. The next best way is to surround yourself with entrepreneurs who have been successful and learn from them,” he said. 

Brackeen is bullish on the 305, including on the number of angels in South Florida and the growing infrastructure such as co-working spaces and accelerators — and maybe soon, innovation districts. “You can have the same success as a San Francisco company if you find the right people, find the right lawyer, find the right investors. There is not one model for the result,” he said. 

Coming up on Tuesday is a lunch and learn with Silicon Valley startup attorney Brian Patterson and a fireside chat with Diishan Imira, CEO and co-founder of Mayvenn. Pearson and Hatcher plan to bring more VCs down. Find more information about the VC in Residence program at blacktechweek.com/funding.

For his part, Nichols said he has been impressed so far with the potential of Miami.

“Successful ecosystems have universities spinning out technologies and talent, investors and angel groups, accelerators and co-working spaces — and challenges unique to those communities, that is the biggest thing. I don’t want to invest in the next Uber or the next Lyft. I want new market creators. What are big pain points for people in Miami that haven’t been met? Let’s figure out what those are and go solve them.”

Nancy Dahlberg; @ndahlberg 

READ MORE: Blacktech Week receives $1.2 million in Knight funding to expand entrepreneur programs

Btw

Marlon Nichols, co-founder of Cross Culture Ventures, Chris Bennett, founder of Soldsie.com and Wonderschool, and Brian Brackeen, founder of Miami-based startup Kairos, talk about startup life at a VC in Residence fireside chat at WeWork in this photo and above.

Photos by Blacktech Week. 

 

April 15, 2017

Linda McMahon, from WWE to now heading the SBA: ‘I’ve walked in their shoes’

Mcmahon

U.S. Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon and HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson share a laugh at the cafe bar at Versailles Cuban restaurant in Miami. After the gathering with Carson, she headed to the SBA offices to meet with small businesses. C.M. GUERRERO cmguerrero@elnuevoherald.com


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article144511784.html#storylink=cpy

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Linda McMahon, 55 days into her job as the new chief of the U.S. Small Business Administration, spent 24 hours in Miami on Thursday, in the first of a number of city visits she intends to make.

The co-founder and former CEO of wrestling entertainment giant WWE said the Cabinet position is in her wheelhouse.

“My husband and I built our business from the ground up, starting with sharing a desk in the basement, and at one point we went bankrupt and lost everything ... I like to tell small business owners and entrepreneurs I get it, I have your back on this, I understand about regulation, I understand how taxes are taxing, I understand what it is like not to be able to borrow money when you need it.”

She said when she talks about and to small businesses, she is using every skill she learned scaling WWE: How to start and grow a company, how to manage people and processes, how to expand into new markets and how to go international. “I’ve walked in their shoes. I don’t talk about things I don’t know about.”

McMahon said she will first be examining all existing SBA programs, such as its flagship 7(a) loan program and its export programs, and making sure they are the best they can be before launching new programs. She also said she wants to update the website and expand marketing and outreach.

Her goals for the SBA: “Some of them are the obvious. We want to create more jobs, we want to qualify more lenders and expand lending markets. But also I want a very different SBA – it’s not your father’s SBA. I want to modernize it and reposition it so when people think about jobs, they think about how the Small Business Administration would really be helpful.”

During the short visit, she attended a housing briefing with HUD Secretary Ben Carson and local mayors, lunched at Versailles and met with the district SBA office staff and small businesses.

One of the small businesses she met early in the day was Freebee, a local startup that provides free city transportation via golf cart-like vehicles and said she enjoyed hearing the co-founders’ story. “They had worked very closely with SBDC [Small Business Development Center] and it was terrific to hear them talk about how the technical assistance and the counseling was as important as money. You hear those stories and you know that SBA services in so many different ways.”

Later in the afternoon, McMahon held a roundtable discussion for local small businesses and organizations to talk about what SBA does right, what needs to improve and what needs to be jettisoned.

“We’ve seen over the past few years a decline in startups,” she said. “But what you are starting to see now is a bit more confidence. More entrepreneurs are looking to come back to start businesses, and that is where SBA is perfectly positioned to be helping more people to realize their dreams.”

Nancy Dahlberg: @ndahlberg

 

April 14, 2017

Three Miami startups are finalists in FedEx Competition

On-demand car wash company WashMyWhip, children’s art program Clay World, and bakery Sweet Armoire Alfajor were chosen out of more than 1,000 businesses nationwide to the list of the 100 finalists in the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest, Startup.Miami's Rob Wile reported.

Ten businesses will receive a grant, with one receiving $25,000.

The winners will be announced on April 25.

Read Startup.Miami's weekly roundup here.

Read more about WashMyWhip here.

 

Susan Perry of SpeechMED honored by AARP for innovation helping older Americans

SusanperrySusan Perry, founder and CEO of Miami-based SpeechMED, is one of AARP’s  50+ Innovation Leaders, an AARP initiative administered by MedCity News to recognize entrepreneurs, companies and ideas behind innovative new products and services for Americans aged 50 and older.

“We are thrilled to be recognized by AARP as an innovator of audio, multi-lingual, patient engagement technology that enables seniors and their caregivers to hear their medical directions via human voice instead of in written form, which gives them a far greater chance of processing those critical directions, and always in the language that they know best” said  Perry, in a news release.

The winners of the inaugural 50+ Innovation Leaders program were revealed today during the AARP Innovation@50+ Live Pitch event by representatives of MedCity News and AARP. The full list of winners can be seen at medcitynews.com/50-plus-innovation-leaders/.

“AARP works to empower people to choose how they live as they age,” said Jeffrey Makowka, AARP’s director of market innovation. “We are pleased to join MedCity News in showcasing entrepreneurs who are driving change and improvements in the healthcare industry for the more than 100 million Americans aged 50 and older."

SpeechMED is a simple to use platform to empower patients, caregivers and their healthcare providers by removing obstacles to clear communication. "Our mission of inclusion is to make patient’s medical information understandable to them regardless of their age, vision, language preference or literacy level," Perry said. Visit speechmed.com for more information.

READ MORE: A Startup Spotlight on SpeechMED