Want to know about Miami startups? A user's guide to this blog

Dear reader, Starting Gate has been providing and archiving South Florida startup and tech community news, views and resources since 2012. New to the Miami area? Thinking about relocating here? Just want to keep up with news, events and opportunities? We're there for you.

How to use Starting Gate: Besides scrolling the blog for the latest entries, you can access news and views by category. The "Funding" category will capture venture capital and angel funding news of individual startups as well as stories about funders. The startup categories chronicle news and my regular "Spotlights," and in Q&As you'll find interviews with CEOs and leaders in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. There are also categories for guest posts, views, accelerators/incubators, resources, events and more.

Thank you for your support through the years and please come back often. Follow me on Twitter @ndahlberg. - Sincerely, Nancy Dahlberg

September 20, 2017

Tech visionary Salim Ismail joins Rokk3r Fuel as a general partner

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

IsmailSalim Ismail, founding executive director of Singularity University and chairman of the new Miami-based Fastrack Institute, has joined Rokk3r Fuel, a venture capital firm based in Miami, as a general partner.

With the addition to Ismail, Rokk3r Fuel is also renaming its flagship fund Rokk3r Fuel ExO.

“For the last decade, Salim has been a visionary and has defined how we as an industry think about exponential organizations. We view his decision to join Rokk3r Fuel as a strong validation of both our commitment to identifying and investing in exponential technology, and our proprietary approach to working with our limited partners to optimize the way that venture is working to meet their investment objectives," said Jeff Ransdell, founding partner of Rokk3r Fuel ExO, in a news release.

[READ MORE ABOUT ROKK3R FUEL HERE.]

Ismail is co-founder and chairman of the Fastrack Institute in Miami, as well as chairman of ExO Works, which he founded. He is also a public speaker and authored the business best-seller Exponential Organizations. He is  now a global ambassador for Singularity, based at NASA’s Ames Research Center with a  goal is to "educate, inspire, and empower a new generation of leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity's grand challenges."

Said Ismail: "Today there are eight billion Internet-connected devices in the world. By 2020, there will be 50 billion. Will computer-driven cars be a reality in three years? Will we see a dramatically lengthened lifespan and delayed retirements in a matter of one to two decades? What does this mean for investment, growth, and contraction in key industries? As the world becomes more digital, advancements in technology are skyrocketing. Rokk3r Fuel ExO is tracking the trajectory of fascinating projects and investing in the ones that are sure to change our lives and challenge societal norms as we know them. Our insight on how to invest and where to deploy capital is driven around our exponential outlook on the world as we know it today.”

Before his work at Singularity, Ismail was a vice president at Yahoo, where he built and ran Brickhouse, the company's internal incubator. He co-founded and operated seven early-stage companies, including PubSub Concepts, which laid some of the foundation for the real-time web. His last company, Ångströ, a news aggregation startup, was sold to Google in 2010.

Ismail is being honored by Endeavor Miami at its annual benefit gala Oct. 21.

Rokk3r Fuel was launched  in March 2017 with the goal of investing in exponential technologies at a global level.  It has said its goal is to raise a $150 million fund. “The addition of Salim Ismail as general partner advances Rokk3r Fuel’s goal of globally sourcing and funding the best entrepreneurs who are building companies at the intersection of exponential technologies,” said Nabyl Charania, general partner at Rokk3r Fuel and CEO of Rokk3r Labs.

[READ MORE: INTERVIEW WITH SALIM ISMAIL]

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

 

September 19, 2017

Meet the next class of women selected for WIN Lab Miami

Womeninvestimage


By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

A straw that helps detect date rape, advances in breast pump technology, a dinner party in a box. These are products and services in development by just a few of the 17 companies selected by Babson College to participate in the 2017-2018 Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab Miami.

WIN Lab Miami, an eight-month accelerator program entering its second year in the region, aims to catalyze the long-term success of female entrepreneurs by fostering creativity and collaboration, increasing visibility, providing mentorships, identifying branding and marketing tactics, and leveraging funding opportunities and competitions.

Around the world, female entrepreneurship is on the rise. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor's 2017 survey of 63 economies, Total Entrepreneurial Activity among women increased by 10 percent in the past two years, and the gender gap (ratio of women to men participating in entrepreneurship) narrowed by 5 percent. WIN Lab seeks to accelerate the trend by offering a supportive rather than a competitive environment of traditional accelerators. It's program is part-time over a longer period to better work with entrepreneurs at their own stages of growth. 

WINlab_womenceos_038 (2)

 “We have selected a group of incredibly impressive women entrepreneurs to join WIN Lab Miami’s next cohort,” said Babson’s WIN Lab Miami Director Carolina Pina (pictured above). “One team won the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge, some have already made strides as participants of the Idea Center’s CREATE program at Miami Dade College; one has just recently won an American Entrepreneurship Award; and two have been selected to pitch their businesses at the upcoming Demand Solutions competition. We look forward to helping further develop and advance their businesses, and being witness to all of their accomplishments to come.”

WIN Lab's Advisory Board will be chaired by Carol Faber, Partner at Akerman LLP. Faber was recently named one of Real Estate Forum’s 50 Women of Influence in Real Estate, and is also the Chair of Akerman’s Women’s Initiative Network and Co-chair of its Distressed Property Practice Group.

WIN LAB has also named its Entrepreneurs-In-Residence and Investors-In-Residence for the second cohort.

Entrepreneurs-In-Residence are Johanna Mikkola, Co-Founder, Wyncode Academy; RJ Joshi, Co-Founder and COO, Bodhi Tree Asset Management; Silvina Moschini, Co-Founder and CEO, SheWorks!; and Ze’ev Feig MBA’03, CEO, Zensah.

 Its Investors-In-Residence are Adam Smith, investor; Blaire Martin, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Florida Angel Nexus; and Raul Moas, Managing Director, AGP.

WIN Lab Miami was founded with support from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, FedEx, and Akerman LLP, and sponsor HSBC. The Miami program’s inaugural cohort of ‘WINners’ raised nearly $2 million in funding in the first year, WIN Lab said, and celebrated with a grand finale pitch competition in April 2017.

Here are the 2017-2018 Miami WINners (list provided by WIN Lab), which were to be announced Tuesday night at its  kickoff event at CIC Miami, where WIN Lab is based.

Caribu
Maxeme Tuchman, Co-Founder and CEO

Communication and collaboration platform that helps parents, extended family, and mentors read and draw with children when they are not in the same location. Caribu is one of two WINners selected by the Inter-American Development Bank to compete at Demand Solutions. It also won third place in the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge.

ETC

Karley Chynces, Founder and CEO

Mobile app that will allow students to buy and sell books and dorm supplies locally.

Ginger Straps
Leana Loh, Founder and CEO

Add-on ankle strap for high heels and flats to transform shoes from strapless to strappy.

Imalac, LLC
Noreen Gordon Sablotsky, Co-Founder and CEO; Rachael Sablotsky Kish, Co-Founder and COO

Healthcare technology company focused on increasing the efficiency and practicality of breast pumping.

Impetus Social
Sonia Hinestrosa, Founder

Education technology company providing critical skills in areas like digital literacy, STEM, leadership, and financial literacy.

Lean Orb
Anastasia Mikhalochkina, Founder

Plant-based, biodegradable catering supplies. Lean Orb has also been selected to compete at Demand Solutions this fall.

Luxe Fête Social
Nathalie Anne Cadet-James, Founder

Service company that provides a dinner party in a box.

MADSTUDIOS, Inc.
Jennifer Nicole Hardcastle, Co-Founder

Platform that provides resources and access to all creatives with the tools needed to be successful.

Major Marketplace
Leyanis Diaz, Co-Founder and CEO

Online marketplace for minority businesses and those who want to support them. Diaz also participated in Miami Dade College Idea Center’s 10-week go-to-market program called CREATE. She recently won an American Entrepreneurship Award.

PEX+
Jessica Coane, Founder and President

Travel search engine for using miles and points.

Prizm Art Fair, LLC
Mikhaile Solomon, Founder and Director

Cutting-edge art fair that expands the spectrum of exhibiting international artists from Africa, the global African Diaspora, and emerging markets.

Sayblee
Ashley Sebok, Founder and CEO

100 percent natural, organic, handmade hair care system formulated to repair damaged hair, and maintain healthy hair.

Smart Straws
Susana Cappello, Victoria Roca, Carolina Baigorri, Co-Founders

Straw that detects the most common date rape drugs, GHB and Ketamine, found in alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Cappello, Roca, and Baigorri won this year’s Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge High School Track.

SpeechMED Inc.
Susan Alanna Perry, Founder and CEO

Patient engagement platform that makes healthcare information accessible to all patients regardless of age, language, or literacy levels.

TeaRado Tech
Nicole Tirado, Founder

Tech-infused tea cup that allows users to consume tea hands-free.

Voyzes, Inc.
Ana Maria Carrano, Co-Founder and CEO

Agile and collaborative transcription platform that allows users to transcribe audio and video content fast, with high accuracy and affordable rates, using machine learning and crowdsourcing.

Wedding QuickQuote
Madeline Daryadel, Founder and President

Extranet software program featured on venue sites that expedites the search and sales process providing users with an instant reply to an online inquiry.

Massachusetts-based Babson College has also recently announced an expansion of its graduate programs to Miami. The new effort builds on the ongoing success of WIN Lab Miami, as well as its Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program hosted at Miami Dade College, which empowers local small business owners to help their companies grow. The application period for the graduate programs is open and classes are set to begin in Fall 2018.

WINlab_MiamiFinale2017_013

A scene from an event, shown above, for WIN Lab Miami's first cohort, shown below.

Group Photo - Lobby 2

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter

 

September 15, 2017

Miami-based tech company YouVisit selected to join global Endeavor network

Endeavor

From left, Endri Tolka, Abi Mandelbaum and Taher Baderkhan are co-founders of YouVisit.

 

YouVisit incorporates virtual reality and other technologies in its 360 experiences for brands and organizations.

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

An immersive technology player is the latest South Florida company to be selected to join the global network Endeavor.

Endeavor Miami announced this week that YouVisit is now the 16th Endeavor Miami company to be selected for the network of high-impact entrepreneurship. It was selected during Endeavor’s 74th International Selection Panel in New York City Sept. 11-13. Endeavor companies receive mentorship and access to capital, global markets and talent.

While international students at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, Abi Mandelbaum, Taher Baderkhan and Endri Tolka were frustrated by the lack of affordable options for international and out-of-state students to get a better sense for what it is like to live and study at different college campuses. They launched YouVisit in 2009 to enable prospective students and families to tour colleges and universities around the globe for free from the comfort of their own homes.  In 2012, their proprietary Virtual Guided Walking Tour technology had proven so effective on college campuses that institutions in other industries, including hospitality, started asking YouVisit to build immersive experiences for them.

Today, the Miami-based YouVisit, now with nearly 100 employees, is powered by its award-winning production studio and Aria, its proprietary enterprise platform that enables brands and organizations to interact with and convert audiences through 360-degree experiences incorporating virtual reality and other technologies.

 The company, which also has a big office in New York City, engages consumers across mobile, desktop and virtual reality for more than 800 clients, including the U.S. Army, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, Hilton, Yale, Harvard PwC and the cities of Houston and Philadephia. Some clients use the YouVisit's 360 experiences for talent recruitment, while others use them for lead generation and marketing.

 "Now our biggest verticals are corporate and travel an of course education," said Mandelbaum, CEO of YouVisit, in an interview Friday. "We have invested over 200,000 development hours in Aria and it is a platform that all of our clients benefit from. That's been a big reason  why our client renewal rate is above 95 percent. We continually make improvements to our platform so that our clients stay at the forefront of this changing technology. ... Now we are starting to implement augmented reality."

He said the average engagement rate of YouVisit's 360 content is nine minutes -- an eternity in online time. YouVisit clients' average conversion rate is an impressive 20 percent.

"That's what differentiates us in the space. Most people in the virtual reality and 360 content space are very caught up in the technology, while for us it is how we use this technology to enable actual business results rather than just PR," Mandelbaum said.

To that end, YouVisit is starting to work with some retail clients to enable purchasing through the Aria platform. "We've continued to grow and solidified our leadership position," Mandelbaum said. "We all feel strongly that joining the Endeavor community is only going to accelerate that."

YouVisit has won several awards, including first place at VR Fest 2016 and 2017, as well as the Science and Technology Samsung Creator Award.

YouVisit was chosen during Endeavor’s International Selection Panels, a culmination of a rigorous selection process involving interviews with global business leaders. 

“We see Abi, Endri and Taher as innovative tech leaders transforming consumer engagement through virtual reality and immersive technologies,” said Laura Maydón, managing director of Endeavor Miami. “Having achieved impressive growth and traction, these three entrepreneurs will be inspirational role models for our Miami tech ecosystem. As Endeavor helps YouVisit scale, I hope their success will bring attention to the quality of the work that’s being done in South Florida tech.”

Endeavor Miami launched its operation in September 2013 with the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It now supports 28 entrepreneurs from 16 companies; recent selections have included Powerful Yogurt and, Pincho Factory and Citizen.  For more information on Endeavor Miami or to nominate Miami entrepreneurs,  visit www.endeavormiami.org

To date, Endeavor Global has selected more than a thousand individuals leading over 800 high-growth companies that have created over 600,000 jobs. Headquartered in New York City, Endeavor operates in 27 countries throughout Europe, Latin America, North America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the U.S.

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

September 14, 2017

NFTE among organizations receiving new Knight funding

Submitted by Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced more than $590,000 in new funding for three projects aimed at fostering community among entrepreneurs and tech innovators while advancing the city as a diverse and inclusive innovation hub.

From an innovation district designed to support emerging entrepreneurs and add vibrancy to Miami’s Opa-locka neighborhood to a technology entrepreneurship course for young people to a newly-launched nonprofit that will provide promising local entrepreneurs access to the startup world’s top resources and leaders, the projects focus on supporting and propelling entrepreneurs across the community. They also work to expand opportunity for groups that are underrepresented in the technology sector.

“Ensuring Miamians have access to the opportunities they need to scale their ideas and solve the problems they care about is essential to creating an inclusive innovation ecosystem. These projects will help to diversify Miami’s pipeline of technologists and entrepreneurs and enable Miami startups to access the best resources in new and low cost ways,” said Chris Caines, Knight Foundation interim program director for Miami.  

The projects receiving support:

NFTE - Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship ($250,000) – Helping young, aspiring entrepreneurs develop their entrepreneurial mindset by expanding Startup Tech, a technology entrepreneurship course for middle and high school students from underserved neighborhoods. The program provides students the opportunity to develop a working mobile app-based business, as well as entrepreneurship training. As part of the program,students create an original app that addresses a community need, craft a business plan and, pitch the plan to a panel of expert judges for the chance to win funding. With Knight support, NFTE will expand the program to five program sites in greater Miami public schools.

Opa-locka Community Development Corporation ($135,000) – Expanding opportunity and entrepreneurship in Opa-locka by supporting the THRIVE campus’ innovation lab and makerspace, and urban farm and market. At the innovation lab Opa-locka residents will be trained to use new media and technology, and earn marketable industry certifications, while sharing resources and knowledge in a co-working space. The urban farm will allow people to help build and manage the farm, and offer them agriculture, marketing, and training opportunities. The urban market will transform a vacant lot into a community and retail space, including redesigned shipping containers where local entrepreneurs can sell the farm’s produce and food from the campus’ commercial kitchen.

Platform.Miami ($208,000) – Supporting early stage entrepreneurs through the newly-launched Platform.Miami, a nonprofit which will provide promising local entrepreneurs access to the startup world’s top resources and leaders. The organization will offer online and offline education opportunities and services to help entrepreneurs better structure, setup and scale their startups. To this end, Platform will create "The Playbook,” a resource for best practices on product-market fit, business models, digital marketing, legal structure, and attracting venture capital. It will also showcase a selected list of top service providers to help entrepreneurs find the best professional services to support their growth.

Support for these projects is part of Knight Foundation’s broader effort to invest in Miami’s emerging innovators and entrepreneurs as a tool to build community while fostering talent and expanding economic opportunity. Over the past five years Knight has made more than 200 investments in entrepreneurship in South Florida.

September 04, 2017

Bloomsybox.com: A Miami startup idea that keeps on giving

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Company name: BloomsyBox.com

Headquarters: Miami

Concept: BloomsyBox.com is a subscription service that sends its customers fresh flowers weekly, biweekly and monthly from fair-trade sustainable farms around the globe.

Story: Juan Palacio’s interest in agriculture sprouted from his grandfather, who worked on an arabica farm in Colombia not far from where Palacio grew up. Palacio worked on the farm and learned the value of hard work and dedication.

“Once I got old enough, I channeled my viejo’s drive and sense of adventure and moved to Miami,” Palacio said. “I had a heavy accent and was not fluent in English but worked hard to learn while selling flowers door to door to hotels in Miami Beach. I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that I was yelled at and had doors slammed in my face.”

But Palacio eventually established a clientele. He taught himself online marketing and SEO, which led to the creation of an e-commerce site that sold flowers in bulk to do-it-yourselfer brides-to-be and event planners called theflowerexchange.com, which he sold in 2009. “I then worked in more corporate roles, such as a consultant for Hotels.com, but the lasting memories I had of the farms of my youth had me longing to return to growing.”

Palacio then came up with the concept of a monthly flower subscription model, and launched BloomsyBox.com in 2015. He went back to the same farms in Colombia and Ecuador he had worked with for years and he negotiated a great rate by cutting out the flower distributor and working directly with them.

“We only work with farms that are Rainforest Alliance and Veriflora certified, meaning they follow a specific set of rules that makes them ethically and environmentally friendly. These rules cover all aspects of the business from the treatment of workers on the farm to the disposal of the flowers,” he said.

Each stem is hand-picked, arranged into a hand-tied bouquet, and delivered to the customer in less than four days. Most of its blooms arrive in bud form, so they’re guaranteed to last longer than typical store-bought bouquets, he said. Monthly subscriptions start at $39.99 with shipping included.

The secret sauce is the discovery factor. Customers will be surprised by what they are getting, and it won’t be typical. BloomsyBox works mainly with growers in the flower capitals of Latin America and also buys from Holland and Thailand. “We also wanted to walk away from the typical bouquet you can buy everywhere, so we only do single-variety bouquets.”

For instance, customers recently received about 15 stems of oriental lilies of various colors, each stem with several buds on them, in the smallest subscription box. In August, BloomsyBox shipped out 30-35 stems of lisianthus. It also offers a roses-only subscription, but they too will be unusual, maybe even multicolored, including the Free Spirit and Magic Times varieties or the deep purple Ascot.

Customers buy them for their homes or offices, but many of them gift them, often as corporate gifts. Realtors buy them as closing gifts for their home-buying customers, for instance. “We also ship to a lot of retirement homes nationwide,” he said.

BloomsyBox.com now has about 7,000 subscribers and recently inked a branded deal with Costco.com. It also plans to run a campaign and contest this fall called #MyForeverBloom. Participants will be asked to submit stories about inspirational figures in their lives, and the author of the most compelling, heartwarming story will win the opportunity to permanently name a rose variety after that individual, Palacio said. “We are very excited about this campaign and hope it will spark conversation about the family, friends, and mentors who make a difference in our lives.”

Launched: September 2015

Website: www.BloomsyBox.com

Management team: Juan Palacio (CEO); Nelson Sanchez (logistics); David Salazar (customer service); Alejandra Velandia (creative)

No. of employees: Eight.

Financing: Seed round of $380,000 from a private angel investor and currently setting up a Series A.

Recent milestones: BloomsyBox has 7,000 active subscribers. The company developed a unique floral subscription plan for Costco.com, which will be available soon with the BloomsyBox brand.

Biggest startup challenge: Finding quality talent, specifically in customer service.

Next steps: “We understand that our product is a great gift, and every day we get more and more subscribers sending flowers to someone else, so we’re exploring new ways to improve the user ‘gift-giver experience’ as well as the way we communicate with the gift recipient,” Palacio said. “We’re planning on rolling out a loyalty points system in which users will be able to receive free boxes and upgrades. Customers will be able to redeem points for any occasion and will receive surprise boxes with premium flowers such as cymbidium orchids or long-stem roses.”

Advisor’s view: Roland Schambach, vice president of Elite Flower, has been a vendor for, and advisor to, the BloomsyBox team since its launch. “When I first learned about their idea of offering flowers on a subscription basis to the end consumer by working directly with farms like us, I knew it was going to be successful. I truly believe in what they call the ‘discovery’ process in which the subscription can serve as the vehicle to introduce new flowers varieties and educate the users on how to care for flowers,” he said. “They spend a lot of time and resources listening to what their users have to say about their flowers, the way boxes are delivered, the varieties they send, etc. ... As they continue to grow, their biggest challenge, I believe, is to keep that level of personalization that they've given so far to their customer service.”

Read more Startup Spotlights

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Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter: @ndahlberg

September 02, 2017

When children build for real clients: A summer filled with collaboration, creativity and community

  Moonlighter-Urban Hacking

By Tom Pupo and Daisy Nodal

Each Summer, we host our Summer S.T.E.A.M. maker camps that engage kids in hands-on projects exploring Design Thinking, Electronics, Sustainable Design, and more. But this Summer, to make the impact even greater, we partnered with various organizations and local small businesses to provide real-world challenges that the kids would design and build solutions for. It was uncharted territory for many involved, but it ended up being an incredibly rewarding experience! These two projects put the power of community transformation in the hands of children— of course, with the help of a committed team of local makers!

 Urban Hacking Camp

We partnered with Learn 01, Mano Americas and Codella to create the ultimate maker camp experience: a real-world sustainability project, built in our community, incorporating both physical and digital skills, and inclusive to all kids using fund-raised scholarships.

There were 5 project categories that the kids could chose to join. The groups were tasked to collaborate, design, develop, and build their own visions for improving the Smartbites Community Garden + Cafe. They learned how to use power tools, design software, and digital fabrication technologies to build corn hole games, outdoor tables that grow spices and herbs, art pieces made of recycled plastics, sensors that monitor moisture levels in the soil, two vertical farming systems, and more!

It was a transformative experience, for both the kids, the staff, and the team of MDCPS high school Summer interns who were also learning and assisting during the whole process. They learned by doing, by manipulating materials, looking things up online for reference, and testing their ideas with prototypes. These are the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century. You can see their incredible work by visiting SmartBites.


The Mobile Reading Pod

Our Design Thinking camps usually use imaginary characters as clients. But this year, thanks to The New Tropic, the camp had a real client — The Miami Book Fair! Their task was to design an installation that would travel to different neighborhoods, provide a nice place to sit and read, dispense free books, and promote literature. The kids dreamed up all sorts of fantastical technologies like giant drones that deliver books, autonomous library vehicles, etc. but the panel of judges chose one winner —  The Mobile Reading Pod by 9-year old Allen Hasbun.

With the help of his family and our staff, Allen spent the next month at Moonlighter refining his design and building his creation in full scale!  He learned how to use the various software and fabrication equipment in the space and actively took part in every step of the process, never shying away from the work involved to realize his vision.

It debuted at The Wynwood Yard and will travel to the Miami Book Fair in November. Allen also intends to open source his design. When given the tools, skills, and resources to build, you’ll be surprised what kids are capable of building — and of the impact they can have on their community. By empowering future generations, we can build an innovative maker city!

*For the full article and photo essay, visit www.moonlighter.camp

Tom Pupo and Daisy Nodal are co-founders of Moonlighter Makerspace in Wynwood.  

Moonlighter-Reading Pod

September 01, 2017

Inaugural ITWomen Leadership Summit coming to FAU Tech Runway

 

 

ITWomen, in partnership with FAU Tech Runway, will host the inaugural ITWomen Leadership Summit on Friday, Sept. 15 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at FAU Tech Runway, 901 NW 35th Street, Boca Raton.

The ITWomen Leadership Summit is designed to provide women across the fields of technology with a rich development opportunity and will include influential keynote speakers and multiple sessions with more than 18 local leaders across different industries. Keynote speakers include Heather Cabot, an angel investor and author of “Geek Girl Rising,” and Angela Sebaly, an entrepreneur and author of “The Courageous Leader.” Sessions will feature CXO leadership insights, developing a culture of innovation and a startup showcase on FAU Tech Runway female founders.

ITWomen is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2002 by senior-level women across technology industries. Through their partnerships with nonprofits, universities, corporate sponsors and professional organizations, they work to narrow the gender gap in technology and increase the potential for innovation and economic growth through gender equity. ITWomen is a multi-generational organization, which began in South Florida and has expanded with a presence in the greater Orlando and Tampa metro areas.

All net proceeds from the event will fund camps and STEM programs for under-served girls in the community.

To purchase tickets to attend the event, click here. For more information on the ITWomen Leadership Summit, visit https://leadersummit.itwomen.org.

- Submitted by ITWomen

August 30, 2017

Entrepreneurship degree students will be taught by Facebook, Lyft, tech and media execs

Melissamedina (1)

Melissa Medina, executive vice president of eMerge Americas, will be one of the instructors in Miami Dade College’s revamped entrepreneurship degree program. Carlos LLano

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

The Idea Center, Miami Dade College’s entrepreneurship hub, and TheVentureCity, a new internationally focused tech accelerator in Miami, partnered up to redesign MDC’s Associate in Science in Business Entrepreneurship degree. As a result, students will be taught by some of the region’s top business leaders.

In the two-year degree program, which kicked off Monday, the leaders will serve as instructors to mentor students in becoming visionary entrepreneurs who turn ideas into products, services, businesses and social ventures. “An engaged and supportive mentor has a transformative impact on a young person,” said Miami Dade College President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, in the news release.

Instructors include Adriana Cisneros, CEO of Cisneros; Francesca de Quesada Covey, Head of Platform Partnerships for Facebook in Latin America; Melissa Medina, executive vice president of eMerge Americas; Sam Cohen, GM for Lyft in Florida; and Laura Gonzalez-Estefani, CEO and founder of TheVentureCity.

Students will work with teams of their peers to bring ideas to life. Topics covered will include startup strategy and execution, product development, project management, digital and social media marketing, user experience design, human resources and team management and organizational development.

TheVentureCity was founded by former executives of Facebook, Google, eBay and other leading companies. It launched its program at eMerge Americas in June, and at the time Gonzalez-Estefani said partnering with colleges and universities would be a pillar of its venture. The Idea Center at MDC launched in 2014. Some of its other programs include MarketHack, CREATE accelerator, CodePro, The Startup Challeng, and the Innovation Lab,

More information: mdc.edu/entrepreneurship

August 28, 2017

Facebook teams up with Wyncode, TheVentureCity and WM.Digital to launch Dev Circles in Miami

Wyn1

By Juha Mikkola

Last week, Facebook teamed up with Wyncode Academy, TheVentureCity and WM.Digital to launch the first Developer Circles in North America.

  Wyn2

Facebook’s Dev Circles empower a diverse range of technical talent to improve their skills and access the information they need.

The sold-out event at Wynbase brought together over 100 developers of varying levels to learn about React. React is a JavaScript library created by Jordan Walke, a software engineer at Facebook. Wyncode teaches React as part of its 10 week immersive course and in its new part-time Front End Web Development course.

Wyn3
 

The speakers included:

Chris Stegner of MadDev, who was selected Technology Entrepreneur of the Year by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and has hired a Wyncoder Developer, spoke about why his firm uses Reac

Adrian Martin of CareCloud, who have hired 13 Wyncode Developers, presented React JS basics

* Wyncode’s own Ed Toro live coded how to add React into an existing software stack using Rails as an example

 Missed the event? Watch the Facebook Live feed here and make sure to join Developer Circles from Facebook to sign up for the next event.

Do you or someone you know want to learn to code? Join Wyncode’s next full-time cohort starting September 11th or part-time cohort starting October 16th.

Thank you to our partners who made this event possible:  Facebook  Wyncode Academy  TheVentureCity  Digital

 Juha Mikkola is co-founder of Wyncode.

August 24, 2017

Friday is deadline to apply to pitch at Refresh Miami Demo Day

Refresh2

Join  Refresh Miami's annual pitch competition featuring South Florida’s top startups. Refresh's largest event of the year invites entrepreneurs to give their best 5-minute pitch in front of an audience of their peers and a panel of judges. Winners walk away with a host of amazing prizes to help propel their business forward.

Date: Tuesday, September 19
Time: 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Location: Miami Dade Wolfson Campus, Chapman Conference Center (Room 3210)

300 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33132

Tickets: FREE

Register here!

Interested in pitching? Apply here by end of day Friday, Aug. 25.