(This is my Business Monday column)
By Nancy Dahlberg, ndahlberg@MiamiHerald.com
Miami Tech Week. Social Media Week. Entrepreneurship Week. A Wahwah Bike and Beer Ride in Wynwood, culinary rock star demos at Refresh Miami, a Startup Blastoff at SuperConf, UHack for college students. These were just a few of the highlights last week in South Florida’s tech community.
For some entrepreneurs, it was a week to showcase their new companies. Jose Pimienta, for instance, won the SuperConf blastoff for his pitch for his recently launched company, Vinylfy. Vinylfy.com helps record collectors keep track of their collections, as well as trade and share with fellow collectors.
In December, Pimienta had little more than an idea and a simple landing page for his passion for vinyl when he and one of his co-founders, Osniel Gonzalez — who had just moved here from Cuba in July — decided to devote nights and weekends the past two months to launch Vinylfy, Pimienta said, showing some of the iterations of the site on his smartphone. Both men have full-time jobs at a local tech company in Miami now, but their friendship goes back more than 10 years. Gonzalez was even Pimienta’s programming professor in Cuba for a while. Read their story here.
After the $22,000 prize for Vinylfy was announced, Wifredo Fernandez, co-founder of The LAB Miami, offered the team six months of free co-working space. “You can build your company at The LAB and we can all help you,” Fernandez told Pimienta. Other offers of support also came in tweets. That’s the entrepreneurial ecosystem at work.
Auston Bunsen (pictured at left), founder of the three-year-old homegrown SuperConf that concluded Friday, said he was pleased with the success of this year’s two-day event, which attracted a record 210 attendees and included presentations by eight startups, speeches by nine tech experts and social events and benefits provided by a host of sponsors. But he and his co-organizers, Brian Breslin and Davide DiCillo, are already looking ahead to next year. “This conference was definitely a step above the others but it can be so much better,” Bunsen said. “We’re taking the appropriate measures next year to make sure it’s a conference everyone wants to come to.”
Read more startup news and views at The Starting Gate on Miamiherald.com/business, including a wrap-up of the Herald’s Small Business Forum, a guest view by Mike Greenberg and a Q&A with Nicolette Moreno of Open English.
This week, Starting Gate will bring you some dispatches from Geeks on A Plane by Adam Boalt, a serial entrepreneur who moved back to Miami from the Washington, D.C. area last year. I am also lining up some guest posts from SXSW in early March.
Have startup news or a view to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Twitter @ndahlberg