July 07, 2016

Big data startup Candidate.Guru raises $600K on way to $950K round

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Candidate.Guru CEO Chris Daniels with co-founder Steve Carter 

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Big data startup Candidate.Guru has raised $600,000 in funding led by The Fan Fund, an Orlando-based, early-stage fund that invests in technology and life science companies.

Candidate.Guru, winner of the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge this year, uses data analytics to analyze whether job candidates are a good cultural fit with a potential boss or team, and it is led by CEO Chris Daniels. The company, now with nine full- or part-time employees, launched earlier this year, is generating revenue and previously raised $475,000 in angel funding.

In addition to the $600,000 in funding, Candidate.Guru is close to closing an additional $200,000, Daniels said, and the company hopes to close out its $950,000 round this month. The company plans to use the funding for primarily for sales and marketing, but also some product development related to integrations with larger HR systems.

Research has shown that 75 percent of voluntary job resignations are due to a poor fit between the employee and the manager resulting in significant productivity loss as well as replacement cost.  Candidate.Guru’s proprietary software uses objective big data methods to rank the entire candidate pool for cultural fit, and can be used either at the early stage of the recruiting process to streamline recruiters’ work process, or at the late stage of the process to minimize chances of costly hiring errors.

“Our decision to invest in Candidate.Guru was supported by the qualities of the management team: business and domain experience, commitment to the business, a working and innovative technological approach, and the drive to succeed,” said Mitchel Laskey, managing director of FAN Fund.

This investment is the sixth for the FAN Fund since launching operations on Nov. 1, 2015. In the initial eight months, the FAN Fund deployed $1.55 million in financing rounds that totaled approximately $7 million.

In addition to winning the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge in May, Candidate.Guru won first place and $100,000 in funding in the Florida Venture Forum Early Stage Capital Conference's startup business competition.

Candidate.Guru was selected in 2015 for Florida Atlantic University's Tech Runway startup accelerator program in Boca Raton.

Read profile of Candidate.Guru here.

May 09, 2016

2016 Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge: And the winners are ...

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We are pleased to introduce you to the winners of the 18th annual Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge.

The winners’ circle contains concepts in healthcare, mobile commerce, big data, retail, human resources and law. To rise to the top, winners had to make a strong case for how they planned to execute their business plan.

South Florida is often recognized as one of the nation’s most entrepreneurial communities, and the 2016 winners and contestants represent the passion and diversity of the region’s emerging businesses. This year, a record 255 entries competed in our three tracks of the Miami Herald Challenge, sponsored by Florida International University’s Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center, and about 250 people attended our free Business Plan Bootcamp in March. The three-page plans were judged by experts from our community — successful entrepreneurs, investors, executives and academics — as well as by the public via our popular People’s Pick video competition.

For the FIU track, the judging included a live pitch session for the six finalists, which helped determine the final winners. Each team received up to five minutes to present their companies, followed by time for Q&A and feedback.

And the winners are ...

Community Track: Candidate.Guru, big data for human resources, won first place; Ride2MD, the Lyft for medical transport, came in second; and Shoes Dsire, a robust tool for shoe lovers, was third. Candidate.Guru was also named the Challenge Champion for having the highest judge rating in the contest.

FIU Track: ValueDOC, an online health and wellness marketplace for cash patients, won first. Second place was Jurbid, a platform for legal services; and SkyBOX Checkout, an international e-commerce tool, was third.

High School Track: Digifeet, a solution for flat feet by a School of Advanced Studies student, was first. Smart-BagPack, a backpack reimagined by a Ransom Everglades student, was second; and RentAll, a peer-to-peer renting marketplace being developed by a trio from American Heritage, was third.

The weeklong People’s Pick, which attracted 12,646 votes, heated up social-media networks with images of sexy shoes, cars, kids and dogs in the quest to attract votes. In the FIU track, Joust, an automotive-services quote platform run by FIU students, tried to fight off Pooch Perks, a goodie-box subscription service for pampered pets. But in the end dogs won over cars. Pooch Perks drew 1,707 votes, while Joust fetched 1,556. ValueDOC was in third place.

In the Community Track’s People’s Pick competition, Ride2MD coasted to victory with 1,927 votes, but not without a fight from second-place Shoes Dsire, with 1,709 votes. Social-media followers were treated to shoe eye candy throughout the week. Coming in third was AlphaTechBlocks, creator of smart toys for kids.

What separated today’s featured winners from the pack? The quality of entries was so high that the written business plans scored well in all key areas, such as marketing strategies, financials, management teams, market opportunity, value propositions and growth plans. With many of the plans that were entered, judges liked the ideas, but the plans themselves were not developed enough to win.

Some of today’s winners are first-timers; others are serial entrepreneurs or professionals with decades of industry experience. But all are in the early stages of their businesses — we’ll be following their progress!

Read the accompanying profiles of the 2016 Challenge winners linked above and on MiamiHerald.com/challenge.

May 01, 2016

Last day to vote in Business Plan Challenge People's Pick - send a startup to winner's circle

An online platform for automotive services, the Lyft for healthcare, a tool for shoe addicts. Or maybe it’s a logistics software creator, a tool for hiring managers to measure cultural fit, an online legal marketplace, or a monthly goody box for the pampered pooch? How about interactive alphabet blocks, an international e-commerce checkout solution, a health and wellness marketplace for cash patients or a tool to negotiate consumer debt? We’ve even got selfie gift wrap.

Who is building the best new business? You’re telling us!

The top six finishers in the Community and FIU Tracks of the 18th annual Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge are competing for the The People’s Pick. View the videos and scroll down to vote here hrld.us/BizPlan2016 up to once per day through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, May 1. Follow their creative tweets on @ndahlberg.

More than 11,500 votes have been cast so far. Winners in each track will be announced May 9.

The contenders are:

COMMUNITY TRACK

AlphaTechBlocks, pitched by Marilu Kernan and Taryn Keim, will create digital interactive alphabet blocks. With the accompanying mobile apps, kids learn ABCs and words in English and Spanish.

Candidate.Guru, pitched by Christopher Daniels, is a big data-analytics solution that can predict a culture fit between corporate hiring managers and prospective job seekers without the need for surveys and assessment tools.

Gift Wrap My Face, pitched by Vanessa Clavijo and Aryel Rivero, is the cure for the common gift. It allows the gift-giver to design his or her own selfie wrapping paper.

Ride2MD, pitched by George Fernandez, is the Lyft for healthcare, providing an innovative solution that eliminates wasted time and effort by streamlining the transportation process with real-time technology that offers complete transparency.

Shoes Dsire, pitched by Jane Bernacca, is a dynamic social commerce tool that combines cutting-edge visual search technology with crowdsourcing to provide a faster and more personalized experience for shoe shoppers.

TradeLanes, pitched by Vijay Harrell, automates document preparation for exporters. Exporters can orchestrate demand planning, supplier performance, inventory management and end-to-end logistics in one application.

FIU TRACK

Joust, pitched by Franco Aquino, Julio Benavides and Jonas Erthal, is an online platform that facilitates the quoting and payment process for automotive services.

Jurbid, pitched by Aydin Bonabi and David Johns, is an online legal marketplace that seamlessly connects clients with lawyers.

Pooch Perks, pitched by Tina Vidal, is pet-parent purchased, dog-tested and veterinarian-approved; it provides a monthly customizable box of carefully curated goods for the pampered pooch.

Settleitsoft, pitched by Rich Rudner, offers a free, web-based debt negotiation platform that will help resolve the global economic problem of consumer default on contractual obligations.

SkyBox Checkout, pitched by Taylor Philippi, is an anywhere-to-anywhere international e-commerce checkout solution with shipment to 200 countries and territories and multicurrency in 140 local currencies.

ValueDOC, pitched by Alain Fernandez, is an online health and wellness marketplace for cash patients.

April 08, 2016

University of Miami's Business Plan Competition: And the winners are...

Groovy Guitar Picks-Undergraduate2

Groovy Guitar: Undergraduate student Grand Prize winner Ryan Pollowitz

 

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AlulA; (L-R) Graduate student Grand Prize winners Jason Keasler, Thomas Byrd and Joe Rjeili

 

Amy & Her Friends-Alumni

Amy & Her Friends: (L-R) Alumni Grand Prize winners Andrew Aidman and Melanie DiPietro

Innovations in the areas of guitar picks, aerospace and cinema have taken top honors in the 2016 University of Miami Business Plan Competition, hosted by the University’s School of Business Administration. The competition winners, honored in an awards ceremony April 7, took home a combined total of $54,500 in first, second, third and other prizes.

Grand Prizes

Ryan Pollowitz won the Grand Prize and $10,000 in the undergraduate student category for Groovy Guitar Picks, a company that gives old, scratched vinyl records new life by turning them into high-quality guitar picks. In the graduate student category, Joe Rjeili, Jason Keasler, and Thomas Byrd took home the Grand Prize and $10,000 for their venture, AlulA Aerospace, whose patent-pending technology will securely gather and send to data centers, airplane black box data while still in air. And in the University of Miami alumni category, Andrew Aidman and Melanie DiPietro won the Grand Prize and $10,000 for Amy & Her Friends, a live-action movie that tells a story of a middle school girl’s journey to make friends.

Second Place

Second Place in the undergraduate category and $5,000 went to Justin Levy and Tommy Rappa for U-brella, an automated umbrella rental kiosk that can be located, and reservations made, via mobile app. Second Place in the graduate category and $5,000 went to Kristina Francillon of Savert Food, which manufactures a line of all-natural seasoning pastes for home chefs and is already in a few stores and farmers markets. Second Place in the alumni category was a tie with each team winning $3,750. One prize went to Sabrina Taldone, Bhaumik Shah, and Lokesh Ramamoorthi of Pathologix, an online platform that allows physicians in India to obtain real-time consultations with pathological sub-specialists in the U.S.; the other went to Carlos Lovera, George Wayne, Mark Jacobs, Anthony Perez-Sanz, and Aaron Bronshtein for Flolink, a venture developing a medical device that automates patient monitoring. 

Third Place

Third Place in the undergraduate category and $2,500 went to Jaqueline Gulla and Dominic Annecca for On-Demand Wash, an Uber-like laundry service phone app. Third Place in the graduate category and $2,500 went to David Getz for Fly Feet, a sock company that will introduce patented Snap Socks that snap together with a heat-proof plastic snap so they don't get lost in the laundry. 

In addition to the undergraduate, graduate and alumni category prizes, the Paul K. Sugrue Entrepreneurial Spirit Award and $1,000 was presented to Paula Landron and Michaela Senior of FUOCO, a pizzeria for the late-night crowd, made out of a shipping container. 

The new Heffner Spirit of Social Entrepreneurship Award and its $1,000 prize was awarded to Ashley Wrushen of Nutritexts, a free texting service for low-income families to purchase local, fresh and nutritious produce directly from food producers and retailers.  

“This year’s presentations were very sophisticated,” said Susy Alvarez-Diaz, director of entrepreneurship programs at the University of Miami School of Business. “Having events on campus such as Shark Tank tryouts and the coursework that involves practice pitching really prepares the students. This was not their first at-bat.” 

The Business Plan Competition started last fall when concept papers were submitted to the judging committee. Ultimately 15 final teams were selected to present to the judges on April 6-7, with the winners named on the second day. This year’s presenting sponsor was the Finker Frenkel Legacy Foundation.

Now in its 14th year, the Business Plan Competition is open to all University of Miami students and alumni. Past winners in the competition have gone on to build their ventures into businesses that have garnered national attention. They include such companies College Hunks Hauling Junk and My Therapy Journal.com, both of which have been featured on ABC Television's “Shark Tank,” a reality program in which entrepreneurs share their business ideas with a group of five self-made millionaires in hopes of getting venture capital to help them attain similar levels of success.

March 27, 2016

Last-minute guide for entering Business Plan Challenge

Procrastinators, take note: The deadline to enter the Community Track or FIU Track of the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge is Monday night; high school students have one more week. Don’t worry, you are in good company; most entries arrive on the last day. Here is your guide to entering your business or concept:

Who can enter: Entrepreneurs with businesses less than 2 years old or with business ideas. There is a community track, FIU track and high school track.

What to enter: Up to a three-page business plan (one additional page for charts or photos is allowed). See the contest rules and tips here.

Entry deadline: 11:59 p.m. March 28 for the Community and FIU Tracks; the High School Track deadline is 11:59 p.m. April 4.

Email entries to: Challenge@MiamiHerald.com (for community track), FIUchallenge@MiamiHerald.com or highschoolchallenge@MiamiHerald.com. You should get a confirmation from Nancy Dahlberg that your entry was received. If you do not get one, a confirmation, please email ndahlberg@miamiherald.com so that we can ensure your entry makes it to us".

Rules, other info: MiamiHerald.com /challenge

Questions: ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

NANCY DAHLBERG, @ndahlberg

 

March 25, 2016

5 reasons to enter the Business Plan Challenge

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

You have about a few more days to participate in the 2016 Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge — and a little more time if you are a high school student. If you are on the fence about whether to enter, jump over. Here are five reasons to get moving:

  1. Motivation. Perhaps you’ve been meaning to write a short business plan. Well, this might just be that kick in the behind you need. Writing down your business strategy and road map will help you focus, and give you a document for potential partners or investors. Whether you are entering the Community Track — open to all of South Florida; the FIU Track — open to students and alumni of that university; or the High School Track — which is also open to eighth-graders this year, entering the Challenge will help you get moving.
  2. Publicity. If you are one of the top three winners in each track or the “People’s Pick,” you will be profiled in a special section of the Miami Herald’s Business Monday announcing the winners, in print and online. If you are in the top six in the Community or FIU Tracks, you will participate in the People’s Pick, our popular video contest hosted on MiamiHerald.com [See last year’s video contest here.] We also announce our first cut, the semi-finalists, to keep the interest going. Social networking is a key component of our contest. Next year, we will look back on our winners and we follow them for years to come.
  3. Feedback and education. I’ll share feedback from the judges with you if you request it, whether or not you are a finalist. Winners will also receive opportunities for entrepreneurial education. If you are chosen for the aforementioned People’s Pick contest, that’s a terrific opportunity to polish your elevator pitch. If you are entering the High School Track, remember that winning sure looks good on a college application.
  4. Exposure and connections. It can’t hurt to have your plan read by South Florida’s top entrepreneurial experts, including serial entrepreneurs and investors (judges’ bios are at MiamiHerald.com/challenge). Sometimes long-lasting mentorships are developed. Some winners have been introduced to investors or potential partners; others gained key customers. If you are one of the winners, you will receive other opportunities for mentorship and connections — for example, the top Miami-Dade winner will have the opportunity to compete in the finals of the American Entrepreneurship Award (www.americanaward.com), with a $25,000 prize, and top finalists will receive tickets to the eMerge Americas conference. All winners will be honored at a luncheon with the judges and business staff and invited to FIU’s Hall of Fame reception honoring entrepreneurs.
  5. Pride. I know you’re passionate about your concept — and aren’t you just a wee bit competitive?

The deadline is March 28 for the Community and FIU Tracks; the High School Track deadline is April 4. Contest rules are at MiamiHerald.com/challenge.

If you entered last year and weren’t one of the top three winners, regroup and try again. Business ideas in the ideation stage are fine for this contest. Class projects are welcome, and we love high school entries.

Do you have questions? Email ndahlberg@MiamiHerald.com or tweet @ndahlberg.


March 19, 2016

Tick-tock, Business Plan Challenge deadline looms - your questions answered

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Planning to enter the Business Plan Challenge? Time is ticking away.

We offer three tracks to win our contest, which is sponsored by the Florida International University Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center. There is a community track, open to all South Floridians; an FIU track for the university’s students and alumni; and a high school track. You can enter our contest with a business idea or an existing business if it is not more than 2 years old. The deadline is March 28 for the community and FIU tracks and April 4 for the high school track.

Here are some common questions we have received.

I entered last year but did not win. May I enter again?

Yes, we welcome repeaters, as long as you were not one of the top three winners or the People’s Pick and your business isn’t more than 2 years old. Several of our winners of the past did not bring home the win the first year they entered. Freshen up that plan and try again.

May I enter both the community and FIU tracks with the same plan?

Nope, pick one. For the FIU track, at least one member of your top management team must be student or alumnus of the university.

Is there a required template I should follow for my entry?

The short answer is no. Your entry is a three-page business plan, with one addendum page allowed for a chart or graphic, and we allow people the freedom to send it in as they would like. But we suggest you consider including all or most of this information: brief product or service description; problem it is solving in the market (market need); a little about your target market and competition; relevant experience of your team; your business model — how you will make money — and growth strategy (how will you scale it); your marketing strategy (how will you get the word out and sell it); and some financials, for example your startup costs and three years of projections. It can be done. Keep each section brief — bulleted items are your friend. Many use their extra page for their financial chart.

Some people download templates for business plans (easily found in a Google search) and include the categories most relevant. Some use an executive summary they already have written and add to it. People who already have investor decks already have the info in a concise way — just put it into a three-page word doc and you are done. If you are starting from scratch, good for you! You have probably been meaning to do it anyway, and it will be a roadmap you can continue to update in months and years to come. Find the rules of the Challenge here.

Why the page limit?

Short business plans are in vogue, actually. Investors (and judges) tell me they want the information fast and brief and will ask for more info as they need it. Learning to be concise is both a science and an art, and our judges (who are often in positions where they read a LOT of business plans) have told me over the years that in real life, if you don’t capture their attention in the first page or even the first paragraph, they will move on. Pro tip: Ask someone who doesn’t know anything about your business or business concept to read your plan, or at least the first few paragraphs, to make sure they understand it.

Also, though our judges are almost super-human, we can’t ask them to judge hundreds of full business plans. You can meet our judges here.

What is the biggest mistake people make when they enter?

A lot of entrants spend too much of their precious three pages talking about all the features of their product or service and don’t include enough about the problem it solves, your target market, your business model and how you plan to make money, your team, your financials and your marketing strategy.

Another judge comment I see on a lot of plans: Think bigger. A lot of entrants have concepts with market growth potential but don’t express how they would expand beyond their initial markets. A lot of advice was shared at our recent Business Plan Bootcamp – read about it here.

Any other tips?

Yep. Show your passion. Make every word count. Keep each section brief: Bullet points are your friend. Don’t forget financials: Judges want to see you have thought through startup and operating costs and would like to see projections for at least the first three years. Don’t wait till the last minute. Here are some good reasons to enter.

May I enter more than one business idea?

Yes, as long as they are separate entries.

Why don’t you have a social entrepreneurship track?

We welcome social entrepreneurial companies in all our tracks. We’ve had several winners in recent years with social-impact missions, particularly in the high school track. The plan must be for a for-profit business, not a nonprofit.

My daughter is in the eighth grade. May she enter in the high school track?

Yes, we welcome ambitious middle school students in the high school track. Good luck to her!

Ready, set, enter! Find everything you need on MiamiHerald.com/challenge.

Have a question? Email ndahlberg@miamiherald.com and put Challenge in the subject line.

February 09, 2016

Sign up for free Business Plan Bootcamp March 7

Melissa Krinzman (2)Join us March 7 for a lively discussion and Q&A with our panel of experts sharing advice on launching your business, formulating a winning short business summary and pitching to investors. Also hear from a couple of previous Business Plan Challenge winners about their entrepreneurial experiences. You don’t have to enter the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge to attend our Bootcamp, but of course we hope you will.

Our discussion will be led by:

Melissa Krinzman, the Managing Partner of Krillion Ventures, a $50 million Miami-based early stage venture capital firm that actively invests in financial services, transportation, logistics, real estate and health startups. Her fund has invested in 17 early-stage companies, nine of which have South Florida roots. She is also a veteran Business Plan Challenge judge.

Mark Kingdon, a three-time tech CEO (Organic, SecondLife and NiftyThrifty) and an investor in two dozen early stage companies. His portfolio includes Twitter, TheRealReal, OfferUp, Refinery20 and three Miami-based companies (EveryPost, Sktchy and HYP3R).

Mark Kingdon (1)This event will be at 6 p.m. March 7 at Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus Auditorium, Room 1261 in Building 1.

The Bootcamp is free but registration is required. When you register, the form will allow you to tell us the questions you would most like our panel to answer. Don’t be shy – this way we can tailor the program as much as possible to our audience. Here is a report on last year’s Bootcamp.

Register here: http://businessplanbootcamp.bpt.me

Questions: ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

September 07, 2015

Startup Spotlight: Moonlighter Makerspace

Moonlinghter

Company: Moonlighter Makerspace

Headquarters: 2041 NW First Place, Miami

Concept: Moonlighter is a membership-based makerspace for creative collaboration, personal manufacturing and engaging in the design process. Moonlighter features and supports local designers, artists and creators and aspires to engage the communities with fun and educational STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics) experiences that foster the growing maker movement.

Story: After co-founders Tom Pupo and Daisy Nodal graduated with a master’s in architecture, they realized that there wasn’t a place in Miami equipped with the same technologies they were used to using on a daily basis for design projects. After doing some research, they found that this need was unfulfilled for a range of different user groups, including artists, designers, engineers, entrepreneurs, professional firms and hobbyists.

They visited various makerspaces around the country and in Europe to see how these new organizations were fulfilling this need for their communities and realized it was becoming a global phenomenon. “We bootstrapped for a year, bought our first two 3-D printers and hosted a series of maker workshops around the city. Each one was booked over capacity, and we found that there was a huge demand for a place where one can come and create anything with the high-tech machines needed to do so,” Pupo said. The team also entered the 2014 Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge (they were finalists) and participated in the Miami Mini Maker Fair, MDC MOA+D Bazaar Bar, Miami Science Museum’s Innovation + Engineering Weekend, BritCode for Britweek Miami, Art Basel, eMerge Americas and other events that drew creative people and listened to feedback and needs of the community.

Moonlighter 2Then Pupo and Nodal sought out the guidance of SCORE Miami-Dade, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at FIU and the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund (HBIF). They took SCORE workshops on business planning and funding, and SCORE and SBDC counselors connected them with the Miami Bayside Foundation’s loan program. “We were able to obtain a loan to finally open our doors in Wynwood, to become a hub for the emerging creatives in our city and to empower a new generation of technology enabled creators,” Nodal said.

Launched: 2014

Management team: Daisy Nodal and Tom Pupo

Website: Moonlighter.co 

Financing: $85,000 in personal savings and friends and family; $50,000 loan from Miami Bayside Foundation.   

Recent milestones: Celebrated grand opening Aug. 14 of Moonlighter Makerspace with the latest technologies for digital design and personal manufacturing; also chosen to join as the first littleBits Global Chapter in South Florida, joining a community of creative spaces worldwide. Received loan from Miami Bayside Foundation.

Biggest startup challenge: Raising capital. “Our space doesn’t have all the technology in our vision, and we don’t have as much space as we know the concept needs, but we produced our current space as a prototype to illustrate the possibilities. Hopefully, as [investors] inhabit the space and understand the relationship between each machine and component of our vision, they will understand the bigger picture,” Pupo said. 

Next step: To build a membership base while hosting workshops, classes and events led by experts in art, design and engineering.

“It is crucial to generate different sources of revenue and to keep on with educational sessions in schools and universities in order to grow the future community of makers in South Florida,” said Gustavo Grande of HBIF, which helped Moonlighter with a marketing plan, promotions and media strategy. “Moonlighter will definitely add value to the technological and innovative ecosystem that is growing in South Florida and at the same time is a wonderful place where anyone can have fun, meet great people while making a new collection of furniture, an exclusive piece of jewelry or a robotic prosthetic arm.”

Nancy Dahlberg

 

August 03, 2015

On-demand storage startup Stow Simple launches in Miami area

Stow simple

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Joining the “on-demand economy” with a new twist on traditional storage, Miami-based Stow Simple has launched its valet storage service in Miami’s urban core from Brickell through Midtown, as well as Coconut Grove, Miami Beach, Key Biscayne and Coral Gables, with plans to continue to expand in South Florida.

Stow Simple, runner-up in this year’s Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge, aims to offer another alternative to schlepping boxes to the storage facility. The transaction can be booked through its mobile-friendly website, stowsimple.com, and an app is under development. Stow Simple provides free bins and pickups. Items are photo-catalogued and stored in a secure, climate-controlled facility. Customers can log into their account any time to see what they have or schedule delivery or pick up of items.


Siblings Silvia and Jorge Camps (pictured above), founders of Stow Simple, soft-launched in a smaller area in June and said they have been going door to door to Brickell property managers and doing direct mailings, online ads and events to get the word out. Based on feedback, they added more pricing options for customers, too; customers can now rent a 5-foot-by-5-foot or 5-foot-by-10-foot space, in addition to its four bins for $28 a month or per item pricing. “We will store as much or as little as you want,” Silvia Camps said.

Bag with 2 bins_smallThe company has also partnered with the Miami Rescue Mission to make it simple for customers to give back. With branded donation bags provided at the time of bin drop-off, customers can simply fill up the bag with any unwanted clothing, which will then be delivered free to the Mission as a tax-deductible donation.

People who have been using our service have been using it again and that is very encouraging,” said Silvia Camps, adding that customers so far have included downsizing families, international customers who also rent out their second home when they aren’t there, college students coming and going and small businesses and law firms undergoing renovation or moving to new offices. “It isn’t peak storage time yet, which is great for us because it has given us time to learn. We want to hit the fall full throttle.”

Stow Simple has national aspirations, but is starting with the South Florida market. Read more about Stow Simple here.