January 12, 2017

Court Buddy racks up award and spot at ABA's Startup Alley

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Miami startup Court Buddy was named the winner of the 2017 American Bar Association’s BROWN SELECT award for Legal Access on Jan. 10. Roughly 6,000 people across the country voted to determine the winner.
 
To win the award, voters chose Court Buddy over 35 other nominees. Each had to meet certain criteria, which, according to the ABA’s website, included the ability to create significant improvement of the delivery of legal services and information for people of moderate income means, innovation in the development, funding or implementation of the delivery of legal services, the ability to replicate the system in other settings, and demonstrated success in the operation of the system.
 
Since 1995, the ABA’s Louis M. Brown Award has been presented annually to companies that advance access to legal services for those of moderate incomes in ways that are exemplary and replicable, according to the ABA’s website.

“This is a testament to the faith that the public has in the positive impact that we are making with this system,” said Court Buddy President Kristina Jones. “At the end of the day, creating and implementing the latest technology to help improve the lives of others is what we are really focused on.”

Court Buddy, run by co-founder couple James and Kristina Jones (pictured above), will receive the BROWN SELECT award at the ABA's midyear meeting on Feb. 4 in Miami.

Initially launched in South Florida in January 2015, Court Buddy's  platform has grown to match 10,000 consumers and small businesses with attorneys across the country, helping clients save money on legal fees by avoiding paying high retainers and hourly fees that traditional law firms charge while also helping thousands of attorneys grow their law firms.

Court Buddy, winner of the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge People’s Pick in 2015, was also selected to participate in the American Bar Association's inaugural 2017 Inaugural Startup Alley in Chicago. “I'm sure this is going to be the first of many ABA Techshows for Court Buddy in the years to come,” said Suzie Smith, ABA’s Vice President of Sales.

The Court Buddy team will travel to Chicago to participate in the event in March 2017.

January 10, 2017

Six South Florida companies to present at Florida Venture Capital Conference

The Florida Venture Forum, Florida’s largest statewide support organization for investors and entrepreneurs, announced  its lineup of 20 high quality companies that will present and exhibit at the 2017 Florida Venture Capital Conference, to be held Feb. 2-3 at the Waldorf Astoria in Orlando.

Six South Florida companies are among the presenters. They are:

Breezer Holdings, LLC, (www.powerbreezer.com), Deerfield Beach, their products combine custom fan technology with a highly efficient water atomizing system that delivers the cooling effect of misting (at distances up to 100 feet) without getting people or machinery wet.

Citizen, (www.citizen.co), Miami, provides its customers with a frictionless, convenient experience in filling-out and submitting U.S. government forms.

Everyware, (www.everyware.com), Boca Raton, is a consumer relationship platform targeted to businesses who are underserved by technology. Ease of adoption, low cost and a virtual marketing assistant give the business owners capabilities in marketing, CRM and mobile engagement.

iraLogix, (www.iralogix.com), Miami, provides the only institutionally priced, fully managed, paperless IRA technology platform, including advice and education.

MyTaskit, (www.mytaskit.com), Hobe Sound, is a comprehensive software solution for coordinating and managing tasks within companies and between multiple businesses and their customers.

VortexLegal, (www.vortexlegal.com), Ft. Lauderdale, disrupts the “agency” business model and connects law firms and corporate legal departments with all legal vendors resulting in savings of 10-20% on all services by using our technology platform to “go direct” to each vendor.

 "Our investor-only selection committee has done an outstanding job of selecting 20 companies that will make the Conference one of the best in the event’s 26-year history,” said Travis Milks, Chairman of the Selection Committee of the 2017 Florida Venture Capital Conference and a partner with Stonehenge Growth Equity Partners in Tampa.

The diverse group of presenters includes companies focused on multiple industries and technologies selected from over 100 applicants by a committee of active equity investors. The other presenters are:

 Captozyme Inc., (www.captozyme.com), Gainesville, develops and manufactures highly effective enzymes in superior manufacturing processes allowing for consumer food products and therapeutics with exceedingly high margin.

Fattmerchant, (www.fattmerchant.com), Orlando, is a subscription-based merchant services provider and payment technology company revolutionizing the industry by providing a transparent, wholesale model where merchants pay direct cost of credit card processing with no markups, no ancillary fees, and no contract, for a flat monthly membership.

Fortress Information Security, (www.fortressis.com), Orlando, is the leading third party risk management (TPRM) security technology and services provider for organizations that have large, complex vendor and supply chain networks.

ProAct Health Solutions, (www.proacthealthsolutions.com), Celebration, is a Florida based provider of a nationally scalable, technology enabled, turnkey solution for obstructive sleep apnea.

Vestagen Protective Technologies, (www.vestagen.com), Orlando, develops and markets advanced performance textile products and technologies.

Catalyst OrthoScience LLC, (www.catalystortho.com), Naples, is a medical device company that is commercializing a novel design for a total shoulder replacement system known as the Catalyst Shoulder Replacement System (the “CSR”).

Happy Grasshopper, (www.happygrasshopper.com ), Safety Harbor, their service combines the strengths of marketing automation and professional copywriting to help salespeople acquire more opportunity and close more business.

Mize, (www.m-ize.com), Tampa, enables durable goods manufacturers to maximize customer lifetime value by helping them to retain the customers and grow the revenues and profits from the loyal customer base.

PikMyKid, (www.pikymykid.com), Tampa, is the first and only communication portal to simplify student dismissal process in K-12 schools, increasing teacher efficiency & student security while reducing traffic around schools. PikMyKid was the winner of the 2016 Florida Early Stage Capital Conference.

That’s Us Technologies, (www.lotvantage.com), Tampa, is a digital marketing company for dealerships. The company is acquiring a tablet-based, end-to-end sales process for dealerships and eventually, technology to complete the online purchase process for the dealer and to remove the hassle for the consumer.

NanoLumens, (www.nanolumens.com), Norcross, Georgia, designs, builds and sells display solutions to hundreds of the world’s largest retailers, airports, corporations, transit stations, hospitals, casinos, universities and sports teams.  With a large intellectual property portfolio and a proprietary building block called a "Nixel", NanoLumens is proud to include hundreds of the largest and best brands as their clients. 

 RSVP Loans, LLC, (www.rsvploans.com), Hurst, Texas, is an online provider of personal loans to nonprime consumers. Their proprietary technology platform automates the entire loan process from marketing offer through loan origination and servicing, resulting in superior cost position and scalability.

Exhibiting Companies:

BioTools, Inc. (www.btools.com), Jupiter, is a Life Sciences tools company. It is recognized worldwide as the innovator that commercialized two of the most advanced techniques for critical structure characterization of molecules. They specialize in two types of pharmaceuticals – chiral and biologics - both kinds comprising blockbuster examples which include drugs such as Plavix, Lipitor and Humira.

Society Plus, (www.societyplus.com), Melbourne, is a vertically-integrated brand selling plus size clothing directly to millennial women through its website (B2C) and to wholesale customers (B2B)

For more information about the Florida Venture Forum or the upcoming Florida Venture Capital Conference. www.flventure.org.

 

 

December 30, 2016

SBA's 3rd InnovateHER competition launches: Will a South Florida company win again?

Will South Florida produce another winner in the national InnovateHER competition?

The U.S. Small Business Administration today announced the launch of the 2017 InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge, a nationwide business competition to drive attention and resources to innovative products and services that make our lives easier and longer.  Competitors vie for $70,000 in prize money provided to SBA for the InnovateHER competition through a gift from the Sara Blakely Foundation.

“The return of SBA’s InnovateHER Business Challenge presents an exciting opportunity for some of our nation’s foremost entrepreneurs and innovators,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.  “Women represent half of the U.S. workforce and control 80 percent of the nation’s purchasing power, but still make up less than five percent of venture capitalists. I decided to launch this annual competition two years ago so that we could begin to address that opportunity gap, because when women have an equal role in the marketplace and are able to chart their own paths, our nation as a whole is stronger and more globally competitive.”

The South Florida District is home to the 2nd place winners of the agency’s 2015 and 2016 InnovateHER Business Challenges.

“In 2016, Miami Beach-based “Flat out of Heels” owner Dawn Dickson took a need to provide a comfortable, yet fashionable alternative for women who wear high heels on a daily basis, and produced rollable ballet flats as a stylish alternative,” said SBA South Florida District Director Francisco “Pancho” Marrero. “Lisa Crites, inventor of the only water-resistant mastectomy garment on the U.S. market and owner of the Shower Shirt Company in Cocoa Beach was 2nd place winner in 2015.  Women and families across the country will benefit from these inventions."

The number of women venture capital partners has dropped from 10 percent in 1999 to just six percent in 2014, a trend directly correlated to women’s access to capital; only about seven percent of venture capital funding in the United States currently goes to women-owned ventures. Gender bias is well documented in this area: a Harvard Business School study asked potential investors to rate a series of pitches, some of which were narrated by women and some by men. Even when the scripts were exactly the same, only 32 percent of people said they would fund the woman, compared to 68 percent who said they would fund the man.

InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge officially kicks off in winter of 2017 with local competitions to be hosted by universities, accelerators, clusters, scale-up communities, SBA resource partners, and other economic development organizations.  Through the competition, SBA is seeking to amplify products or services that fill a need in the marketplace and have the potential for commercialization.  SBA continues in its efforts to expand the InnovateHER Challenge, focusing on empowering more women in the investment and innovation space.  Additional details on the InnovateHER can be found on the online competition platform www.challenge.gov

Entrepreneurs selected as winners in local competitions will advance to the semi-final round.  From the pool of semi-finalists, SBA will select up to 10 finalists who will be invited to the National InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge to be held in mid-2017.  The finalists will pitch their products and ideas to a panel of expert judges and compete for the top three awards along with $70,000 in prizes.

Over the past two decades, women entrepreneurs have been critical to growing businesses and creating jobs in cutting-edge fields such as precision medicine or cybersecurity, as well as through advances in agriculture and manufacturing.  Women across the nation will benefit from investing in research and inventions that impact their experiences.  A lack of inclusion in the innovation space leads to missed opportunities, especially when women make the majority of the buying decisions.  The SBA is encouraging organizations across the country to participate in this important business challenge.

For more information including competition rules, go to www.sba.gov/innovateHER

- Submitted by the SBA

December 20, 2016

Young innovator to watch: Felipe Gomez del Campo of Weston

 

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Felipe Gomez del Campo one of four innovators nationally chosen for U.S. Department of Energy’s new entrepreneurship program

He’s been recognized as a rising energy innovator in Forbes “30 under 30” and honored at the White House as an emerging global entrepreneur by President Barack Obama.

Next up for Case Western Reserve University graduate student Felipe Gomez del Campo: He was selected as one of four innovators nationally to participate in a new two-year entrepreneurship program at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois.

On Tuesday in Chicago, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz joined U.S. Senator Richard Durbin and officials from DOE to announce Gomez del Campo and the three other participants in Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI), the Midwest’s first entrepreneurship program to embed innovators in a national laboratory.

All four were selected to embed at Argonne for two years to access the lab’s scientific expertise, world-class facilities and mentorship to develop their innovative technologies.

“For an entrepreneur/ technologist, this is huge because the future is never certain,” said Gomez del Campo, a native of Mexico City who is from Weston, Florida. “You never know when you’re going to run out of money, if you'll be able to find more, what technological problems you're going to run into, etc. Joining the first cohort of CRI means that I don't have to worry as much about fundraising, and I can fully commit to developing the technology and get it to market.” 

CRI is part of a new initiative to accelerate the development of sustainable and energy-efficient technologies and drive manufacturing growth by helping startups and innovators reduce development costs and risks. A panel of judges selected the inaugural cohort of five Chain Reactions innovators from more than 100 applications.

Applicants for CRI came from 22 states. About half were with startups; the rest were students, professors, postdocs or members of industry. The four recipients represent Colorado, Indiana, North Dakota and Ohio.

Gomez del Campo, a graduate student in aerospace engineering at Case Western Reserve, is founder and CEO of FGC Plasma Solutions LLC, a Cleveland-based company that is developing a novel fuel injector for jet engines and gas turbines. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Case Western Reserve in 2016.  

The other three technologies in the first CRI cohort: a novel radioisotope battery made from nuclear waste; membrane-free electrochemical devices; and carbon material synthesis through sustainable bio-manufacturing methods.

Argonne National Laboratory, with a staff of 1,600 scientists and engineers, is the largest federally funded research and development facility in the Midwest. The CRI program provides the selected entrepreneurs dedicated laboratory and office space, support securing additional project funds, research and development assistance and access to a broad innovation ecosystem.  

Gomez del Campo was honored as an emerging global entrepreneur by Obama at the White House in 2015 and was selected by the State Department to represent the United States at the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

He earned a spot on the Forbes “30 under 30” list for 2016 in the energy category, the “Who’s Who to Watch in Technology” by Crain’s Cleveland Business and as one of Mexico’s six extraordinary young people by GQ Mexico. He also has been named a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Aerospace, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

FGC Plasma Solutions is working on a fuel injector that incorporates plasma to better control combustion in jet engines and gas turbines. By reducing fuel consumptions during idling, fuel savings of between 1 percent and 5 percent per flight are possible. The technology will also enable benefits from lower emissions, increased fuel flexibility and improved reliability.

Gomez del Campo said he will likely start the CRI program in late January or early February. CRI is a one-year commitment that can be extended to two years. He is working on his master’s in aerospace engineering, swims on the Case Western Reserve swim and dive team and works part-time.

“Even though I will be at Argonne, I will still be working on my thesis — which is on my technology incidentally — and taking classes online to finish my master’s,” he said. “Although it means a lot of changes for me and I will miss CWRU a lot, it is a fantastic opportunity and I am very excited.” 

- Submtted by Case Western Reserve University 

December 11, 2016

Endeavor taps Miami's Powerful Yogurt to join global network

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Endeavor, a nonprofit that supports and accelerates selected high-impact entrepreneurs, has chosen a young Miami food company to join its global network.

Powerfulyogurt1Powerful Yogurt, led by Carlos Ramirez, is now the 16th Endeavor Miami company, after being selected Friday at Endeavor Global’s 68th International Selection Panel in Palo Alto, Calif., this week. Endeavor Entrepreneurs receive services that include mentorship and access to capital, global markets and talent.

Ramirez raised seed funding and launched Powerful Yogurt in March 2013 after years as a marketing and strategy consultant for global companies. He helped launch or expand other food products around the world, including Greek yogurt. He wondered why no one was branding the product for athletes.

Although it has since expanded its focus, Powerful Yogurt was the first company to market dairy products to the needs of active men. “But then women were saying I’m powerful too, where’s my Powerful Yogurt? We evolved the brand to be genderless. It’s more about if you work out and you need to refuel, here’s a Powerful Yogurt,” said Ramirez, a Venezuelan native who received his MBA from University of California Berkeley.

Today, 60 percent of Powerful Yogurt’s customers are female and Powerful Yogurt is positioning itself to take a bigger bite of the $8 billion yogurt market with a full lineup of accessible high protein, gluten-free, all-natural products made with Greek yogurt, including bars, drinks, shots and even an oatmeal launched in Walmart this year, Ramirez said. The company is selling products in 5,000 locations, including grocery and specialty stores mainly such as Whole Foods, Walmart and Kroger mainly in the northeastern U.S., as well as in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the Middle East.

Powerful Yogurt, based at WeWork, is trying to raise $3 million to $5 million to scale the company, he said. A team of 9, it is looking to hire in marketing, sales and operations.

“From day one working with Endeavor Miami, I got a lot of help with connections and investors and it’s been a nice surprise. … They added value to my business immediately,” said Ramirez, who is looking forward to working with the global network.

Powerful Yogurt is also the fifth food and beverage entrepreneur in the Endeavor Miami family. Others are My Ceviche, DeliverLean, ginnybakes and most recently Pincho Factory. In an Endeavor Miami study last year, Endeavor found that food and beverage is one of five areas that could sizzle for entrepreneurial activity in South Florida because the ingredients are already here: a foodie culture, expertise, a talent base and educational opportunities, as well as a strong healthy and green trend to ride upon.

Endeavor’s ISP is the culmination of a rigorous three-day selection process where panels composed of top global business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors interview candidates about their business model, leadership potential and timing.

“I'm excited to welcome another Endeavor company into our F&B portfolio. Carlos received great advice and contacts throughout the selection process and we're looking forward to continue to support his scaling phase,” said Laura Maydón, managing director of Endeavor Miami..

Endeavor now supports more than 1,200 high-impact entrepreneurs across 25 countries. Endeavor Miami launched in 2013, with funding from the Knight Foundation. For more information on Endeavor Miami, or to nominate South Florida entrepreneurs, visit www.endeavormiami.org.

December 07, 2016

Deadline is Friday to apply to present at Florida Venture Capital Conference

The Florida Venture Forum, Florida’s largest statewide support organization for investors and entrepreneurs with offices in Tampa and Miami, is in search of 20 - 25 later stage companies to tell their story to a national audience of investors and business professionals at the 26th annual Florida Venture Capital Conference being held February 2 - 3, 2017 at the Waldorf Astoria in Orlando.

Presenters at past Florida Venture Capital Conferences have raised approximately $3 billion in equity capital. More than 500 people attended the 2016 Conference, including 200+ private equity investors from across the U.S., Europe and Latin America, representing billions of dollars in deployable capital.

Companies from across Florida in all industries with dedicated management teams, proprietary technology and high growth potential are encouraged to apply.

Detailed application criteria and the presenter application can be accessed online www.flventure.org  (hard copy submissions will not be accepted). The final deadline to submit is December 9, 2016.

November 16, 2016

UM student startup wins 1st round of $100,000 Global Student Entrepreneur Awards

Winners

Pictured: Mark Sanna of EO-SOFLO, Felix Puello, runner-up, Alex Coren, winner of the regional Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, and Aaron Lee of EO-SFLO.

 

Alex Coren, University of Miami student and founder of startup healthcare technology company Wambi, has earned the chance to compete for a grand prize worth $100,000 in prize money and services to boost her business, as part of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) competition hosted by the South Florida chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO-SOFLO).

Coren and five other local finalists presented their business plans Wednesday to EO-SOFLO judges at the Miami Dade College (MDC) Idea Center.

Wambi is a digital caregiver management and reward platform designed to improve patient care and “bring compassion back to the forefront of healthcare.”

The event runner up was MDC student Felix Puello of Onetown Boards, a company which uses technology to improve skateboard performance and safety. (Felix was recently featured in this Miami Herald story.)

“All of the kids’ ideas were fantastic,” said Mark Sanna, GSEA chairman and former EO-SOFLO president. “We’re going to be hearing much more from these young business leaders in the years to come.”

For the local win, Coren earned $1,000 in cash, $16,500 in services and an all-expenses-paid trip to the national finals in Kansas City, Missouri, where she will compete against 25 other student entrepreneurs from around the country.  The national winner then travels to Frankfurt, Germany in April for the chance at the global prize worth $100,000.

“The competition is tough, but we’re fortunate to have so much young talent and entrepreneurial resources here in South Florida that create a rich environment for business inspiration and success,” said Aaron Lee, president of EO-SOFLO and founder of Miami Lakes-based Illuminati Studios.  “Our organization is very proud to be part of this entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

EO-SOFLO has sponsored GSEA for six years, in addition to teaming up with MDC’s Idea Center, Florida International University, University of Miami, Nova Southeastern University, Florida Atlantic University and other institutions to foster student and other start-up business initiatives.

EO-SOFLO is one of the world’s largest EO chapters, with approximately 180 members whose businesses account for more than $2billion in annual revenues and 10,000 jobs in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

For more information, visit www.eosoflo.com.

November 10, 2016

Latin American and Caribbean entrepreneurs complete Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative in Miami

Globalties

The 14 YLAI fellows with Mark Sanna and Lillian Roberts of EO (Entrepreneurs' Organization) South Florida.

 

By Maria de los Angeles

On Friday, November 4, young entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean pitched their business plans to a panel of local judges at Florida International University’s Brickell campus. The pitch session was the final event in the month-long Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI), a fellowship program initiated by President Obama and funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program matched 250 emerging social and business leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean with local mentors in 21 city hubs across the U.S.; 14 of them did their residency in Miami with the help of Global Ties Miami, a non-profit that has been facilitating citizen diplomacy through cultural, educational and professional exchange tours since the 1950s.

YLAI set out to establish networks between young leaders and business mentors across the hemisphere. While in Miami, the fellows worked with their mentors for take-aways they could apply to their existing startup ventures back home.

The mentors and hosts were as diverse as Miami’s international business community. Fellows ranged from a cacao farmer in Belize to an Augmented Reality app developer from Trinidad and Tobago, to an environmentally conscious shoe manufacturer from Peru and a bespoke seamstress from Costa Rica, among others.

Some of the hosts were themselves Miami startups that have moved beyond the alpha phase: a biscuit manufacturer from Guyana worked with Lemon City Tea; the owner of a brand management company in Paraguay received mentorship from The New Tropic; and an e-commerce businessman from Nicaragua learned about tech business models from Tesser Health.

All of the fellows have founded businesses that are poised for next-level growth. They came to the U.S. to learn best practices from their mentors and to explore ways of developing their homegrown ideas within an international network.

“We were thrilled to host this group of inspiring young entrepreneurs in Miami,” said Emilie Baird, Director of Programs for Global Ties Miami. “The YLAI program contributed to deeper community connections and collaborations, both internationally and locally.

Nomad Tribe Shop and Lemon City Tea, who were both hosts and have since partnered, or the partnership that has developed between David Medina, founder of Qubo (Queer Bogotá, a non-profit that works to build self-esteem in the LGBT community through sports) and his host organization, the World Out Games, a major olympics-like event that will be coming to Miami in 2017.”

During the pitch session on November 4, each fellow had four minutes to present their business models to a panel of judges for the opportunity to compete in a national competition in Washington, D.C. with other fellows chosen from the 21 host cities. The final winner is set to win a cash prize to use for business development at home.

The judges included Carlos A. Huerta, President and Founder of PLC International, Emma Wing, Business Advisor ITMS Group, a company she co-founded with her husband, Robert Wing, and Christopher McKenney, media entrepreneur and CEO of Mango Media.

The third place winner, Guillermo Jimenez worked with mentor Humberto Lee of Tesser Health and is the founder of Eleganza Boutique, an e-commerce platform in Nicaragua. E-commerce giants E Bay and Amazon don’t sell products in the country of six million where most people are wary of online shopping -- only 20% are active, according to Jimenez. The entrepreneur seeks to build trust and to “become the Amazon for Central America.” He currently sells imported merchandise via the Facebook marketplace but the business will grow with a proprietary website.

Second place went to Bahamian entrepreneur Ashleigh Rolle, who saw room for improvement in travel options to connect the 700 islands that make up the nation. “It’s Uber for boat travel,” she said as she explained Skipper, an online platform that connects local commuters and travelers to boat captains operating in the Bahamas. Rolle’s mentor was Nicholas Scherb of 26 North Yachts, a brokerage based in Fort Lauderdale.

Kadeem Pet-Grave of Jamaica won first place for Educatours JA, a company that plans and executes gamified tours and team building activities for schools. “Learning shouldn’t be boring,” said Pet-Grave as he explained how schools can request customized mobile technology gamification for field trips featuring fun activities such as treasure hunts with score keeping and prizes. Pet-Grave’s mentors were Charles Kropke and Alison Klapper-León of Coral Gables-based tour company Dragonfly Expeditions.

The current YLAI program will continue into Spring of 2017, when some of the mentors will travel to their fellows’ countries for continued professional learning exchanges.

Maria de los Angeles is an independent journalist who writes for Global Ties Miami.

Globalties2

Nicaragua fellow Guillermo Jimenez working with host mentor Humberto Alexander Lee of Tesser Health.

November 08, 2016

From 3 to 300: CareCloud recruits three from Hackathon and looks to hire a dozen more

By Ricardo Morales

RicardocarecloudEver since I was a kid, hacking -- taking something broken and improving it to make it function again -- was my favorite thing to do. When I joined CareCloud many years ago, we were just a small team of people who believed we could take something broken -- in this case, healthcare -- and improve performance, boost productivity, and streamline workflow for healthcare professionals and patients alike.

It’s humbling to see how far we’ve come. When digital health was just taking off and the cloud was the next big disruptor, I was the third engineer to join CareCloud. It’s now seven years, tens of millions in VC funding, yet one of our biggest challenges is finding talent. We are actively looking to expand our engineering team by at least a dozen new senior software engineers and senior product managers who have the right mix of technical experience and leadership to assume key anchor positions. Finding the combination of really smart people and creating the best environment, to inspire them to push personal limits as well as push the limits of innovation is what CareCloud is all about.

Hacking Tech Talent

To find local talent and promote our local ecosystem, CareCloud hosted our very first hackathon this past August. We challenged more than 50 computer engineers, programmers, developers and designers from CareCloud and Wyncode Academy to build innovative apps designed to help medical groups grow and improve the patient experience. With the support of our team of senior engineers, designers and product experts, seven teams worked for 24 hours straight to execute actionable solutions to real problems in healthcare and bring their ideas to life using the CareCloud API.

Open APIs, like CareCloud’s, allow developers to stack on top of existing code to solve a specific problem. Because developers don’t have to start from scratch, the process is drastically accelerated. In a highly complex industry like healthcare, this is a key advantage in keeping up with the fast-changing regulations and demands of the industry.

 

View all CareCloud Hack Day 2016 pictures here.

The hackathon’s $9,000 in cash prizes and perks attracted intense interest and incredible talent. The winning teams were determined by a panel of judges, which included technologists Brian Breslin, founder of Refresh Miami and CareCloud CTO Josh Siegel, as well as healthcare representatives Matt Nachreiner, Dermatology Practice Administrator for Sanova Dermatology, and Dr. Angel Cuesta.

Team Nimbus, the first place finisher (pictured below), took home the grand prize of $5,000 for their deep search tool that enabled easy access to analytical data across multiple CareCloud solutions.

Carecloudhackathonwinners

Second place team Fit & HAPI was awarded $2,500 for integrating FitBit data into electronic medical records. Wyncare, coming in third, won $1,000 for their natively built video chat solution, while the Most Innovative award went to The Rookies for their Uber-for-patients app.

The real hack was the opportunity for us to see talent in action—test their skills, see how well they work as part of a team, get a feel for their problem-solving skills, and note how well they collaborated and gelled with CareCloud’s staff and work culture.

Return on Community Investment

With organizations such as Refresh Miami, Wyncode Academy, Iron Hack, Launchcode, CODeLLA, Code for Miami and so many more, South Florida is generating talent that wasn’t as available just a few years ago. CareCloud receives tremendous value from supporting these and other local organizations.

Since Wyncode’s very first cohort back in 2014, CareCloud has been a dedicated hiring partner and the first company to hire a graduate from the fast-growing coding school. We have interviewed more than 100 Wyncode grads and hired nine as paid interns, seven of whom turned into full-time salaried employees. We interviewed five Wyncode participants and hired three from Hack Day alone—Fabian Pombo, Lauren Leibowitz, and Mike Gregory.

Joining the 300

Hack Day was an immense success for CareCloud, and we plan to host two per year with one open to public participation. We will continue to play an active role in the Miami tech community and cultivate talent to create new job opportunities here at home. But folks don’t need to wait till our next hackathon to join CareCloud.

Our plan to grow to 300 employees is ambitious, but that is the culture of CareCloud. We encourage those who are talented, inspired, and ambition to send their resumes to techjobs@carecloud.com.

Be on the lookout for the announcement of our next hackathon; we look forward to meeting the future 300 of CareCloud!

Ricardo Morales is part of the founding team and Vice President of Engineering, driving software development at CareCloud, the leading platform for high-performance medical groups. With over 20 years of experience in the software industry, he currently leads a diverse team of software and quality assurance engineers.

October 28, 2016

Brian Brackeen named Innovator of the Year at TechConneXT

BrianBrackeen

Congratulations to Brian Backeen, Kairos founder and CEO who was recently named Innovator of the Year at Black Enterprise TechConneXt Summit for his notable contributions to the tech industry. He offered attendees candid insight on fundraising, navigating challenges, and ultimately the road to excelling in tech.

Kairos is a human analytics company that uses three-dimensional data to measure human feelings and interactions, and was recently featured in Florida Trend as a promising new company. Brackeen is  an Endeavor entrepreneur, and Kairos has company, has received local funding from New World Angels, AGP and the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research as well as other Florida-based and national angel groups and VCs.