April 19, 2015

Last day to vote in the Business Plan Challenge!

Indexes to measure the stability of fine art and the impact of climate change, an antiques marketplace, an online mall, solutions for your thousands of photos and storage-impaired condos. A “shared economy” company for long-term care, a learning platform for Hispanic kids, a tool to find an affordable lawyer, a business software platform, a campus coffee house/incubator – we’ve even got a food product line made with bugs.

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

Take a look at the top six finishers in the Community and FIU Tracks of the 17th annual Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge, and we are asking you to vote for your favorite plans in The People’s Pick competition.

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

Click on the top story on MiamiHerald.com/Challenge to bring up the voting page. View the short videos of the finalists’ elevator pitches. The six selections in the FIU Track follow the Community Track.

Then scroll down to the bottom of the page to cast your ballot, voting for one video in each track.

Lastly, get out the vote! Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, April 19.

The top voted team from each track track will be awarded the People’s Pick and honored in the April 27 Business Monday section along with the judges’ selections.

Vote here – hrld.us/BizPlan2015 – or go to MiamiHerald.com/challenge to find the voting page.

The contenders are:

Community Track

Accidental Archivist, pitched by Stephanie Norman. Got photos? This is a free platform full of training and tips from industry leaders, a wide array of products and services, and a community of all ages who share tips, rate products and connect with one another.

Art Preservation Index, pitched by Emily MacDonald-Korth. The Art Preservation Index, or APIx, is a stability rating system for fine art, based on its patent-pending rating algorithm, comprehensive database of art material information, and proprietary mobile art evaluation software.

Coastal Risk Consulting, pitched by Albert Slap. A comprehensive online service called the “Coastal Risk Rapid Assessment” provides a property’s future flood risk, changing the conversation around climate change.

Juana la Iguana, pitched by Tania Gilinski. This learning and entertainment platform will help parents transmit to their kids their values, culture, music and Spanish vocabulary. It looks to launch 20 applications in the next four years.

Stow Simple, pitched by Silvia Camps and Jorge Camps. With the click of a button, Stow Simple will pick up, safely store and return your belongings, with prices comparable to traditional self-storage. The initial target market will be city high-rise dwellers.

The HighBoy, pitched by Douglas Scott and Olga Granda-Scott. Leveraging deep industry experience of its founders, The HighBoy delivers a streamlined method for sourcing and purchasing exceptional antiques, fine art and other historic design items online.

FIU Track

Court Buddy, pitched by by James Jones Jr. and Kristina Jones. Founded by an attorney, this online legal matchmaking system connects people and businesses with affordable attorneys based on their budgets; it gives people, regardless of background or financial situation, access to a legal system.

FlowKPI, pitched by Luis Caro, Ernesto Ruiz and Giancarlo Zarrillo. This provider of business software wants to redefine the tools businesses rely on to accomplish their goals and achieve their real potential. It plans to develop software-as-a-service solutions for different industries.

Relentless Roasters, pitched by Daniel Choiseul Paguaga. A collaborative workspace and specialty coffee café on the FIU campus would serve as a retail location, roasting facility and educational center focused on entrepreneurship and School of Hospitality-connected activities.

Room2Care.com, pitched by Todd Florin and Richard Ashenoff. Leveraging the power of the sharing economy, this end-to-end platform is designed to connect those who need long-term care with those who can provide care in the local community.

Senzu Foods, pitched by Ricardo Delgado and Nicolexander Garza. This company’s goal is to provide a sustainable solution to food security, public health and environmental concerns by becoming a leading producer and distributor of insect-based food products.

Wuelto, pitched by Alejandro Gomez. This global social e-commerce platform provides users with a going-to-a-mall experience by allowing people to share items with friends while also being able to ask questions and interact with the stores.

WHERE TO VOTE AND WHAT’S NEXT?

To cast your votes for the People’s Pick, go to hrld.us/BizPlan2015.

The winners including the People’s Picks, finalists and semifinalists will be unveiled in a special report in Business Monday on April 27.

April 18, 2015

UM announces Business Plan Competition winners

Innovations in the areas of everyday life improvement, access to higher education, and an invention to prevent urinary tract infections in patients have taken top honors in the University of Miami’s 2015 Business Plan Competition, hosted by the University’s School of Business Administration, and sponsored by The Launch Pad. The competition winners, honored in an awards ceremony April 17, took home a combined total of $52,500 in first, second, third and other prizes.

Dibi - undergradHunter Bihn won the Grand Prize and $10,000 in the undergraduate student category for DiBi, a patented, portable container for diabetics that both carries and disposes insulin pens and needles.

In the graduate student category, Erica Barrios, Phi Ho, and Iman Rabizadeh took home the Grand Prize and $10,000 for their venture, MediTick which prevents urinary tract infections in patients with Meditick - gradurinary catheters.

And in the University of Miami alumni category, Eric Stepansky and David Primach won the Grand Prize and $10,000 for Campus Breeze which tackles higher education access issues.

Second Place in the undergraduate category and $5,000 went to Jake Esposito, Mitchell Pasqualoni Campus breeze - alumniand Courtney Wemyss for Grain, a software that runs iOS and Android devices. Second Place in the graduate category and $5,000 went to Adam Rosen, Alexander Barsan, Sarah Sonny, Danielle Neuman and Sebastian Rivera of HouseCall MD, which offers health care via mobile phone. Second Place in the alumni category and $5,000 went to Kristina Astone and Jennifer Tang of Lavender & Lace, a lavender-based apothecary company.

Third Place in the undergraduate category with $2,500 went to Spencer George and David Silverman for Ubitt LLC which simplifies the purchase of goods. Third Place and $2,500 in the graduate category went to Veronica Fortino, Jordan Greenberg and Carlos Carballosa for Stemcellect, an innovation in dental stem cells; while Third Place and $2,500 in the alumni category went to Christopher Poore for Cornverter, ethanol kits for performance vehicles.

In addition to the undergraduate, graduate and alumni category prizes, the Paul K. Sugrue Entrepreneurial Spirit Award and $1,000 was presented to Charles Tyler Szuchan of PocketDoc, an innovative mobile telehealth company.

“The quality of the business plans presented this year was extremely impressive,” said Susy Alvarez-Diaz, director of entrepreneurship programs at the University of Miami School of Business. “The teams brought forward plans ready to go beyond the ideas phase and right into execution. It makes sense that the entrepreneurial culture of both the School of Business and South Florida region would produce such big thinkers.”

The Business Plan Competition started last fall when 64 concept papers were submitted to the judging committee. Ultimately 42 semifinalists were asked to submit their business plans and after another round of judging 15 final teams were selected to present to the judges on April 15-16, with the winners named the following day. The judges included 15 successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists from South Florida and the Northeast.

Now in its 13th 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 as 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.

- submitted by the University of Miami

Captions: Top photo: Undergrad category, Dibi -- from left to right:  Susy Alvarez-Diaz, director of the University of Miami School of Business Administration entrepreneurship programs; Nicholas Sando and Jake Elliot, founders of SnagTag (2014 Business Plan Competition); Hunter Bihn, grand prize winner, undergraduate track; and Adrian Alvarez, program director, Univeristy of Miami Launchpad

 

Middle photo: Graduate category, MediTick -- from left to right:  Susy Alvarez-Diaz, director of the University of Miami School of Business Administration entrepreneurship programs; Phi Ho and Iman Rabizadeh, grand prize winners, graduate track; and Adrian Alvarez, program director, Univeristy of Miami Launchpad
 
Third: Alumni category, Campus Breeze -- from left to right: Susy Alvarez-Diaz, director of the University of Miami School of Business Administration entrepreneurship programs; David Primach, grand prize winner, alumni track; and Adrian Alvarez, program director, Univeristy of Miami Launchpad

 

 

 

 

 

April 10, 2015

FAU announces business plan contest winners

RotationManager

From left, FAU President John Kelly; Max Cacchione, CEO of Rotation Manager, first place winner of the entrepreneur track; Dr. Maurice Ferré, co-founder of MAKO Surgical Corp., and Kim Gramm, co-founder and associate vice president of FAU Tech Runway.

 

Florida Atlantic University has announced the winners of the 2015 Business Plan Competition, which concluded today at FAU’s Boca Raton campus. 

First place winner of the student track is SoFla Sunwear, a beach apparel company which set out to distinguish and celebrate the lifestyle that exists in South Florida. Second place went to Hyperbius, LLC, creator of the HyperChiller, a simple device that takes up to 12 ounces of hot coffee fresh out of a single-serve machine down to room temperature within 60 seconds after brewing stops without diluting the coffee’s strength. Third place winner of the student track is TripsCommerce, a SaaS-based system, e-commerce solution for travel operators to manage and automate their business more efficiently and economically, enabling travel operators to establish their business online in minutes without any need for designers or programmers.

First place winner of the entrepreneur track is Rotation Manager, a company that makes clinical rotations in nursing and allied health programs easy and compliant by bringing students, hospitals and colleges into one unified platform. Second place went to Transfasten, a posterior minimally invasive approach to sacroiliac joint fusion to alleviate sacroiliac joint pain. Third place winner in the entrepreneur track is CO2 Conversion/Dioxide Materials, a new chemical value chain that uses waste CO2 and renewable energy instead of oil and gas to provide an inexpensive route to high volume chemicals.

Hosted by the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship and the College of Business, the competition provided the opportunity for participants to vet their business ideas before a panel of successful entrepreneurs, early stage investors and venture capital principals. More than 200 teams originally registered to compete, with judges selecting 16 teams to advance to the final round.

Final round teams in the FAU student track and entrepreneur track competed for a share of more than $200,000 in cash and prizes to launch their business. Red Pepper Group was the event’s presenting sponsor.

The three-day event began with the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Investor Panel, a culmination of a 30-week program in which students in grades 6-12 developed legitimate businesses and pitched to investors for seed funding. 

At the Kick Off Reception and Elevator Pitch Event, each of the 16 final round teams presented a 90-second elevator pitch, and reception guests voted for their favorite. The winner, Let It Rot, will receive the $5,000 People’s Choice Award sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co. Let It Rot, is a social enterprise working under the already established nonprofit organization, the Palm Beach County Food Bank, and is working to heighten the efficiency of the Food Bank by repurposing their food waste into a marketable worm compost product.

The competition concluded with business plan presentations from the FAU student and entrepreneur tracks and a keynote talk by Dr. Maurice Ferré, co-founder of MAKO Surgical Corp., a world leader in robotic orthopedic surgery.

- information submitted by FAU 

  SoFlaSunwear

From left, FAU President John Kelly; Thomas Gregory, of SoFla Sunwear, first place winner of the student track; Dr. Maurice Ferré, co-founder of MAKO Surgical Corp., and Kim Gramm, co-founder and associate vice president of FAU Tech Runway.

 

 

April 07, 2015

Budsies: They are cute but will "Shark Tank" take the bait?

Alex Furmansky - Founder & CEO of Budsies small (1)

 

Will the Sharks bite on Budsies? Tune in Friday night to find out.

Alex Furmansky (pictured above) is the founder and CEO of Budsies, a Lake Worth company that turns drawings and pictures into custom-sewn plush figurines or stuffed animals. Furmansky launched Budsies out of his South Florida home in August 2013 and has sold about 8,000 Budsies so far. He will now get a chance at exposure to 8 million ABC "Shark Tank" fans – and a possible investment. (see a quick video cameo of Budsies products on Shark Tank's video promo here.

Budsies taped its Shark Tank episode last fall and is not allowed to say more about the investing outcome, but Furmansky is excited about the marketing opportunity:“Budsies has already brought a tremendous amount of joy into the lives of so many of our customers – including children who are fighting cancer and create Budsies of their superhero parents and armed forces members who can’t be home for the holidays but send Budsie Selfies of themselves instead. I cannot wait to see what the imaginations of this new influx of customers will create.”

The company has worked with and received orders from professional illustrators, corporate brands, video game producers, book authors, creative adults, teenagers and children, Furmansky said. The product line includes The Original Budsie, Budsie Selfies and Budsie Petsies.

Budsies is the second South Florida company to appear on Shark Tank already this year. Last month,  AquaVault was on the show, and ended up making a deal with Shark Daymond John: $75,000 for 25 percent of the company.

Here's the pitch! Let's see if the Sharks cuddle up to Budsies.

 

 UPDATE AFTER THE SHOW: No deal. Kevin O’Leary (aka Mr. Wonderful) and Daymond John both gave Alex offers (50% and 40% respectively for $100K) following his pitch but Alex Furmansky declined both believing the Sharks were undervaluing the company.  Over the weekend, the Budsies website received 100K visitors from fans, supporters and new customers, the company said.

Nice touch giving the Sharks Budsies that looked like them. 

April 05, 2015

Business Plan Challenge semifinalists announced

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

ChallengeThis year’s entries in the 17th annual Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge include concepts for fashion, art, restaurants, maker spaces, social gaming, healthcare, real estate and logistics. There are plans to educate our kids, help us eat better and live socially conscious lives. And for every time you said “where’s my waiter?” there is a plan for that, too.

So who will win the 2015 Challenge? Thirty young businesses and business ideas are still in the running.

Having the right ingredients to win over our judges isn’t easy: They were looking at the viability of the business model, the team, marketing strategy, financial projections and more. A good idea alone won’t get you very far: Our judges were looking for a strong plan for execution.

To be sure, our three panels of judges — serial entrepreneurs, investors, academics and executives — had their work cut out for them. The Business Plan Challenge, sponsored by FIU’s Pino Global Entrerpreneurship Center, drew a record 248 qualified entries. The Community Track drew more than 100 entries, presenting a mix of businesses representative of South Florida’s diversity. Veteran judges said the overall quality of the entries was higher than previous years.

Competition in the High School Track, co-sponsored by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship in South Florida, was especially fierce with a record 111 entries. Half of those entries were from two schools, Ransom Everglades and Gulliver Prep, and classes taught by three teachers, Jennifer Nero of Ransom and Kamal James and Daniela Brenha of Gulliver.

For all 248 of you who entered, congratulations! You now have a strong start on your business plan — your road map to growing your business. Even if you didn’t make the list this time, we know you will carry on; please let us know how you do.

This week we announce our semifinalists. Next week we will unveil our top six in two tracks, and they will also be part of the video competition. The winners, finalists and semifinalists in all three tracks will be included in a special section April 27. Here, in alphabetical order are the semifinalists:

Community Track

Accidental Archivist, by Stephanie Norman. Got photos? This is a free platform full of training and tips from industry leaders, a wide array of products and services and a community of all ages who share tips, rate products and connect with one another.

Art Preservation Index, by Emily MacDonald-Korth. The Art Preservation Index, or APIx, is a stability rating system for fine art, based on its patent-pending rating algorithm, comprehensive database of art material information, and proprietary mobile art evaluation software.

Coastal Risk Consulting, by Albert Slap. A comprehensive online service called the “Coastal Risk Rapid Assessment” provides a property’s future flood risk, changing the conversation around climate change.

Creating Revolutions, by Einer Rosenberg. To help restaurants and retailers capture the billions in sales lost each year due to poor customer service, CR has developed a patented simple-to-use technology called NFC Paging. First product: NFC Service Pager.

cTHRU Nutrition, by Lisa Dorfman and Adeel Murtaza. A feature-rich shopping application aims to ensure that families and consumers worldwide have a handy, fast, easy-to-use personalized tool to help them select the healthiest groceries and restaurant meals.

EarthWare, by Michael Caballero and Pandwe Gibson. Moving beyond old wasteful practices, EarthWare creates utensils, tableware and containers made from natural and recycled materials that are biodegradable and compostable.

Educrate, by Jacqueline Basallo and Patricia Ortega. This is a subscription e-commerce platform of educational and office supply products for teachers nationwide. Educrate brings teachers the tools to create, inspire and teach outside the box.

Grasp Learning, by Gary and Valerie Berman. Reinventing the K-8 after-school tutoring and academic support experience, Grasp empowers “edu-preneurial” teachers to supplement their income by operating their own micro-learning centers within nonprofits and community centers.

Juana la Iguana, by Tania Gilinski and Amanda Quijano. This learning and entertainment platform will help parents transmit to their kids their values, culture, music and Spanish vocabulary. It looks to launch 20 applications in the next four years.

Stow Simple, by Silvia Camps and Jorge Camps. With the click of a button, Stow Simple will pick up, safely store and return your belongings, with prices comparable to traditional self-storage. The initial target market will be city high-rise dwellers.

The HighBoy, by Douglas Scott and Olga Granda-Scott. Leveraging deep industry experience of its founders, The HighBoy delivers a streamlined method for sourcing and purchasing exceptional antiques, fine art and other historic design items online.

UX Gofer, by Jacqueline Stetson Pastore. Built by UX pros, this app makes usability testing easier, faster and more accessible. It streamlines the workflow of senior practitioners and guides the newbie on how to set up a study, capture data and do analysis.

FIU Track

Court Buddy, by James Jones Jr. and Kristina Jones. Founded by an attorney, this online legal matchmaking system connects people and businesses with affordable attorneys based on their budgets; it gives people, regardless of background or financial situation, access to a legal system.

FlowKPI, by Rodolfo Navarro, Luis Caro, Ernesto Ruiz and Giancarlo Zarrillo. This provider of business software wants to redefine the tools businesses rely on to accomplish their goals and achieve their real potential. It plans to develop software-as-a-service solutions for different industries.

Relentless Roasters, by Daniel Choiseul Paguaga and Andre Villarreal. A collaborative workspace and specialty coffee café on the FIU campus would serve as a retail location, roasting facility and educational center focused on entrepreneurship and School of Hospitality-connected activities.

Room2Care.com, by Todd Florin and Richard Ashenoff. Leveraging the power of the sharing economy, this end-to-end platform is designed to connect those who need long-term care with those who can provide care in the local community.

Senzu Foods, by Ricardo Delgado, Nicolexander Garza and Valerie Yoda. This company’s goal is to provide a sustainable solution to food security, public health and environmental concerns by becoming a leading producer and distributor of insect-based food products.

Wuelto, by Gerson Gomez and Alejandro Gomez. This global social e-commerce platform provides users with a going-to-a-mall experience by allowing people to share items with friends while also being able to ask questions and interact with the stores.

High School Track

2 Charge, by David Herrera, Gustavo Ciobataru and Lain Huguet, Gulliver Prep. The 2 Charge Power Card will transfer battery from one phone to another and charge two phones at once, all in one product no bigger than a credit card.

All Pro Sports Highlights, by Emmanuel Cineus, Miami Edison Sr. High. This service business would create customized, personalized mobile apps for athletes, showing highlights and stats and becoming a marketing tool to show to college recruiters.

Find My Dog, by Lucas Lowenstein, Tatiana Ramirez and Sophia Esquenazi, Gulliver. A GPS tracking dog collar would track a dog through a detailed map using the Find My Dog app or website. The collar would also include a fitness monitor and a camera at an extra cost.

Food Pages, by Noah Rolnick and Yoav Grainer, Miami Palmetto Sr. High and Ransom Everglades. An iOS app that would allow users to research food products rated by people like them while earning rewards for their ratings.

Magistrae, by Alain Carles, Ransom Everglades. A smartphone application aims to consolidate and catalog lists of academic tutors, art instructors and sports coaches all in one place, with user profiles, a calendar, ratings and reviews.

Mood4Food, by Alex Levine, Jillian Hersman and Kayla Sharp, Gulliver. A mobile food-ordering company would connect consumers and corporate businesses with thousands of restaurants in South Florida. A portion of the profits would go to charity.

MyScholarship, by Wesley Villano and Eduardo Garcia-Montes, Ransom Everglades. This app would match you to university aid packages and scholarships, with tips on the process and a rating of universities based on affordability.

ROBA, by Gabriela Telepman and Madeleine Granados, Gulliver. This website would act as an outlet to buy fashions worn by popular figures. By clicking on a photo in an article, the customer will be taken to online stores where they can buy that item or one like it.

Savvy Seniors, by Sophie Leon, Ransom Everglades. To help navigate the college application process, Savvy Seniors notifies students and parents about important dates and deadlines.

SOSpeech, by Valentina Barragan and Michelle Palm, St. Thomas Aquinas. This app would perfect the eloquence of your words in presentations, interviews and conversations; it’s targeted at students as well as adults.

Teenography.com, by Katelyn Barclay, University School. This operating teen-owned photography business offers services of talented and ambitious teen photographers at affordable prices.

USA Veteran Transportation, by Alexander Futernick, Ransom Everglades. USAVT strives to be the safest and most reliable transportation service to companies across America while combating nationwide veteran unemployment.

Find more information about the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge at MiamiHerald.com/challenge. Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.

April 02, 2015

Miller Lite Tap the Future contest returning to Miami; apply by April 10

Tapthefutre

A contestant pitches during last year's Tap the Future event at Nikki Beach. 

 

Miller Lite is returning to Miami with Miller Lite Tap the Future, a national business competition for entrepreneurs to compete for $200,000 and a chance to receive feedback from Daymond John from ABC's "Shark Tank."

Five semifinalists will be selected to pitch live in The 305 in front of a live audience in July.

Entrepreneurs interested in participating should apply before April 10 at MLTaptheFuture.com.

In addition to Miami, Miller Lite will also visit Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Dallas. 

“Miller Lite Tap the Future is the ultimate competition for entrepreneurs who want to be recognized and rewarded for following their true passion,” said John. “I encourage all entrepreneurs to apply for a chance to get their original idea out there and receive advice on how to take it to the next level.”

In its two-year run, Tap the Future has garnered more than 4,000 entries and has awarded $700,000 in funding. The most recent grand prize winners are a group of former fraternity brothers that founded Bellhops, a national moving service that utilizes college students to facilitate residential moves at an affordable cost. Other program winners include Notre Dame alums Sean O’Brien and Evan Wray of Swyft Media, a sticker and emoji company that mobile messaging apps, such as Viber, Kik, Tango and Paltalk, can utilize as part of their services. Poised for success, the company was recently acquired for $27 million just one year after winning the grand prize.

For official rules and information, visit www.MLTaptheFuture.com.

April 01, 2015

Code4Good PBC: Drum roll please... and the winners were....

 

Drumroll

1techgarage web

 

By Nicholas Mohnacky

Code4Good Palm Beach County saw 55 developers and creatives tackling Palm BeachCounty’s social problems such as homelessness, mental health, hunger and health insurance issues.

The event’s hosts Quantum Foundation, the county’s largest nonprofit health funder, and Modernizing Medicine came together to bridge the gap between philanthropy and innovation. On March 28-29th FAU Tech Runway celebrated social entrepreneurship during the 20 hour event.

The hosts didn’t hold back on the amenities and should be applauded for creating a world class event complete with a lounge, ideation rooms, Starbucks coffee, omelet stations, gourmet cupcakes, and above all a real drum roll from a percussion group to announce the winners.

Five nonprofits were selected to benefit: Palm Beach County Food Bank, Mental Health Association of Palm Beach County, Community Health Center West Palm Beach, Vita Nova, and Community Partners. These cause providers presented their case studies on the first day then stuck around to answer questions from participants throughout the morning.

Thirteen teams were formed and come Sunday’s presentations three were decided on as the winners.

First place was team Tech Garage

TechGarage organize a group of its students who like to code to enter the competition. The team consisted of Anton Relin and Rohan Challa Seniors at DelrayAtlanticHigh School as well as Kurt Wilson an 8th Grader at Don Estridge. They decided to tackle the challenge presented by Perry Borman from the Palm Beach County County Food Bank who was looking for a more efficient way to connect food donations from restaurants to local food recipient agencies. The team came up with a novel solution that included a functional web site as well as an android application. The software streamlines the ability for kitchens to notify local service agencies that food was available for donation. The TechGarage team beat out 12 other teams for first prize and are working to form a start-up to make the software available nationwide. 

Second place was team Food Share PBC

Third place was team Form Ninja

In reflection, Quantum Foundation’s President Eric Kelly noted, “We were asking ourselves: Instead of just injecting cash, could we also inject know-how or a tech solution into what we offer local nonprofits? The idea was born through discussions I had with Dan Cane at Modernizing Medicine. I was impressed with how his business was addressing traditional physicians’ problems by simplifying and consolidating Electronic Medical Records. I thought why can’t we bring that kind of cutting edge technology to issues right here in Palm BeachCounty? We could use technology to help make nonprofits more efficient, so that the people who need them have a better experience. So we did just that and created a partnership among philanthropy, private business and an educational institution.”

Nicholas Mohnacky is cofounder of Startup Palm Beach.

Ideation.code4goodpbc

 

 

March 31, 2015

Deadline nears for applying to present at Florida Venture Forum's Early Stage Conference

 The Florida Venture Forum, a statewide support organization for venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, is inviting c private, early to mid-stage, Florida-based companies to present their pitches before an audience of potential investors at the its Eighth Annual Early Stage Conference. 

The half day Post-Investment Workshop component of the conference will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13, 2015. On Thursday, May 14, 2015, the Conference opens with the Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition and the Early Stage Conference. All events will be hosted at the Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club in St Petersburg,

In addition to providing a platform for Florida-based high-growth, high-promise companies to pitch investors, the conference will feature expert panel discussions, networking opportunities, and a workshop about post-investment governance, mentoring and exits.

“We are thrilled to help another dynamic group of emerging companies connect with capital sources from across the country,” said Kevin Burgoyne, president of the Florida Venture Forum. “The increased interest among national investors and number of early-stage companies that have already applied to present sends a clear message that Florida’s rapidly growing entrepreneurial ecosystem continues to gain momentum and national attention. We expect this year’s conference to be a record-breaking success.”

The conference will also coincide with the organization’s 5th Annual Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition, which invites Florida’s universities to bring their best candidates to compete before a panel of judges to win placement as a presenter in the Early Stage Conference. More details are available in the 2015 conference schedule.

In response to the state’s growing interest in post-investment best practices, the Florida Venture Fourm in partnership with the Kauffman Foundation and Angel Resource Institute will be hosting: Post-Investment: Mentoring, Governance & Exits. The Post-Investment Seminar, taking place May 13, invites presenters, entrepreneurs, students, and other professionals to learn the fundamentals of how to prepare for, set up and execute a solid post-investment plan. Presentations, panels and exercises will cover the following topics: mentoring entrepreneurs; management transition; board of directors; tax issues; follow-on funding; exits.

Presenting Company selection criteria, including requirements for the development stage, management, business planning and equity investment, can be found on the event website.

To present at the conference, applications must be submitted on or before the final cut off date of  April 6. There is no cost to apply to present. However there is a nominal registration charge for entrepreneurs to attend the Conference. Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee of angel investors and venture capitalists.

 

Miami Science Barge wins Knight Cities Challenge award

    

Scibarge

 

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Ahoy Miami, make room for the Science Barge.

The Miami Science Barge is envisioned as a marine innovation lab, a hybrid between a floating urban farm and environmental education center powered by renewable energy. The concept was one of 32 winners nationwide in the inaugural Knight Cities Challenge.

The goal of the winning proposal, submitted by Nathalie Manzano-Smith with the science nonprofit CappSci, is to create a public focal point for Miami’s climate issues. The project will receive $298,633, and the Knight funding will accelerate an ambitious timeline. Manzano-Smith said the CappSci team hopes to open the Science Barge in early 2016 in the downtown Miami area.

An initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the inaugural Knight Cities Challenge attracted more than 7,000 ideas to make the 26 communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work. It asked innovators of all kinds to answer the question: What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?

To win a portion of the $5 million grant funding, the 32 winners proposed ideas that included training for Detroit rehabbers who plan to combat blight by reactivating vacant buildings, creating low-cost modular housing and workspace units to test a new model for affordable housing in San Jose and installing musical swings designed to bring people together in multiple cities. Philadelphia had the most winners with six, followed by Detroit with five winners. A full list of winners can be found on KnightCities.org. The Science Barge is Miami’s sole winner.

“It shows you once again don’t ever get the notion that you know all the people with the good ideas or that you have all the good ideas, because people will prove you wrong. Challenges work so well to source ideas and new people, people who may never approach us for a grant,” said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives. “We had a lot of good ideas around bringing public life back to vacant spaces, and that was a dominant theme around the country, but I didn’t expect so many ideas on building the narrative or changing the story of a city.”

The Miami Science Barge is an example of that, she said. “There is this simplified story of Miami in the world of glitz and glamour … but as to its relationship to science, you haven’t been able to touch and feel it. Having the one-two punch of adding the Frost Museum in Museum Park and putting the science park in its proximity is a very interesting way to lift up our concerns about the physical world we live in and the ways we can take care of it.”

Manzano-Smith agrees and says Museum Park is the desired location for the 120-foot by 30-foot barge. The Science Barge team wants to create interactive programming for children and adults about marine life, sustainable technology, green living and urban farming through exhibits, workshops and demonstrations. Among the planned features is an interactive robotic camera that will allow kids to view marine life.

“We envision the science barge to be a symbol of building a sustainable Miami,” said Manzano-Smith. It will be solar powered and harvest all its water from the rain and sea. “Our goal is to provide a unique experience and let people access the bay that normally can’t.”

Next steps are purchasing the barge — the team is negotiating with a Fort Lauderdale owner now — and working through the permitting process. The team is working with the University of Miami Rosensthiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and community partners such as Health in the Hood, Urban Greenworks and Frost Museum of Science. Northwestern Senior High’s welding program students will help construct the exhibits, said Manzano-Smith, who is director of innovation at CappSci.

The team was inspired by a barge in New York started by CappSci’s founder, Ted Caplow, a Miami-based engineer, social entrepreneur and philanthropist. The New York barge was focused on urban agriculture. Caplow is very involved with the Miami Science Barge team, Manzano-Smith said, and the team visited the barge in New York state last fall.

“There are not many opportunities to get students out on the water here in a low-cost way. Providing that connection to the bay is really important to us, because it creates that environmental stewardship,” she said.

The Knight Cities Challenge is a three-year, $15 million project, with $5 million available annually. The second challenge will reopen for submissions in fall 2015. Based on the year one response, “it feels very much like it will become a part of our standard program,” Coletta said.

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.

  Sciencebarge

 The Science Barge in New York, a project of CappSci founder Ted Caplow,  inspired the Miami Science Barge project.

Barge

The Miami Science Barge team visiting the barge in New York state last fall: James Jiler (FIU Education Effection & Urban Greenworks), Josh Grubman (University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science), Marc Gauthier (Miami-Dade County Public Schools & Fruit of Life Organics), Alissa Farina (CappSci), Nathalie Manzano-Smith (CappSci, Science Barge), Ted Caplow (CappSci), Asha Loring (Health in the Hood)

March 26, 2015

Start-Up City to feature social entrepreneurship contest with Miami Soup

When Start-Up City: Miami returns for a third year on Monday with a full day of speakers, panel discussions and networking, attendees will also get a taste of social entrepreneurship.

For the first time, Start-Up City: Miami is partnering with Miami Soup, a grassroots model for funding small to medium-sized projects designed to enhance the quality of community life. Throughout the conference, Start-Up City will feature three local social innovation projects; they will all present or show videos about their work and how their mission helps to “start-up” Miami; attendees of Start-Up will vote and select one project to be awarded a SOUP microgrant of $2,000.

Presenting will be:

Urban Paradise Guild, which aims to provide family gardens to 300 low-income families living in apartments in Opa-Locka, Hialeah and North Miami;

 

Upper Room Art Gallery, a non-profit global collection of artists and designers whose artwork specializes in organic and recycled materials and are focused on issues of global poverty, social justice and the environment; and

Rising Tide Car Wash, a scalable conveyorized car wash dedicated to the empowerment of individuals with Autism.

Start-Up Miami speakers include Chef and Crafted Hospitality owner Tom Colicchio, who will talk about how opening a new restaurant compares to launching a startup, Slack’s Bill Macaitis on its plan for the billion-dollar brand, Veronica Juarez on Lyft'sgoals in Miami and beyond, MIT Leadership Center’s Hal Gregersen on how to become a better leader and increase creativity, Vikram Dendi of Microsoft Research, who will discuss Skype Translator, and Square and LaunchCode cofounder Jim McKelvey's insights on partnering up to start up.

The event, presented by The Atlantic, CityLab and Knight Foundation, which will be at the New World Center in Miami Beach and tickets are $99. For the full list of speakers or to buy tickets: www.theatlantic.com/live/events/start-up-city-miami/2015/.