February 26, 2015

MIA Music Summit, HackDay out to help make Miami a hotbed for digital music startups


Shown above, last year's MIA Music HackDay in progress at The LAB Miami,  and below, when the winners, Erik Mendelson and Brandon West, were announced at the MIA Music Summit for their app to  make your own remix.


By Demian Bellumio

DemianOn March 26th, 2015, with the support of the Knight Foundation, the MIA Music Summit will once again bring together some of the world’s leading digital music experts to discuss the future of this fast-growing industry.  More importantly, we will continue to explore how Miami can become an ideal location for creating and growing digital music startups.  

As a city, we have a rich music history that includes musical legends like The Beatles, Bee Gees and Bob Marley, and which today is home to top record labels, music executives, artists, festivals, media companies and even some globally recognized digital music startups, such as Choose Digital, Batanga Media, F# and Senzari, the startup I lead from this city.

The event will gather approximately 400 attendees at the classic Colony Theater on the same day that Miami Beach turns 100 years old, which is no coincidence.  Music will be front-and-center at the Miami Beach Centennial celebration, where maestro Rudy Perez will be coordinating performances from over two dozen musical artists, including global stars  Andrea Bocelli, Gloria Estefan and Flo Rida, as well as hot local acts, such as Raquel Sofia and Afrobeta.  In addition, that same week, Miami is host to the Winter Music Conference and the Ultra Music Festival, so there will be no better time to celebrate Miami’s music scene.

As in 2014, we have an amazing line up of musical guests and industry experts that are coming to Miami from all corners of the world to share their insights and experiences.  On the artistic side, we are very excited that we will have as panelist and musical guest Ryan Leslie, who recently spoke and performed DLD in Munich, as well as Sony Music’s rising local artist Raquel Sofia, and Guti Talavera, as the resident DJ for the event.

From a corporate standpoint, we will have global industry leaders 8tracks, Havas Sports & Entertainment, Atom Factory and Qualcomm, among many others, who will be joined by disruptive startups like Jukely, Splice and JustGo.com.  We will cover topics such as branding and music, investing in music startups, artist and music marketing in the digital age, Big Data techniques for music, and many other relevant themes of great importance to anyone dealing with musical content, including artists, songwriters, record executives, entrepreneurs, advertisers, ad agencies, artist managers, broadcasters and investors.  For example, to provide attendees with in-depth analysis of the major market trends, we will feature two amazing keynotes by Liv Buli (Next Big Sound) and Robby Towns (EDMTCC), who will present 2014: State of the Industry and The EDM Guide: Technology, Culture, Curation, respectively.

But going back to the our key objective of making Miami a hotbed for digital music startup creation, I’m thrilled to announce today the second edition of the MIA Music HackDay, which will take place the weekend before the MIA Music Summit, on Saturday March 21st and 22nd.  Over the course of the weekend, we will be hosting 50 hackers who will be competing for a chance two win a cash prize and two VIP tickets to attend the 16th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards and Official After Party in Las Vegas on November 19th!

The event will take place in Miami's newest co-working space, Building.co, and run for 12 consecutive hours each day.   Five teams will be chosen on Sunday evening by a panel of expert judges (based primarily on the technical merits of the hack), to then go on to pitch on the main stage of the MIA Music Summit on Thursday 26th for the grand prize.

This could be the best chance for local developers and entrepreneurs to build the music startup that they have been dreaming about.  And to make it even more exciting, this year’s MIA Music HackDay will be powered by Rokk3r Labs! Therefore, the five finalists won’t have to prepare for the main show by themselves, as they will have expert guidance on how to turn their hacks into disruptive, exponential startups.

During the course of the week, the Rokk3r Labs team will meet with the five teams and introduce them to their proprietary "cobuilding" process, which has been utilized over and over to successfully launch their portfolio companies.  So, fame and fortune will surely follow for the lucky hackers!

“Like other industries, music is seeing a significant disruption via exponential technologies. Rokk3r Labs is excited to provide local entrepreneurs with a unique opportunity to go through our strategic process to inspire, empower and cobuild their ideas to disrupt every aspect of the music industry in a very high-profile way.” explains Nabyl Charania, CEO of Rokk3r Labs.  “It is also a great showcase for Rokk3r Labs’ proven methodology that can be leveraged by the stakeholders of the local music industry, from labels to artists, to launch their disruptive projects in partnership with us.”

Lastly, all team members that finish and pitch their hacks will get a free pass to the MIA Music Summit ($199 value).  And since it’s a "music" HackDay after all, there will be plenty of music throughout the weekend, including cool entertainment both evenings of the event.

It is free to register and capacity is limited, so make sure you register to secure your participation today at www.mms.co

For those interested in attending the MIA Music Summit, the first 50 users to use the code HERALDVIP, will get $50 off the current early-bird price of $149, so act fast! 

 Demian Bellumio is COO of Senzari and a founder and organizer of the MIA Music Summit. 

Read reports on last year's MIA Music Summit here and here.



February 23, 2015

UHack: and the winners were....


Uhack1For the third straight year, the University of Miami hosted UHack, a 24-hour technology competition that brought together some of the brightest, most tech-savvy students in South Florida. Participants were asked to use their technical acumen to “hack for a better U,” focusing on building projects for the benefit of improving one’s lifestyle.  The hackathon was also part of Major League Hacking (MLH) powered by Dell and Intel and students participating earned valuable points for their schools and improved chances to win an MLH Spring Semester championship.

And the winners were:

1st-Place: "Xenfit"


Brian Hans

Zohaib Khan

Vinay Chitepu

Ivan Leonov

Description:- Used a Zensah Armband, organic wires, Arduino Processor, and LCD to count the number of reps one would do when working. Fully functional & wearable.


2nd-Place: "Firnet.io LCC" - University of Miami


Cameron Philips

Arsalan Mohammad

James Callado

Matt Ross

Description: "Internet of Things" device uses a Zensah Armband, Arduino Microprocessor, and a heart detector to calculate sweat produced, muscles used, and time exercised to be sent to a database, where the information can be posted on social media & track the time one exercised

3rd-Place: "Icebreaker" - Florida Polytechnic University

Jacob Chen

Henry Chao

James Amodie

Britt Mathis

Description: "Pivotal social interactions as pure human engagement through localization. Find a stranger to talk to by locality using Blue-tooth technology. We will provide you the "ice-breaker". Engage your social gear."




Posted Feb. 23, 2015


Singularity University opens competition in Miami to address sea-level rise


 Hector Gabino El Nuevo Herald

According to research on Virginia Key by the University of Miami’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences, sea levels on Miami’s coast have risen 3.7 inches since 1996, and the rate of increase has been accelerating. If the rate of sea rise over the last five years holds steady for the next 50 years – and indications are it could rise faster – high tide levels in Miami would go up over five feet, leading to high risks of flooding and saltwater intrusion.

With the clock ticking, Silicon Valley’s Singularity University, a teaching organization and accelerator, launched its Global Impact Competition in Miami on Monday calling on innovators to find solutions for South Florida’s sea-level rise by using technology, The competition is supported by $70,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Two winners will receive full tuition to Singularity University’s 10-week Graduate Studies Program in Mountain View, Calif., this summer where they will work in teams with participants from around the world. The competition is open to all U.S. residents, but ideas must focus on of sea-level rise in South Florida. Applications can be submitted online until April 17. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to pitch their ideas during the closing event hosted in Miami. To apply, visit global.singularityu.org/miami/gic/.

"The Global Impact Competition offers Miami tech innovators and entrepreneurs a unique opportunity — inviting them to address a local challenge on an international stage," said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director for Miami. "The hope is that the competition will help forge new connections between Miami entrepreneurs and their counterparts across the globe, while helping to build the city’s network of innovators and problem-solvers so they can work together to address pressing community concerns."

Singularity’s Global Impact Competitions help identify promising innovators and connect them with mentorship opportunities and training, and after the program participants return to their communities and continue work to implement their ideas. "Sea-level rise poses a real threat to the future of Miami," said Rob Nail, associate founder and CEO of Singularity University. "We look forward to hearing from the innovators who are working to address this problem with technology and to connecting them with changemakers everywhere."

This program is one of a number of initiatives launched recently that call for innovators to solve South Florida’s environmental challenges. Last week, the nonprofit CappSci and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science teamed up to offer a $1 million prize program to attract environmental and health solutions; one of its first challenges is coral reef restoration. Last fall, the Everglades Foundation announced a $10 million prize for a solution to the chronic problem of phosphorous pollution that has sickened the Everglades and coastal estuaries.

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.

February 20, 2015

It's a 2-hackathon weekend; UHack, I Hacked Miami

Headed to the Miami area this weekend: Two hackathons, where teams of programmers and entrepreneurs work together to come up with apps or other technology solutions over the weekend.

A hackathon for the civic good, I <Hacked> Miami CodeAcross 2015, will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Miami Ad School, 571 NW 28th St. in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. To sign up: http://codeformiami.org/code-across-2015

Launched by Code for America, CodeAcross is a national event set to inspire residents to become actively involved in their community. Coinciding with International Open Data Day, Miami-Dade County will be opening its Open311 data to developers for the first time, providing new opportunities to create citizen-focused applications in a creative, collaborative environment. Developers, writers and designers can help with various projects already listed on the website, including Miami Answers, a platform for finding answers to citizens’ most frequently asked questions.

Code for America’s Miami fellowship program will officially launch at the event. “This is one more sign of Miami-Dade County’s emergence as a hub for technology and innovation,” said Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “As part of our continued efforts at implementing open data policies, the Code for America Fellows will work with us to provide greater transparency in government, using technology to make us more efficient and bring us closer to our residents.”

On Saturday and Sunday, college and high school students across South Florida are invited to compete in UHack at the University of Miami Student Activities Center in Coral Gables. To register: http://coe.miami.edu/uhack2015/

For the third year, UM is hosting this 24-hour technology competition and expecting about 150 participants. Participants will be tasked to create apps along the theme of “Hack for a Better U”, a broad topic that allows hackers freedom of expression when creating their app. Attendees can utilize any platform, framework, language, or hardware device. UHack is part of Major League Hacking, which helps put on over 100 student hackathons across North America and the Europe annually. More than $3,000 in prizes are up for grabs.

Nancy Dahlberg and Maggie Diaz-Vera

Posted Feb. 20, 2015

February 19, 2015

$1 million innovation prize program coming to Frost Museum of Science


Rendering of Innovation Center planned for the Patricia and Phillip Museum of Science.  

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Imagine being able to watch and perhaps even contribute to the process of innovation in real time for a year. The Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science and the science nonprofit CappSci plan to launch a worldwide contest and bring the winners to the museum to build their concepts for all to experience.

Through a $1 million gift from Ted and Pascale van Kipnis Caplow, CappSci and the museum Thursday plan to announce a five-year series of annual prize contests and inventors-in-residence programs to develop solutions in the health and environmental sectors. The announcements are planned as part of the museum’s Innovation & Engineering Weekend, which extends through Sunday, at its current Coconut Grove location.

Prizes to be offered in 2015: one for the best invention to restore coral reefs, and another to help people detect and reduce their exposure to carcinogens, the museum said.

Building on CappSci’s experience with global competitions, the CappSci Inventors program will solicit submissions of prototype inventions with local relevance and global significance from around the world beginning Thursday. Two winners will be awarded 12- to 18-month residencies at the $300 million science museum under construction in downtown Miami’s Museum Park. Entry forms and more details on the prizes are available at www.cappsci.org.

In 2013, CappSci established the $1 million Caplow Children’s Prize, the world’s largest prize dedicated to saving the lives of children under the age of 5. But CappSci Inventors is the first contest CappSci has run with a residence program. The $1 million gift will support the program for five years.

CaplowMy goal is to find solutions to big problems, but I am also very excited about bringing the practice of science inside the four walls of the science museum,” said Ted Caplow, CEO of CappSci, an applied science company, and an engineer, social entrepreneur and philanthropist who lives in Miami.

Out-of-the-box thinking in both prize categories is needed now, Caplow said. “In the course of my lifetime, and I am 45, I have seen a complete change in the state of Caribbean corals. If you extrapolate that over another 30 or 40 years, scientists are saying that on this side of the world the reefs could be gone.”

While disappearing coral is a massive environmental problem, the healthcare prize tackles cancer. The challenge is to develop an innovative, affordable and portable technology to empower people to detect and/or avoid carcinogens, he said.

The winners of CappSci Inventors will get a $100,000 budget to support their research and be provided lab space at the museum, Caplow said. During their residencies, inventors build out and test their technologies while seeking feedback from the public. Museum visitors can watch the inventors work, read interactive daily project logs, and discuss details of the project with an intern who will serve as a knowledge liaison between the inventor and the public, Caplow said.

The inventors will give periodic talks at the museum, and CappSci and the museum will also provide mentorship. The CappSci Inventors program will end with a demo day, when the innovators can present their work to investors who may help fund commercialization, said Caplow, who is on the museum’s board.

“There’s an emerging science and technology scene here in South Florida and the museum has a vital role to play in making it visible,” said Gillian Thomas, president and CEO of Frost Science. “What I love about this is that anyone around the world can apply but you will see the whole process develop here. Whatever great inventions come out of it will be relevant here but could also work around the world.”

In addition to this gift, the Caplows have previously donated $1 million to the new museum’s five-floor Innovation Center, which will provide classes, maker’s activities, public demonstrations and workshops celebrating innovation and entrepreneurship while also exhibiting the latest global developments. Separately, Caplow’s team and the museum also want to develop a Science Barge, a floating, urban sustainable farm and environmental education center similar to one he founded in New York, but also with marine-related exhibits and programming.

The announcement on Thursday will be followed by a panel discussion on the importance of competitions, featuring local leaders in science, medicine and business. The panel will be moderated by Florida Board of Education member and nonprofit leader Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, and include marine biologist Dr. Andrew Baker from University of Miami, medical entrepreneur Dr. Maurice Ferré, and oncologist Dr. Nicholas C. Lambrou. For more information on Innovation & Engineering Weekend, visit www.miamisci.org/iefrost.

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.

Posted Feb. 19, 2015


February 17, 2015

Apply now to pitch your startup at AARP's Startup Demo Day in Miami Beach

Get in front of both investors and consumers at the AARP Health Innovation@50+ LivePitch, Thursday, May 14, 2015 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, which will feature exciting startup companies in the “50 and over” health technology and innovation sector.

Eligible companies will be focused on consumer-oriented health technologies for the “50 and over” market, have launched their product or service within the last 18 months (as of May 14) and have not raised more than $5 million in funding.

The powerful AARP LivePitch format provides startups the opportunity to pitch to both leading venture capital and angel investors and thousands of AARP consumers - at the same time. LivePitch takes place at 2015 AARP Life@50+ National Event & Expo.

The judges will provide their feedback to the companies while they are on stage. And the consumers in the audience will vote. At the end of the day winners from 10 finalists will be announced: the Judges Overall Winner and the Consumers Favorite. In addition, five additional Florida based startup companies that target the “50 and over” health technology innovation sector will be showcased at the event.

Apply now to pitch! Applications are open until Friday, February 20, 2015.

Posted Feb. 17, 2015

February 12, 2015

UHack is back Feb 21-22 – and calling college and high school students to participate

For the third straight year the University of Miami will be hosting UHack, a 24-hour technology competition that brings together some of the brightest, most tech-savvy students in South Florida. Participants will be asked to use their technical acumen to “hack for a better U” which will focus on building projects for the benefit of improving one’s lifestyle. This hackathon is completely open-ended, attendees can utilize any platform, framework, language, or hardware device they desire.

WHAT:              The University of Miami will be hosting a 24-hour long hackathon testing some of the brightest minds on campus and across the region to kick off the school’s Engineering Week. Over 150 students from colleges and high schools in South Florida and Nationwide will compete in UHack. Participants will be tasked to create apps along the theme of “Hack for a Better U”, a broad topic that allows hackers freedom of expression when creating their app.

UHack is proud to be part of Major League Hacking (MLH) powered by Dell and Intel. MLH helps put on over 100 student hackathons across North America and the Europe every year giving students unique chances to create, innovate and network with leading edge technology and mentors.

WHO:               The U’s most talented student designers, programmers and entrepreneurs will spend their weekend teaming up fellow Hurricanes as well as other like-minded students from across the region to work on new applications that could improve everyday life. At the end of the weekend, teams will demo what they have created and attempt to win prizes and earn valuable points to help their schools rise to the top of the Major League Hacking season standings. UHack is made possible by local sponsors The Lab Miami, Senata, Google, Kairos and many more! 

WHEN:             Saturday, February 21

                                11:30am – Opening & Welcome Ceremony

                                12:00pm - Hacking Begins! 


                                Sunday, February 22

                                12:00pm - Hacking Ends!

                                1:00pm - Demos, teams will present their projects

                                3:00pm – Winners Announced, Prizes Rewarded, Closing Remarks


WHERE:           University of Miami

Student Activities Center: 3rd Floor - Center Ballroom

                                1330 Miller Drive, Coral Gables

Cost: Free 

REGISTER:   http://coe.miami.edu/uhack2015/


1st Place:

$2,500 credit for use of Karios API Facial Recognition software

2 - 1 month admissions into the Lab Miami Workspace ($600 Value)

MLH Medal


2nd Place:

Freescale Semiconductor: FRDM Freescale Freedom Platform (Not available to market; $500 value)

1 - 1 month admission into the Lab Miami Workspace ($300 Value)

MLH Medal


3rd Place:

Google "Swag Bag": Dufflebag, Blanket, USB Charger, Socks (Not available to market, $100 value)

1 - 1 month admission into the Lab Miami Workspace ($300 Value)

MLH Medal


Specific Prizes:

Zensah Challenge: $500 Cash Prize

HackerRank Challenges: Free Company Swag

Super Smash Bros Melee Tournaments: Bragging rights for a year.

- Submitted by the University of Miami

Posted Feb. 12, 2015


February 09, 2015

eMerge Americas calls for applicants for Startup Showcase - $150,000 in prizes

Calling all startups! eMerge Americas, a global technology conference focused on innovations transforming industries across the Americas, will host a world-class array of early and later-stage companies to highlight innovation and disruptive technology through its Startup Showcase May 1-5 in Miami Beach.

As part of the eMerge Americas 2015 program, the Startup Showcase will put early and late-stage startups in front of hundreds of investors and industry innovators. The showcase will culminate with  top companies pitching on eMerge’s Center Stage for the chance to walk away with up to $150,000 in cash and prizes. The companies selected for the Startup Showcase will also gain valuable insight from mentors in the leadup to eMerge Americas through a virtual boot camp followed by an live boot camp for entrepreneurs in Miami during the event.

Last year’s early-stage and late-stage competition winners  were Modernizing Medicine and Hair Construction. “Last year’s Startup Showcase highlighted talented innovators of the highest caliber from across the U.S. and Latin America, and gave them a unique opportunity to connect with hundreds of investors and business leaders,” said Xavier Gonzalez, executive director of eMerge Americas, in a news release. “This year promises to be bigger and better as we have expanded the eligibility requirements to allow companies from across the globe to compete for a chance to take their company to the next level.”

Registration is  open. Go to  www.emergeamericas.org/startups/ to apply through March 15.  Applicants have three tracks to choose from in 2015 — University, Early-Stage and Late-Stage.

The Showcase will take place during the second annual eMerge Americas conference, which is expected to attract more than 10,000 attendees, at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Posted Feb. 9, 2015


February 06, 2015

Comcast Business holds innovation contest; deadline March 15

Comcast Business is seeking innovative South Florida startup companies and entrepreneurs to compete in the national Innovations 4 Entrepreneurs competition. Contest applicants must each submit a 250-word essay explaining how they would use $30,000 in technology investment to take their business to the next level. Last year’s winners included West Palm Animal Clinic.

Two winners from Florida, one startup (in business less than two years) and one in business for more than two years, will be selected. The 32 regional winners will each receive $10,000 in cash. From the regional winners, six grand prize winners will be selected, who will each earn an additional $20,000 in cash, plus a trip to Philadelphia for business advice from industry experts.

More information: business.comcast.com/i4e/florida-area. Entries are due March 15.

 Posted Feb. 6, 2015 

February 04, 2015

I Hacked Miami needs you: Join Code for Miami's hackathon Feb. 21

By Maggie Diaz-Vera / @codeformiami

Technology is rapidly changing how citizens communicate with their government, and Code for Miami wants everyone to help, regardless of their skillset and level of tech savviness.

On Saturday, February 21, Code for Miami and Miami Ad School will be hosting I <Hacked> Miami, a local CodeAcross 2015 hackathon. Launched by Code for America, CodeAcross is a national event set to inspire residents everywhere to become actively involved in their community.

Coinciding with International Open Data Day, Miami-Dade County will be opening its Open311 data to developers for the very first time, providing new opportunities to create citizen-focused applications in a creative, collaborative environment. But it’s not just developers who can help. Writers, designers, and anybody willing to learn can help with various projects including Miami Answers, which will create a platform for finding answers to citizens’ most frequently asked questions.

Code for America has chosen Miami-Dade County as a fellowship city for 2015. Selected among the best and brightest developers, designers, and project managers, Code for America Fellows spend a year partnering with volunteers and local governments to create open source solutions for government issues. This will be an chance for the community to meet with and discuss their personal experiences with the fellows to influence future projects.

While hacking is often seen as a daunting and unreachable skill only for the most advanced type of technology user, it is really just the ability to approach a problem in an unconventional way that leads to results. So come and join fellow Miami civic hackers on Saturday, February 21st at Miami Ad School to unlock the future of the community.

Follow along at #ihackedmiami and @codeformiami.

 Posted Feb. 4, 2015