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.
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.”
“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.
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.
Ever 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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.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.
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.
Six South Florida companies will be presenting in The Florida Venture Forum's 2016 VentureTech Showcase on Nov. 1 at CAMLS (Center for Advanced Medical Learning & Simulation) in downtown Tampa. In conjunction with Space Florida and Hillsborough County, the event isopen to the public with a paid registration and includes an education session with Troy Knauss, lead instructor with the Angel Resource Institute. More information can be found on the Forum’s website.
The 14 selected presenting companies from across Florida will compete for the Space Florida Accelerating Innovation (AI) Award totaling $150,000: $100,000 for the Winner and $50,000 for the First Runner-Up.
From South Florida, the companies are:
BDEX, LLC, (www.bdex.com), Coral Springs, stands for Big Data Exchange and is the first and largest market-driven Data Exchange Platform in the U.S.
EagleEye Intelligence (“EagleEye”), (www.eagleeyeintelligence.com ), Boca Raton, provides end-to-end, unified intelligence for public safety and security. They solve a pressing need to unify and manage real-time intelligence given complex operational eco-systems of applications, data, equipment, and growing utilization of unmanned aerial systems (“UAS”).
Honorlock, LLC, (www.honorlock.com), Boca Raton, is the next generation online test proctoring system, with the first and only multi-device detection technology.
MyMotionCalendar, LLC, (www.mymotioncalendar.com), Fort Lauderdale, provides contract attorneys nationwide to law firms, corporate legal departments and insurance carriers who attend hearings routing legal proceeding on their behalf. Their software manages the incoming reservation and auto-assigns the reservation to contract attorneys based on location, experience and compliance.
Rotation Manager.com, (www.rotationmanager.com), Miami, is nursing schedule software that offers solutions to healthcare facilities, as well as allied health and nursing colleges.
Source Molecular Corporation, (www.sourcemolecular.com), Miami, offers breakthrough genetic product/services that provide environmental managers with the most credible, accurate and fastest test results needed to address water pollution.
Comcast NBCUniversal announced its sixth public hackathon to be held in Miami on October 22-23 and themed “Creative Viewer Engagement Driven by Emerging Technology.”
Hackathon participants will be challenged to use software and video content to explore new technology innovations, with a focus on delivering richer, more personalized, interactive viewer engagement for NBC News and Telemundo viewers and driving awareness of innovative services like Golf Channel’s GolfNow, the leading provider of online tee times. Participants will have access to NBCUniversal content as well as platforms, APIs, and SDKs from leading edge technology firms in rapidly emerging fields like Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Interaction
Over a 24-hour period, hackathon participants will work on innovative cross-platform solutions while vying for more than $10,000 in in prizes, plus the opportunity to pitch their idea to NBCUniversal Media Labs. Comcast NBCUniversal executives will be on site to assist participants throughout the two-day event.
"Miami’s fast growing tech scene makes this the perfect place for a forward thinking media company to challenge next-gen developers who know how to engage today’s hyper connected consumers," says Media Labs Chief Technology Officer, Altaf Rupani.
Hackathon technology partners include: Google’s API.AI, IVA and WIREWAX interactive video technology, as well as support from Amazon Alexa.
Judges – including tech influencers, as well as NBCUniversal executives – will select winners in each of the challenge categories, as well as an overall Grand Prize winner.
Endeavor Miami will honor Jessica Goldman Srebnick, a serial entrepreneur who has played a major role in the development of Miami’s burgeoning Wynwood Arts District, including the expansion of the Wynwood Walls, an international attraction.
Because of her vision and leadership, Goldman Srebnick, CEO of Goldman Properties and co-founder and CEO of Goldman Global Arts, will receive Endeavor’s IMPACT Award at Endeavor Miami’s third annual gala next month, said Laura Maydon, managing director of Endeavor Miami, a non-profit that supports and accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs in South Florida.
Since 2012, Goldman Srebnick has been at the helm of Goldman Properties, an award-winning real estate and development company credited with revitalizing the Wynwood neighborhood. Founded in 1968, previously Goldman Properties spearheaded revitalizations of at-risk pedestrian neighborhoods in New York and Philadelphia.
“Each neighborhood has its own DNA and soul,” said Goldman Srebnick. “We use different forms of art to accentuate that soul and make the neighborhood more accessible and inviting to the public.”
This week, Goldman Srebnick announced the renovation of Miami’s new Hard Rock Stadium with giant street art murals through its newest company, Goldman Global Arts. Goldman Global Arts is dedicated to major art projects.
Miami is the perfect ecosystem to try new things, said Goldman Srebnick. “We are a transformational and aspirational city, one that has matured to the true international destination that still has room for growth an exploration. Together we should have a goal of making Miami the perfect case study for what happens when entrepreneurial spirit is set free.”
The event will celebrate the high-impact entrepreneurship movement in Miami, uniting more than 350 business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors. Endeavor Miami is the first U.S. affiliate of Endeavor, a global nonprofit dedicated to accelerating entrepreneurship. With the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Endeavor Miami launched in 2013, and since then,15 South Florida companies – most recently Pincho Factory – have been accepted into Endeavor’s global network of business leaders, mentors and investors.
Last year, Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square and founder of LaunchCode, and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, co-founder of Gilt and GLAMSQUAD, were honored.
The Endeavor Miami 2016 Gala will be Saturday, Oct. 22, from 7 p.m. to midnight at Wynwood’s Soho Studios. Tickets: www.endeavormiami.org. Proceeds support Endeavor Miami.
MIT has hosted this event 3 times in the past, featuring angel backed fintech startup Waleteros out of Miami in 2014, who received a $25,000 term sheet but declined the aggressive valuation. This year, four winners will be chosen from the Gust group and chosen to present to a panel of early stage investors including Chris Callahan, founder of Startup Palm Beach Capital, Jack Karabees, co-founder of the Miami Innovation Fund, and Andrew Heitner, principal at Alcon Partners. In addition, Howard Gitten, technology lawyer at full service, international firm Locke Lorde, is organizing and sponsoring the event with $5,000 credit in a legal retainer, enough to help incorporate and/or advise as needed, and Peter Haines, of Horizon Growth Advisors, is providing $5,000 in-kind consulting services to the winner.
The winner will be announced live at the night of the event, scheduled from 6:30pm-9pm at Keiser University, 2600 N. Military Trail in West Palm Beach. Tickets are $30 until September 15th and $35 after that.
MIT Enterprise Forum of South Florida is an entrepreneur support organization comprised of technology enthusiasts from Jupiter to Miami. They host 10 events per year including CEO Roundtable Breakfasts, high-tech Demos, panels, and holiday parties. The non-profit was formed in 2003 with a mission to provide educational programs and services that promote and strengthen innovation at the intersection of business and technology.
This will be the largest business plan competition and idea accelerator in Palm Beach County, which is becoming a hotbed for entrepreneurs. Both the private and public sector are collaborating to ensure we do not continue to suffer from brain drain or lack of infrastructure.
The recently formed coalition Palm Beach Technology Association is helping unite the voices and provide discounted rates to coworkers in Downtown West Palm Beach. The City of West Palm Beach is doing it’s part with the support of the Business Development Board and the Economic Council, who are headed on a Leadership Trip to Denver, Co. for Startup Week. The upcoming Global Entrepreneurship Week in November is in it’s 5th year fostering collaboration not only to showcase entrepreneurs but also to help catalyze new companies at Startup Weekend.
That would be the Samuel Adams and Entrepreneur's 3rd Annual Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room Wild Card Competition, where food, beverage and craft brewing entrepreneurs from all over the country have a chance to “win it all”: a $10,000 grant and a year’s worth of mentoring from senior executives at Samuel Adams.
It works like this: From now to August 26th (updated), entrepreneurs prepare and upload their best two-minute video pitch (http://entm.ag/SamAdamsPitch) on why their business should be selected to join regional winners from Boston, Denver, Washington and San Diego at the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream National Pitch Room Finals in December. A panel of experts from Samuel Adams and Entrepreneur then judge the videos based on criteria including pitch quality, creativity, passion, and product viability.
The top five or six best video submissions, selected by the panel, will then be posted on Entrepreneur.com, and the general public will be invited to vote for their favorite from September 1st –23. The small-business owner who receives the most votes for his/her sales pitch will be named the Wild Card winner and receive a trip for two to compete in the Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room competition finals in Boston this December.