Want to know about Miami startups? A user's guide to this blog

Dear reader, Starting Gate has been providing and archiving South Florida startup and tech community news, views and resources since 2012. New to the Miami area? Thinking about relocating here? Just want to keep up with news, events and opportunities? We're there for you.

How to use Starting Gate: Besides scrolling the blog for the latest entries, you can access news and views by category. The "Funding" category will capture venture capital and angel funding news of individual startups as well as stories about funders. The startup categories chronicle news and my regular "Spotlights," and in Q&As you'll find interviews with CEOs and leaders in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. There are also categories for guest posts, views, accelerators/incubators, resources, events and more.

Thank you for your support through the years and please come back often. Follow me on Twitter @ndahlberg. - Sincerely, Nancy Dahlberg

November 16, 2017

Miami is fertile ground for world-class product design

By Gessica Tortolano

GessicaWith 20 yrs of experience building and leading User Experience (UX) teams from Boston to Silicon Valley on projects for Google, Facebook, Gap, Samsung and other exciting brands, I am bringing my expertise back to South Florida as head instructor of UX/UI Immersive, an intensive 8-week program at Miami’s Wyncode Academy.

UX is about solving real problems and addressing pain points, not just making something cool as a product or a feature. It is about storytelling, screen composition and clear paths to completion, while removing friction, not just rearranging elements on a screen. As a problem solving framework, UX puts the user at the heart of the process. It results in a better experience thereby producing better products.

With IOT, voice user interfaces, the blend of digital and physical experiences, and new devices entering the market daily, it is critical to realize a connected, holistic experience.

Miami is a beloved vacation destination, but I truly believe it is so much more. A creative and diverse culture like Miami’s is fertile ground for world-class design. This program will help nurture a new generation of product designers who will lead the charge in quality design in our ecosystem.

As a former resident of Miami, I worked with aspiring designers through community initiatives at University of Miami, IT Women, Honey Shine Inc., and Urgent Inc. I was overwhelmed and humbled by their interest in UX, it was palpable.

Since the beginning of my career I’ve worked with many of the world’s biggest brands, including Burger King, Instagram, IBM, the NBA, Chrysler, Coca-Cola, GM, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Carnival Cruise Lines.

It is after all these years, and diverse experiences that I am compelled to share and teach my expertise. I recall telling Johanna Mikkola, co-founder of Wyncode, it was time for me to foster a new generation of designers. Together with Wyncode that is what we will do.

It was clear, I had to partner with a school that was just as committed to quality in their programs as I was about design. I had to ensure the future UX designer would marry their skills with a methodology.

In the valley, large brands are anxious to blur the lines between physical and digital. They are running experiments and adopting Design Thinking, a human-centered methodology that reveals truths about how confident we are in a feature or product.

Product designers grasp the importance of being flexible, nimble, and are experts in team inertia and momentum. Most will hone their skills, but with a solid foundation, they can own end-to-end product development.

The Googles and Facebooks are looking for agility and iteration. Value over deliverables became my world and I am thrilled to help build an ecosystem rich with designers who practice true product development.

Curious to learn more? Join us at our UX/UI Design Workshop: Bridging The Physical & Digital World event December 7, 2018 7:00 - 9:00 PM. Classes start Jan. 22, 2018 Program details at wyncode.co or email weare@wyncode.co

Gessica Tortolano will be head instructor of  of UX/UI Immersive, an intensive 8-week program at Miami’s Wyncode Academy.

October 10, 2017

Miami Dade College hosting MIA Animation Conference & Festival this weekend

  MIA Animation 2015_028

 

Miami Dade College  will again host the renowned MIA Animation Conference & Festival on Friday, Oct. 13 and Saturday, Oct. 14, at MDC’s Wolfson Campus in downtown Miami. The renowned event features world-renowned speakers, technology influencers from the nation’s top animation studios, universities, and the best talent in the industry. It has become one of the most exciting and cutting edge events in Miami, alongside a community of advanced technology-explorers, decision-makers, trend-setters, software developers, and creative industry professionals.

The industry conference focuses on Computer Animation, Gaming, Visual Effects and Motion Graphics, Virtual and Augmented Reality.  It draws some of the world’s top leaders in animation and education, and features exhibitions, workshops and master classes.  It has been designed to be a forum for active networking and practical information exchange with strong commitment and emphasis in education while developing and nourishing new talent. 

Featured speakers at this year’s MIA Animation Festival include Matt Shumway, animation supervisor at ILM and 2016 Oscar Nominee for “The Revenant”; Aliki Theophiloupolos, supervising producer at Dreamworks; Leah Hoyer, vice president of creative at Telltale Games; and Kat Thorson Good, director at the Walt Disney Company.

Some of this year’s highlights include the Arts & Technology Breakfast, which will explore the ways in which the arts and tech industries can work together to build a connected creative ecosystem.   Also, exploring the power that creativity can bring to everything it touches, specifically to amplify technology as a true connector and catalyst for innovation. This year’s breakfast topic will focus on virtual reality storytelling for areas like gaming, journalism, broadcasting and animation.

Another highlight is Game On, the third annual indie game competition, which is sponsored by MIA Animation and the Idea Center @ MDC.  The competition was created to encourage independent game development and fresh voices in the video game industry. The winner will receive a consulting meeting at the IDEA Center. The finalists will be showcased at the MIA Animation Festival where attendees will be able to play the prototype. 

The MIA Animation Festival will also hold a Pitching Contest for applicants to submit animation projects for a TV animated series.  The top submissions in both categories will be invited to pitch their idea in person to a panel of animation industry experts and professionals. The top pitch overall will be set up with interviews with major animation studio execs in Los Angeles.

Another highlight of the MIA Animation Festival is the Students and Young Directors competitions, which are currently taking submissions for animated films to be judged for conceptual, technical, and aesthetic innovation and excellence. 

The conference is free for MDC students and faculty; $65 for students and $195 for professionals.

For more information: visit miaanimation.com or contact (305) 521-3429

 - Submitted by Miami Dade College

October 08, 2017

StartUP FIU: Your chance to change the world

StartupfiucohorteUntitled design (38) (1)
 

By Kate Sackman

What do fair trade yoga pants, paying off student loans, and promoting minority businesses have in common? Yep, all of these opportunities, and more, are being addressed by the StartUP FIU Empower Accelerator companies.

An exciting array of startups are in the third cohort of companies now going through the fall 2017 Empower Accelerator on the main campus of Florida International University.  This 14-week intensive program guides early stage companies rapidly through the key analyses and decisions for building a strong company foundation and scaling. Of the eleven companies in Cohort 3, six are FIU-affiliated (students, alumni, and faculty) and five are from the Miami community.  All of the companies at least have a prototype in development and four of them are generating revenue. The industries represented include apparel, food service, finance, ecommerce, supply chain monitoring and digital marketing

Companies in Cohort 3 are working to provide fair incomes and humane treatment of garment workers in Sri Lanka, help people get out from under crushing debt, and reduce fraud at construction sites.  Cool technologies such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and predictive analytics are being applied by companies to improve consumer intelligence, make online marketing more fair and efficient, and yes, help you get fit.

Here are the companies in Cohort 3:

Alana Athletica: Alana designs and sells yoga pants made to employ and empower women in Sri Lanka who are abuse survivors.

Aromas del Peru: A successful Peruvian restaurant chain in Miami that plans to franchise nationally.

CoinStash: An automatic savings plan that helps users pay off student and credit card debt by automatically rounding up their purchases to the nearest dollar and applying the difference to their debt.

Ekkobar: A sophisticated application of machine learning, Ekkobar enables companies to analyze their digital media in real time and interact directly with their audience.

Lunchology: A healthy meal delivery service for schools using only fresh, local ingredients.

Major Marketplace: An online marketplace for minority businesses and those who want to support them.

Merkari: A digital marketing company that enables companies to run multi-channel campaigns across any device.

Mettosof: Mettosof makes InstanRate, a SaaS system that expedites customers’ review process and helps business operators analyze customer feedback   to improve their operations.

Origo: A blockchain-based web platform that allows businesses to validate the true identity and fair trade practices of traders in the Americas.

Smart Barrel: Provides rugged, solar-powered IoT products for construction jobsites that enable construction workers to punch in and out without an RFID tag or other device and enables project managers to oversee and plan construction sites more efficiently.

Sodima Solutions: A chatbot company that provides customer management and a lead generation fitness assistant for the Facebook business page of fitness professionals and gyms.

APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR NEXT COHORT

Applications are now open for Cohort 4! Aspiring entrepreneurs from throughout South Florida are invited to apply.  Companies that have a prototype in development and a good understanding of their customers and market are eligible. Preference is for companies with some revenue, but companies at any stage are welcome to apply. You can apply on the StartUP FIU website: http://startup.fiu.edu. Cohort 4 begins in January 2018.

On the website you can also find StartUP FIU workshops, speakers, and other programs for the public. Upcoming workshops by leading experts include A Beginner’s Guide to Crowdfunding (October 5), and Sea Level Rise Mitigation (October 12). 

Kate Sackman is the director of the StartUP FIU Empower Accelerator and a seasoned entrepreneur.  She has a background in finance, marketing, high-tech, and media. She is also a consultant and a professor of Global Social Entrepreneurship at FIU.

 

September 27, 2017

11 South Florida leaders selected for cohort 4 of Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp

RFLBootcampIII-88

Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, center, is founder and CEO of Radical Partners, a social impact accelerator.

 

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

What are some of the most pressing issues facing our region, and how can we solve them?

Ask the alumni and new cohort of Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, an accelerator program for social-impact ventures based in South Florida.

The program, led by Radical Partners, announced its fourth cohort on Wednesday, selecting 11 leaders at the helm of some of the most innovative organizations seeking to improve our region. From expanding opportunities for diverse food entrepreneurs to providing a support network for transgender locals, the cohort of both for-profit and non-profit companies is committed to strengthening communities, increasing equity, and improving the quality of life for those in our city.

Each participant is offered a full scholarship to enable participation in the 12-week accelerator program focused on scaling the impact of their ventures. Upon completion of the program, participants are welcomed into an active alumni network, where they will continue to focus on strengthening Miami alongside some of the most celebrated social innovators in the region.

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In an effort to diversify the investor base in the social innovation sector, Radical Partners sought to fund the entire program through support from female investors and philanthropists. All scholarships for this fourth cohort were made possible by female investors who are committed to the future of Miami, including Tere Blanca of Blanca Commercial Real Estate, Leslie Miller Saiontz of Achieve Miami and Teach For America, CL Conroy of The Conroy Martinez Group, Ruth Admire of The William J. and Isobel G. Clarke Foundation, Dr. Elizabeth Leight, Stephanie Ansin, and Michelle Huttenhoff, among others.

The cohort will also benefit from expert advice from financial advisors, branding experts, and lawyers through partnerships with Desnoyers CPA, Fiscal Management Associates, and Milkcase Creative. Participants will also receive legal health checks from Akerman and have access to the AkermanX/Radical Partners innovation space housed at the Cambridge Innovation Center for all 12 weeks of the program.

Here are the 2017 Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp cohort members (list provided by Radical Partners):

Communities In Schools of Miami

Elyssa Linares, President and CEO

Nonprofit providing wraparound resources to help students succeed, whether that’s clean clothes, help with school work, or emotional support to cope with or recover from a traumatic event.

Melanites

Jennifer Pierre, Founder and CEO

Toy company that creates diverse toys, storybooks, and games that celebrate brown boyhood and inspire children of color to dream big.

Mind&Melody

Cristina Rodriguez, President and Co-Founder

Nonprofit that creates novel music programs at healthcare facilities to improve the quality of life for individuals with neurological impairments like dementia.

Moonlighter

Tom Pupo, Co-Founder

S.T.E.A.M. Learning Center, Fabrication Lab, and Co-Working Space that encourages creative collaboration among artists, designers, engineers, students, educators, and innovators in order to catalyze meaningful solutions through education, technology, and community.

O, Miami

Scott Cunningham, Founder and Director

Annual festival with the goal of every single person in Miami-Dade County encountering a poem.

Open Referral Initiative

Greg Bloom, Founder and Leader

Open-access platform that enables people in need (and related organizations) to get accurate information about the health, human, and social services available in our region.

The New Tropic

Ariel Zirulnick, Director

Local media startup that connects people to their cities through storytelling and events.

TransSOCIAL

Ashley Mayfaire, Co-Founder and Director of Operations

Trans-led nonprofit working to build LGBTQ+ unity and expand community resources and support.

Unconventional

Jordan Magid, Founder and CEO

Art production agency beautifying neighborhoods, strengthening relationships and inspiring citizenship.

The Wynwood Yard

Della Heiman, Founder and CEO

Culinary incubator and community hub designed to foster the development of innovative Miami-based food, culture, design and fitness entrepreneurs.

Young Musicians Unite

Sammy Gonzalez, Co-Founder, President and CEO

Nonprofit giving students a voice through music by providing underserved communities with free, comprehensive music programming.

 

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A scene from Radical Partners Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp Cohort 2 workshop

 

September 02, 2017

When children build for real clients: A summer filled with collaboration, creativity and community

  Moonlighter-Urban Hacking

By Tom Pupo and Daisy Nodal

Each Summer, we host our Summer S.T.E.A.M. maker camps that engage kids in hands-on projects exploring Design Thinking, Electronics, Sustainable Design, and more. But this Summer, to make the impact even greater, we partnered with various organizations and local small businesses to provide real-world challenges that the kids would design and build solutions for. It was uncharted territory for many involved, but it ended up being an incredibly rewarding experience! These two projects put the power of community transformation in the hands of children— of course, with the help of a committed team of local makers!

 Urban Hacking Camp

We partnered with Learn 01, Mano Americas and Codella to create the ultimate maker camp experience: a real-world sustainability project, built in our community, incorporating both physical and digital skills, and inclusive to all kids using fund-raised scholarships.

There were 5 project categories that the kids could chose to join. The groups were tasked to collaborate, design, develop, and build their own visions for improving the Smartbites Community Garden + Cafe. They learned how to use power tools, design software, and digital fabrication technologies to build corn hole games, outdoor tables that grow spices and herbs, art pieces made of recycled plastics, sensors that monitor moisture levels in the soil, two vertical farming systems, and more!

It was a transformative experience, for both the kids, the staff, and the team of MDCPS high school Summer interns who were also learning and assisting during the whole process. They learned by doing, by manipulating materials, looking things up online for reference, and testing their ideas with prototypes. These are the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century. You can see their incredible work by visiting SmartBites.


The Mobile Reading Pod

Our Design Thinking camps usually use imaginary characters as clients. But this year, thanks to The New Tropic, the camp had a real client — The Miami Book Fair! Their task was to design an installation that would travel to different neighborhoods, provide a nice place to sit and read, dispense free books, and promote literature. The kids dreamed up all sorts of fantastical technologies like giant drones that deliver books, autonomous library vehicles, etc. but the panel of judges chose one winner —  The Mobile Reading Pod by 9-year old Allen Hasbun.

With the help of his family and our staff, Allen spent the next month at Moonlighter refining his design and building his creation in full scale!  He learned how to use the various software and fabrication equipment in the space and actively took part in every step of the process, never shying away from the work involved to realize his vision.

It debuted at The Wynwood Yard and will travel to the Miami Book Fair in November. Allen also intends to open source his design. When given the tools, skills, and resources to build, you’ll be surprised what kids are capable of building — and of the impact they can have on their community. By empowering future generations, we can build an innovative maker city!

*For the full article and photo essay, visit www.moonlighter.camp

Tom Pupo and Daisy Nodal are co-founders of Moonlighter Makerspace in Wynwood.  

Moonlighter-Reading Pod

August 30, 2017

Entrepreneurship degree students will be taught by Facebook, Lyft, tech and media execs

Melissamedina (1)

Melissa Medina, executive vice president of eMerge Americas, will be one of the instructors in Miami Dade College’s revamped entrepreneurship degree program. Carlos LLano

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

The Idea Center, Miami Dade College’s entrepreneurship hub, and TheVentureCity, a new internationally focused tech accelerator in Miami, partnered up to redesign MDC’s Associate in Science in Business Entrepreneurship degree. As a result, students will be taught by some of the region’s top business leaders.

In the two-year degree program, which kicked off Monday, the leaders will serve as instructors to mentor students in becoming visionary entrepreneurs who turn ideas into products, services, businesses and social ventures. “An engaged and supportive mentor has a transformative impact on a young person,” said Miami Dade College President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, in the news release.

Instructors include Adriana Cisneros, CEO of Cisneros; Francesca de Quesada Covey, Head of Platform Partnerships for Facebook in Latin America; Melissa Medina, executive vice president of eMerge Americas; Sam Cohen, GM for Lyft in Florida; and Laura Gonzalez-Estefani, CEO and founder of TheVentureCity.

Students will work with teams of their peers to bring ideas to life. Topics covered will include startup strategy and execution, product development, project management, digital and social media marketing, user experience design, human resources and team management and organizational development.

TheVentureCity was founded by former executives of Facebook, Google, eBay and other leading companies. It launched its program at eMerge Americas in June, and at the time Gonzalez-Estefani said partnering with colleges and universities would be a pillar of its venture. The Idea Center at MDC launched in 2014. Some of its other programs include MarketHack, CREATE accelerator, CodePro, The Startup Challeng, and the Innovation Lab,

More information: mdc.edu/entrepreneurship

July 21, 2017

Babson College plans to launch Miami campus for graduate programs

Kerry

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Babson College plans to announce Monday that it is expanding to Miami, where it will begin offering some of its top-ranked graduate programs in the fall of 2018.

Babson’s newest hub, which will be located at the Cambridge Innovation Center at 1951 NW 7th Ave., will build on its base of 1,300 area alumni, the institution’s fourth largest alumni group, and a growing relationship in Miami’s entrepreneurship community. Miami will be Babson’s third location outside its main campus in Wellesley, Mass. It also has campuses in Boston and San Francisco.

The Miami expansion is part of Babson President Kerry Healey’s global growth strategy.

“We think Miami is a wonderful place geographically for us to be. It helps us cover the country in an important way but also it allows us to be where the entrepreneurs are,” said Healey (pictured above), noting that Miami ranked No. 1 for startup activity in the 2017 Kauffman Index report.

The graduate programs have been approved by the State of Florida and will include one of Babson’s premier degrees, its Blended Learning MBA, which combines online and face-to-face instruction, Healey said. That graduate program is ranked No. 5 in the nation and No. 1 for average alumni earnings by the Financial Times.

In the hot field of big data, a Master of Science in Business Analytics will be offered, she said. Other planned courses include a self-paced certificate program in advanced management, whose credits can be applied to a future Babson degree.

Miami offers a rich diversity of public and private graduate business programs, including those at the University of Miami, Florida International University, Nova Southeastern University, Barry University and Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, which opened a Coral Gables campus about a decade ago.

Babson, which has been ranked No. 1 for entrepreneurship education by the Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report for more than 20 years, is no stranger to Miami. Babson created the curriculum for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, which opened a program at Miami Dade College in 2014. That local program, which helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses, has graduated more than 300 entrepreneurs.

Babson’s WIN Lab, an accelerator for women-led startups, opened a chapter in Miami in 2016. The program’s second cohort will be starting in the fall.

“When we had the opportunity through the Knight Foundation to bring WIN Lab to Miami in 2016, we did it with the view of seeing if this was the right place to bring our graduate programs as well,” Healey said. “Our experience has been extraordinary.”

Miami is also a hub for family businesses, and the 98-year-old Babson’s emphasis on family business is a differentiator, Healey said. “One of the founding interests of Babson College was as support for family businesses and today nearly half of our students come from business families still,” she said. “Every generation of a family business needs an entrepreneur. Family businesses are founded by entrepreneurs but they are also kept alive by entrepreneurs.”

Babson will rent classroom space at Cambridge Innovation Center Miami, an entrepreneurial co-working center that opened in the University of Miami Life Science and Technology Park building last year. Students will also have access to CIC’s conference rooms, cafe and events. Babson will announce the new programs at CIC Miami at 10 a.m. Monday.

“We from the CIC side have had a tremendous experience hosting the WIN Lab and we all know that Miami is starting to get on the radar of interesting institutions and stakeholders,” said Natalia Martinez-Kalinina, general manager of CIC Miami. “We are working with Babson to facilitate how best to support their mission and vision.”

Martinez-Kalinina said CIC Miami has a number of collaborations with the University of Miami and will soon be opening up shared wet labs spaces to researchers and startups at UM and later other universities. CIC also hosts a series about the future of various industries with university experts and has been including local universities in its “soft landing” program for newly arrived international entrepreneurs, she said.

Babson is accepting applications for the Miami programs. More information is available on www.babson.edu/miami.

Nancy Dahlberg: 305-376-3595, @ndahlberg

July 18, 2017

Ironhack receives $3 million in funding for global expansion

Ironhackclass

Ironhack, a coding bootcamp in Miami with campuses in Madrid, Barcelona and most recently Paris, received $3 million in financing led by Madrid-based JME Venture Capital.

The funding will be used for international expansion, including coding campuses in Latin America and Europe, TechCrunch reported.

Founded by Ariel Quinones, who is based in Miami, and Gonzalo Manrique, Ironhack launched its bootcamp in Miami in 2015 after launching them in Madrid and Barcelona. The company opened its Paris location earlier this year. Its Miami bootcamps are held at Building.co.

"We’re very excited to have JME join us as our partners. Their investment will allow us to accelerate our pace of expansion, improve our product and curriculum, and hire top talent as we continue build one of the world’s top tech schools," said Quinones in TechCrunch.

Ironhack has been part of a wave of coding bootcamps opening across the nation, including Wyncode in Miami. Its cohorts end with demo nights, and it recently provided coding school scholarships to Uber drivers and riders in Miami.

July 05, 2017

American Entrepreneurship Awards: And the winners are ...

Aea

The American Entrepreneurship Award (AEA), a program created to support startup businesses and entrepreneurs, has announced the winners of its second annual contest.

The panel of judges selected winners on the basis of business plans that exhibited sustainability, financial prudence and innovation, while accruing revenue and creating jobs predominantly in the Bronx, New York, or Miami-Dade County. Entries were accepted from individuals or groups with no previous business experience, or from existing companies with an all-new business idea that was not related to their core activities.

The AEA was launched in October 2015 with an initial commitment from the Libra Group, a privately owned diversified business group with 30 subsidiaries active across six continents. The winners’ trophies for the Miami-Dade County contest were presented at a ceremony at Tuyo Restaurant in Miami Dade College's Miami Culinary Institute. Miami-Dade winners and finalists are pictured above.

The five winning companies in Miami-Dade County each won a $25,000 no-interest loan, mentorship and support services. The winners were:

Major Marketplace (majoritymarketplace.com): an online marketplace for minority businesses and those who want to support them. The company curates local and international products and services made and offered by passionate creators, bridging conscious buyers to minority businesses.

PIERCE Plan (gotpierce.com): a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that automatically tracks academic requirements in real time so high school student-athletes are eligible for scholarships to play college sports, prepared to compete in the classroom, and positioned to succeed in life.

SOP Technologies (soptechint.com): provides cities with innovative solutions to manage and protect the environment. The company's mission is to Stop Ocean Pollution (SOP) and it works towards this goal by developing cost-effective physical and digital technologies to prevent trash and contaminants from entering waterways.

Ustaff: an on-demand healthcare staffing platform that serves as a conduit for healthcare facilities and healthcare professionals to directly connect, in order to service their scheduling and staffing needs.

UX Gofer (uxgofer.com): a user research platform that empowers start-ups and enterprises to create innovative experiences for their customers and make better design decisions by incorporating live user feedback through our guided usability tests.

Said Christopher Upperman, CEO of the American Entrepreneurship Award: “Our hope is these companies will inspire more to seek out support from organizations such as the AEA who serve as a spark to increase entrepreneurial participation across communities. We truly congratulate these winners and respect their drive, ambition, and comprehensive business approach—which has been acknowledged by our panel of judges, and team alike.”

Other finalists for the 2017 Miami-Dade awards were:

Arslin.com (arslin.com): provides consumers with a dealership-free online platform for purchasing of used cars.

Cargo42 (cargo42.com): a digital marketplace for local trucking committed to reduce empty miles for trucking companies and to offer lower freight rates for Less than Load (LTL) shippers.

Full Circle (gofullcircle.co): a platform where people can purchase products and services that ideally memorialize their deceased – both humans and pets. The company empowers people with the products and services that help them honor their loved one the way they deserve, and helps them through the grieving process.

Smart Barrel (smartbarrel.co): an Internet of Things (IoT) company that builds and designs products focusing on the construction industry. Smart Barrel products are physical field products that are introduced into the jobsite to assist and enhance the communication between Office and Field personnel.

VITAL On Demand (vitalondemand.com): dietician-approved, nutritious and delicious meals and snacks delivered in under 15 minutes for a $1 delivery fee. They serve the professional lunchtime crowd the most flavorful, nutritious meal faster and for a lower delivery fee than anyone else.

To learn more about the American Entrepreneurship Award, please visit www.americanaward.com.

-Submitted by AEA

 

June 12, 2017

Rokk3r Labs spins out 10xU, a global education platform

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Rokk3r Labs, a venture builder that has worked with more than 40 portfolio companies, moved into new headquarters in Wynwood last fall. This spring it launched an investment fund. Now Rokk3r is announcing that it’s adding an engine for education called 10xU.

DeleoThe global platform and will be tailored to both tech entrepreneurs and corporations who need the tools and the mindset to compete in the age of innovation moving at warp speed, said Lorenzo de Leo, CEO and co-founder of 10xU, which is a separate Rokk3r Labs portfolio company. 10xU will have a booth at eMerge Americas this week.

De Leo (pictured at right) has been involved with Rokk3r for three years as an investor and most recently ran its cobuilding unit, which exposed him not only to the Rokk3r’s methodology but also to the startups’ dreams and opportunities and 10xU was a natural evolution “10xU aims to teach individuals how to act as entrepreneurs no matter where they sit in their professional career.”

10xU will have courses geared to entrepreneurs at all stages – whether they are looking to harness their industry expertise into a fast-growth startup, evaluating the world-changing potential of an idea they have or already have a company. The programming will cover the principles of company building – from developing a vision, to building a team, to raising capital and scaling – but will be focused on moving people to action rather than theory, incorporating mentorship, pitch opportunities and measurable goals, de Leo said. “10xU is about empowering people to understand the world in which we live, and to take advantage of that to grow individually and as a community.”

Courses will also be tailored to corporations that will all likely face the Uber of their industries. 10xU has developed educational programs and conducted personalized assessments for companies that need a startup mindset or might be considering developing a spinout company. 10xU is also working with educational institutions; for instance, it participated in the DronesUp program at Miami Dade College in a module exploring how to transform deep expertise into a company, de Leo said.

NabylJoining de Leo, former managing partner of Rokk3r Labs, will be Mike Lingle, an experienced entrepreneur and coach who will serve as managing partner of 10xU. For individuals, 10xU will cost $700 to $2,500, depending on the level of services sought. “We believe this is a piece of the ecosystem that’s been missing,” said Nabyl Charania, CEO of Rokk3r Labs (pictured at left).

As 10xU develops, the platform and programs will be available globally, connecting people and resources. Said de Leo: “We believe in the great potential of Miami, and we think a good way to help Miami is to connect Miami to other tech hubs around the world.”