April 14, 2015

A fashion double-header: The Freestyle Conference, FashInvest

Two New York fashion-tech organizations are bringing conferences to Miami next week.

Open Source Fashion’s The Freestyle Conference will makes its inaugural debut in Miami. Founded on the premise of education and collaboration, Open Source Fashion (OSF), the New York City-based networking group, is offering attendees this series of workshops to deliver high level education in a relaxed environment, while sparking collaborative opportunities amongst participants,  said Pavan Bahl, founder of Open Source Fashion.

“What has been a traditionally guarded industry is now embracing innovation at an unfathomable pace. We are excited to be able to support its next generation of innovators,” said Bahl. “This conference catalyzes growth from every aspect, including retail, related technologies and services and general artistic creativity. Freestyle Conference provides a forum to bounce ideas off of your peers, some of whom you may have never met.”

Speakers include: Pabla Ayala, founder of pFunk Media; Jaqueline Burgoa, founder of iPivot; Rene Alvarez, founder of Sumo Media; Rima Gerhard, Lead Web Design instructor, Miami International University of Art & Design; Ashley Paintsil, director of Editorial Content and Outreach at FashInvest; Dawn W. Dickson, founder of Flat Out of Heels, LLC; Bobby Harris, president of Concept Media Digital;  and Tamara Austin, founder of OpenStile.

The full-day program is Wednesday, April 29, at Venture Hive. Tickets are $89 and use code StartingGate for $20 off. Registration Link: https://ffcmiami.eventbrite.com

FashInvest is ready to take on Miami again with its second FashInvest Miami Capital Conference, this year held at the Venture Hive and focused on how emerging fashion tech companies can make their brands attractive to investors. The main day is April 30, with two days of coaching sessions for presenting companies on April 28-29.

The Fashion Tech Investment Conference will feature up to 15 vetted and coached emerging and growth startup companies presenting their opportunities (only one is from South Florida - Boxy Charm), in a pitch format with the goal of fostering strategic partnering and growth opportunities. The conference will also feature industry keynotes, panel presentations and networking opportunities.

Tickets are  $199 prior to the event and $299 at the door. Attendees who would like to go to both FashInvest and the Freestyle Conference can do so for $229.

More info. http://www.fashinvest.com/event

April 11, 2015

Entrepreneurship Datebook: Startup events, workshops in South Florida

Tech eggSPEED COACHING: Samuel Adams, in partnership with Accion, hosts its small business Speed Coaching event, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 14. 10055 NW 12th St., Doral. speedcoachingmiami.eventbrite.com

STARTUP GRIND: Bob Fitts, president of the Gold Coast Venture Capital Association and CEO of Trident Global, is this month’s speaker, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, Venture Hive, 1010 NE Second Ave., Miami. startupgrind.com/miami

WIT EVENT: eMerge Americas WIT event presents “How to Start Up Your Startup,” featuring Roger Duarte of My Ceviche, Vicky Fulop of DLA Piper and Derrick Ashong of Amp.it, 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 15, Idea Center at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson campus, Building 8, fifth floor.

OPEN HACK NIGHT @ NSU: Join civic hackers at Code for Fort Lauderdale’s meetup, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences, Nova Southeastern University. More info: meetup.com/Code-for-FTL/

D3 CONFERENCE & EXPO: D3 (Digital Design Den) focuses on developing creative talent and improving skill, and is presented by The Idea Center at Miami Dade College and The School of Design and Entertainment Technology in collaboration with New World School of the Arts, Thursday, April 16,  at North Campus and Friday, April 17, at the Wolfson Campus Idea Center. Free but RSVP required. More info: www.theideacenter.co/D3expo

FEDERAL CONTRACTING 101: SCORE Miami-Dade presents a workshop on doing business without pay, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 16, Ponce Business Center, 2000 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Suite 569, Coral Gables. Fee applies. Register here.


Keep up with startup news, coming events and community views on the Starting Gate blog on MiamiHerald.com/business.

Nancy Dahlberg @ndahlberg

April 08, 2015

Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream’s Speed Coaching event returns

Samuel Adams, in partnership with Accion, is returning to Miami to host its signature small business Speed Coaching event on Tuesday, April 14. Designed to provide business advice, the event is part of Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream, a micro-lending and coaching program for small business owners working in food and beverage including craft brewing.

During the Speed Coaching, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to participate in up to six 20-minute, one-on-one sessions. Coaches will include Samuel Adams professionals, and topics covered will range from sales, distribution and packaging to finance, e-commerce, and marketing.

Participants are encouraged to bring samples of product and packaging that they want feedback on, and should also come prepared with questions regarding specific challenges their businesses are facing. For example, a small business owner may want to ask a finance professional for advice on how to competitively price his/her product.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 14, 2015, 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. EDT

WHERE: Gold Coast Beverage Distributors, 10055 Northwest 12th Street, Doral, Florida 33172

HOW: Entrepreneurs interested in participating in the free Speed Coaching should register at http://speedcoachingmiami.eventbrite.com

April 04, 2015

A student’s view: 4 takeaways from Salim Ismail’s Exponential Technology course

Salim4By Gregory Johnson

Ever wondered how companies like Uber, Snapchat and Airbnb became billion dollar companies in just a few years? While taking Salim Ismail’s all-day course at The Idea Center I learned about how technology was impacting our society.

Exponential Organizations are companies using lean startup methodology along with exponential technologies like 3D printing, solar, sensors, drones and Neurotech to disrupt industries. The term ‘exponential’ is used to emphasis the idea of how fast these companies grow and reach billion dollar valuations.

During this course we went a deeper learning about how new companies, big corporations and even countries were using exponential technology. Here are four things I took away. 

1. Software is eating the world

Everything is becoming information enabled and according to Salim “Life is actually information enabled”.  You can call a driver with the push of a button using Uber or order groceries using Amazon Prime. Companies are becoming information-enabled and this is creating the uprising of on-demand services we are seeing with the likes of Uber, Airbnb and Instacart.

Software is doing the same thing for the world.  This technology goes beyond just startup companies. Big Corporations and even Countries are using technology. In Singapore, for example, 7% of the agriculture is now being vertically farmed.  If that does not meet your taste, Hershey is also developing a 3D printer that prints chocolate.

2. “My 3rd Year Old won’t need a drivers license” – Salim Ismail

Autonomous cars use technology so you can ride in the car without a driver. Big corporations like Google have already started driving its autonomous vehicle in California and it will soon be in Florida as well. A future without needing a license is very possible as apps like Uber, Lyft and Car2go are already things college students like myself use to get around.

3. How Exponential Technology will affect kids

“So how do we teach our kids about this technology?” one event attendee asked. Salim’s reply was “They are already being exposed to it”. A point that I believed is very accurate. Kids today are learning how to use smartphones at the age of 2 with no help from their parents. 

In the same way young children are being exposed to these technologies online or through educational program. Programs in Miami like Wynwood Maker Camp and Code Fever are teaching kids how to code and use sensors like Arduino as early as middle school.

4. Exponential Technology is impacting all aspect of our lives

Every area of our lives is being affected by technology including health care. Technology is turning every part of health care into a digital environment.

What that means is you can track your health, manage your prescriptions and even speak with a doctor before stepping into a doctor’s office.

The explosive amount of change happening as a result of technology seems to be endless. It also brings about questions on privacy. One area Salim warns about is how our 4th Amendment is disappearing because of technology. With exponential change we may need to reassess the way we govern ourselves. Whatever the case this will not stop the exponential change happening all across the world.

Gregory Johnson is an entrepreneur and a student at Miami Dade College.


View: Exponential Organizations thrive in today's world of accelerated innovation


By Naheem Charania

If you follow Miami’s intriguing tech ecosystem, then March 19, 2015 will not soon be forgotten. On that day, Salim Ismail, Founding Executive Director of Singularity University, partnered with Rokk3r Labs, The Knight Foundation and The Idea Center at Miami Dade College to present a workshop on Exponential Organizations. The audience of almost 200 people was a mix of industry professionals across startups, mid-market companies and enterprises. The goal of the workshop was to provide attendees with a vision and framework to help their companies survive a world where accelerating technologies are driving an unbelievable rate of innovation.

This rapid rise of innovation was a key focus of the workshop, and a pivotal point of the book Salim co-wrote called, Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations are Ten Times Better, Faster and Cheaper Than Yours (And What To Do About It). That the world is changing around us due to technology is a familiar concept. But what is often overlooked, is the sheer magnitude of change, the reasons, and how this change is impacting every industry. Salim was able to set the stage for the audience by identifying and contextualizing key facts about the progress of humanity and its effect on business. First, that performance and accessibility of key information technologies are skyrocketing, while their costs are plummeting. And second, these technologies are being connected and used together (think artificial intelligence and algorithms to analyze data) to uncover and achieve never-before-seen results.

What really moved the audience was Salim’s identification of an exponential organization, a type of organization that thrives in this world of accelerated innovation. Its impact is at least ten times that compared to its peers because it leverages accelerating technologies and uses new organizational techniques. It is driven by a ‘massive transformative purpose’, a higher aspirational calling, and contains common traits across a selection of ten specific attributes based on research of the top one hundred fastest growing startups worldwide in the last half-dozen years. Salim asked the audience to consider the hotel industry, something general and familiar, to see impact from the application of exponential organization principles. Hyatt Hotels Corporation (a traditional and ‘linear’ organization) with its limited number of properties was contrasted with AirBnB (an organization that embodies the exponential organization principles), which has accumulated 500,000+ listings in 33,000+ cities, owns no physical assets and is worth over $10 billion! This also helped to demonstrate the concept of traditional or ‘linear’ organizations built on the concept of scarcity, while exponential organizations such as AirBnB that evolved to instead manage the abundance.

Salim3Nabyl Charania, CEO of Rokk3r Labs, accentuated the workshop with an overview about how Rokk3r Labs partners with entrepreneurs and enterprises to build exponential organizations. Particularly, Nabyl spoke of various ways in which Rokk3r Labs is utilizing the principles of exponential organizations specifically geared towards enterprises, to help those large organizations manage and overcome their intrinsically risk-averse DNA that stops them from innovating. This was of specific interest to the audience who were able to comprehend the connections between exponential organization attributes even at the enterprise level, and not just for startup and mid-market size organizations. (Pictured are Ismail with Rokk3r's Nabyl Charania and German Montoya.)

To say that we are living in ‘the most exciting time in human history’ is not an overstatement. The rate of disruptive innovation as a result of exponential technologies impacts every single aspect of our lives and businesses, the world over. Every day we wake up to remarkable triumphs such as companies reaching billion dollar market caps in fractional time periods, the ten, hundred,Insert Image and thousand-fold decreases in prices of industrial robots, 3D printers, and DNA sequencing, and persistent breakthroughs in autonomous vehicles, deep-learning algorithms, and neuro-feedback.  Through Salim’s workshop on the Exponential Organization, Miami was able to have its first, collaborative look at the tools and frameworks that will help organizations survive a world where innovation and access is increasing at a pace that is hard to believe. The workshop ended with the exciting news of another workshop on Exponential Organizations led by Salim, who South Florida is lucky to now have as a resident. The workshop will be held in collaboration with Rokk3r Labs within the next few months. A specific date will be announced shortly.

For more information about Exponential Organizations, visit www.exponentialorgs.com.

Naheem Charania is a partner at Rokk3r Labs




April 01, 2015

Smart City Startups to bring drones, hoverboards and talking homes to Miami -- ideas that transform cities

Sharing from Smart City Startups and Knight Foundation:

Smart City Startups, the two-day urban tech conference, highlighting the startups, people, and ideas that are transforming cities, will return to Miami for its second year, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Miami Foundation.

The conference will consist of The Festival, which will be open to the public, on April 23 and  The Summit, a private event on April 24. The Festival will host 100 startups and more than 1,000 people, including organizations that aim to transform our cities in the next decade. The featured sponsor of the event, Direct Energy, one of North America’s largest providers of electricity and energy-related home services, will present the Miami debut of its “Innovation to Inspiration exhibit at the event.

The conference, produced by Shaun Abrahamson and Stonly Baptiste, the co-founders of Urban.Us, an investment fund focused on supporting startups that make cities better, will bring together the most influential global investors, entrepreneurs, thought leaders and policymakers from cities such as Berlin, London, New York, San Francisco and Tel Aviv. Event participants will be introduced to emerging tech being used to solve pressing urban issues in areas such as energy consumption, mobility, sustainable building, governance and public safety.

Attendees will have a chance to see, try and operate devices ranging from drones used to automate building construction to next generation personal mobility devices. Demos will take place during The Festival from 1 to 8 p.m. April 23 at the Wynwood Warehouse Project and the The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse. Festivalgoers will also have the first opportunity to experience the latest innovative smart home technologies, such as those featured in Direct Energy’s smart mobile exhibit.

“We’re excited to let people see and touch the future. Much of what these startups are building was recently science fiction,” said Abrahamson. “And we’re extremely excited to have keynote speakers like computer scientist, award-winning author and Microsoft vet Ramez Naam, who believes we can achieve economic growth through innovation to reduce our rates of pollution and consumption. Naam and many other speakers will contribute to important conversations like this that impact every single one of us, whether living in Miami, London or in-between.”

“Connecting the entrepreneurs and innovators who have the power to transform cities holds tremendous opportunities for Miami and beyond,” said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director for Miami. “Smart City Startups showcases the best principles of entrepreneurship, fueling ideas that make our communities stronger and encourage more engagement.”

What attendees can expect:

  • * An all-terrain course to demo Future Motion’s OneWheel Electric Skateboard, Whill’s all-terrain wheelchair, electric vehicles and personal mobility devices;
  • * SkyCatch drones that are used to automate construction around the world; people program the machines and push a button to send them to work;
  • * Next-generation Nest carbon dioxide and smoke detectors, monitors that verbally alert users when a problem occurs, and a Nest learning thermostat that automatically adjust temperature settings based on customers’ actual energy usage patterns;
  • * Automated appliances with mobile app-enabled, real-time status information;
  • * Intelligent, automated water sprinklers that function based on location-specific soil and weather conditions;


“With solutions powered by mobile apps and other new technology, Direct Energy is putting the future of energy service directly into the hands of our customers. We expect this new, customer-empowered future to accelerate as service providers, policymakers, and others work together to foster greater innovation and competition,” said Badar Khan, Direct Energy president and CEO. “Creating these opportunities for open discourse and connections to startups dedicated to advancing technology is precisely why participation in Smart City Startups is so important to us.”

“We are really fortunate to have the support of great organizations such as Knight Foundation, The Miami Foundation and Direct Energy this year that believe in our cause and believe in the importance of having conversations about the future of cities and the impactful power startups can lend to consumers to make a difference,” said Baptiste.

To view a list of participants, be a sponsor, or purchase discounted Festival tickets for $99 (offer valid until April 1, 2015) visit SmartCityStartups.com.

Read Miami Herald cover story about Urban.Us here.

Scenes from last year's inaugural conference:



March 30, 2015

Start-Up City event looks at urban startups, creative energy in Miami

Startup city

Chef Tom Colicchio talks about restaurants as startups with Richard Florida at Start-Up City: Miami.

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Think about this: About 80 percent of all seats on roads today are empty at all times.

"If we could find a way to fill them we would have the most efficient transportation system in the world," said Veronica Juarez, director of government relations of San Francisco-based Lyft, a popular ride-sharing service that launched in Miami last year.

Lyft's service -- still illegal in Miami as it fights regulatory hurdles -- is aimed at making living in cities more efficient. That was one of the themes explored Monday at the day-long Start-Up City: Miami conference at the New World Center in Miami Beach. The third annual conference, produced by The Atlantic, CityLab and the Knight Foundation, brought together entrepreneurs, consultants and investors, both local and from other cities, to discuss ways of making Miami a more vibrant hub of innovation.

Speaking at Monday's conference, Juarez explained Lyft's new San Francisco service, Lyft Line, in which a driver picks up multiple riders on a particular route -- in effect, personalized mass transit. Costs are 30 percent to 40 percent lower than the cost of a typical solo Lyft ride, and as the routes become more popular, costs will go down more, she said.

Already most of the Lyft traffic in San Francisco is via Lyft Line -- a service the company wants to bring to Miami.

Bastian Lehmann, CEO of Postmates, also underscored the benefits to local communities of his service, which uses drivers with time in their schedules to deliver just about anything.

His and other sharing-economy companies generate revenues that stay in the cities they serve, providing money to hundreds of contract drivers. Tech enables the efficiency, allowing a customer to know who and where his driver is at all points in time, and allowing drivers to know their customers, too. Postmates launched in Miami last year.

"We are seeing very interesting use cases -- the moms with children who can make money driving around while their kids are in school, seniors and people with disabilities who say this has fundamentally changed their lives," Juarez said.

For Lyft, Miami's organic creative energy was a lure. That same spirit has sparked a wave of collaborative co-working and maker spaces reflecting the way people work in cities now, according to a panel of Jason Saltzman of AlleyNYC, Pandwe Gibson of Miami's EcoTech, Bill Jacobson of Workbar in Boston and Tamara Wendt of the LAB Miami in Wynwood.

It’s a work mode that has reached corporations, which are making their work areas more collaborative and allowing employees to be more intra-preneurial, the panel said. In the latest progression, corporations are seeking to mix more with entrepreneurs. A number of large companies are members of the LAB Miami, for instance. "Corporations know they need to innovate. We are exploring how we can help with that process,"€ Wendt said.

In Boston, Workbar is experimenting with a program in which startup teams from Workbar are setting up desks in corporate offices.

Such creative energy is also sparking a slew of restaurant "startups" outside the traditional culinary hubs.

"You are seeing young talent moving out of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco," said Tom Colicchio, celebrity chef and owner of Crafted Hospitality. "It's expensive to start a restaurant and it is expensive to live there. Now there are great restaurants everywhere."

While cost factors are behind some of the restaurant renaissance in cities like Miami, South Florida and other locales offer attractive downtime options, he said. "Restaurants are hard work. You want to be able to enjoy the little bit of time off you have."

Colicchio is soon opening a restaurant in Miami Beach, Beachcraft. Success of craft foods like the beans produced by specialty roaster Panther Coffee convinced him the time was right. Miami's tourist economy is a bonus. "I don't care if you are staying here three days on a vacation or you come three days a week, we have one goal … to make people happy."

His advice: If you do something that makes you happy, everything else will follow.

"Every [restaurant] opening is exciting. There is an electricity in the air. Find moments like that every single day in your business -- that will keep you going."

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.

March 27, 2015

MIA Music Summit celebrates digital innovation, social media success

MIA Music Summit 1

Indy music personality Raquel Sofia performs at the MIA Music Summit — a one-day conference bringing together startups and leaders in the creative industries on Thursday, March 26, 2015 at the Colony Theater on Miami Beach. PATRICK FARRELL MIAMI HERALD STAFF

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Nicky Jam credits his comeback to Instagram.

“Instagram changed my life,” said the popular Latin singer-songwriter, who explained his career had taken a dive. He now has 2.8 million Instagram fans. “You can call me an Instagram celebrity. … Even my dogs are famous, even though they are ugly, they are Chihuahuas — people love them.”

And while many artists say digital revenues don’t pay the bills, Nicky Jam disagrees. “On YouTube, I have people sponsoring them, I pay all my bills just with YouTube,” he said, speaking by Skype from Colombia. “The success I have been having is 70 percent because of the Net.”

Nicky Jam was one of the speakers at MIA Music Summit, the second annual tech-entrepreneurship conference for the fast-changing music industry that took place Thursday at the Colony Theater in Miami Beach. The summit gathered entrepreneurs, studio executives, investors and musicians to explore the intersection of technology and music, and it was planned to coincide with Miami Beach’s Centennial, the Winter Music Conference and Ultra.

Demian Bellumio, chief operating officer of music-technology companySenzari and the organizer of the summit, said Miami can become an ideal location for creating and growing digital music startups. “As a city, we have a rich music history … and today it is home to top record labels, music executives, artists, festivals, media companies and even some globally recognized digital music startups,” he said.

At the summit, there were conversations about mining Big Data and music recommendation services such as Pandora (you are much more likely to get out of your comfort zone and experiment with your music in the evening, a Pandora data expert said) and attracting investment. Speakers also included leaders from Fon, 8tracksHavas Sports & EntertainmentAtom Factory, Splice and Jukely, among many others.

A half-dozen startup founders demonstrated their emerging technologies, including Pablo Osinaga of Bandhub, a collaboration music platform for recreational musicians around the world. Dubset is solving the complexities behind proper rights-holder identification, licensing and distribution. South Florida media entrepreneur Derrick Ashong, master of ceremonies for the summit, gave a sneak peek of his new startup Amp.It, which is running a global Take Back the Mic: The World Cup of HipHop competition, with winner to be revealed at eMerge Americas in May. Muzik, based in Miami Beach and a maker of smart headphones and, soon, as seen at this year’s CES, smart drum sticks, also presented.


MIA Music Summit 2 c epf

Bandhub co-founder Pablo Osinaga demonstrates his product at the MIA Music Summit — a one-day conference bringing together startups and leaders in the creative industries on Thursday, March 26, 2015 at the Colony Theater on Miami Beach. PATRICK FARRELL MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Partnerships between brands and artists are trending in popularity, and companies are starting to partner with emerging artists and growing with them rather than just the superstars, panelists said. These social media partnerships are significant new revenue streams, but you need to make the content so relevant it doesn’t feel like advertising, they said.

As Ultra gets underway, one of EDM DJ David Guetta’s managers, Jean Charles-Carre, shared some secrets of Guetta’s success: “We never sleep.”

Guetta, who will be performing at Ultra’s closing Sunday night, has sold more than 9 million albums. Guetta’s preferred social platform, said Charles-Carre: “He used to do Twitter, but now it’s Instagram. Facebook, not much.”

MIA Music Summit d 3Instagram is in fact the fastest growing platform for artists, said Liv Buli of Next Big Sound. But don’t count Facebook out: millennials still are the strongest demographic group following artists on Facebook — nearly half of the total music followers, she said.

Local indie artist Raquel Sofia is one of the first artists Sony signed for its new digital label. Instead of doing the traditional route, cutting an album, doing tours, etc., all the music is available digitally.

“People ask me, ‘Why doesn’t Sony give you a real record deal?’ It is a record deal but a new approach,” said Sofia, who has 6 million streams on Spotify. “We’re measuring in streams, we are measuring in views, we are measuring in all these social media platforms. That is the new way of making it.”

Sofia, without releasing an album, has already written and performed with some of the most popular and influential artists in the Latin market, including Shakira and Juanes.

“There are a lot more tools, it’s easier, it’s more accessible,” she said. “You can have a home studio and put the music out yourself. It’s cool that everyone can be a musician, everyone be an artist.”

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.


March 26, 2015

HUD Secretary Julian Castro to keynote at eMerge Americas

Julián_Castro's_Official_HUD_PortraitJulian Castro, the U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development, will be a keynote speaker at eMerge Americas, the South Florida technology conference taking place May 1-5. Castro will deliver his address during the main conference May 4 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Castro, who joined President Barack Obama’s Cabinet last summer, gained national attention in 2012 when he was the first Hispanic to deliver the keynote address at a Democratic National Convention. The 40-year-old former mayor of San Antonio — who was in his third term when he got the Cabinet post — has been mentioned as a potential running mate for Democrat Hillary Clinton, who has not yet announced her presidential candidacy.

Castro’s “vision and success in positioning San Antonio as a leader in the new energy economy and now as the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development makes him an ideal speaker for our eMerge Americas attendees,” said Manuel D. Medina, managing partner of Medina Capital and founder of eMerge Americas.

Now in its second year, eMerge Americas’ goal is to attract 10,000 attendees. Other keynote speakers include author Deepak Chopra; Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square and LaunchCode; and entertainer Armando Christian Perez, also known as Pitbull.

In addition, eMerge will include eGov Government Innovation Summit, a two-day private event for dignitaries from around the Americas and Europe, and a Startup Showcase involving about 100 early-stage companies, which includes a one-day bootcamp and a pitch contest with a prize pool of $150,000. There will also be country pavilions and a Women, Innovation & Technology summit, as well as a fashion show, a STEM tech showcase, a hackathon and networking.

Last week, NBCUniversal announced a group of programs that will be filmed at eMerge Americas.

Medina said eMerge also needs to be fun, so a number of parties and other surprises are planned. Music-tech entrepreneur Derrick Ashong, also known as DNA, said that his startup Amp will be announcing the winner of its Take Back the Mic: the World Cup of HipHop, a contest to find the next hip-hop star, at eMerge Americas.

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.

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/.