February 21, 2017

#Miamitech on immigration: 'Now is not the time to shut the door."

Everymundo

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Everymundo, a fast-growing Miami tech company, was and continues to be built by immigrant talent.

That’s even reflected in its company name. Recently the Everymundo team proclaimed its message from the windows of their downtown Miami office – “We are immigrants. Everymundo.”

Today, Everymundo, which develops and licenses marketing automation software and solutions to airlines and joined the Endeavor network of high-impact Miami companies in 2015, has 54 full-time employees in Miami and 30 of them were born outside the United States. A quarter of them are working for Everymundo on professional visas, said CEO Anton Diego.

Diego was born in Moscow and raised in Havana and Spain before moving to the U.S. in high school. “My story is just another story of the fabric of Miami.” For Diego, a biography of Andy Grove, the founder of Intel who was a Hungarian immigrant who survived Nazi Germany and communism in Hungary, proudly sits on his desk. “Without immigration, Silicon Valley wouldn’t exist ... He never made excuses, he just wanted to grow a business and employ people.”

Without the visas, Diego would not be able to recruit the top talent Everymundo needs. Miami has a growing tech community and talent base but can not yet supply the levels of senior level talent these growing companies need, a sentiment echoed by Alexander Sjögren, chief technology officer at YellowPepper, a Miami-based company pioneering mobile banking and payments in Latin America. Sjögren, a Swede who lived and worked in Latin America, moved to Miami in 2012 on an H-1-B visa to work with YellowPepper. He said about 90 percent of YellowPepper’s Miami workforce is foreign-born.

Statistics bear this out. Two out of every three engineering degrees in the U.S. are granted to foreigners. Nearly half of Fortune 500 companies established in the early 2000s were established by the foreign-born.

Johanna Mikkola, the Finnish-Canadian co-founder of Wyncode, a coding education company that is also part of Endeavor, said her company would not be as successful placing their 400 graduates in junior developer jobs at tech firms without senior level talent on staff, often immigrants, that enable companies to hire, train and nurture younger local talent. recently, Wyncode announced it will be partnering with a Swedish company to grow its impact in Miami. They were part of a panel opening up a one-day Urbanism Summit that explored issues from climate change to sustainability to urban food deficits at Palm Court in the Design District on Tuesday.

“Now is not the time to shut the door,” said Ted Hutchinson, Florida organizing director for FWD.us, who moderated the event. FWD.us, which has an office in Wynwood, is a bi-partisan national advocacy organization that was started in 2013 by Silicon Valley tech titans. “FWD is committed to finding solutions to fix immigration and part of that is raising awareness of immigration and immigrants’ contributions to tech and the entire economy of Florida.”

About 54 percent of Miami area businesses are founded by immigrants, Hutchinson said, and about one in four in Florida. But behind the numbers are people.

“We’re truly about the American Dream,” said Diego. “We want to make a difference in this city. We need to be able to recruit outside the United states and look South. Some of our top developers come to the U.S., they bring their families ... and they teach junior developers their skills. The reality is that Miami today lacks AI and big data experts, these are the fields we play in. We need to find ways to them to Miami, to bring their families to Miami. They improve our world.”

And it’s for the long term, Diego said. “We want to build a company our kids will want to work in.”

READ MORE

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Fwd

Panelists from the Miami tech community talk about their need for attracting top tech talent via immigration at the Urbanism Summit in Miami on Tuesday. At top, Everymundo displayed the message "We are immigrants" in its downown office windows recently.

 

February 13, 2017

TechCrunch Pitch-Off Miami: And the finalists are ...

Tcmeetups
 

The Miami TechCrunch Meetup + Pitch-Off is Feb. 23, and the 10 competitors have just been announced. The startups will get 60 seconds to make their rapid-fire pitches to the audience and judges that will include local VCs and TechCrunch editors. The first place winner will receive a table for exhibiting at the upcoming TechCrunch Disrupt NY and runners-up will receive tickets to Disrupt.

Here are the finalists:

Even if you’re not on these lists, you’ll still have a shot to hop on stage because TechCrunch will be  raffling off one spot in the pitch-off as the WILDCARD startup.

Attendee tickets are $10 and the event, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., will be at the Paris Theater in Miami Beach.

You can buy tickets here.

Meet the investor: Next round of EDC angel connections series on March 14 to feature Las Olas Venture Capital

Enterprise Development Corporation is hosting the third in a series of investor/startup events meant to provide entrepreneurs valuable funding insights.  The event on Tuesday, March 14, will feature Las Olas Venture Capital and Partner, Mark Volchek.  

Volchek will meet in the afternoon with four selected companies from a growing company database of over forty companies.   Each company will receive feedback on their presentation, an initial interest level and specific advice in applying for formal consideration by Las Olas Venture Capital.  For entrepreneurs wishing to be considered for the one-on-one, please submit an executive summary and investor slide deck to team@edc-tech.org by 2/27/17.

March 14th also hosts a public evening event, held at Mindwarehouse in downtown Miami from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. where  Volchek will share with the audience general funding guidance for entrepreneurs as well as specific insights into Las Olas VC’s selection and funding process.  Register for the evening event at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/inside-the-investors-head-with-las-olas-venture-capital-partner-mark-volchek-tickets-31830714524

At the previous event, DealCoachPro was one of six selected for a one-on-one with featured investor Tamiami Angel Funds.  According to Founder Erik Mintz  “The investor series event was a real opportunity for my startup.  I was able to participate in the one-on-one with Tim Cartwright of Tamimai Angels which was a meaningful experience with great feedback as to our fit with the Fund.”

The series combines one-on-one investor/startup introductions with an evening event for a broader audience of entrepreneurs.    The objective of these “capital Introductions” is to both help startups acquaint themselves with active Florida and non-Florida early stage investors and help investors identify South Florida’s best emerging investor-ready companies. 

Future events in this series will be ongoing throughout 2017, so please check www.enterbusiness.org for updates. 

- Submitted by the EDC

Miami Finance Forum, Knight plan half-day entrepreneur event Feb. 24

The Miami Finance Forum and the Knight Foundation are hosting "Mapping Miami’s Financial Future 2017: Key South Florida Leaders Driving Entrepreneurial and Business Success" at the Four Seasons Hotel at 1435 Brickell Avenue from 12:30pm – 6:00PM on Friday, February 24.

This 2nd annual signature event will focus on providing insights and first-hand accounts from key leaders instrumental in shaping the business and entrepreneurial landscape in South Florida.  Early registration is $125 per person for members and $175 per person for non-members by 2-22-17. To register online, visit www.miamifinanceforum.com.

“The Miami Finance Forum continues to break new ground for its innovation and ongoing support of the financial, entrepreneurial and investment communities in Miami and the rest of South Florida,” said Gregory M. Santín, Chairman of the Miami Finance Forum. “Our partnership with the Knight Foundation (KF) includes a series of events focused on startups, early stage, high growth companies and entrepreneurship. This is one of a series of events focused on integrating the Miami Finance Forum community with the entrepreneurial ecosystem which KF has made such an impact in establishing and fostering within our community.”   

More than 200 people are expected to attend including startups, early and later stage companies, entrepreneurs from sectors such as healthcare, technology, manufacturing, retail and other industries as well as finance and banking professionals, C-level executives, legal and accounting professionals and all sub-segments of the finance community in Miami and South Florida.

The Emcee of the event is Tom Hudson, Vice President of News & Special Correspondent for WLRN Radio. The event begins with a welcome and memoriam to former MFF Chairman Raul Valdes-Fauli, followed by the Opening keynote speaker - Albert Santalo, Founder, Chairman & Chief Strategy Officer of CareCloud, and lunch.  Two panel discussions held after lunch will include commentary from successful women executives from diverse sectors along with entrepreneurial innovators sharing their personal journeys of business building.  The Closing keynote speaker is Victor Mendelson, Co-President of Heico Corporation, followed by networking and cocktails.

The ‘Characteristics of Success: Perspectives of Accomplished Women’ panel will feature:

*Jane Wooldridge, Business & Visual Arts Editor, The Miami Herald –    Moderator

 *Alice Bravo, Director, Miami Dade Department of Transportation and Public   Works

*Carla Curiel, Co-Founder, Lanugo

*Pamela L. Kohl, Executive Vice President, Chief Products and Marketing          Officer, Banco de Brasil Americas

*Rachel Loeffler, Global Head of Investment Banking & Private Equity       Solutions, S&P Global Market Intelligence

*Julie Neitzel, Partner, WE Family Offices

The panel entitled ‘Entrepreneurs: Moments and Mentors’ will feature:

*Matt Haggman, Miami Program Director, Knight Foundation – Moderator

*Murilo Amaral, Co-Founder, Cargo42 (a winner of the MFF/KF Babson Rocket Pitch)

*Leslie Baumann, M.D., Founder, University of Miami Cosmetic          Medicine and   Research Institute

*Jessica Do Tully, Founder & CEO, Palmpress Coffee (a winner of the MFF/KF Babson Rocket Pitch)

*Juliana Fernandez, Founder, AEI (a global commercial interior design firm)

*Raul Segredo, Co-Founder and President, Avionica (an aviation communications manufacturer)

- Submitted by Miami Finance Forum

 

February 09, 2017

Blacktech Week receives $1.2 million in Knight funding to expand entrepreneurship programs

Twitterguy

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

This month’s Blacktech Weekend will bring the CEO of Y-Combinator and other tech leaders to Miami, and it is just a slice of what’s to come.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation on Thursday announced $1.2 million in new support for Code Fever’s Blacktech Week and related programs that aim to expand opportunities for black entrepreneurs.

Based in Miami, Code Fever is a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting people of color to the startup and tech ecosystem in South Florida and is run by Felecia Hatcher and Derick Pearson. In 2015, with support from Knight Foundation, Code Fever launched Blacktech Week, a six-day conference that was also held last year.

New support from Knight, awarded over three years, will go toward expanding Blacktech Week programming year-round to include Blacktech Weekend and continued monthly office hours and meetups. Code Fever will also introduce VC in Residence, a new program that will invite venture capitalists to spend a month in Miami advising and guiding minority entrepreneurs.

Hatcher said these events will continue to bring together participants eager to connect, learn and explore ideas around how to grow black entrepreneurship and make sure people of color are represented in the tech industry. “The talent and the demand are there. With our new, expanded programming, we’ll be able to provide greater year-round access to networking, mentorship and funding,” she said.  

Matt Haggman, Knight’s Miami program director, believes the funding will help Code Fever expand and deepen the impact of Blacktech Week. In addition to the signature event, a regular calendar of events will ensure an ongoing presence throughout the year while helping to create “an inclusive and equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem in Miami,” he said. The lack of diversity in the Silicon Valley tech industry is a well-documented problem with little progress made.

“We are still in the early days of building a Miami innovation ecosystem, and we want to be very intentional that this ecosystem includes the whole community. We see Black Tech Week as a key part of this effort,” said Haggman, who has spearheaded Knight’s involvement in Miami ecosystem-building. “The more the whole community is involved, the more success we will have.”

The first Blacktech Weekend — a condensed version of Blacktech Week — will take place Feb. 23-25, with a focus on business development and raising capital. Speakers include the CEO of Y-Combinator Michael Siebel, Richard Kirby of Venrock Capital and Marlon Nichols of Cross Culture Ventures, and panels and presentations will be on topics ranging from pitching investors and asset framing to storytelling and building hubs for inclusive innovation.

This year, Blacktech Week will be Sept. 25-30. The event will feature speakers from around the globe, panels, an interactive tech career fair, workshops, networking opportunities, pitch competitions, and a new government-tech track. Code Fever will also expand its monthly Blacktech meetups and office hours to better connect Miami’s black entrepreneurs with advisors, mentors and investors throughout the year.

Past speakers and panelists at Blacktech Week have included NFL Champion and AsktheDoctor.com founder Israel Idonije and Magic Leap CEO Rony Abowitz (pictured below), Maker’s Row Founder Matthew Burnett, DreamIt Ventures Managing Director William Crowder, Priceline.com co-founder Jeff Hoffman and former Twitter Engineering Manager Lesley Miley (pictured above), among many others.

Additional details about Blacktech Weekend and Blacktech Week can be found at blacktechweek.com.

Over the past three years Knight has made more than 200 investments in entrepreneurship in South Florida.

Nancy Dahlberg: @ndahlberg

 

READ MORE

Blacktech Week: Innovating, scaling, giving back

Why I quit Twitter (and turned down a seven-figure severance package)

Black Tech Week spotlights pioneers, rising stars

Numbers don’t lie: Silicon Valley still has a big diversity problem

 

Rony

February 06, 2017

23 South Florida startups selected to compete at SUP-X

Twenty-three South Florida startups have been selected as semi-finalists in the SUP-X: The StartUp Expo's startup competition in Fort Lauderdale in March.

The companies will each receive a free booth at the international conference and will be considered for the finals to compete for $50,000 in cash prizes. In total, 50 startups from 10 states and 25 cities have been selected.

The 23 selected South Florida participants are: Paywithchip, GoGig, RentLit, and Winspire from Fort Lauderdale; Slurpits from Dania Beach; The THX Co. from Hollywood; GoGym from Palm City; Pickk from Pompano Beach; Hutch.ai from Stuart; Jinglz and Carpe Solutions from West Palm Beach; Honorlock and Candidate.Guru from Boca Raton; and Project Ghost Studios, Symptify, UX Gofer, Same Day Pros, People As A Service, Emerge, Bid.Aero, Gramercy.io, Apollonix, and Cargo42 from Miami.

 “We have startups coming from all over North America and the Caribbean," said conference founder Bob Fitts of Miami, in the announcement. "The exchange of ideas, learning opportunities and chance to form relationships make for a great experience for them. It will be interesting to see who wins, but it should be a very valuable experience for them regardless.”

The two-day conference and expo will be held March 6-7 at the Broward Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale. In addition to its startup competition, SUP-X will  feature a “Diversity in Entrepreneurship Forum” and about 18 panels, speeches and keynote addresses on topics such as the importance of good design, minority access to capital, fintech and blockchain, raising capital and becoming a better angel investor.  Speakers include Scott Decker, CEO of MDLive; Carmen Castillo, founder, president and CEO of Fort Lauderdale-based SDI International; Albert Santalo, founder of CareCloud; and Rachel Zietz of Boca Raton,  who recently appeared on Shark Tank.

Tickets to SUP-X range from $59-$399. More information about SUP-X: http://www.sup-x.org/ or contact info@sup-x.org.  

 

January 25, 2017

Apply by Feb. 6 to compete at TechCrunch Pitch-Off Miami

Techcrunch

Calling all South Florida startups!

You have till Feb. 6 to put your name in the running to pitch your company at TechCrunch’s Meetup+Pitch-Off Miami event on Feb. 21.

The TechCrunch editorial team will pick about 10 local startups to pitch their companies on stage for 60 seconds in front of a panel of Miami VCs, entrepreneurs and TechCrunch editors. Winners will get tickets or demo space to TechCrunch’s flagship Disrupt New York conference in May.

Enter to pitch here. 

If you don’t get picked to pitch, no worries, TechCrunch is also going to pull a wildcard drawing, where one lucky startup in the audience will randomly be selected to pitch on stage. You can buy tickets to the event here. This is the first time the event has come to Miami.

 

January 17, 2017

SUP-X: The StartUp Expo to host regional finals of national hardware startup competition

SUP-X: The StartUp Expo announced that it had formed a partnership with Pittsburgh based accelerator AlphaLab Gear and that it will host the Southeast Regional competition of AlphaLab Gear’s Hardware Cup, one of the country’s most prestigious startup competitions focused on hardware.   

“We can’t wait to see who they select as finalists to compete at SUP-X,” said Bob Fitts, founder and producer of SUP-X, which is held at the Broward Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, each winter.

Six teams will be chosen from online applications to give a four-minute pitch in front a panel of Hardware Cup judges at SUP-X.  Judges will have five minutes to ask questions and the teams are judged on commercial viability, team capability and demonstrated commitment.  Regional finalists receive $3,000, a free one-year SOLIDWORKS license, as well as other prizes and a chance to win a $50,000 investment from Startbot VC at the Hardware Cup National Finals in May.  

“The growth of IoT, the falling cost of sensors, and increased access to tools and resources through makerspaces like TechShop make it cheaper, faster, and easier than ever before to get a hardware startup off the ground,” said Ilana Diamond, managing director at AlphaLab Gear. "The goal of the Hardware Cup is to find and highlight the most promising hardware startups in the nation, and we can't wait to hit the road and see what talent is out there this year."

SUP-X and Fort Lauderdale join Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Boston, Washington DC, Chicago and Austin as regional Hardware Cup hosts.  

Startups interested in applying to the regional Hardware Cup competition at SUP-X may apply at http://www.alphalabgear.org/hardwarecup/

SUP-X: The StartUp Expo is March 6-7, 2017, at the Broward Convention Center.  SUP-X is a two-day, international startup and early-stage conference at the Greater Fort Lauderdale-Broward Convention Center.    The event features a special “Diversity in Entrepreneurship Forum” to address the needs of those typically under-addressed in the startup and venture capital communities.  SUP-X will also have about 18 speeches and panel discussions on topics of interest to investors and entrepreneurs alike, as well as  its own startup competition with $50,000 in cash divided among three winners.  Fifty startups from over three-dozen US cities will exhibit at SUP-X for free.  Tickets to SUP-X range from $59-$399. 

More information about SUP-X may be found at http://www.sup-x.org/ or by contacting info@sup-x.org.

There will be a free Miami kickoff event for SUP-X with a pitch contest on Jan. 26 at Building.co. More info and to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sup-x-2017-miami-dade-kickoff-party-startup-competition-tickets-30614306214

- Submitted by SUP-X: The StartUp Expo

Read last year's Miami Herald coverage from SUP-X here.

 

 

January 14, 2017

Flourish Media Conference to host its inaugural investment-focused conference for women of color in South Florida

Flourish Media Conference, in partnership with Florida International University, announced its inaugural investment-focused Flourish Media Conference: Where Women Do Business will take place Feb. 3-4 at Florida International University inside the Graham Center Ballroom.

FMC is the only media conference with opportunities for business funding for female entrepreneurs of color, offering them the opportunity to learn about branding, visibility and funding  through interactive workshops and panel discussions.

“Our goal is to prepare conference attendees with the knowledge, resources, and more importantly, access to willing investors, to help close the hugely disproportional female funding gap and under-representation of women of color in high-growth startup industries," said Vivian Olodun of FMC. "This conference presents the perfect opportunity to do just that.”

The two-day Flourish Media Conference offers guest lectures and workshops in two tracks. During both tracks, guests will have the opportunity to engage with successful female business owners and attend workshops with industry professionals to help propel their business to the next level. Saturday’s VIP conference attendees will have the opportunity to live pitch to investors for substantial funding.

FMC’s guest speakers range from bloggers, social media influencers, entrepreneurs and those operating in the business finance sector. Guest speakers scheduled to attend this year’s conference include Tracy Timberlake, YouTube vlogger turned six-figure video marketing strategist, who will teach conference attendees video hacks that can transform their personal branding into guru-status; and Lila Nikole, business owner and swimwear designer whose work has been featured on major media outlets including BET and VH1, Mercedes Benz Swim Week, and worn by some of the hottest pop stars and socialites. Lila will share personal knowledge and key insight on the strategies behind building a successful brand.

Tickets to attend Flourish Media Conference are $247 for the All-Access Garden Pass and $434 for Full-Access Buddy Pass. Live stream tickets are $57. For more information or to purchase tickets: www.flourishmediaconference.com.

-submitted by FMC

 

January 09, 2017

Join CIC Miami and The New Tropic for MiamiLand Jan. 21

CIC Presents MiamiLand, Saturday, January 21, 2017, 6pm-9pm.
 
Join  CIC Miami for its launch party at MiamiLand.
 
MiamiLand, The New Tropic’s annual get down and ode to the 305, is officially back. Last year Miamiland explored the history and culture behind Miami’s diverse and colorful neighborhoods. This year we’re celebrating the launch of CIC Miami and the future of innovation.
 
Since opening its door this fall, CIC Miami at 1951 NW 7th Ave. has been serving as an innovator space and connecting Miami’s entrepreneurial local leaders to catalyze new startup and investment activity right at home.
 
Join us for an interactive shindig, where you’ll get to explore our home at the Converge Miami building for live performances, local food trucks, complimentary cocktails and some surprises we’ve got under our belt.
 
 
- Submitted by CIC Miami