November 24, 2015

Entrepreneurship Datebook: What's coming up after Thanksgiving

TecheggSIME MIA: The conference that has explored technology trends by bringing in speakers from Singularity University, Hollywood and the Oslo Freedom Forum is returning to Miami Beach for a third year Dec. 1-2 . Speakers on Dec. 1 include startup founders, artists, musicians, filmmakers, a neuroscientist and a Special Olympics world champion. Speakers recently added: NBA star Luol Deng, Christine Tsai of 500 Startups; Val Spiridonov, full body transplant candidate; and Erik Voorhees, creator of the instant Bitcoin. On Dec. 2, there will be half-day summits on fintech and big data. Tickets and info: (get 50% off with discount code  SimeMIA50)

ITPALOOZA: Now in its fourth year, the conference on Dec. 3 at Nova Southeastern University in Davie brings together the South Florida IT community. The all-day event includes discussions, an expo, a hiring fair and more. Bring two unwrapped toys for charity for free admission. Tickets and info:

AT&T HACKATHON: ITPalooza and AT&T are teaming up for a free hackathon at Nova Southeastern University on Dec. 4-5; form teams, build solutions in a weekend and compete for prizes. More info: http://developer.att .com/community/events.

TECHWEEK MIAMI: Activities Dec. 7-13 will include the national finals of the Launch startup competition Dec. 10 with startup champions from Miami and five other cities. Another featured event is Hatch Match Miami on Dec. 8. Tickets and


South Florida startups Kairos and Genetics Networks received funding from the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Resources. Büro Group opened a co-working center in Coconut Grove, its fourth location. CappSci Inventors announced the winners of its first two $100,000 prizes. The winners will build their solutions at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science. Read more on the Starting Gate blog at

Nancy Dahlberg @ndahlberg

Big ideas come to life at Startup Weekend @ FIU


The winning team Headliner, shown with Startup Weekend @ FIU mentors and organizers.

By Amy Ellis

An idea to “disrupt” the music industry and make it easier for loyal fans to see hot new bands at local venues stole the show this weekend at Florida International University’s first Startup Weekend Miami event.

Headliner (pictured above) – an online platform designed to enable users to crowdfund for the bands of their choice to perform locally – took the $500 first prize during the event, along with high praise from organizers.

“Headliner worked hard on their idea throughout the entire weekend,’’ said Jeff Brown, FIU’s Entrepreneur in Residence at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a key organizer of the event. “It wasn’t planned this way but they are an all-FIU team and we plan to support them on their journey to make this a reality.’’

Gregory Jean-Baptiste, a computer science major at FIU who came up with the idea for Headliner, said the concept empowers fans but also benefits artists and venues. 

“Everybody wins,’’ he said. “The venue gets the crowd. The artist gets the show and the fans get to see the bands they want to see.’’ 

More than 200 people – developers, designers, coders, investors and entrepreneurs – attended the three-day startup event, held at the university’s $3 million innovation hub, Tech Station.

Eighty-eight participants competed in 16 teams, pitching their business ideas to a panel of judges and investors on Sunday evening.

Second place went to an application called Tip N’ Go that allows users to tip for service without needing to carry cash. A social platform for soccer enthusiasts called XOGO took third place.

“The quality of teams that competed this weekend is the best I’ve ever seen out of any Startup Weekend event ever,’’ said Brown, who has participated in startup weekends for years. “On average, only 12 percent of teams go on to create a viable business. From this event, I believe nine of the teams will likely launch. That’s an impressive percentage possibly becoming viable companies.”

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Teams pitched ideas ranging from a mobile app for scheduling in-home hair and makeup appointments to online portals to connect would-be entrepreneurs or encourage civic engagement.

Other participants talked of wanting to make a difference by using new technology to help Alzheimer’s patients remember simple tasks or individuals who are hard of hearing experience the joy of music.

“The passion and commitment we witnessed this weekend was transformational,’’ said FIU VP for Engagement Saif Y. Ishoof, another key organizer. "Our students demonstrated that our faculty have well prepared them to compete in the globally competitive entrepreneurial ecosystem in Miami.”

“As every part of our institution races forward to make our “BeyondPossible 2020” goals a reality, we intend to continuously capture, harness and expand the culture of innovation in every part of our FIU."

TipNGo (1)

Tip 'N Go (above) won second place and XOGO won third at Startup Weekend @ FIU.


November 20, 2015

ITPalooza to return with hiring fair, expo, talks

Palooza crowd in exhibit area(8)


By Nancy Dahlberg /

Looking for tech talent for your business? Want to find out who is hiring or learn more about the tech community? It will all be in one place. 

More than 2,500 IT professionals, tech entrepreneurs, corporate executives and students are expected to turn out for a day of learning and networking at ITPalooza Dec. 3 at Nova Southeastern University.

The fourth annual event will offer a hiring fair, IT Expo, an after-party and nine education tracks on subjects such as agile technology, cybersecurity, women in IT, the Internet of Things, professional development and the startup lifecycle, among others. “This is a great opportunity for the IT community to gain critical knowledge, make new contacts or explore new career opportunities,” said Rick Sebaly, event leader and vice president of the South Florida Technology Alliance. “It will be a day of learning and a night of celebration and networking.”

A big focus of the event is the hiring fair and educational sessions on technologies and trends. In conjunction with the upcoming event, ITPalooza co-founder Alex Funkhouser administered an online survey of 200 South Florida-based chief information officers and IT professionals.

With the virtualization of many IT jobs, local employers must now compete for talent with companies from higher-paying regions, the survey showed.

“Companies based in Silicon Valley and New York are paying 25 percent salary premiums to hire local South Florida talent – and they are remote work jobs. We’re in a candidate-driven market and local companies must pay more than ever to hire tech talent,” said Funkhouser, CEO of the tech-focused staffing firm SherlockTalent.

For example, a web application developer in South Florida makes about $110,000, but in Silicon Valley, $140,000. A network security engineer makes about $115,000 in South Florida but his or her counterpart working for a Boston-based company commands $145,000.

The survey showed high demand for mobile application software developers, network security engineers and now, in its infancy, virtual reality and augmented reality software developers. “There is also high demand for chief information officers from larger corporations and tech startups,” said Funkhouser.

There could be plenty of matchmaking going on: About 37 percent of respondents said their companies are hiring new IT personnel, while 33 percent said they are considering new hires. About 65 percent of IT professionals surveyed said they are seeking new career opportunities or are unsure.

The homegrown event that involves more than a dozen tech organizations is hosted by NSU’s College of Engineering and Computing and will be held in the CarlDeSantisBuilding at 3301 College Ave. in Davie. Admission is $35, which will be reduced to $20 if attendees bring at least one unwrapped toy or free with two toys, to be donated to Toys for Tots. Register online at at or on Eventbrite. Student tickets are $10.

Since its inception, ITPalooza has raised more than $125,000 in cash and toys for various South Florida non-profits including Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ STEM Advisory Board, The Stockdale Foundation, Marine’s Toys for Tots and others. Last year, about 2,000 people attended the event.

On Friday, AT&T and ITPalooza will host a two-day hackathon at NUS for software developers, engineers and students interested in gaining additional skills in software and mobile application development. More information is here.


November 17, 2015

Tips for success at Startup Weekend Miami at FIU this weekend

By Adam Boalt and Tara Demren

AdamSouth Florida entrepreneur Adam Boalt is founder and CEO of tech company LiveAnswer. Tara Demren, an international business major at Florida International University, is LiveAnswer’s communications and strategy manager. Boalt, who hired Demren after her team took third place at a Startup Weekend event in May, will be the keynote speaker at Startup Weekend at FIU, scheduled for Nov. 20-22 at the university’s Tech Station on the Modesto Maidique Campus.  The event is designed to enable aspiring entrepreneurs to create, pitch and launch their startup ideas over one 54-hour weekend. To register visit StartupWeekend.Miami.

Why should someone attend Startup Weekend at FIU?

Adam: People think starting their own company is impossible or being an entrepreneur is something that they aren’t capable of. Helping them overcome that fear and take the plunge is the reason that I love going to Startup Weekends. I used to shuck oysters on the weekends at Monty’s. You can go from there to running a successful business in a relatively short period of time if you work really hard.

TaraTara: For me, the success of going to Startup Weekend is not necessarily walking out with a company built but it’s more that you create this new sense of awareness that there’s more to life than just being idle and going with what you’re familiar with. You get out of your comfort zone, you pitch your idea to strangers and you begin to understand that there’s a lot more you can do in life.

What’s the best advice you can give participants?

Adam: You have to embrace failure in order to be successful. You can’t be afraid of the one thing that prevents so many people from becoming an entrepreneur. Once you can accept that, it becomes a lot easier. If you can remember where you came from and remain humble, you know you can always go back and you’re not afraid to move forward.  

Tara: You have to portray confidence, that you are sure of what you’re doing and you really believe in your idea. You can be unsure inside but you have to project confidence to your team and to your mentors. And bring a yoga mat. Take breaks. You’re going to be sitting for an absurd amount of time.

What are some pitfalls to avoid?

Adam: Don’t try to take over the world in one weekend. Be hyper-focused on the goal, which is to build your team, build out your concept and refine your pitch for the judges. Don’t get hung up on details that don’t matter. The teams that are successful are structured, organized and they’re not biting off more than they can chew. You’re not going to go from zero to Uber in one weekend.

Tara: Look for the “MVP” – the minimal viable product. You want something that is valid but it could be the small, most minimal part of your startup. It doesn’t have to be a full-fledged company. It could be a small, bite-sized idea that you are able to prove is viable.  

Is there anything participants can do to prepare?

Adam: Yes, get your friends to go with you. And don’t overthink it. Be open-minded. It’s a wonderful learning opportunity, a way to experience entrepreneurship without taking a big risk.

Tara: Be flexible. You shouldn’t prepare too much with your own personal idea because that might not be the one you move forward with and that can be demoralizing. That’s not the attitude you want to have, that it has to be your idea.

Why is FIU a good place for startups and entrepreneurs?

Tara: The biggest thing is they are willing to support students like me who want to get involved with the startup community. I’d like to see a ripple effect, where more professors begin advocating for events like Startup Weekend to give students the confidence they need to get out of their comfort zone.

Adam: Miami is riding this wave of startup activity and it’s because we have pulled our resources together to work as a community. That’s true of FIU and other universities as well. Fear prevents students from taking risks. Anything universities can do to allow students to experiment with entrepreneurship without taking a huge risk is a good thing.

What’s the biggest takeaway you want to leave participants with about Startup Weekend at FIU?

Adam: I do what I do because I love it. The money is a byproduct. You can’t do this just to make money. You’ve got to love what you do, that’s the most important thing.

Tara: Go big or go home!

 To register visit StartupWeekend.Miami.



November 15, 2015

Global Entrepreneurship Week 2015: A listing of events

Globalentrepreneurshipweek800x400Global Entrepreneurship Week, created in 2008, is the world’s largest celebration of those who invent products and create new companies and startup businesses, in addition to those who use their business to create a social change.

During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. Many South Florida universities and organizations are celebrating  Nov. 16-22 with events speakers and activities aimed to inspire and engage students and the community. Most are free. Scroll down for events at St. Thomas University, University of Miami, Florida International University, Miami Dade College, Venture Hive , EcoTech Visions and more!

 If you have GEW-related events that are not listed here that are low-cost and open to the public, email and put GEW in the subject line and I will add them.

 St. Thomas University’s GEW at STU

 Monday, Nov. 16

Opening Ceremony: 3 – 4 p.m., Goldbloom Convocation Hall

Keynote Speaker: Manny Medina, CEO of Medina Capital Partners and founder of eMerge Americas and Terremark. Medina will be speaking about the opportunities and threats of the data revolution.

Business Leaders Roundtable: 4 – 5:30 p.m., Goldbloom Convocation Hall

Dynamic corporate leaders representing critical industries in South Florida will discuss their professional journeys, and how they see their industries changing and evolving in the next five years. Panelists include: Fabrizio Alcobe-Fierro, senior vice president of Univision Networks; Jacqueline Dascal Chariff, chairwoman of Continental National Bank; and Sam Zietz, CEO of TouchSuite.

Tuesday, Nov. 17

Young Entrepreneurs Panel: 3 – 4:30 p.m., Goldbloom Convocation Hall

This group of under-40 entrepreneurs are changing how people live, think and play through innovative ideas and technology. Panelists include: Stephanie Diaz, founder and designer of Love Always by SD; Vincente Fernandez, co-president of SportsMania; Felice Gorordo, CEO of Clearpath and co-founder of Roots of Hope; and Calibe Thompson, author and television producer.

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: 7 - 9 p.m., Goldbloom Convocation Hall

Our distinguished panelists will share how they adapted to a completely new culture, and the barriers they overcame to become successful entrepreneurs in the United States. Panelists include: Aston Lue, co-founder of Ocho Rios International Foods; Amir Hagoo, trial attorney and counselor-at-law at Law Office of Amir Hagoo, P.A.; Alvaro de la Cruz, founder, Fox Webpages LLC; and Anastasiya Voronina, CEO, Private Investment Firm.

Wednesday, Nov. 18

Women in Entrepreneurship Panel: 12:15 – 1:30 p.m., Bobcat Hall of Fame

This panel of trailblazing women is comprised of both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, in the areas of professional sports, insurance, technology, and real estate. They are leaders in their fields, and running businesses on their own terms. Panelists include: Patricia Delinois, CEO of Premier Elite Realty; Rachel Sapoznik, CEO of Sapoznik Insurance; Maria Hernandez, vice president of Modernizing Medicine; Kim Stone, vice president of Miami Heat Group; and Maria Arazoza, senior vice president at Merrill Lynch.

For registration information, please visit



For a complete event listing, please see:

Monday, November 16

The Birth of Internet Travel. The Fouad H. Scandar Memorial Speaker Series presents Bob Diener, founder of and  Mr. Diener talks about launching and growing the world’s most successful travel booking website, and his decision to sell. Sponsored by The Launch Pad at UM, the UM School of Business Entrepreneurship Program, and RefreshMiami.

7:30 to 9:30 p.m. University of Miami School of Business Storer Auditorium, 5250 University Dr. Coral Gables, FL 33146

Tuesday, November 17

The Launch Pad Demo Day. Meet, greet, and hear pitches by top entrepreneurs from the University of Miami.

6 to 7:30 p.m. Toppel Career Center Loft, 5225 Ponce De Leon Blvd Coral Gables, FL 33146 

Show Me the Money! – A Conversation About Securing Investment.  Angel investors and VCs from Miami and around the country will speak about the fund raising process and what it takes to raise money for a startup in our local ecosystem.

Moderated by Matt Haggman, The Knight Foundation

Panelists include: Jason Shuman – Corigin Ventures, Jack Karabees – Miami Innovation Fund, Bob Williamson – New World Angels

8 to 9 p.m. Toppel Career Center Loft, 5225 Ponce De Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, FL 33146

Wednesday, November 18

The Law of Startups – What You Need to Know. The Launch Pad and the UM School of Law offer a presentation by LegalTech Labs, a Miami-based legal technology incubator, followed by a panel of distinguished attorneys in the startup field discussing the legal issues startups face.

Moderated by Professor Dan Ravicher.

Panelists include: Jacqueline Hodes - DLA Piper; Michael Serotte - Serotte Law; Jamie Vining - Friedland Vining, P.A.; Brent Friedman, GC360 & Brent A. Freidman, P.A.

6 to 7:30 p.m.  University of Miami School of Law Faculty Lounge, 1311 Miller Rd Coral Gables, FL 33146 

HOW TO ATTEND:  All events are free and open to the public. Register here.

Florida International University


Starup Weekend Miami is a 54-hour event for developers, designers and entrepreneurs to hack on your latest idea. You will be able to present your own concept and form a team around it or join forces with someone else.

Over the weekend, you will be putting the foundations of a business case, designing and building a product prototype, testing your assumptions with a potential customers, and, on Sunday night, pitch the results of your weekend's work to a panel of amazing judges. What's more, over the weekend, you will have access to startup experts, investors, coaches and mentors there to help you bring your big-ideas to life.

Startup Weekend Miami has a "communication" focus. So your pitch and big idea could include: websites, apps, communication tools, wearables, journalism, PR, big data --essentially any that informs and engages people or groups and provides them information.

Where: Tech Station on FIU’s Modesto Maidique campus.

More info: or on Eventbrite.


Miami Dade College

Monday, November 16
6:00p.m. to 8:00p.m.
Audience: MDC Students and Community
Do you need to raise capital? Recruit top talent? Close a big sale? PitchMasters is the resource that will enable you to effectively, enthusiastically, and efficiently pitch your company to your intended audience. Pitching is as much an art as it is a science. Learn proven structures, psychology, and verbiage to craft and deliver your ultimate pitch
Free of charge to MDC students, please contact the Idea Center to find out more! _____________________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday, November 17
Innovation Lab Open House
9:50a.m. to 11:30a.m.
Audience: MDC Students and Community
Receive an in depth look at The Innovation Lab at The Idea Center. Join us for
Creativity, Innovation and Human Centered Design, a course lead by Ramiro Almeida of MIT’s Media Lab and Director of Innovation at The Idea Center.
For more information and to RSVP:

Thursday, November 19
Global Student Entrepreneur Awards
Peter Kellner, co-founder of Endeavor
6:30pm to 9:00pm
Audience: Students  Community
As part of EO’s commitment to advancing entrepreneurship within local communities, EO in partnership with The Idea Center at Miami Dade College host the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) local competition. The winner will have an opportunity to compete in our national competition in February 2016 in Miami and ultimately our global competition in May 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand. Keynote speaker will be Peter Kellner, Managing Director of Richmond Global and co-Founder of Endeavor.


 Monday, November 16th - from 8:30-10am - Global Entrepreneurship Week Breakfast with Lionel Carrasco (Leapfactor)

Event sponsored by sponsored by Endeavor and Venture Hive 

Speaker: Lionel Carrasco

Lionel came to Miami in 2001 as a CTO of Neoris, the second largest consulting firm in Latin America. Before Neoris he sold Alterbrain (e-builder) to CEMEX and ran a couple of startups in the Silicon Valley. Marcela Henao started Terremark back in 2000 after a successful career with Telcordia. Thereafter Marcela and Lionel started Leapfactor in 2010 with the idea to create a cloud based platform for business mobile Apps. Five years after Leapfactor continues to offer leading business Apps to help brands transform the way to touch their customers and how to enable their sales teams. Leapfactor has over 50 talented people on the team across the Americas and Marcela and Lionel are proud Endeavor entrepreneurs stubborn enough to stay in Miami.

Registration link:

Tuesday, November 17th - from 8:30-10am - Global Entrepreneurship Week Breakfast with Roger Duarte (My Cheviche)

The event is sponsored by Endeavor and Venture Hive

Speaker: Roger Duarte 

During his time as an investment banker, Duarte worked with Latin American companies, as well as the Hispanic business market in the U.S. Quickly climbing the corporate ladder, he tasted success but couldn’t help but feel unfulfilled in some way. Never wanting to work for anyone but himself, he always knew there was something else in the stars and actually stumbled upon the idea for what would be his next venture completely by chance. 

Now, as founder and president of the largest stone crab home delivery service in the U.S., as well as his stone crab export business Premier Exports, his national delivery outpost of George Stone Crab, his George Stone Crab take-out counter at Miami International Airport and most recently, the bustling South Beach take-out and delivery counter My Ceviche, Duarte is at the top of his game with no plans to slow down. 

Registration link:

Monday through Friday - 11/16 to 11/20

11/16, 11/17, 11/18, 11/19, 11/20 - from 5-7pm - Global Entrepreneurship Week - Food entrepreneurs Session 1-5 

Speaker: Zalmi Duchman

Zalmi Duchman is the Founder of The Fresh Diet. He began operations on January 1, 2006, with three clients. While Zalmi "shopped and dropped," his wife "cooked and packed." Today, Zalmi has grown his business to become the largest US food producer in the freshly-prepared, daily delivery category - which now delivers meal plans to thousands of clients nationwide. 

Consequently, Zalmi and The Fresh Diet have earned numerous prestigious accolades over the years, including making the Inc. 500 list consecutively in 2010 and 2011, The Forbes Top 20 Most Promising US Companies List in November of 2011, as well as being an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Nominee in both 2011 and 2009. 

Registration link: Session 1 

Registration link: Session 2 

Registration link: Session 3 

Registration Link: Session 4 

Registration Link: Session 5 

Thursday, 11/19 - from 8:30-1-am - Global Entrepreneurship Week Breakfast with Juan Damia, Intellignos’ Founder and CEO
Speaker: Juan Damia 
Juan Damia has more than 15 years of experience in the Big Data Analytics field. He developed the Meta Analytics theory that can be found in his Book Meta Analytics or on his Blog 
Juan co-founded two companies in the Analytics field, Socialmetrix (Part of the Daily Mail group) and Intellignos (part of Havas Media Group). In 2010, Juan was selected as an High Impact Entrepreneur and Emerging Entrepreneur in the same year. He is a mentor at Wayra, Venture Hive, University of Miami (The Launch Pad) and Endeavor and is an  international Speaker for eMetrics, DMA, GAUC, WebCongress, E-Commerce Day, Google Analytics Summit USA among many others.  
Registration link: 

Friday - 11/20 - from 8:30-10am - Global Entrepreneurship Week Breakfast with Mike Simon (Ginny Bakes).

The event is sponsored by  Endeavor and Venture Hive 

Speaker: Mike Simon with ginnybakes

ginnybakes is a Miami-based company producing feel-good cookies, bake mixes, and health bars that have the added benefit of being organic and gluten-free. The ginnybakes team has leveraged close relationships with distributors in a fragmented and competitive market to sell its products in many locations. 

Ginny, Steve and Mike develop the recipes in-house and then package and prepare the cookies for distribution at ginnybakes’ facility. While its competitors may outsource at least one step of the production cycle, ginnybakes can maintain fresh cookies while achieving quadruple its current revenues with integrated production facilities. Ginny, Steve and Mike have been able to create a dynamic brand in a competitive health food space despite their limited F&B experiences. ginnybakes is not only an inspiring story of a family business, but also a potential high-impact success story for Miami in the booming healthy foods market.

Registration link:


EcoTech Visions, a green-focused business incubator and accelerator for entrepreneurs, is launching the first annual EcoFest Miami 2015 on Thursday, Nov. 19 from noon-6 p.m.

The South Florida community is encouraged to attend and experience a day of eco-friendly living, products, entrepreneurship and community building.

Attendees will enjoy performances by Sekajipo for the People and Ronnie The VOP, plus seminars including: a solar panel technology presentation by PWRstation, a vegan cooking demonstration by Heal Nation & Baba, a Farmer's Market with free produce giveaway, interactive demos and exhibits from Frost Museum of Science, artists and sculptors creating art projects in real time, and much more!

The event will be held at Broadway Place, NW 68th St & NW 18th Ave in Miami and is free and open to the public. To learn more about EcoFest Miami, visit:



BRAINFOOD@THELAB: The speaker series features “A Case for Innovation and Scaling Businesses” with Adriana Cisneros, CEO of Cisneros Group and board member at Endeavor Miami, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th St., Miami. Register here:

CREATIVITY, INNOVATION: Ramiro Almeida of MIT’s Media Lab and director of innovation at The Idea Center at Miami Dade College presents a workshop on Creativity, Innovation and Human Centered Design, 9:45 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, The Idea Center, Wolfson Campus, Building 8, fifth floor.

CELEBRATING THE VALUE IN FAILURES: A panel discussion with Mike Fernandez of MBF Healthcare Partners, Ivan Rapin-Smith of Watsco Ventrues and Lilia Luciano of CoInspire hosted by Luminary Central and YPA, 6 p.m. Wednesday, The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th St. Tickets:

SALES GENIUS MIAMI: Topic is tools for finding leads and prospecting for B2B sales. Speaker: Auston Bunsen. 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Senzari, 601 Brickell Key Drive, Miami. Register here:

CITEE SUMMIT: Digital Grass Innovation & Technology presents the Continuing Innovation Technology Entrepreneurship Education (CITEE) Summit Thursday and Friday at the FIU College of Architecture + The Arts Miami Beach Urban Studios. More info:

HACKATHON: CODE2040, a nonprofit focused on driving greater diversity in tech across the country, presents HACK2040 Saturday and Sunday at The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th St., Miami. More info:



November 14, 2015

Entrepreneurship Datebook: Events, workshops in South Florida Nov.16-22

Tech eggMark your calendars: Global Entrepreneurship Week offers dozens of events, including speakers, panels, networkers, pitch contests, a hackathon and a Startup Weekend. Many events are free. For a more comprehensive listing, see the Starting Gate blog tomorrow and all week. If you would like to have an event listed, email

FOOD ENTREPRENEURS: All week long,Venture Hive features a series of sessions and breakfast talks by local food and culinary entrepreneurs including Zalmi Duchman of The Fresh Diet, Roger Duarte of My Ceviche and Mike Simon of ginnybakes. For the schedule of all events, go here:

THE DATA REVOLUTION: Manny Medina, founder of eMerge Americas, Terremark and Medina Capital, will keynote the opening GEW ceremony at St. Thomas University, 3 p.m. Monday, Goldbloom Convocation Hall. This will be followed by a Business Leaders Roundtable with Fabrizio Alcobe-Fierro, senior vice president of Univision Networks; Jacqueline Dascal Chariff, chairwoman of Continental National Bank; and Sam Zietz, CEO of TouchSuite, 4 p.m., Goldbloom Convocation Hall. To register, visit

THE BIRTH OF INTERNET TRAVEL: Bob Diener, founder of and, will talk about launching and growing the world’s most successful travel booking website and his decision to sell, in a talk hosted by The Launch Pad at UM, the UM School of Business Entrepreneurship Program, and RefreshMiami, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday, University of Miami School of Business Storer Auditorium, 5250 University Dr. Coral Gables. Register:

BRAINFOOD@THELAB: The speaker series features “A Case for Innovation and Scaling Businesses” with Adriana Cisneros, CEO of Cisneros Group and board member at Endeavor Miami, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th St., Miami. Register here:

CREATIVITY, INNOVATION: Ramiro Almeida of MIT’s Media Lab and director of innovation at The Idea Center at Miami Dade College presents a workshop on Creativity, Innovation and Human Centered Design, 9:45 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, The Idea Center, Wolfson Campus, Building 8, fifth floor.

THE LAW OF STARTUPS: The Launch Pad and the University of Miami School of Law host a presentation by LegalTech Labs, a Miami-based legal technology incubator, followed by a panel discussion by attorneys in the startup field, 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, UM Law School Library, fourth-floor faculty meeting room, 1311 Miller Road, Coral Gables. More info: (click on Events).

CELEBRATING THE VALUE IN FAILURES: A panel discussion with Mike Fernandez of MBF Healthcare Partners, Ivan Rapin-Smith of Watsco Ventrues and Lilia Luciano of CoInspire hosted by Luminary Central and YPA, 6 p.m. Wednesday, The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th St. Tickets:

ECOFEST MIAMI: EcoTech Visions presents a day of eco-friendly living, products, entrepreneurship and community building, noon to 6 p.m. Thursday, Broadway Place, NW 68th St. and NW 18th Ave., Miami. More info:

CITEE SUMMIT: Digital Grass Innovation & Technology presents the Continuing Innovation Technology Entrepreneurship Education (CITEE) Summit Thursday and Friday at the FIU College of Architecture + The Arts Miami Beach Urban Studios. More info:

HACKATHON: CODE2040, a nonprofit focused on driving greater diversity in tech across the country, presents HACK2040 Saturday and Sunday at The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th St., Miami. More info:

STARTUP WEEKEND MIAMI AT FIU: Join a team, build a company in a weekend and compete for prizes, with food and mentorship included, Friday through Sunday, Tech Station on FIU’s Modesto Maidique campus. More info: or on Eventbrite.


The Idea Center at Miami Dade College hosted Uber CEO and founder Travis Kalanick. Read about it here. Uber also announced it will be launching its ride-pooling service called UberPOOL in the Miami area. The Fresh Diet will be spun off as a separate publicly traded company. Keep up with startup news on the Miami Herald's Starting Gate blog.


Nancy Dahlberg @ndahlberg



November 08, 2015

Entrepreneurship Datebook: Events, workshops in South Florida Nov. 9-15

Tech eggMIAMI MAKE WEEK: Miami’s coworking centers, accelerators and universities are hosting events all week for maker enthusiasts. Learn new skills, partake in a project and check out maker spaces at the same time; on Monday, for instance, learn about prototyping at EcoTech Visions. For a full lineup of events, go to

PIONEERS@MDC: Leading the way for increased opportunities for women in the industry, Eliana Murillo, head of multicultural marketing for Google, will give an insider’s look into Google and women in tech, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m, Monday, Idea Center at MDC, Building 8, fifth floor, Wolfson Campus. RSVP:

BROADCAST IN THE MOBILE AGE: Cesar Conde, head of NBCUniversal's International Group and Telemundo Enterprises, will discuss how broadcast media and entertainment companies are leveraging digital channels to grow their audiences and create new programming, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Idea Center at MDC, Building 8, 5th floor, Wolfson Campus. RSVP here.

STARTUP GRIND: A conversation with Juan Lopez Salaberry, partner of 500 Startups, about hardware, marketing, maturing VC and startup markets and making it through the early stages of launching a startup, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday,, 120 SW Eighth St., Miami. Tickets:

WOMEN IN TECH: The University of Miami and WITI South Florida present “Women in Technology: Present and Future Trends in Tech,” with tech demonstrations and a panel discussion, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, UM Storer Auditorium. More info:

TECH MIAMI PANEL: Panel discussion and networking event with the theme  "Managing the Disruption in the Innovation Economy," featuring the director of Silicon Valley Innovation Center, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th St., Wynwood. Regsiter here.


Did you miss last week’s special report on the health-tech ecoystem? Read it on the Starting Gate blog on, where you will also find more startup news, events and resources.

Nancy Dahlberg @ndahlberg

November 05, 2015

RedCap, Videoo rocket to top in ETBS competition, take home the big checks


David Zwick, founder and CEO of RedCap, and Videoo co-founders Barry Stamos, CEO, and Joshua Stedman, COO, won the Emerging Technologies and Business Showcase. Photo by Jim Donnelly

By Nancy Dahlberg /

South Florida tech startups are finding more opportunities to pitch their businesses – and perhaps take home some big checks.

Twenty-four startups from around the state presented to a roomful of investors and business people on Wednesday at the day-long Emerging Technologies & Business Showcase hosted by Enterprise Development Corporation of South Florida, Florida Venture Forum and Space Florida and held at the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables.

They were selected from about 150 submissions, said Rob Strandberg, president of EDC. EDC has been running the event for several years, but this year the event was greatly expanded with Space Florida’s sponsorship. Along with the opportunity to pitch on stage and network with investors in the exhibit area, offering the winners a meaningful prize that will help take their companies to the next level  was important, said Strandberg. Companies received pitch coaching from the EDC, which runs startup incubators and mentors startups.

The winners, selected by panels of investor judges: RedCap (, a company that brings car sales and service to the consumer, won the growth stage category, and Videoo (, a startup that helps brands leverage social video, won the early-stage category. They took home $100,000 and $50,000 respectively.

The 24 companies represented all areas from the state and included medical device companies from Gainesville, a drone startup and a solar energy company from Jacksonville, ed-tech companies from Naples and a predictive analytics startup from St. Petersburg.

“Events like the Emerging Technologies & Business Showcase promote the growth of Florida-based, high-tech businesses, but also highlight the growing capital formation community in the state and showcase that we have the quality innovation-based businesses as well as the experienced management teams to execute bringing them to market,” said Space Florida President Frank DiBello. “The quality of the presentations was truly outstanding.”

Here’s a closer look at the winners:

Everybody loves their cars – except when they have to buy, sell or service them, said RedCap founder David Zwick. RedCap has a solution for that.

RedCap has developed software that enables automotive dealers to offer their customers “out of store” experiences, which allows a customer to service and purchase without leaving their home or office. “We take all of the pain out of buying and servicing a car,” said David Zwick, CEO of RedCap, based in Fort Lauderdale.

In its pilot tests, RedCap has found that the software improves customer satisfaction, increases revenue by 18 percent and reduces loaner expense by almost 50 percent. “The message is clear that dealers and manufacturers have to change the way they do business,” he said.

Now five years into RedCap (RedCap also offers a successful on-demand driver service for consumers), Zwick says the growth-stage company is at an inflection point. Nationwide, its software solution for auto businesses is in 50 to 60 locations around the country, but plans are to be in close to 1,000 stores next summer. South Florida customers include Warren Henry dealerships, Ferrari-Maserati in Fort Lauderdale, The Esserman Group in Miami, and several area AutoNation stores.

Zwick says he plans to use the money to help hire four additional software engineers and expand its customer service team as it ramps up more pilot programs.

Miami Beach-based Videoo offers software-as-a-service technology built for brands and publishers to better engage audiences through social video, said co-founder and CEO Barry Stamos. Videoo automatically pulls content from Vine, Twitter and Instagram for all-in-one playlists that re-order in real-time as audiences watch, vote, upload and share. Early adopters include A+E Networks, The Huffington Post, Mitu Networks, Bob Marley and Fusion (a joint venture between ABC, Disney and Univision).

Videoo signed two new clients this month, and has about eight new commitments from TV networks and major publishers to use Videoo in pilots, Stamos said. For example, Videoo is helping Fusion figure out how to be more creative with user-generated video and advance its methods of storytelling. It is also planning pilots with the History Channel for more social TV early next year.

Videoo also recently added Spanish and Portuguese and will be launching in Latin America soon, beginning with NBCUniversal Live from E! Latino. Stamos said Videoo, which has raised about $1.64 million, will likely raise another $400,000 to bridge to its Series A.

Other South Florida companies that presented at ETBS were BDEX, ClassWallet, EGLA Communications, Neocis, SettleitSoft, 71 Pounds, SirenMD and Symptify.

“I was humbled and inspired by so many of the other incredible entrepreneurs who were selected to participate. It’s inspiring that so many people have the courage and the commitment to bring new innovations to the marketplace,” said Stamos. “We all talked about how we could get together and help each other.”

More opportunities await. Startups and early-stage companies can apply for the Startup Showcase exhibition and competition at eMerge Americas April 18-19; find more information at The Florida Venture Forum is also taking applications to pitch at the Florida Venture Capital Conference in January; find more information at

Follow me on Twitter @ndahlberg


Action in the exhibit hall at ETBS; photos by Jim Donnelly.




November 04, 2015

Tech Bash to turn Marlins Park into a field of geeks Friday night

Tech Bash 2014

By Nancy Dahlberg / / @ndahlberg

Gadgets and gamers and drones, oh my: Marlins Park will become a field of geeks Friday night as TigerDirect throws a Tech Bash for the community.

The TigerDirect Tech Bash, now in its fourth year and third at the park, will include more than 120 vendors, including Microsoft, Intel, Alienware and Vizio, showing off their latest technologies in interactive exhibits. There will also be a gaming area, a university section, product giveaways, entertainment and concessions, all in a carnival-like atmosphere, said Steven Leeds, director of marketing for TigerDirect, the Miami-based subsidiary of Systemax.

Tech Bash is free with advance registration, and attendance is expected to exceed last year’s total of 18,000 people. The hours, as well as the size of the event, have been extended.

Attendees are encouraged to download the TigerDirect Tech Bash app, free through Google Play and Apple stores, which will send push notifications during the event about special meetups and product giveaways, including TVs, 3-D printers, hoverboards and drones. Oh, and yes, you can shop ‘til you drop.

Through the app, attendees can buy from any booth and have the items delivered to their home, Leeds said. The hottest devices, gadgets, wearables and games will also be displayed in a pop-up store on the field. There will be Black Friday-like deals to be had throughout the park, he said.

Other highlights of the event include exhibits and demonstrations in the Alienware Alpha Truck and the H-P Sprout Trailer, both of which will be in the West Plaza outside the stadium. The Build Your Own PC Race for Charity finals will be back, Leeds said; initial competitions were held around the country. Universities will be displaying their latest technologies, and Miami-area startups and community organizations will have displays. TechnoBuffalo, a YouTube star, will host a meetup, and for small businesses, there will be B2B lounges for networking.

"It's not just about consumer technology, it's really about how technology is playing a role in all aspects of life and offering a glimpse into the future,'' Leeds said. "We really want to help make Miami a hub for technology."

General admission to the TigerDirect Tech Bash, which will be from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, is free with pre-event registration at Otherwise, it will cost $10 at the door. For the first time, early access admission will be available at 5:30; that will cost $20 and include some gifts as well as a meet-and-greet opportunity with the Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary for the first 100 arrivals. Event parking is $10.


November 01, 2015

Entrepreneurship Datebook: Events, workshops in South Florida Nov. 2-8

Tech eggDESIGN THINKING: Topic is “From Inspiration to Impact: A Case Study on Reimagining the Low-Income Energy Experience” with Harris Levine, former IDEO Designer, presented by Design Thinking Miami, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, Live Ninja, 120 NW 25th St., Wynwood. Register:

EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES AND BUSINESS SHOWCASE: This all-day business matchmaker event includes a pitch competition with $150,000 in prizes, investor panel, luncheon and networking opportunities, Thursday, Hyatt Regency, Coral Gables. For tickets to the event and more info:

TIGERDIRECT TECH BASH: The free expo and party returns on Friday for an evening of innovation, emerging technology, interactive entertainment and shopping opportunities. Now in its fourth year, the free TigerDirect Tech Bash will be at Miami Marlins Stadium. Get ticket here:

MIAMI MAKE WEEK: A 10-day celebration of creative co-working and maker spaces in the Greater Miami area kicks off at 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th St., Wynwood. Throughout the week, events move around the area. More info on the roster of events:


Find startup news, resources and event information on the Starting Gate blog on