October 01, 2015

Miami Make Week unveils event schedule

Miami Make Week logo

Save the dates: Events are planned from Wynwood to Sweetwater to North Dade

Ric Herrero and the MIAMade team have announced an impressive lineup for its inaugural Miami Make Week Nov. 6th through 15th. MIAMade is also the producer of the Miami Mini Maker Faire and Wynwood Maker Camp.. Sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Miami Make Week is a celebration of creative co-working and makerspaces throughout the Greater Miami area.

 “Miami Make Week provides an opportunity to showcase how much creative making is really taking place in Miami,” said Herrero, MIAMade co-founder. “In the past few years, we have seen the maker space landscape nearly triple in size. This is a genuine opportunity for our homegrown innovators to connect with the larger maker community and the general public.”

For more information about Miami Make Week, and to purchase tickets to the launch event on Nov. 6 at The LAB Miami, visit miamimakeweek.com.

The events span Wynwood to Little River to Sweetwater to North Dade. See the schedule of events below from MIAMade and save the dates:

FRIDAY, November 6th: A launch party at The LAB Miami will kick-off the 10-day series of events. Registration for all design and prototype challenge teams will open at this event. (6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th Street)

SATURDAY, November 7thDesign Thinking Miami will host a design strategy workshop open to all challenge teams and the public, at The LAB Miami. Registration for all challenge teams will close at the end of this event. (2 p.m to 4 p.m. at The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th Street)

SUNDAY, November 8thMoonlighter Makerspace will host Upcycled Illuminations. From 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., makers will learn how to convert 2D vector drawings for laser cutting, develop a simple circuit to create an energy efficient LED light with switch and assemble the final product (11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Moonlighter Makerspace, 2041 NW 1 Place). DesignLab Miami will host Light'in Up Your Day, a workshop on using textiles to create special light technologies. (10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at DesignLab Miami, 2248 NE 123rd Street)

MONDAY, November 9th: Miami's only green incubator, EcoTech Visions challenges makers to rethink and reuse everyday products with two congruent prototype projects. From Tires to Tech encourages makers to roll out new ideas for old, worn tires scattered throughout the city, while Digitization Project, similarly asks participants to improve the usefulness of a non-digital, everyday product in need of a tech upgrade. (4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at EcoTech Visions, 667 NW 90th Street)

TUESDAY, November 10th: Little River’s Miami Industrial Arts will host an introduction to the basics of mold-making. Including demonstrations for slip-casting ceramics and rubber molds for plastics, Molding Your Vision invites competition participants to learn and use the space’s facilities to make small run molds of their prototype and test market their creations. (7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Miami Industrial Arts, 300 NW 73rd Street)

WEDNESDAY, November 11th: South Florida’s largest 3D printer, 1-Click 3D Print gives participants a chance to optimize their designs and discuss best practices. Experts will cover the basics of the core 3D printing technologies and explain how to get products to market fast and efficiently. A printing class will be held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. the same evening. (6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 1-Click 3D Print, 203 NW 36 Street)

THURSDAY, November 12th: At the FIU Tech Station an all-day, self-paced open house allows participants to stop by and learn how to code, build a simple Arduino project and how to solder by building a simple circuit you can take home. Each workshop lasts about an hour. (11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at FIU Tech Shop, 11200 SW 8th Street). Meanwhile, on the other side of town, the North Dade Regional Library and YOUmedia Miami will host a digital logo design workshop with a professional graphic designer on hand to guide the workshop answer questions and assist in the creative process. The library will also be open from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. for a general open house. (workshop from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at North Dade Regional Library, 2455 NW 183 Street)

FRIDAY, November 13th: Stamp Stomp: A Re-Newable Way to Make Your Mark takes place at MADE at the Citadel. Challengers will be guided on a step-by-step process on how to carve and shape custom stamp designs out of repurposed common household items. (6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at MADE at the Citadel, 8325 NE 2nd Avenue)

SATURDAY, November 14th: Miami Beach’s PRINTshop @ ArtCenter / South Florida hosts Music Maker, a printmaking workshop using vintage vinyl with Loren Abbate and accompanied by DJ Lazaro Amaral. (3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at ArtCenter / South Florida, 924 Lincoln Road)

SUNDAY, November 15st: Miami Make Week comes to a conclusion with the event’s highly anticipated pitch competition and closing ceremony at Venture Hive. Each registered team will pitch their prototypes to a panel of local product experts. (Time TBD, at Venture Hive, 1010 NE 2nd Ave.)


Refresh Miami Demo Night: And the winner is ...


Apparently, many models and others in the talent industry, such as photographers, makeup artists and wardrobe stylists,  want to manage their own careers, and the winner of Refresh Miami's Demo Night  gives them the tools to do just that.

"There was no solution for talent or clients to be able to do business seamlessly in one safe place, so we built that," says Mario Aguayo, who co-founded My Style Blox with  Sandy Kacura, a professional model.  With peer reviews, an availability system, a booking platform -- and a way for e talent to be paid within 48 hours, not months -- My Style Blox provides a marketplace for talent and their clients to discover, book and manage their projects.

What clearly impressed the judges: My Style Blox picked up 950 users and several thousand in revenue in its first couple months of beta testing, which started in July. Agents? "They don't like us much," Aguayo says.

Although it was the co-founders' first pitch of My Style Blox, they won first place and the people's choice vote at  the 2015 Demo Night for Refresh Miami, South Florida's largest and oldest tech and entrepreneurship meetup group. Aguayo said the company plans to have version 1 ready in early November, when the Funkshion fashion shows start. Agauyo, who has been a talent manager and also worked in retailing,  learned to code at Miami bootcamp Wyncode earlier this year (a graduate of Cohort 4) before launching My Style Blox's beta -- proving once again entrepreneurs come from everywhere.

Also winning Thursday night at Refresh: Yodel, formerly named Tracks, which makes messaging more like face-to-face, capturing reactions, took 2nd place; that company has also been making tracks with investors;  and Tesser Health, a platform that lets employees compare prescription drug pricing and is marketed to big employers, took 3rd.

SoftLayer, an IBM company, provided the generous prize pool, giving the winner a premium Catalyst membership worth $10,000 per month in hosting credits as well as business and technical mentorship. The runners up received $1,000 per month in SoftLayer credits. All of the several hundred people attending Demo Night got free admission (and pizza) from HelloDotMiami. The judges were: Brian Brackeen, Kairos; Ivan Rapin-Smith, Watsco Ventures; Adam Boalt, Live Answer; and Julian Balderas, SoftLayer. 

Everyone gave five-minute pitches with two minutes of judge questioning. The other finalists were: Birdie Fantasy Golf, Flow KPI, Record Gram, Room2Care and Woolton (see more pictures on my tweet stream, @ndahlberg). I have now been to a few of these annual Refresh Demo Nights, and the pitches get better and better every year.


September 29, 2015

Free Hispanic Unity summit Oct. 8 in Davie; Susan Amat, Victor Mendelson to be honored

The 2015 Entrepreneur Summit, a day-long learning and networking event by Hispanic Unity of Florida, will showcase the diverse businesses that contribute to South Florida's economy.

The event will be held 12:45 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at Nova Southeastern University, in the Carl DeSantis Building, 33301 College Ave. in Davie.

Emerging entrepreneurs and established business owners will have access to experts and educational resources at the event.

Honorees at the event include Susan Amat, founder of The Launch Pad and Venture Hive in Miami; Victor Mendelson, co-president of Heico Aerospace Corp. in Hollywood; Manny Ruiz, chairman and founder of news service Hispanicize Wire and of Hispanicize; Gus Vidauerreta, author and co-founder of Top Secret Nutrition in Miramar; and Ricardo Villadiego, founder and chief executive of Easy Solutions in Doral. For more information about the event's speakers, see hufesummit.org.

Admission is free. To register, go to hispanicunity.org or call 954-964-8884, Ext. 216.

Sun Sentinel

September 24, 2015

#Miamitech by drone, see it first here (and read about Building.co, too)

Building.co Miami Launch Video from Bernard Bonomo on Vimeo.


G0032669What’s a geeky event these days without a drone, but Building.co took it to new heights with  a drone selfie of #Miamitech. It all happened during the co-working center's grand opening party last week for about 350 people, and you get the first look at the video above.

Calling Building.co “a growing force in serious tech in this town," co-founder Jose Rasco of Straat said the vision was always to be “a place where some of Miami’s most influential tech companies come together to collaborate on a daily basis.”

Current members include 500 Startups and IronHack, both running programs out of Building, Instacart, Clutch, App Theory, Panamera, Neustar (buyer of .CO), angel investor Mark Kingdon and Bonomotion, who made the video above. Its neighbors include Uber, Facebook and Twitter. Already the event space has been used or reserved by Twitter and Facebook, a Startup Weekend, Founder Institute and various meetups, including a new one for health-tech.

“It’s not easy to build a company on your own; we know it’s a bit easier when you surround yourself with smart, driven individuals who are equally determined to succeed….  Our focus is providing Four Seasons type service to our members, whatever they need,” Rasco told the crowd on the rooftop garden of the three-floor space. Rasco's co-founder in Building and other Straat endeavors is Juan Diego Calle, founder of .CO Internet.

2015-09-17 Building co-201

As if the 2 ½ year endeavor to open Building was not enough, Rasco said the team is scouting locations in San Francisco for a second Building so Miami members would have a place to call home there. "And that is the first step,” said Rasco on Thursday, adding that New York is also in grander vision. “For us it isn’t as much about scale as the quality of product we are delivering.”

But for now, here are a couple of photos of the new Building (without the 350 people.)  Rasco also had a poem for #Miamitech, “Take me down to the new tech city, where the devs are plenty and the code is pretty.” Read it all here (and thanks for the Starting Gate love): http://building.co/blog/new-tech-city/



Photos from Building.co

September 15, 2015

Season of the Startup beginning to heat up

It’s not just the arts calendar that heats up in the fall. Here are few startup and tech conferences and major events to put on your calendar — save the dates.

  • FinTech: Fintech Americas bridges the divide between banks and disruptive startups, Oct. 22- 23, Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus. Tickets and more info: fintechamericas.co
  • 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, Nov. 4, Hyatt Regency, Coral Gables. For tickets to the event and how to apply to present: https://www.facebook.com/EDCofSouthFla.
  • Miami Make Week: A 10-day celebration of creative co-working and maker spaces in the Greater Miami area kicks off Nov. 6 with educational workshops, networking opportunities and other public events, ending with a design and prototyping competition. More info: miamimakeweek.com.
  • The TigerDirect Tech Bash: The free expo and party returns on Nov. 6 for an evening of innovation, emerging technology, interactive entertainment and shopping opportunities. Now in its fourth year, the free TigerDirect Tech Bash will take place at Miami Marlins Stadium. Get your ticket here: tigertechbash.com
  • Sime 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 with an expanded format focusing on big data and fintech. Buy tickets and get info here: simemia.co.
  • ITPalooza: Now in its fourth year, the conference on Dec. 3 at Nova Southeastern University in Davie brings together the entire South Florida IT community from CIOs through Tech User Groups to top local, national and international presenters and guests. Buy tickets and get more info here.


September 09, 2015

Miami Make Week to link co-working, makerspaces for 10 days of workshops, networking and a competition

A month after wrapping up another successful summer session of Wynwood Maker Camp, and a week after announcing the return of Miami Mini Maker Faire, MIAMade is unveiling its latest initiative to propel Miami’s maker movement: the first annual Miami Make Week Nov. 6-15.

Sponsored by the Knight Foundation, Miami Make Week is  a 10-day celebration of creative co-working and maker spaces in the Greater Miami area. Miami Make Week will include educational workshops, networking opportunities and other public events held at participating co-working and maker spaces throughout the county, all anchored around a design and prototyping competition. 

On Nov. 6, MIAMade will kick off Miami Make Week with a launch party at The LAB Miami, where anyone up to the task can register a team to participate in the design and prototyping competition. For the next eight days, registered teams will enjoy complimentary access to  participating spaces to develop their prototypes. On Nov. 15, each registered team will pitch their prototypes to a panel of local product experts and a chance to win prizes at Miami Make Week’s closing event at Venture Hive.

Along with The LAB Miami and Venture Hive, participating spaces include EcoTech Visions, FIU Tech Station, MADE at the Citadel, Miami Industrial Arts, Moonlighter, 1-Click 3D Print, PRINTshop @ ArtCenter/South Florida, and Miami-Dade Public Library System's YOUmedia Miami at North Dade Regional Library. "Through Miami Make Week we want to showcase these spaces, foster a greater connection between them and the general public, and highlight how much creative making is taking place in Miami,” said MIAMade Co-founder, Ric Herrero.

For more information about Miami Make Week and to purchase tickets: miamimakeweek.com.

August 31, 2015

Save the date: The free TigerDirect Tech Bash returns Nov. 6


Scenes from Tiger Direct Tech Bash 2014


Save the date:  The TigerDirect Tech Bash returns on Nov. 6 for an evening of innovation, emerging technology and interactive entertainment. Now in its fourth year, TigerDirect Tech Bash will take place at Miami Marlins Stadium from 6:30-10:30pm with free admission for all.

All Tech Bash attendees can not only see and experience products from some of the world’s leading tech brands, including Samsung, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Western Digital, Logitech, and Alienware among others, but also purchase their favorite products anywhere in the ballpark. The Tech Bash app offers attendees one-night-only deals and lets buyers choose to have products shipped to their home for free, or pick them up at the TigerDirect pop up store located on the field.  

More than 18,000 people attended in 2014 and organizers are expecting more than 25,000 attendees this year.   “If you consider yourself an early adopter, gamer, love technology, or just want to know what to buy the technophile in your life, TigerDirect Tech Bash is the must-attend event of the year,” said Steven Leeds, Director of Marketing at TigerDirect.

While the Tech Bash is free, for $20 attendees can gain early access from 5:30-6:30 pm and see the latest technology with limited attendees and receive an official TigerDirect t-shirt, bag and $20 discount to the TigerDirect store. The first 100 early access attendees will also have the opportunity to meet Kevin O’Leary, aka “Mr. Wonderful” of ABC’s Shark Tank.

To learn more about Tech Bash or to register, visit www.TigerTechBash.com or follow on Twitter @TigerTechBash and Facebook.com/TigerTechBash.

See more scenes from last year's Tech Bash.

August 28, 2015

Celebrity in the house: Daymond John shares his advice at Thrive Seminar



By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Daymond John started his $6 billion clothing empire FUBU in his mother's basement with just $40. Thursday, the celebrity Shark Tank host and author came to Miami to share some of his secrets of success.

To the highly fashionable audience of 450 people who packed the Colony Theater on Lincoln Road for the first Thrive Seminar, presented by The Nelson Foundation, John shared advice on authentic branding, extremely important in the age of social media. “You are the brand before anything else, you have to be able to put yourself in two to five words,” said John, author of The Brand Within. “If you don’t know what you stand for, you leave it to us to interpret who you are.”

What characteristics separate successful entrepreneurs from the pack> “The successful ones don’t call failure failure; they know it is part of the process,” he said. “And the successful ones absolutely love what they do. They would do whatever they are doing for free if they could.”

The Shark’s advice for getting started: “Take affordable next steps. Don’t mortgage the farm just because you have this idea. ... you have to try to sell, then sell more and then sell more.”

Saying that he was challenged to find like-minded people and mentors when he was getting started with FUBU, he advised the audience to build a mastermind group of people around them with the same objectives to pull one another through the tough times. And, he said, be brutally honest with yourself on why you are starting a company. “If you are doing it for fame, for money, you are not going to make it.”

Visualize your goal and build a strategy to get there, and finally, do your homework, said John, who has spoken in Miami several times, including in conjunction with Miller Lite’s Tap the Future contest and at an Entrepreneurs’ Organization global conference. “You will never create something new in this world again. You may have a new angle or a new delivery system, but it won’t be new, so you have to find out what other people did that made mistakes and what other people did that were successful.”

Giving a shout-out to his mother in the audience, he even had some advice for parents: “Follow @sharkmommajohn, she’ll give you information on how to raise a Shark.”

John said he will be continuing to work with the entrepreneurs he invests in through Shark Tank for years to come; Aventura-based AquaVault is one of his most recent Shark Tank investments. As to what’s next, he said, he’ll be involved in educating people about dyslexia, a condition he has too. “Twenty percent of the world is dyslexic, four out of six the Sharks are dyslexic, ... 85 percent of professional chefs and 40 percent of entrepreneurs are dyslexic,” he said. Testing and early diagnosis is key because there are no drugs you can take. “As a kid, the only thing to do is to learn more and read more and do more work.”

Finally, he said he also wants to work to take illegal guns off the street. “I am going after as many corporations as I can and all the rappers to get involved; I’d like to see five anti-gun drives happening every single weekend in our cities.”

The 50-minute-talk and audience Q&A, which ended with a group selfie, was just one part of Thursday’s Thrive Seminar, which was designed to expose participants to successful and put on by The Nelson Foundation with support from community partners. The Nelson Foundation’s mission is to fuel the entrepreneurial spirit of under-represented communities through investment, mentoring and education.

Leading up to the Thrive Seminar, The Nelson Foundation selected three entrepreneurs to pitch their emerging business concepts in front of a panel of judges – Brett David, owner of Lamborghini Miami; Bernard Stewart, music entrepreneur and vice president of ESPN; Nabyl Charania, CEO of Rokk3r Labs; Will Stute, lawyer and private euqity investor; and Dawn Dickson, CEO of Flat Out Heels – and the audience.

After the pitches, the judges chose Smpfly, pitched by Lester Mapp and Teon Prudent, a concept that will use proprietary algorithyms to match the right social media influencers with branding campaigns. The judges independently decided to add to the pot: Rokk3r Labs, which helps build high-growth companies, will take Smpfly through its “Think Phase” to develop a solid plan to take to market and then Stute will allow Smpfly to pitch to his private equity firm for a serious investment. The other two finalists were Chris Filsaime of Rain Up, a product for automobiles that detects rainfall and automatically closes windows and sunroofs, and Michael Hall of Kurator, a platform to make art as accessible as music.

Al Nelson, chairman of The Nelson Foundation, said he asked John to kick off the inaugural Thrive Seminar because John gave him his first big opportunity. Nelson pitched on Shark Tank three years ago and John and Mark Cuban invested in his company, EzVip.com.

“From there I knew that anything was possible and I was able to scale and create other companies but it started with them believing in me,” Nelson said. “I always thought when I am in position to help someone else I would ... so we created The Nelson Foundation, and we want to grow with every entrepreneur.”

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.

Lester Mapp, right, and Teon Prudent pitch Smpfly, which won $10,000 and other prizes at Thursday's Thrive Seminar. Photos by Nancy Dahlberg.


August 24, 2015

Sime MIA announces conference dates, expanded focus

Sime 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 with an expanded format focusing on big data and fintech.

MIA Collective, an organization that produces digital business and technology events in Miami, announced Sime MIA will be Dec. 1 and 2, leading up to Art Basel, and that it now has an equity partnership with Miami-based Rokk3r Labs, a Miami Beach cobuilding company. Sime MIA 2015, which is a joint-venture between MIA Collective and Stockholm-based Sime, will seek to develop more events in 2016, in addition to the already established Sime MIA and MIA Music Summit.

SimeThe main event will be Dec. 1 at the New World Center in Miami Beach and will be called Sime MIA | Converge. At Converge, Ola Ahlvarsson (pictured), founder and host of Sime, Northern Europe’s largest conference about the Internet and digital opportunities, will take the audience of 700 people through a journey into the latest tech and media trends shaping the future. On the second day, there will be custom designed half-day “summits” that will dig deep into the themes of fintech and big data. As in the previous two years, Sime MIA 2015 is supported by the Knight Foundation.

“It’s a very unique event. I remember people crying when Yeonmi Park of North Korea [who defected as a teen] spoke. It was a very eye-opening and inspiring but we felt we needed to add a tangible business angle. Now with the very business-focused summits on the second day, we can even go a little more crazy on day one with speakers and themes that are surprising,” said Demian Bellumio, co-founder of MIA Collective. That would be a high bar: In addition to Park, brought by the Freedom Forum, previous years’ speakers and themes have included futurist Salim Ismael of Singularity; the screenwriter of Crash and Million Dollar Baby; a Jordanian comic book writer and gamer using the power of his mediums to fight extremism; and live “biohacking” on stage. Bellumio said 2015 speakers will be announced in coming months.

Each of the half-day summits – fintech and big data – will have a co-host, a company globally recognized in the field that will work with the MIA Collective on the agenda, which will include keynotes, workshops and plenty of networking time. The summits will take place at The LAB Miami in Wynwood. More themes may be added on a third day, Bellumio said.

Rokk3r Labs will apply its cobuilding methodology to help MIA Collective strengthen its marketing and sales capabilities in order to scale its strategy and operations to support more events.

“We felt that this was the right fit with people who had the right vision and wanted to raise the caliber of events that are happening in Miami with focus and flair,” said Nabyl Charania, CEO of Rokk3r Labs. “Given the growing success of the last two years, we thought bringing our team into the mix would provide the team and resources to formalize the operations and help grow the Collective and Sime to be bigger and better.”

Bellumio said the MIA Collective plans to bring back and elevate the MIA Music Summit during the week of the Winter Music Conference and create or bring in additional events in 2016.

Tickets for Sime MIA | Converge are $499 and each individual summit is $299, but early-bird pricing is $299 and $149, respectively, at www.simemia.co.

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

August 19, 2015

Thrive Seminar to bring Daymond John to Miami Beach next week

Daymond+13+Two+PABThe Thrive Seminar series is designed to expose participants to entrepreneurs who have gained international notoriety and success to learn the keys to launching a successful business. The first Thrive Seminar on August 27, 2015, will feature a Q&A LIVE session with Daymond John, celebrity entrepreneur, angel investor and host of ABC's “Shark Tank”. Mr. John will address attendees, speaking on his personal and life-changing journey as an entrepreneur as well as share practical advice and tips that contributed to his success in business.

“When I first got into business I made a lot of bad decisions. If I miss 10% to 20% of opportunities because they're a timely matter, then it is what it is, " said John in a recent article in Entrepreneur Magazine. “The Nelson Foundation is giving budding entrepreneurs access to valuable, real experiences from business moguls with proven formulas.”

The audience will also hear three live pitches from selected, budding entrepreneurs before a high profile panel of judges, to help one young leader take a step towards fulfilling their dream. The Nelson Foundation will present the winner with $10,000 to assist with startup costs. The distinguished panel of judges consists of Brett David, Owner of Lamborghini Miami, Bernard Stewart, GM and Vice President of ESPN, Nabyl Charania, CEO of Rokk3r Labs, Will Stute, Angel Investor and Dawn Dickson, CEO of Flat Out Heels. The Thrive Seminar is supported by its generous community partners including; The Knight Foundation, Aifos Agency, The Idea Center at MDCC, The Lab Miami, Digital Grass, EZ VIP, Chef Teach Creates, Miami.com, NBC 6, Pinnacle Agency, Bobby Blaire, and The Under 40 Group. Buy tickets here.

The Nelson Foundation’s mission is to ignite and fuel the entrepreneurial spirit of under-represented communities through investment, mentoring and education. For more information or contact Al Nelson, Founder & CEO at (786) 543-9917 and al@thenelson.foundation or visit http://www.thenelson.foundation.

- Submitted by the Nelson Foundation.