February 10, 2016

Help solve 'one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century'

Join MIT Hacking Medicine Feb. 20-21 at the Idea Center at Miami Dade College 



By Christian Seale

Startupbootcamp Miami and the Idea Center at Miami Dade College are excited to bring MIT Hacking Medicine to Miami for a two-day hackathon* aimed at developing innovative solutions to stem the tide of childhood obesity.

This event represents MIT Hacking Medicine’s first time in Miami. We welcome all innovators, entrepreneurs, technologists, healthcare and educational professionals, food and beverage purveyors and other public and private sector community members to join us on February 20-21 to help us build healthier communities and improve the future health for all our children. Apply here by Feb. 15 to participate!

MIT Hacking Medicine has a storied history. Having facilitated nearly 50 hackathons across a dozen countries and multiple US states, it has worked in conjunction with organizations such as the Kauffman Foundation, Massachusetts General Hospital, Microsoft, Samsung, GE, Merck and AthenaHealth among many others.  Teams coming out of these events have raised over $70 million in investment funding and partnered with national and international healthcare institutions to pilot their solutions. Venture-backed darling Pill Pack, a full-service pharmacy that delivers a better, simpler experience for people managing multiple medications came out of one of the first MIT Hacking Medicine hackathons.

This video of last year’s GrandHack gives an idea of what to expect.


We’ll kick off 9am on February 20th with opening words from Dr. Narendra Kini, the CEO of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Karen Weller from the Miami-Dade County Health Department and a few special guests soon to be announced.

Participants will have the opportunity to pitch a problem/solution to all in attendance. Thereafter, most teams will form organically while others will have already come together before the hackathon. We’ll provide plenty of nourishment and guidance along the way. Mentors from Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Ascension, the University of Miami, CVS Health, Rokk3r Labs, Health Semantics, The LAB Miami and many others will be on hand to assist teams as they develop their solutions. Univision will cover the event.

The hackathon will culminate February 21st in the afternoon with final pitches to win $5,000 in cash prizes and Amazon Web Service credits. Teams will present to a panel of five judges: Eric Wenke, Head of Corporate Transformation at Baptist Health, Dr. Norma Sue Kenyon, Vice Provost of Innovation at the University of Miami, Gabriela Perez, Partner at PiVisions LLC, Mark Everett, President of Miami Dade College Medical Campus, and Abhinav Gautam, Co-Founder of Carevoyance and Entrepreneur in Residence at Startupbootcamp Miami. 

With the rate of childhood obesity in the U.S. quadrupling in the past 30 years we encourage you to join us to solve what the World Health Organization has recently named “one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century.”

We look forward to seeing you there!


For more information visit Gohackhealth.com or reach out at contactus@gohackhealth.com

See our Facebook page here.

Christian Seale is Founder and Managing Director of Startupbootcamp Miami.


February 09, 2016

Sign up for free Business Plan Bootcamp March 7

Melissa Krinzman (2)Join us March 7 for a lively discussion and Q&A with our panel of experts sharing advice on launching your business, formulating a winning short business summary and pitching to investors. Also hear from a couple of previous Business Plan Challenge winners about their entrepreneurial experiences. You don’t have to enter the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge to attend our Bootcamp, but of course we hope you will.

Our discussion will be led by:

Melissa Krinzman, the Managing Partner of Krillion Ventures, a $50 million Miami-based early stage venture capital firm that actively invests in financial services, transportation, logistics, real estate and health startups. Her fund has invested in 17 early-stage companies, nine of which have South Florida roots. She is also a veteran Business Plan Challenge judge.

Mark Kingdon, a three-time tech CEO (Organic, SecondLife and NiftyThrifty) and an investor in two dozen early stage companies. His portfolio includes Twitter, TheRealReal, OfferUp, Refinery20 and three Miami-based companies (EveryPost, Sktchy and HYP3R).

Mark Kingdon (1)This event will be at 6 p.m. March 7 at Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus Auditorium, Room 1261 in Building 1.

The Bootcamp is free but registration is required. When you register, the form will allow you to tell us the questions you would most like our panel to answer. Don’t be shy – this way we can tailor the program as much as possible to our audience. Here is a report on last year’s Bootcamp.

Register here: http://businessplanbootcamp.bpt.me

Questions: ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

February 07, 2016

Entrepreneurship Datebook: Events, workshops in South Florida

Tech eggThe 3 Pillars of Entrepreneurial Success: A panel discussion on improving business systems, maximizing partnerships, accessing capital and launching your business or startup, 11:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday, WeWork, 350 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. More info on Eventbrite.

Startup Grind: The featured interview is entrepreneur/investor Christian Seale of Startupbootcamp Miami, the first digital health accelerator and seed fund focused on diverse and underserved communities, 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, Venture Hive, 1010 NE Second Ave., Miami. Free with SUPX promotional code. Register here: startupgrind.com/miami.

Creating a Killer Pitch Deck: Show up with your pitch deck to get advice and hands-on training, 12:45-2:30 p.m. Wednesday, WeWork, 350 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. More info: Refreshmiami.com (click on events).

Google Ad Words and Pizza: Join members of Google and the MEC team for an AdWords, Analytics and SEO educational workshop, 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Miami Entrepreneurship Center, 261 NE First St. Register: mec261.org/events-list/#!event-list.


Black Tech Week: A weeklong series of activities including a summit, pitch competitions and networking events , Feb. 15-20, multiple locations including FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus. Find schedule and order tickets at blacktechweek.com.

SUP-X, The Startup Expo: Expo, speakers, panel discussions and startup competition with $50,000 in prizes, Feb. 16-17, Broward County Convention Center. Find schedule and order tickets at sup-x.org.

Word Camp Miami 2016: This 8th annual conference for entrepreneurs, bloggers, markets and others wanting to learn more about digital media, Feb. 19-21 at Florida International University. More info here.

Miami Mini Maker Faire: Celebration of the maker movement, with exhibits, demos and a Music Maker Showcase, Feb. 20-21, YoungArts Campus in Miami. Find schedule and order tickets at MakerFaireMiami.com.

MIT Hacking Medicine: Startup Bootcamp Miami and the Idea Center at Miami Dade College host a hackathon for hacking the obesity crisis, Feb. 20-21 at the Idea Center.  More info here.


Read an interview with Rony Abovitz of Magic Leap and more startup news on the Starting Gate blog, MiamiHerald.com/business.

Nancy Dahlberg @ndahlberg

February 05, 2016

Daymond John kicks off entrepreneurship contest, but first some Shark Tank advice


Photos by Jasen Delgado / www.jasendelgado.com

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com / @ndahlberg

The American Entrepreneurship Award, a new contest for early-stage Miami-Dade entrepreneurs, used some celebrity magic to draw a standing room only audience to its launch event: Daymond John.

Daymond(3)The Shark Tank star entertained and inspired the audience Thursday with his rags to riches story – he started making urban streetwear while working at Red Lobster. He opened FUBU in 1989 and had to close it three times over the next three years because he ran out of capital. But his passion, and FUBU’s many fans, powered him forward: Now it’s a $6 billion enterprise.

Today, of course, John, who is the author of the new book The Power of Broke, has invested in scores of companies through Shark Tank, rolling up his sleeves and working closely with the companies, including South Florida's Three Jerks Jerky and AquaVault. “The Sharks all feel we are a very small part of a very huge [entrepreneurial] movement,” said John, noting that Shark Tank is one of the top shows watched by kids 5-15 and one of the top shows parents watch with kids. “We’re a part of something that will help the next generation.”

John will be a celebrity judge for the AEA award, a new annual contest offered by Libra Group and Miami Dade College’s Idea Center. It’s is open for applications at www.americanaward.com until April 29. The winner receives up to $25,000, as well mentorship and support services. In addition, Miami Dade College students will also be eligible for a separate $2,500 MDC award.

At the American Entrepreneurship Award event, Daymond John shared this advice:

* Successful entrepreneurs take affordable next steps.

* Surround yourself with like-minded friends who won’t let you quit. Seek out mentors from among the successful business people you know.

* Responsibility must be taken, not given (advice from his mom).

* Success is all about tapping into a movement. It’s about the following you create with your own authentic voice. It’s not the money that will get you there (”Money just drives your problems in a limousine”). And it is all about the hustle.

* What separates the rock stars from the rest on Shark Tank? Proof of concept first and foremost, the companies already have proved customers want the product and they have some sales. Second, the founders have failed more times than they have succeeded; they are so excited about what they are doing, they would do it for free the rest of their life if they could. And third, the business must be scalable.




February 03, 2016

6 takeaways from Startup Grind talk by GasNinjas co-founder


By Peter Kovach

Brandon Timinsky is CEO and co-founder at GasNinjas, a service that brings gas to your car, all at the ease of pressing a button on your phone. Brandon’s first business was a third party Twitter app that helped twitter users gain more followers. He is a lifelong problem solver and entrepreneur. Last month Jason Ibarra, of Startup Grind, sat down with Brandon for a fireside chat at WeWork @ Lincoln Rd. They discussed Brandon’s young and successful entrepreneurial career and how his past experiences can help guide other entrepreneurs. Here are six takeaways from their conversation.

* Put your idea out there.  You have a great idea, but you're scared someone will steal it, so you never tell anyone. As a result, your idea never materializes into a booming business, instead it joins the countless of other what-if-ideas. Even worse, you build a company before getting feedback from your target customers, the product launches, it’s off target and you fail. You are more likely to find a supporter, partner or an investor than a competitor from just talking about your idea. In fact, it can help you gauge the interest in the product, find out which demographics are more likely to use your service and help form a better business from the feedback. Finally, putting your idea out there is a necessary step in proving to yourself that you are serious about this business.

* Micro Marketing - Marketing is key, the more you can expose your product to potential clients the better. Many companies struggle with social media marketing. An active presence is essential to successes. It allows you to interact directly with users. However, many people may see a post from your account and overlook it because there is no personal connection. Instead, incentive your customers to post about their positive experiences with your service. People are more likely to read content from a familiar and trusting face, and as a result it creates better exposure to new clientele.

* Follow other entrepreneurs -  Go on LinkedIn, TED Talks or just explore the web for people who inspire you. Find their blogs and read what they have to say about life, success and most importantly, failure.  In today’s age, there are an unbelievable number of ways to connect and learn from others. It is important to leverage these tools to find motivation from someone who has been there before and can relate to challenges you need to overcome. In place of watching TV every night, watch educational content.

* Hiring a freelance programmer - If you are unable to code your project and don’t want to want to give up equity to bring on a CTO, you can always a higher a freelance programmer. Hiring a freelancer is not as easy as it seems. Brandon on multiple occasions hired people who were not as qualified as they promoted. As a result, Brandon paid these programmers for a job not well done. He learned that in order to protect himself he needed to change the way he worked with freelancers. He decided to do milestone payments. Instead of paying the developer in full upfront he would pay him after a certain milestone was completed. This protected him financially and ensured he was coming away with a product.

* Know your business - It's essential to understand your business in and out and in again. Do your research on what demographics find your product most useful; this will help you focus your attention on the right clientele to grow. Become familiar with your key performance indicators (KPI’s) or the aspects of your business that are essential for growth. Knowing and watching your KPI’s will help you make calculated and logical decisions. You should be able to recite your stats in your sleep.

* Great client service - Ensuring your clients have a great experience is essential to growth. If your clients are left with a bad taste in their mouths, they are less likely to reuse the service. Yes, your company is young and there are opportunities to improve the product, but it is key to be responsive to your customer. A client may report a problem with your product and if you respond quickly, you demonstrate that you care about the person, and are dedicated to improving your business, that person will be more likely to come back.

Peter Kovach is a recent graduate from Loyola University of New Orleans. He moved to Miami to be a part of the rising tech scene and is currently an associate at building.co.

NEXT UP: Christian Seale of Startupbootcamp will be speaking at Startup Grind in Miami on Feb. 9. More info: startupgrind.com/miami

January 31, 2016

Entrepreneurship Datebook: Events, workshops in South Florida Feb. 1-7

Design Thinking Miami: This master class will provide a thorough overview of usability testing, teach you how to conduct a user testing study and highlight important planning considerations, 6:30 p.m. -9 p.m. Wednesday, WeWork Lincoln Road. More info and tickets: www.designthinkingmiami.com/

Miami FinTech Forum: Village Capital, Citi Community Development and Florida International University present a 2016 Miami FinTech Forum pitch contest, bringing together fintech startup finalists competing for $20,000 in seed funding, 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Building.co, 120 SW Eighth St. More info on eventbrite.com.

American Entrepreneurship Award Launch: Daymond John, founder of FUBU and star on ABC’s Shark Tank, will help launch Libra Group’s American Entrepreneurship Award contest, with an opportunity to win $25,000, 11 a.m. Thursday, the Idea Center at Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus, Building 8, fifth floor. RSVP: theideacenter.eventbrite.com.

Code Art Miami: is a collaboration between Girls Who Code Clubs and CODeLLA, a nonprofit organization teaching coding and tech skills to Latinas from underserved communities. Code Art Miami seeks to inspire more girls to code and to foster community among participating student groups, 4 p.m. Saturday, MAGIC at Miami Dade College, 315 NE Second Ave., first floor. More info: www.codeart.miami.


Raw Shorts, a Miami tech startup offering companies a way to make their own explainer videos, received $1 million in Series A funding from New World Angels, AGP and other investors. Stanford University offers a new resource for Hispanic entrepreneurs including a fellowship program and extensive research initiative. Keep up with this news and more the latest startup news, as well as postings about entrepreneurship events and resources on Starting Gate blog on MiamiHerald.com/business. Email news to ndahlberg@miamiherald.com.

Nancy Dahlberg @ndahlberg

January 30, 2016

Daymond John to speak at American Entrepreneurship Award kick-off at MDC Feb. 4


Entrepreneur Daymond John of ABC’s Shark Tank will hold a fireside chat during the kick-off presentation of the American Entrepreneurship Award (AEA), a new annual award program that provides startup funding of up to $25,000 for entrepreneurs that is sponsored by the Libra Group and the Idea Center. The free event will be at Miami Dade College at 11:30 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 4.  

The AEA is a business plan competition that seeks to stimulate entrepreneurial spirit through practical support, expert mentorship by industry leaders and start-up funding for America’s most promising early-stage businesses.

John, an AEA celebrity judge, will share with participants about being an entrepreneur the “Shark Tank Way.”  An entrepreneur in every sense of the word, John has come a long way from starting FUBU with $40 to growing it into a six-billion-dollar brand. The founder of FUBU, Presidential Ambassador of Global Entrepreneurship, and co-star of ABC's Shark Tank is a celebrated pioneer in the fashion industry, best-selling author, branding guru and highly-sought-after motivational speaker.

At the launch event, attendees will also have the opportunity to meet past winners of the Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award, the sister program to the AEA that has been running in Greece for the past four years, and learn how winning accelerated their own entrepreneurial and business success.

Entries can be submitted via an online application, which  opened on The American Entrepreneurship Award website on January 28, 2016. Entries will be due April 29. Winners will be announced in June 2016.

To register for the event, please visit http://aealaunch.eventbrite.com

WHAT:            American Entrepreneurship Award with Daymond John

WHEN:            Thursday, Feb. 4, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (Doors open at 11 a.m.)

                        (Daymond John to speak at 12:10 p.m.)

WHERE:         The Idea Center at Miami Dade College

315 NE 2nd Ave., Building 8, 5th Floor

Submitted by Miami Dade College.

Read past coverage of the American Entrepreneurship Award here.

January 23, 2016

Code Art Miami: Inspiring girls to code through art

Students, parents, educators and the tech community are invited to Code Art Miami’s inaugural event. It will be hosted at the Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex (MAGIC) at MDC Wolfson Campus, February 6, 2016.

Code Art Miami is a collaboration between Girls Who Code Clubs and CODeLLA, a non-profit organization teaching coding and tech skills to Latinas from underserved communities. Code Art Miami seeks to inspire more girls to code and to foster community among participating student groups. 

As part of the event, Code Art Miami is sponsoring a friendly competition for girls in grades 4-12. Students submitted digital and 3D-printed art created through coding that will be displayed throughout MAGIC’s facility. Winners will be announced at the event.

 At the event, there will be a short, entertaining speaker program, which will include Mary Spio, founder of Next Galaxy Corp, a Miami-based virtual reality company.  A silent auction will be held featuring unique art and tech-related items. Offerings include two newpieces created just for this event. A painting by world-renowned South Florida native Ahol, and a limited-edition print by London-based artist Ryca. 

There will be a raffle to win a one-week summer camp scholarship at MAGIC for ages 14-19 in animation or gaming and family-friendly MAGICal experiences in the venue’s green screen capture studio and sound recording studio. Net proceeds will fund scholarships for women enrolled in MDC’s gaming or animation program. The goal is to raise $7,000 to fully fund one student for two years.

The event is free and open to the public. It begins at 4:00 pm on Saturday, February 6th, at MAGIC at Miami Dade College, 315 NE 2nd Ave., 1st Floor. To learn more and reserve tickets, visit www.codeart.miami, or email us at info@codeart.miami. To donate to the scholarship fund, go to www.codeart.miami/donate.

“Women represent only 18% of computer science graduates and 22% of gaming developers. The Code Art Miami event will help increase those numbers. Coding is the language of tomorrow, and we want all girls to feel like they can be a part of the future,” said Maria Mejia, student founder of Code Art Miami.

  Maria Mejia is the founder of the Girls Who Code Club at iPrep Academy and student intern with CODeLLA. She graduated from the Girls Who Code summer immersion program in 2014. Since then, she has worked to expand opportunities for young women in computer science.  Code Art Miami was formed as a result of Maria bringing together local coding clubs at iPrep Academy, the Idea Center at MDC, Pinecrest Branch Library, and CODeLLA. Maria's vision is to make Code Art Miami an annual event that builds community and provides opportunities for South Florida girls interested in coding.

-submitted by Code Art Miami


Entrepreneurship Datebook: Workshops, events in South Florida Jan. 25-31

Tech eggCode for Miami: Join civic hackers coding solutions to make government and the city work better, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th St., Wynwood. More info: TheLabMiami.com

LaunchCode Presents South Florida Speaks .NET: In the first in a series of South Florida Speaks events by LaunchCode, a panel of experienced .NET developers will discuss the many ways Microsoft’s C#-based development framework is used in web development, mobile development and cloud computing, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, The Idea Center at Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus, Building 8, Fifth Floor. More info here.

Brainfood: The speaker series sponsored by Endeavor Miami features Alexandre Hohagen, an investor and advisor and former VP of Facebook Latin America and U.S. Hispanics, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th St., Wynwood. Tickets on Eventbrite.

Latin America Tech Meetup: Learn about how to get into startup accelerators, in a discussion with speakers from YCombinator, StartupMexico and Win Lab Accelerator, 6:30 to 9 p.m., Tuesday, Building Co, 120 SW Eighth St. More info on Eventbrite.

#WaffleWednesday: Members of Miami’s creative and tech communities are invited to the LiveNinja office in Wynwood to hear pitches and announcements from local startups over coffee and waffles, 9 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, LiveNinja, 120 NW 25th Street, Loft #301, Miami. More info here.

Digital Breakfast: Cybertising and Google Partners are co-presenting their second event to discuss Google advertising, webmaster and analytics solutions and opportunities to ramp up your online presence and ROI, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Thursday, The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th St. More info on Eventbrite.

Global Game Jam: GameTrep hosts a 48-hour Global Game Jam in Miami, bringing together gaming developers, artists, writers, students and industry leaders, Friday through Sunday, Cidy Desk co-working center, 350 S. Miami Ave., Miami. More info here.

Daymond John: The ABC Shark Tank star and founder and CEO of FUBU will be discussing entrepreneurship and his new book, The Power of Broke, at 6 p.m. Sunday, Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. More info here.


Keep up with the latest startup news, as well as postings about entrepreneurship events and resources on Starting Gate blog on MiamiHerald.com/business. Email news to ndahlberg@miamiherald.com.

Nancy Dahlberg @ndahlberg

January 19, 2016

Next month's Black Tech Week announces speaker lineup

 Justin Washington, who grew up in Detroit, graduated from the University of Michigan in 2010, and has been an engineer at Apple and Twitter and is now at SnapChat, said he was often the only African American in his EE classes of 70 or 80. He spoke at last year's Black Tech Week and will return this year. / Photo by Nancy Dahlberg


With African-Americans making up just 2 percent of tech workforce, the second annual Black Tech Week aims to deliver solutions for stronger partnerships for startups, training and information for students of color and  a strong platform to expand the technology blueprint in the black community.

The week of events will be held during Black History Month, Feb, 15-20, at Florida International University’s Biscayne Bay campus. Black Tech Week includes interactive workshops for idea exchange, the PowerMoves Early Stage and Series A Startup Bootcamps, a three-day Technology and Startup Conference, Women’s Innovation Brunch, Walker Legacy’s Women in Tech events, Pitch Competitions and VC Mentor Sessions. Attendees can register at http://blacktechweek.com/

The roster of speakers include; Jeff Hoffman, co-founder of Priceline.com, Kathryn Finney, founder of Digital Undivided; Justin Washington, QA engineer at SnapChat; Frederick Hutson, founder/CEO of P​igeonly; Chris Powell, CEO of BlackbookHR; Eunice Cofie, founder, CEO and Chief Chemist of Nuekie; William Crowder, managing director of DreamIt Ventures; and George E. Curry, founder of Emerge Magazine and previous Editor-in-Chief of National Newspaper Publishers Association, just to name a few.

Key highlights of the conference include the Knight Foundation Angel Pitch competition with Power Moves, a Women Innovators in Tech panel, Tech HAHA Hackathon and Comedy Show, and a Patent and Trade Market workshop for Women Innovators. The summit will culminate with the Women Innovation Brunch that spotlights women tech achievers sponsored by Baptist Health.

The visionaries behind the conference are Derick Pearson and Felecia Hatcher, who are also the founders of Miami-based Code Fever. Code Fever is committed to closing the technology education gap among-low-income and underserved youth in South Florida. During Black Tech week, a series of hour-long Black Tech Hour workshops will be conducted at area schools and community organizations. Designed to empower and encourage minority youth to learn and consider careers in technology at a young age.

See all the speakers and find more information at blacktechweek.com

See last year's Herald coverage of Black Tech Week here and how it got started here.