Want to know about Miami startups? A user's guide to this blog

Dear reader, Starting Gate has been providing and archiving South Florida startup and tech community news, views and resources since 2012. New to the Miami area? Thinking about relocating here? Just want to keep up with news, events and opportunities? We're there for you.

How to use Starting Gate: Besides scrolling the blog for the latest entries, you can access news and views by category. The "Funding" category will capture venture capital and angel funding news of individual startups as well as stories about funders. The startup categories chronicle news and my regular "Spotlights," and in Q&As you'll find interviews with CEOs and leaders in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. There are also categories for guest posts, views, accelerators/incubators, resources, events and more.

Thank you for your support through the years and please come back often. Follow me on Twitter @ndahlberg. - Sincerely, Nancy Dahlberg

October 10, 2017

Miami Dade College hosting MIA Animation Conference & Festival this weekend

  MIA Animation 2015_028

 

Miami Dade College  will again host the renowned MIA Animation Conference & Festival on Friday, Oct. 13 and Saturday, Oct. 14, at MDC’s Wolfson Campus in downtown Miami. The renowned event features world-renowned speakers, technology influencers from the nation’s top animation studios, universities, and the best talent in the industry. It has become one of the most exciting and cutting edge events in Miami, alongside a community of advanced technology-explorers, decision-makers, trend-setters, software developers, and creative industry professionals.

The industry conference focuses on Computer Animation, Gaming, Visual Effects and Motion Graphics, Virtual and Augmented Reality.  It draws some of the world’s top leaders in animation and education, and features exhibitions, workshops and master classes.  It has been designed to be a forum for active networking and practical information exchange with strong commitment and emphasis in education while developing and nourishing new talent. 

Featured speakers at this year’s MIA Animation Festival include Matt Shumway, animation supervisor at ILM and 2016 Oscar Nominee for “The Revenant”; Aliki Theophiloupolos, supervising producer at Dreamworks; Leah Hoyer, vice president of creative at Telltale Games; and Kat Thorson Good, director at the Walt Disney Company.

Some of this year’s highlights include the Arts & Technology Breakfast, which will explore the ways in which the arts and tech industries can work together to build a connected creative ecosystem.   Also, exploring the power that creativity can bring to everything it touches, specifically to amplify technology as a true connector and catalyst for innovation. This year’s breakfast topic will focus on virtual reality storytelling for areas like gaming, journalism, broadcasting and animation.

Another highlight is Game On, the third annual indie game competition, which is sponsored by MIA Animation and the Idea Center @ MDC.  The competition was created to encourage independent game development and fresh voices in the video game industry. The winner will receive a consulting meeting at the IDEA Center. The finalists will be showcased at the MIA Animation Festival where attendees will be able to play the prototype. 

The MIA Animation Festival will also hold a Pitching Contest for applicants to submit animation projects for a TV animated series.  The top submissions in both categories will be invited to pitch their idea in person to a panel of animation industry experts and professionals. The top pitch overall will be set up with interviews with major animation studio execs in Los Angeles.

Another highlight of the MIA Animation Festival is the Students and Young Directors competitions, which are currently taking submissions for animated films to be judged for conceptual, technical, and aesthetic innovation and excellence. 

The conference is free for MDC students and faculty; $65 for students and $195 for professionals.

For more information: visit miaanimation.com or contact (305) 521-3429

 - Submitted by Miami Dade College

October 08, 2017

StartUP FIU: Your chance to change the world

StartupfiucohorteUntitled design (38) (1)
 

By Kate Sackman

What do fair trade yoga pants, paying off student loans, and promoting minority businesses have in common? Yep, all of these opportunities, and more, are being addressed by the StartUP FIU Empower Accelerator companies.

An exciting array of startups are in the third cohort of companies now going through the fall 2017 Empower Accelerator on the main campus of Florida International University.  This 14-week intensive program guides early stage companies rapidly through the key analyses and decisions for building a strong company foundation and scaling. Of the eleven companies in Cohort 3, six are FIU-affiliated (students, alumni, and faculty) and five are from the Miami community.  All of the companies at least have a prototype in development and four of them are generating revenue. The industries represented include apparel, food service, finance, ecommerce, supply chain monitoring and digital marketing

Companies in Cohort 3 are working to provide fair incomes and humane treatment of garment workers in Sri Lanka, help people get out from under crushing debt, and reduce fraud at construction sites.  Cool technologies such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and predictive analytics are being applied by companies to improve consumer intelligence, make online marketing more fair and efficient, and yes, help you get fit.

Here are the companies in Cohort 3:

Alana Athletica: Alana designs and sells yoga pants made to employ and empower women in Sri Lanka who are abuse survivors.

Aromas del Peru: A successful Peruvian restaurant chain in Miami that plans to franchise nationally.

CoinStash: An automatic savings plan that helps users pay off student and credit card debt by automatically rounding up their purchases to the nearest dollar and applying the difference to their debt.

Ekkobar: A sophisticated application of machine learning, Ekkobar enables companies to analyze their digital media in real time and interact directly with their audience.

Lunchology: A healthy meal delivery service for schools using only fresh, local ingredients.

Major Marketplace: An online marketplace for minority businesses and those who want to support them.

Merkari: A digital marketing company that enables companies to run multi-channel campaigns across any device.

Mettosof: Mettosof makes InstanRate, a SaaS system that expedites customers’ review process and helps business operators analyze customer feedback   to improve their operations.

Origo: A blockchain-based web platform that allows businesses to validate the true identity and fair trade practices of traders in the Americas.

Smart Barrel: Provides rugged, solar-powered IoT products for construction jobsites that enable construction workers to punch in and out without an RFID tag or other device and enables project managers to oversee and plan construction sites more efficiently.

Sodima Solutions: A chatbot company that provides customer management and a lead generation fitness assistant for the Facebook business page of fitness professionals and gyms.

APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR NEXT COHORT

Applications are now open for Cohort 4! Aspiring entrepreneurs from throughout South Florida are invited to apply.  Companies that have a prototype in development and a good understanding of their customers and market are eligible. Preference is for companies with some revenue, but companies at any stage are welcome to apply. You can apply on the StartUP FIU website: http://startup.fiu.edu. Cohort 4 begins in January 2018.

On the website you can also find StartUP FIU workshops, speakers, and other programs for the public. Upcoming workshops by leading experts include A Beginner’s Guide to Crowdfunding (October 5), and Sea Level Rise Mitigation (October 12). 

Kate Sackman is the director of the StartUP FIU Empower Accelerator and a seasoned entrepreneur.  She has a background in finance, marketing, high-tech, and media. She is also a consultant and a professor of Global Social Entrepreneurship at FIU.

 

September 14, 2017

NFTE among organizations receiving new Knight funding

Submitted by Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced more than $590,000 in new funding for three projects aimed at fostering community among entrepreneurs and tech innovators while advancing the city as a diverse and inclusive innovation hub.

From an innovation district designed to support emerging entrepreneurs and add vibrancy to Miami’s Opa-locka neighborhood to a technology entrepreneurship course for young people to a newly-launched nonprofit that will provide promising local entrepreneurs access to the startup world’s top resources and leaders, the projects focus on supporting and propelling entrepreneurs across the community. They also work to expand opportunity for groups that are underrepresented in the technology sector.

“Ensuring Miamians have access to the opportunities they need to scale their ideas and solve the problems they care about is essential to creating an inclusive innovation ecosystem. These projects will help to diversify Miami’s pipeline of technologists and entrepreneurs and enable Miami startups to access the best resources in new and low cost ways,” said Chris Caines, Knight Foundation interim program director for Miami.  

The projects receiving support:

NFTE - Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship ($250,000) – Helping young, aspiring entrepreneurs develop their entrepreneurial mindset by expanding Startup Tech, a technology entrepreneurship course for middle and high school students from underserved neighborhoods. The program provides students the opportunity to develop a working mobile app-based business, as well as entrepreneurship training. As part of the program,students create an original app that addresses a community need, craft a business plan and, pitch the plan to a panel of expert judges for the chance to win funding. With Knight support, NFTE will expand the program to five program sites in greater Miami public schools.

Opa-locka Community Development Corporation ($135,000) – Expanding opportunity and entrepreneurship in Opa-locka by supporting the THRIVE campus’ innovation lab and makerspace, and urban farm and market. At the innovation lab Opa-locka residents will be trained to use new media and technology, and earn marketable industry certifications, while sharing resources and knowledge in a co-working space. The urban farm will allow people to help build and manage the farm, and offer them agriculture, marketing, and training opportunities. The urban market will transform a vacant lot into a community and retail space, including redesigned shipping containers where local entrepreneurs can sell the farm’s produce and food from the campus’ commercial kitchen.

Platform.Miami ($208,000) – Supporting early stage entrepreneurs through the newly-launched Platform.Miami, a nonprofit which will provide promising local entrepreneurs access to the startup world’s top resources and leaders. The organization will offer online and offline education opportunities and services to help entrepreneurs better structure, setup and scale their startups. To this end, Platform will create "The Playbook,” a resource for best practices on product-market fit, business models, digital marketing, legal structure, and attracting venture capital. It will also showcase a selected list of top service providers to help entrepreneurs find the best professional services to support their growth.

Support for these projects is part of Knight Foundation’s broader effort to invest in Miami’s emerging innovators and entrepreneurs as a tool to build community while fostering talent and expanding economic opportunity. Over the past five years Knight has made more than 200 investments in entrepreneurship in South Florida.

September 02, 2017

When children build for real clients: A summer filled with collaboration, creativity and community

  Moonlighter-Urban Hacking

By Tom Pupo and Daisy Nodal

Each Summer, we host our Summer S.T.E.A.M. maker camps that engage kids in hands-on projects exploring Design Thinking, Electronics, Sustainable Design, and more. But this Summer, to make the impact even greater, we partnered with various organizations and local small businesses to provide real-world challenges that the kids would design and build solutions for. It was uncharted territory for many involved, but it ended up being an incredibly rewarding experience! These two projects put the power of community transformation in the hands of children— of course, with the help of a committed team of local makers!

 Urban Hacking Camp

We partnered with Learn 01, Mano Americas and Codella to create the ultimate maker camp experience: a real-world sustainability project, built in our community, incorporating both physical and digital skills, and inclusive to all kids using fund-raised scholarships.

There were 5 project categories that the kids could chose to join. The groups were tasked to collaborate, design, develop, and build their own visions for improving the Smartbites Community Garden + Cafe. They learned how to use power tools, design software, and digital fabrication technologies to build corn hole games, outdoor tables that grow spices and herbs, art pieces made of recycled plastics, sensors that monitor moisture levels in the soil, two vertical farming systems, and more!

It was a transformative experience, for both the kids, the staff, and the team of MDCPS high school Summer interns who were also learning and assisting during the whole process. They learned by doing, by manipulating materials, looking things up online for reference, and testing their ideas with prototypes. These are the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century. You can see their incredible work by visiting SmartBites.


The Mobile Reading Pod

Our Design Thinking camps usually use imaginary characters as clients. But this year, thanks to The New Tropic, the camp had a real client — The Miami Book Fair! Their task was to design an installation that would travel to different neighborhoods, provide a nice place to sit and read, dispense free books, and promote literature. The kids dreamed up all sorts of fantastical technologies like giant drones that deliver books, autonomous library vehicles, etc. but the panel of judges chose one winner —  The Mobile Reading Pod by 9-year old Allen Hasbun.

With the help of his family and our staff, Allen spent the next month at Moonlighter refining his design and building his creation in full scale!  He learned how to use the various software and fabrication equipment in the space and actively took part in every step of the process, never shying away from the work involved to realize his vision.

It debuted at The Wynwood Yard and will travel to the Miami Book Fair in November. Allen also intends to open source his design. When given the tools, skills, and resources to build, you’ll be surprised what kids are capable of building — and of the impact they can have on their community. By empowering future generations, we can build an innovative maker city!

*For the full article and photo essay, visit www.moonlighter.camp

Tom Pupo and Daisy Nodal are co-founders of Moonlighter Makerspace in Wynwood.  

Moonlighter-Reading Pod

September 01, 2017

Inaugural ITWomen Leadership Summit coming to FAU Tech Runway

 

 

ITWomen, in partnership with FAU Tech Runway, will host the inaugural ITWomen Leadership Summit on Friday, Sept. 15 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at FAU Tech Runway, 901 NW 35th Street, Boca Raton.

The ITWomen Leadership Summit is designed to provide women across the fields of technology with a rich development opportunity and will include influential keynote speakers and multiple sessions with more than 18 local leaders across different industries. Keynote speakers include Heather Cabot, an angel investor and author of “Geek Girl Rising,” and Angela Sebaly, an entrepreneur and author of “The Courageous Leader.” Sessions will feature CXO leadership insights, developing a culture of innovation and a startup showcase on FAU Tech Runway female founders.

ITWomen is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2002 by senior-level women across technology industries. Through their partnerships with nonprofits, universities, corporate sponsors and professional organizations, they work to narrow the gender gap in technology and increase the potential for innovation and economic growth through gender equity. ITWomen is a multi-generational organization, which began in South Florida and has expanded with a presence in the greater Orlando and Tampa metro areas.

All net proceeds from the event will fund camps and STEM programs for under-served girls in the community.

To purchase tickets to attend the event, click here. For more information on the ITWomen Leadership Summit, visit https://leadersummit.itwomen.org.

- Submitted by ITWomen

August 28, 2017

Facebook teams up with Wyncode, TheVentureCity and WM.Digital to launch Dev Circles in Miami

Wyn1

By Juha Mikkola

Last week, Facebook teamed up with Wyncode Academy, TheVentureCity and WM.Digital to launch the first Developer Circles in North America.

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Facebook’s Dev Circles empower a diverse range of technical talent to improve their skills and access the information they need.

The sold-out event at Wynbase brought together over 100 developers of varying levels to learn about React. React is a JavaScript library created by Jordan Walke, a software engineer at Facebook. Wyncode teaches React as part of its 10 week immersive course and in its new part-time Front End Web Development course.

Wyn3
 

The speakers included:

Chris Stegner of MadDev, who was selected Technology Entrepreneur of the Year by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and has hired a Wyncoder Developer, spoke about why his firm uses Reac

Adrian Martin of CareCloud, who have hired 13 Wyncode Developers, presented React JS basics

* Wyncode’s own Ed Toro live coded how to add React into an existing software stack using Rails as an example

 Missed the event? Watch the Facebook Live feed here and make sure to join Developer Circles from Facebook to sign up for the next event.

Do you or someone you know want to learn to code? Join Wyncode’s next full-time cohort starting September 11th or part-time cohort starting October 16th.

Thank you to our partners who made this event possible:  Facebook  Wyncode Academy  TheVentureCity  Digital

 Juha Mikkola is co-founder of Wyncode.

August 24, 2017

Why you can't overlook a major source of funding: the government

By Keith Gibson

What do robot vacuum cleaners and personal DNA tests have in common?

Both Roomba and 23andMe received government funding to help build their businesses.

23andMe has received $4.1 million in investment from the Department of Health and Human Services over five years through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which encourages US-based startups to explore their technological potential and provides incentives to profit from its commercialization.

iRobot has received $10.2 million in investment from the Department of Defense through SBIR, and recently sold its entire defense division for $45 million in order to focus on its Roomba line of robot vacuum cleaners.

So, it begs the question. If you’re raising money for your startup...have you thought about tapping the government?

Most entrepreneurs face one common problem during their entrepreneurial journey: how to raise funds. Although some know exactly where to turn—from angel investors to VCs—many ignore a great source of capital which may very well catapult their growth: the government.

To start getting entrepreneurs thinking about government funding, we created Pitch the Gov, designed to educate businesses on federal, state and local procurement initiatives, and provide them with ways to navigate this process and access these funds.

We recently visited 10xU, where we had the opportunity to share the 10 things every entrepreneur should know when it comes to pitching the government.

Here is what we discussed:

Check government sites often: Start with www.fbo.gov / www.sbir.gov , then check out www.americassbdc.org for opportunities relating to federal, state and local funding.

Network, network, and network again: Research and identify the decision makers in your market, and reach out to them for “informational interviews” to build rapport.

Build a clear understanding of what you do: Clearly define the problem and solution your company, product, or service tackles so you may better explain it to others. This will help you navigate the federal procurement landscape more smoothly. 

Have a vision: Government grants are designed to help your company get from where you are to where you want to be, so it's very important to have a clear view of where you are headed and what you need to get there.

Read up on how others have succeeded: Read success stories to learn how other companies have used government resources to grow and scale. These are also a great way to boost your spirits when you’re having a bad day.

Gain an understanding of what the government wants: What is the government looking for? What is the issue or problem they want to address? Figure out how your company can offer a solution so you can better explain it to them.

Figure out what the government may need: Startups are all about thinking outside the box. If you have a better solution to a problem or issue the government is tackling beyond what they are asking for, share it with them. You might be surprised at the results.

Follow directions: The government is very strict when it comes to the format and procedure for grant submissions, so make sure you follow directions to the tee. This is not the time to get creative.

Build your own support network: Government procurement is a tough process. At times it may become tedious and irrational, and it involves a lot of red tape. It’s important to build a support network that will help you navigate this process. Plus, it will also do wonders for your mental sanity.

Get to know your audience: You've come up with the next best thing. It's only natural you want to showcase your technical expertise by using industry jargon, but grant managers are not necessarily experts in your field. So explain your idea in a way that anyone can understand, and take it from there.

We've also developed this graphic you can always keep handy, summarizing these 10 tips.

Pitch-the-Gov-Infographic

 

Entrepreneurs don't always think to ask, but federal, state, and local governments all have programs to help.

Total federal spending for 2016 exceeded $3 trillion; contracts accounted for $474 billion and grants accounted for $667 billion. Federal grants can provide start-up capital, while federal contracts can provide steady cash flow with low default risk.

Which means, there's a lot of opportunity for budding startups.

Our goal is to guide entrepreneurs through this process and helping them think beyond traditional sources of capital when it comes to raising funds. This goes hand-in-hand with 10xU's overall mission -  connecting the entrepreneurial community with those that may help make their ideas into successful companies.

If you're interested in learning more: visit pitchthegov.com or you can always reach out to 10xU.com which will help you guide you in your entrepreneurial path.

Keith Gibson, CEO of SBC Solutions, an Air Force veteran and Goldman Sachs alum,  is passionate about hiring military veterans and developing the local economy, and today focuses his efforts on teaching companies how to access trillion dollar opportunities by pitching the government.

 

August 22, 2017

Continental National Bank and Miami-Dade's Small Business Development Division relaunch financial assistance program

Continental National Bank in partnership with Miami-Dade County Small Business Development division has relaunched a program designed to lend short-term working capital to Small Business Enterprise (SBE) firms. 

The Small Business Bonding and Financial Assistance Program (SBBFAP) offers eligible SBE firms, including goods, services, construction, architecture and engineering firms, a line of credit financing up to $250,000. The borrowed amounts will be used to fund invoices or requisitions for work completed under a Miami-Dade County contract or subcontract. The program’s kickoff workshop met July 28.

“The Small Business Development Division of Miami-Dade County is enormously grateful to Guillermo Diaz-Rousselot and Continental National Bank for their continuous support and visionary leadership in assuring that small business owners have access once again to bonding and financial assistance for their businesses. Historically, this has been a major inhibitor to success. We believe this program will have positive and productive results for the Miami-Dade community,” said Carlos Ansuarez, bonding and loan coordinator at the Small Business Development division of Miami-Dade County’s Internal Services Department.
 
“We are committed to helping small businesses grow. For 43 years we have provided access to capital that helps drive business expansion and strengthen our economy. Already, this program is supporting business growth and new opportunities for small business owners across our county,” said Guillermo Diaz-Rousselot, president and CEO of Continental National Bank in his keynote address at the workshop.
 
“For so long, small business owners have been held back from participating in county projects and other large undertakings, because they had difficulty getting the necessary funds. We are pleased to be a part of this program again to help change that. The Small Business Bonding & Financial Assistance Program will open up new opportunities and give these business owners the chance to tackle more and larger projects, to grow their businesses, to create jobs and foster economic development all across our community,” said Ivette Llopiz, SBA officer at Continental Bank. 

 
Also attending the kickoff event was Miguel Miranda Sr., vice president and credit administrator at Continental National Bank; Anthony Acosta, bonding and loan coordinator for the county’s Small Business Development division; Vivian Walters Jr., SBD section chief at Miami-Dade County's Internal Services Department; and Gary Hartfield, SBD director at the Internal Services Department who spearheaded the lending initiative.

-Submitted by Continental National Bank

July 29, 2017

Argentina to Miami, a bridge worth building (Part 7)

GlobPic1

A Q&A with Alejandro Mainetto, Partner of Globant, a multinational company that creates innovative software products for brands, about Globant's footprint in Miami, collaboration and making Miami a living tech lab.

By Natalia Martinez-Kalinina

Miami has a ways to go before we can truly claim the title of regional epicenter, but Argentina has long been recognized as one of the primary entrepreneurial - albeit not particularly stable - ecosystems in Latin America. Figuring out how to support Argentina’s wave of growth and appetite for engagement represents a unique opportunity to add value to the region and truly deliver on our vision as a gateway.

As a first step to test these waters, a group of us came together last year  to co-author a full day of programming within StartupWeekBuenosAires - the largest event of its kind in Latin America-  specifically focused on how to engage with the U.S. ecosystem and market by way of Miami. From the CIC Miami perspective, we have been working to build tangible bridges with Argentina though a handful of partnerships that will be announced in the next few months, in addition to our general softlanding offering. But most recently, a few interested entrepreneurs have come together with the support of the Argentine Consulate in Miami to create a better toolkit for entrepreneurs and small companies looking to come to Miami from their native country. We are still finalizing the framework, but anyone interested in participating or learning more can email EmprendedoresArgMia@gmail.com

Glonbant_0888Given the aligned priorities and interests, it seemed worthwhile to continue featuring  interviews with a varied range of Argentine entrepreneurs and companies making their way to Miami. The first installments of this series have featured interviews with Balloon Group, Wolox, La Comunidad, and Oasis, Juana de Arco, and Socialmetrix. For this installment, we spoke with Alejandro Mainetto (pictured here) to shine a light on a major regional player, Globant, where he is a Partner.

Globant is a powerhouse of a company in Argentina and the region. What was the genesis story for the company? What has been the trajectory of growth these last years?

Globant's history began in 2003, when four friends got together with the idea of creating an multinational company that could provide innovative IT services to brands across the world, while offering challenging career opportunities for IT professionals and talent. In just 12 years they built a company that today has more than 6,000 professionals working for companies like Google, LinkedIn, JWT, EA and Coca Cola, among others. Globant’s story has also been selected as a case study at MIT and Stanford.

What’s next - how do you see the company’s future growth and development?

Globant continues being focused in becoming a global digital thought leader, in creating software that appeals and connects emotionally with millions of consumers. We seek to deliver the optimal blend of engineering, design, and innovation to harness the potential of emerging technologies for our clients. While engineering is central to information technology, only by combining strong engineering capabilities with creativity and agility can we deliver innovative solutions that enhance end-user experiences while meeting our clients’ business needs.

We take a dive into our customers industry, culture, challenges and goals in order to understand their business. The harmonious integration future trends and existing IT, infrastructure, services and applications is a critical enabler of any Digital Transformation process.

The US is currently a big focus of expansion - Globant has recently made four acquisitions in the US in a very short period of time and we continue to increase the number of people we hire in key markets for us such as Seattle, Dallas, Raleigh, Orlando and also Miami. Finally, Globant will also expand and grow by continuing to invest in key emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Virtual Reality and Blockchain among others. In order to fuel this growth we strive to find the best talent possible - hopefully we'll find that talent coming from places such as South Florida and in particular Miami.

What is Globant’s footprint/engagement with Miami? Why did it choose to come here?

Globant has had a presence in Miami for the last 8 years working with several of the most important corporations in the city and the state of Florida. We are a global leader in advising clients in the travel and hospitality, financial services and healthcare industries - all big industries in Miami - We are currently working with many of the largest leaders in cruise lines, hospitality, entertainment, and software. However, the potential is still very large in terms of the number of companies that we could be helping in the South Florida area. We need to do a better job in getting the Globant brand and our capabilities recognized in the Miami market. We came to Miami because we believed in the city, the clients we could serve, its growing talent and specially its potential and what Miami could become one day.


What kinds of opportunities were you looking for here? What aspects or risks worried you? How have those played out over your time in Miami?

We were looking for opportunities to help companies become true transformational leaders in their own industries, we were looking to gain a presence in a city that could quickly become a tech hub within the US and the tech hub for Latin America, and finally we were also looking to establish a presence in a State which traditionally has been very pro business and easy to do business with.

How do you see Miami today? What works, what surprises you, what frustrates you? How have you found your industry reflected here?

It's a different Miami than the one from 5 years ago. A lot has happened and a lot more will continue to happen. - Places like co-working spaces came, innovation districts like CIC came, conference events like Emerge Americas came, accelerators and incubators came, powerful startups such as Magic Leap came, the money came but most importantly the talent came and the talent stayed.

Miami works because it's like putting together NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro all in one. Its weather, its lifestyle, its location - all major pluses, it's a good kept secret, but not for long. What surprises me, is that it still hasn't been able to attract bigger Fortune 500 companies and it hasn't built a new top technology and engineering education institution. The tech, creative and marketing industry which today has converged into a Digital Industry is not yet well represented, which is a huge opportunity for those who are smart enough to settle and lay roots in Miami - The city, the county and the state need to collectively join forces to attract more digital companies, more tech universities and more digital jobs.

What can Miami do better to become a truly value-adding “hub” for the region? (in your industry and in general)

I have written extensively about this and it goes back to five key points:

1) Need for a true coalition of government, corporate, vc, startups, academia and the community led by a set of progressive leaders

2) Need for development of innovation districts and the need for creating concentrated hubs/tech parks of technology and digital companies

3) Build a world class public transportation system and build somewhat affordable housing around these innovation districts

4) Make Miami a Living Tech Lab - Become the Smart City Poster Child, become the Autonomous Self-Driving Capital of the World, etc.

5) Become obsessed about marketing the Miami Tech brand, its value proposition and reward those who take a bet in Miami.

How has it worked to have your company straddling Miami and Buenos Aires (and the US and Latin America overall)? Any lessons or advice for companies exploring similar moves?

It's has worked very well - There is a natural magnetic connection between Latam and Miami - Miami is both aspirational and inspirational. While our company is a global company, we find it hard for anyone to say no when we ask them to come work and spend some time in Miami. However, the key is in committing, betting and investing on it.

The advice I would give companies or entrepreneurs is to commit to Miami, leverage its virtues when hiring talent and finally get deeply involved in the transformation of the city.

Organizations like Endeavor have talked at length about the “Argentine Model,” but Argentina is also a country that has lived through rocky political and economic cycles. Is there something Miami can learn from the Argentine case study?

Miami can learn from Buenos Aires and many other cities in Latin America - From Buenos Aires you can learn about tenacity and hard work, about staying the course even when things may not be going right or you may be living under a not so ideal environment. It can also learn about the perseverance, vision and risk taking ability of the unicorns that Buenos Aires has produced - Globant being one of those. Miami can learn that "Si se Puede" - It's Possible.     

Do you see potential for collaboration and bridge-building between the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the creative economies in Buenos Aires and Miami? Why or why not?

Absolutely - I think, there are ways to formalize the informal collaboration and bridge-building that has been established already but much more can be done. Miami can make Buenos Aires a sister city and offer an immediate presence here to all key Argentinian technology firms. Miami could become the epitome of how easy it can be to do business in the US.  Miami companies should have the ability to penetrate Latin America by easily establishing their Latam HQ's in Buenos Aires. Co-working spaces and innovation districts have an opportunity to collaborate and forge exchange partnerships. The sky is the limit.


Natalia Martinez-Kalinina is the General Manager of CIC Miami and the Founder of Awesome Foundation MIAMI, and co-Founder of Aminta Ventures. If you are an Argentine company looking to expand to Miami or a Miami-based entrepreneur/investor looking to connect with the argentine ecosystem, please reach out to Natalia at martinez@cic.us. Past installments of this series can be found here: Balloon Group, Wolox, La Comunidad, and Oasis, Juana de Arco, and Socialmetrix.

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June 15, 2017

Wanted: 'Fearless, ambitious and extraordinary entrepreneurs' for startupbootcamp Miami

 

By Christian Seale

Today, we are excited to announce the launch of applications for the second cohort of our digital health innovation program, startupbootcamp Miami.

If you share our passion and vision to transform healthcare, we want to meet you. Apply here!

We are a year older and have assembled an even deeper bench of local and national healthcare providers, insurers, pharma companies, industry leaders and top-tier healthcare investors committed to helping you refine and scale your companies.

Boot1Last year our program resulted in multiple implementations, customer contracts and financings for our portfolio companies from the likes of Miami Children’s Health System, University of Miami, Florida Blue, Jackson Health System, Univision and many others (read more here). Local entrepreneur Wolf Shlagman, CEO of CareAngel and founder of Consult-a-Doc (sold to Teladoc and Kleiner Perkins) highlighted: "the program surpassed our expectations and resulted in multiple customer contracts and venture financing. I highly recommend this program to any serious entrepreneur looking to take their healthcare business to the next level."  (pictured here: Rene Lerer, President Florida Blue, discusses healthcare reform with Startupbootcamp entrepreneurs.)

We encourage you to apply and accelerate your business. We are looking for fearless, ambitious and extraordinary entrepreneurs working at the intersection of healthcare and technology with proven and tested models and committed to making our system more equitable, efficient and accessible for all. If chosen to participate, you will receive funding, implementation and contract opportunities, mentorship from our dedicated expert network, office space and a comprehensive suite of portfolio and in-kind services.

We are proud to be part of Miami’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem recently named the top city in startup activity by the Kauffman Foundation and grateful to be recognized by Inc. for our work to build the city into a globally recognized hub for healthcare innovation.

We invite you to join us and our partners at the Knight Foundation, Miami Children’s Hospital and many others as we build Miami into a globally recognized hub for innovation and together transform the future of healthcare. If you are a healthcare entrepreneur, please reach out and set up a time for virtual office hours.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Christian Seale is founder and managing director of startupbootcamp Miami. Follow on Twitter @sbchealth. For more information, email digitalhealth@startupbootcamp.com.

 

Boot3

Shane Battier, NBA and NCAA Champion, shared leadership lessons with Startupbootcamp entrepreneurs.

Boot2

Dr. Maurice Ferre Jr., Co-Founder of Mako Surgical and CEO of Insightec, shares lessons on building and selling a company with Startupbootcamp entrepreneurs.

Boot4

A panel discusses the future of digital health in South Florida at Startupbootcamp’s Demo Day. From left: Christian Seale of Startupbootcamp, Jaret Davis of Greenberg Traurig, Elizabeth Lopez of Miami Children’s Health System and Juan Ortiz of Sonas Home Health Care.

Photos provided by startupbootcamp Miami