February 04, 2018

The Entrepreneur and The Investor: Advice from both sides of the table

All about extraordinary exits and the journey to them: Ryan Cohen, CEO of Chewy.com, and angel investor Jason Calacanis share views at two separate events.

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Angel investor and author Jason Calacanis and Melissa Krinzman, co-founder of Miami's Krillion Ventures, discuss investing in startups at Refresh Miami's event  Jan. 30. Earlier in the day, Ryan Cohen, CEO of Chewy, and David Coddington, VP at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, shown below, discuss the startup journey at the Florida Venture Capital Conference in Fort Lauderdale

  Cohen

 

 One day in South Florida, two separate conversations, priceless insight.

Last Tuesday, during the day, Ryan Cohen, co-founder and CEO of Chewy.com, took the stage as the keynote speaker at the Florida Venture Forum's Florida Venture Capital Conference in Fort Lauderdale, for a couple hundred investors, entrepreneurs and service providers from around the state. In the evening, angel investor extraordinaire Jason Calacanis gave an entertaining, but insightful interview in front of 350 from the tech community at Refresh Miami’s monthly event.

Cohen sold his Dania Beach-based e-commerce company for $3.35 billion to PetSmart last year; it was the largest ecommerce deal in history and the biggest exit in South Florida. The pet supplies retailer is a homegrown success story, and as he relayed the Chewy story in an on-stage discussion with David Coddington, VP of business development at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, it was clear the journey was anything but easy.

Cohen, who started his first business at 14 creating websites, said he started Chewy in 2011 to replicate the same great customer experience of a neighborhood store, but online. He used Zappos as a model and inspiration. When he needed capital to grow, he approached more than 100 investors – and they all passed. “But I thought there’s a chance … we are on to something genius. I just felt with scale we will prove them wrong,” said Cohen.

Challenges were setting up the company for hyper growth. The year 2014 was transformational, he said, because Chew went from having virtually no experience with operations to it becoming its core competency. “In order to scale to a billion dollar company we had to go through that, but it was very, very challenging. … Our management team was working 7 days a week 16 hours a day and everything that could go wrong went wrong.”

So what went right? Customer service was its differentiator.

“We are 100 percent customer obsessed. We want them to feel as though they would never dream of shopping anywhere else. We’re human we get it, and we really care about their pets,” said Cohen, who owns a teacup poodle. After all, this is the company where hand-written holiday cards writing is a massive department; 5 million Chewy customers received them last year.

Today, Chewy has more than 7,000 employees; about 1,500 in South Florida, including a giant new call center in Hollywood. It’s got six warehouses, including one recently opened in Ocala.

“I’m persistent, I’m obsessive, … I’m relentless, I’m a contrarian. When all these VCs passed I didn’t change our business plan at all,” said Cohen.

He said scaling a company is not for everybody.

"Scaling a business is going to test you physically and emotionally. ... It is a huge act of selflessness and dedication and if you are ready for it, it is going to be a crazy, crazy, crazy roller-coaster and it will be a the journey of a lifetime." If not, he said stick to your day job.

Calacanis would agree with that. 

That evening, at the Refresh Miami event, Calacanis’ conversation with Melissa Krinzman, co-founder of Miami-based Krillion Ventures, gave a view from the other side of the table.

“Startups are a shitshow, they are a complete utter disaster,” the angel investor with a private syndicate, author and podcaster said. Calacanis hosts a popular podcast called “This Week in Startups,” has authored the new book, “Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups” and created Launch Festival and Launch Scale and Launch Incubator, among other endeavors.

 Just don’t get him started on ICOs. Uh-oh, Krinzman did.

“I have seen this movie before. It’s not going to end well,” said Calacanis. “It’s a giant scam right now, 90 percent are incompetent, criminal people. UPDATE: For his rant on ICOs, watch this just-published video below! (rant starts at about 12:30.)

But once he [sort of] got back on track, Krinzman asked Calacanis, an an early investor in Uber and scores of other startups) about the questions investors should ask themselves. Among them: Why have the founder chosen this business? Why is he/she doing this? How skilled are the founders and the team and what do their customers think?

His advice to entrepreneurs: Go big.

“We need to take big bold risks,” he said. “If something doesn’t have long odds, it’s not worth doing as an investor or an entrepreneur. Don’t do the easy things, do the hard things.”

For startups raising money (always), he said the stakes are higher.

“I want to see what you are capable of. …. It’s a different world than 10 years ago. You have to up your game.  Traction speaks, show me your traction.”

Signals of a downward spiral”: If the founder stops sending you updates.

“I always know when I hear I am going to WebSummit or Summit at Sea, that is a really bad sign. I go, 'why don’t we summit revenue, why don’t we summit hiring a CTO?' ”

While a great entrepreneur can come from anywhere he thinks opening up an office and spending some time in Silicon Valley is a good thing. “You have to be cutthroat.”

For some practical advice he listened to three pitches by South Florida startups. Some of his advice, in no particular order:

  • Never read a script, it becomes robotic. Say it is your own words.
  • He’s not a fan of unpaid pilots. “You need to know if people are willing to pay for it, you need to get that piece of data.”
  • Always include an example of how your product or service would work and walk us through it.
  • The more reality you can give investors the better. Answer the questions crisply.
  • Get to the point sooner. When you have the nuts, you got a get to this immediately.

  UPDATE: I can’t do his talk justice, so watch the show below, courtesy of Refresh Miami.

 

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

February 02, 2018

Exit news: Plantation-based e-Builder acquired for $500 million

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e-Builder CEO Ron Antevy in gameroom of Plantation headquarters. Miami Herald File Photo

 

South Florida construction-software company e-Builder has been acquired by Trimble, a global technology company based in Silicon Valley, for $500 million, the companies announced Friday.

Founded in 1995 by brothers Ron and Jon Antevy, e-Builder today is a company with $53 million in annual revenues and about 220 employees, sprouting from Jon's idea to transform construction technology explored in his University of Florida master’s thesis.

e-Builder has been growing at about 20 percent a year, but the Antevys wanted to expand further and believed they needed a partner to do that, CEO Ron Antevy told the Sun Sentinel. Trimble was approached but pitched the acquisition instead.

e-Builder will remain in Plantation, where it is headquartered, with the Antevys at the helm. Many of the employees reportedly had stock options so they will benefit financially from the deal, too.

Publicly-traded Trimble, which had $2.4 billion in 2016 revenues and is based in Sunnyvale, Calif., is the buyer in the cash transaction. The company provides technologies in the construction, agriculture, transportation, logistics and other industries, and it operates in 35 countries.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

 

January 31, 2018

With Wyncode's new UX bootcamp, students pay after they land jobs

Wyncode Academy has added a new bootcamp to its offerings: an  eight-week immersion course to help individuals jump-start careers in technology and digital design. What's more, students in the inaugural cohort will not have to make a single payment toward their tuition until they have finished the course and gained employment.

In the bootcamp, qualified students will collaborate through hands-on learning, user testing practices and client interactions led by UX specialists and career designers. Students will learn the fundamentals of UX/UI design and methodologies such as Lean UX and Design Thinking while working with design programs Sketch and InVision. The program will be led by Director of Product Design Gessica Tortolano, who has worked with companies such as Google, Samsung and the Miami Heat and recently relocated from San Francisco.

“Creating an accelerated UX/UI program was a no brainer considering Miami’s rich design presence,” said Johanna Mikkola, co-founder of Wyncode Academy. “Miami is home to an infinite talent pool of creatives, artists and designers who are seeking to elevate their careers and break into more technical roles as the city transforms into the tech capital of the sunshine state. This model shows our confidence in our team and curriculum to ultimately land Wyncode graduates jobs quickly after graduation."

After completing the program, Wyncode’s staff will place UX/UI graduates in jobs with Miami-Dade hiring partners where they can begin careers at the intersection of design and technology. "Now is the best time to tap into South Florida's growing technology market,” said Jenna Blake, Director at Wander Agency. “As a California based UX/UI specialized agency, we are excited to partner with Wyncode on their first UX/UI course to help grow Florida's technology market together."

Wyncode's hiring partners include some of South Florida’s leading companies and startups such as Royal Caribbean, Watsco Ventures and CareCloud. Per Wyncode’s independently verified outcomes report, 91 percent of Wyncode graduates in the Immersive Web Development program find jobs as programmers.

 To find more information on the UX/UI Bootcamp Course or to apply, click here.

- Submitted by Wyncode Academy

READ GUEST POST BY GESSICA TORTOLANO

LAB Ventures announces 10 finalists for Future of Travel startup pitch competition

After carefully reviewing hundreds of applications, LAB Miami Ventures has chosen the 10 most disruptive startups to pitch at the first annual Future of Travel summit. At this unique event, guests will hear keynotes and panel discussions from travel industry leaders, meet startups set to shake up TravelTech, and mingle with investors - all on Feb. 12 at the Lightbox & The Lab Miami in the Wynwood Arts District.

LAB Ventures, a company-builder that designs and launches new digital businesses, held an open call for innovative TravelTech startups and received applications from five continents.  The 10 finalists offer services ranging from rental car meta search and multi/modal travel booking, to interactive city guides and hotel management systems: Viajala (Colombia), Axle (NY, US), VoyHoy (Chile), RentingCarz (FL, US),  Porter and Sail (NY, US), Daycation (FL, US), Simplenight (FL, US), PurpleCloud Technologies (PA, US),  Soundwalkrs (Colombia) and Hotel Online (Kenya).

The startups are competing for a chance to attend Phocuswright’s Startup Battleground in Las Vegas, a spot on stage at Seatrade Global, and over $20,000 of other prizes.  The panel of expert judges include Kerri Zeil, Director of Amadeus for Startups; Noam Beno, Corporate Strategy at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd; Seth Cassel, President of EveryMundo; Andrew Sturner, Founder of Boatsetter; and Parker Stanberry, Founder of Oasis Collection.  

A limited number of tickets are still available at futureoftravel.miami.

Meet the finalists:

Axle Travel (NY, US)  provides door-to-door ground transportation for long-distance travel. Axle works with bus companies to ensure the fastest, safest, most affordable and enjoyable trip possible.

Daycation App (FL, US)  allows users to book day-by-day access to various hotel amenities, such as the pool or spa, starting at $25 a day. Daycation allows for membership as well as individual day pass purchases.

Hotel Online (Kenya) is cloud-based reservations management and marketing system to help smaller hotels access more than 100 online sales and marketing channels.

Porter and Sail (NY, US) provides guest services technology to boutique and luxury hotel properties. These services include e-commerce platforms, guest-facing front-end mobile applications (iOS and Android), back-end operational dashboards, and industry-first analytics and data insights.

PurpleCloud Technologies (Philadelphia, US) offer a suite of mobile software products primarily for the hospitality industry. Their mobile software "Cielo" comprises of housekeeping, management, engineering and front office modules, and provides the fastest access to room status and guest information possible.

RentingCarz  (FL, US)  allows residents from Latin America and the Caribbean to compare all major car rental brands and get the lowest price when renting a car anywhere in the world.

SIMPLENIGHT (US) enables any company to provide a one-stop-shopping experience to search and book everything there is to do in any city. SIMPLENIGHT acts as merchant of record and takes commission on all inventory sold, pays transaction fees and shares the net revenue with the distribution partner.

Sound Walkrs  (Colombia) is a smartphone app that allows users to discover a new city through a series of GPS-guided, audio walks led by fictionalized versions of historical figures from a city’s past. Users can create and share their own personalized maps and find and bookmark exciting things to do within the city.

Viajala (Colombia) enables LATAM travelers to search dozens of travel sites at once, including local online travel agencies and airlines that cannot be found elsewhere. Viajala gives travel brands the opportunity to distribute and advertise their offers in front of a premium audience of LATAM travelers.

VoyHoy (Chile) is an online booking platform that allows users to compare and buy plane, bus, ferry, and train tickets throughout Latin America. VoyHoy offers simple and secure means to acquiring the best deal among thousands of travel tickets.

- Submitted by LAB Ventures Miami

 

January 25, 2018

Tender Armor secures multi-million-dollar investment to prevent payment fraud

Tender Armor, a financial technology startup based in Fort Lauderdale, announced it has closed “a multi-million-dollar Series A investment.”

The Series A round enables Tender Armor, a global fraud prevention technology provider, to drive new business and product innovation, expand its workforce, and meet increasing demand by financial institutions for its multi-patent-pending CVV+ solution.

The investment was led private investors Aubrey Strul and Barry Beck, with additional funding through Strul Logistics and Technology.

Maddy Higher Res shot“Three years ago, the market void in fraud prevention solutions was evident as it still is today. We set out to create a highly effective payment fraud prevention tool that deputizes cardholders to protect them from fraudsters," said Madeline K. Aufseeser, co-founder and CEO of Tender Armor, in a press release. "Now, with the support of investors, Tender Armor enters the next phase of growth, expanding our product and workforce, and driving new business within the payments industry and beyond.”

According to American Express, nearly half of consumers who shop online report they have been the victim of payment fraud, representing nearly 80 million online shoppers. The CVV+ solution addresses the growing threat of card-not-present (CNP) fraud, which can result in customer hassles and significant losses for financial institutions. In the U.S. alone, CNP fraud is forecast to increase by 68 percent from 2016 to 2018, according to U.S. Payments.

The company's CVV+ technology anonymously authenticates the cardholder where ever payment cards are accepted, including through mobile devices, online, and over-the-phone, by generating a security code that only the cardholder can obtain, the company said. Tender Armor was founded in 2015.

January 23, 2018

Perry Ellis International, The LAB Miami and AGP team up for fashion pitch opportunity

Startups and suits don’t mix – or is that changing? New opportunities linking startups and Corporate America are beginning to grow in South Florida.

And if you are a fashion-tech, ecommerce or retail entrepreneur, this new pitching opportunity may be for you. Miami-based Perry Ellis International, a leading multi-billion dollar apparel designer, distributor and licensor, is teaming up with The LAB Miami’s venture builder, LAB Ventures, and angel network AGP Miami to launch Pitch to PERY (Perry Ellis International’s stock symbol), a search for the next great startup revolutionizing the fashion, e-commerce and retail industries.

Pitch to PERY is focused on finding novel solutions to some of retail’s biggest opportunities. Some of these could be driving brand awareness, increasing e-commerce sales, enhancing consumer in-store experience, and introducing new Internet of Things (IoT) products to PEI’s roster of brands, which include Perry Ellis®, An Original Penguin® by Munsingwear®, Laundry by Shelli Segal®, Cubavera®, Callaway® and Peony & Me®.  Building on the momentum of the company’s 50th anniversary, Pitch to PERY is part of a broader future-focused approach, which seeks to apply a digital mindset, technology and product innovation to PEI’s family of brands, the company said.

 "Our vision is to continue embracing our entrepreneurial spirit, foster our ability to adapt to change and integrate technology into our business strategy,” said Oscar Feldenkreis, CEO and President of Perry Ellis International, in a news release.

Through the competition, startups and entrepreneurs will receive private pitch-coaching from LAB Ventures, spend a day at PEI’s headquarters and ultimately, pitch their ideas in person to PEI executives during the Pitch to PERY Finals Night in March. The winning team will work with PEI and The LAB Miami to develop and implement a pilot program for their respective product or service, and have an opportunity to earn a long-term contract with PEI.

“When we started LAB Ventures our idea was always to try to build a bridge between corporations looking for external sources of innovation and startups looking for customers.  The one thing an early stage startup needs even more than investment capital is a marquee reference customer.” Said Thomas “Tigre” Wenrich, CEO of The LAB Miami and LAB Ventures.    “So when Perry Ellis International told us they wanted to meet local startups that might be able to provide technology relevant to their business, we jumped at the chance to help.”

Applicants are encouraged to attend The Future of Tech & Pitch to PERY Launch Night at The LAB Miami’s Wynwood offices on the evening of Wednesday, January 24 to meet executives from Perry Ellis International and learn specific details about the challenges they are looking to solve. The event will also feature a panel discussion with industry experts about where the worlds of fashion and retail are heading, and how startups can work with large corporations.

Applicants should preferably be companies with demonstrated proof-of-concepts, established client base and preliminary funding. To apply and learn more, visit: http://www.pitchtopery.com or visit the Pitch to PERY event page HERE.

It isn’t surprising to Wenrich that the Pitch to Pery Launch Night is already seeing a lot of signups on Eventbrite.

It’s part of a larger mission at The LAB to connect startups and corporations. Last year, LAB Ventures worked with Visa and Finnovista on the first annual Visa Everywhere startup search for the Latin America region, and coming up on Feb. 12, LAB Ventures will be present the finals of its TravelTech pitch competition at the Future of Travel Summit (www.FutureOfTravel.Miami).  That is another event that brings together not only startups and investors in TravelTech, but also corporate executives from the traditional travel companies, Wenrich said.

January 20, 2018

Fintech startup Birch Finance raises $1 million in funding led by AGP Miami

Birch Finance, the Florida-born startup that helps people reap more rewards from their credit cards, has raised $s million in funding in a round led by angel investor network AGP Miami.

With this new capital, Birch will continue expanding its already robust platform, which currently integrates with more than 19,000 banks and 175 different credit cards. Investors in the round included Kevin Johnson, the former CEO of Ebates, and Frank Azor, the co-founder of Alienware.

Founded in 2015 in Gainesville, Birch relocated to Silicon Valley in fall of 2017. The fintech startup' credit card rewards analysis app is available on web and iOS.

Alexc“Americans collectively miss out on roughly $20 billion in rewards each year by using the wrong cards, but it’s not really their fault,” Birch co-founder and CEO Alex Cohen said in a news release. “Credit card rewards programs are designed to be complex and typically reward only the savviest consumers. We created Birch to help the average person make sense of it all, so that anyone can take full advantage of their rewards programs without being an expert.”

By integrating with credit card providers and banks to track spending habits, Birch gives consumers personalized and detailed reports on their past transactions and recommends the best credit cards to earn the most rewards based on their shopping habits. Using geolocation, Birch also alerts users which card to use for their purchases as they walk into a store.

 “There’s no shortage of personal finance tools that track a user’s spending, but none of them offer any personalized advice, such as which cards are most effective based on the user’s behavior,” said Raul Moas, managing director of AGP Miami. “Birch is an innovative solution that provides an immediate benefit to consumers, so we’re excited to support the team as they set out to change the way people shop and pay.”

In the past year, AGP has been spreading its wings and has been scouting for companies in Gainesville and other parts of the state in addition to South Florida. In the last four years, AGP has grown to nearly 100 active investors and has made more than 24 investments in South Florida companies totaling more than $7 million. Moas was recently named Miami program director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

 

January 15, 2018

Chatting with Chirrp: Miami company uses AI to engage with customers

Chirrpteam

 

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlbergbiz@gmail.com

Startup Spotlight: CHIRRP.AI

Headquarters: Miami

Concept: Chirrp is a conversational platform that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to create engaging interactions with customers. Through Chirrp, companies can rapidly offer intelligent conversation that is engaging, personalized and targeted.

Story: Since working together on their first project many years ago, the founders of Chirrp — Mallesh Murugesan and Stephen Yuan — have been passionate about using technology to deliver better experiences for consumers. Over the past three years, their team has explored the capabilities of current Artificial Intelligence technologies, identifying weakness and working on ways to apply AI to enhance user interactions. In 2016, they decided to bring these ideas together to create a platform that would enable richer conversations and better experiences for their users.

Once the platform foundation was created, the Chirrp team focused on making the conversations robust, flexible and accurate. Through their research, they explored linguistics and communications in an effort to make Chirrp’s AI more human-like. The company has now created a patent-pending methodology that uses a unique way to understand the context of human intentions and provide human-like engagement.

Murugesan, CEO and co-founder, has been very involved in the startup community here in South Florida. “The startup community has evolved so much in Miami in the past few years right in front of us. There is a very vibrant startup community here and is growing tremendously,” Murugesan said. Prior to Chirrp, he started Abeyon to bring intuitive design, as well as great user experience design and user interface design (UI/UX) to complex business processes, be it health data, manufacturing or government.

Yuan is COO and has more than 25 years of experience working on technology products. He heads the R&D team of Chirrp’s Washington, D.C., office. Having two locations has allowed the company to work successfully in the healthcare industry, as well as with the federal government.

Chirrp is being implemented at hospitals around South Florida as a patient engagement tool, Murugesan said. Chirrp is also working on a project with the U.S. Department of the Navy to analyze data and find patterns and attributes to enable Navy to make better decisions. The company is having conversations with several other federal agencies as well, he said.

Launched: January 2017

Website: www.chirrp.ai

Management team: Mallesh Murugesan, co-founder and CEO, Stephen Yuan, co-founder and COO.

No. of employees: Five.

Financing: Currently raising seed funding.

Recent milestones: In June, Chirrp.ai won the eMerge Americas Early Stage Startup Showcase, taking home $50,000 in prizes. Since then, the company has brought in business development partners and advisory board members to grow and realize the potential of Chirrp.ai. The company also recently obtained another major healthcare client for which it will deliver customer engagement through digital channels.

Biggest startup challenge: “Our biggest challenge is the timing of the technology. Artificial Intelligence-based solutions are still new, especially in the enterprise space. Finding the right solution for an enterprise has been a challenge and a focus for us at Chirrp.ai. In the upcoming year, we believe AI will take a central role in solution offerings and we see Chirrp at the forefront of that movement,” Murugesan said.

Next step: To continue strengthening the platform and improve its capabilities. The startup is working on several proof-of-concepts for specific industries to showcase the applicability of AI-based conversations.

Strategy for next step: The strategy is to have a well-defined product road map from a technology perspective, continue to develop the capabilities of the platform, and then bring in the right strategic partners to capture the healthcare market using Chirrp.ai.

Mentor’s view: “Chirrp is also very well positioned and in the early stage of utilizing artificial intelligence to improve and streamline processes and customer interaction, specifically within the healthcare industry. Mallesh has a great attitude and is open to ideas and critique and able to executed changes quickly,” said Nathaniel Pool, an angel investor and adviser. “As with any startup, the key to Chirrp’s success will be to solidify their niche, then remain laser-focused.”

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter. Email Nancy at ndahlbergbiz@gmail.com

READ PAST STARTUP SPOTLIGHTS UNDER THE STARTUP SPOTLIGHT CATEGORY OF THIS BLOG.

ChirrpCEOandMaite Nogales

Chirrp Co-Founder & CEO Mallesh Murugesan and Maite Nogales, office manager, stand outside their office in Coral Gables on Nov. 21. Chirrp is a tech company that uses artificial intelligence to create engaging chat conversations. AL DIAZ adiaz@miamiherald.com

January 11, 2018

See who will be presenting at the Florida Venture Capital Conference in Fort Lauderdale

The Florida Venture Forum, Florida’s largest statewide support organization for investors and entrepreneurs, announced  its lineup of growth stage companies that will present and exhibit at the 2018 Florida Venture Capital Conference, to be held at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa on January 30-31, 2018. This includes eight companies from South Florida.

In addition to the opportunity to present before an audience of active equity investors, eligible presenting companies will be considered for the Accelerating Innovation (AI) Award offered by Space Florida, a cash prize totaling $100,000.

“Presenting at the Florida Venture Capital Conference has been a game changer for hundreds of Florida companies over the years, offering a unique opportunity to connect directly with more than 500 attendees, including 120+ equity investors actively looking for deals,” said Travis Milks, Chairman of the Selection Committee of the 2018 Florida Venture Capital Conference and a partner with Stonehenge Growth Equity Partners in Tampa. “In 2018, we had a near-record number of applications and we’ve selected a strong cohort of growth stage companies that are leaders in many of the markets and industry segments where investors are most heavily focused.”

The diverse group of presenters, selected from over 100 applicants by a committee of active equity investors, includes companies focused on industries and market segments such as life sciences and healthcare IT, enterprise software, on-demand economy technology solutions, cybersecurity and education technology.

“The growth of Florida’s venture capital market continues to make a lasting impact on the Florida economy and the presenting companies,” said Stanley “Stash” Jacobs, Jr. 2017-2018 Chair of the Florida Venture Forum and shareholder with Greenberg Traurig. “I would like to commend the investors on our selection committee, as well as congratulate the selected companies."

Speakers at the conference include Ryan Cohen, founder and CEO of Chewy and there will be panels on cybersecurity and blockchain as well as the state of the venture capital industry.

Selected presenting companies by region:

Southeast Florida

Catered Fit, (www.cateredfit.com), Fort Lauderdale, leverages technology, a fully integrated set of kitchens and an expansive network of last mile drivers to process, prepare and deliver 5,000 monthly orders as a sustainable lifestyle solution - not a diet. Each member receives perfectly proportioned, gourmet meals that are cooked fresh and delivered daily at an affordable price.

Global Shopex LLC, (www.globalshopex.com), Miami, enables small and medium size merchants in the US to sell to more than 200 countries. Globalshopex’s easy-to-integrate checkout technology is FREE and fast to integrate to any merchant, regardless of its ecommerce platform or technology. In a few hours, any merchant can start selling globally in local currency including shipping, taxes and duties, offering multiple international and local payment options.

Moocho, (www.moocho.com), Miami, is the leading college rewards and payment app. With Moocho, college students can pay with their phone at merchants around campus and earn exclusive rewards.

Prescriber's Choice, (www.prescriberschoice.com), Pompano Beach, is the solution to rising drug prices and vanishing insurance coverage in dermatology. In the last decade, prices for basic medications have skyrocketed, often to hundreds of dollars. Insurance hurdles, such as prior authorization, have killed access and therapy compliance, as insurers deem common medical dermatology conditions "non-essential."

ReloQuest, Inc., (www.reloquest.com), Sunrise, is a single platform sourcing solution initiating the evolution of global mobility in an industry that lacked a unified method. ReloQuest is the industry leader and the only temporary housing platform that provides an independent, unbiased and transparent resource to global mobility clients in need of sourcing temporary housing, service apartments, and hotels, worldwide.

Sensentia, (www.sensentia.com), Coral Gables, automates healthcare administration, unlocking access to information for both consumers and care providers through a new genre of natural-language self-service tools.

7Pets, (www.7petsco.com),  Pembroke Park, manufactures and distributes its unique and increasingly popular Garfield and Hello Kitty cat litters. Developed in-house, 7Pets’ novel formula is highly absorbent and odor-eliminating, fast clumping, all natural and biodegradable, and made solely with plant-based materials sourced out of Brazil. In addition to its trending premium litter, 7Pets has also successfully introduced a mineral-based “economical” formula competing in the mass market.

Tellus, (www.4tellus.com), Deerfield Beach, provides cost effective solutions to improve patient care and reduce fraud, waste and abuse. The company’s EVV solution is SaaS-based and licensed on a monthly basis.

Central/East Central Florida

 ITProTV, (www.itpro.tv ), Gainesville, delivers online IT training that is both comprehensive and entertaining. With a unique format where educators interact with hosts, ITProTV brings a human-to-human approach to the convenience and cost efficiency of eLearning.

RedTeam Software, (www.redteam.com), Orlando, is software as a service for commercial general contractors. The company was started by a general contractor when he could not find a solution to meet his need for project management. RedTeam has doubled in size to 50 people over the past 4 years and is entering its growth phase with very strong corporate partnerships.

Shadow Health, (www.shadowhealth.com), Gainesville, increases the effectiveness of healthcare practitioners by training them through measured improvement in practical application, patient interaction and personal empathy, empowering them to increase the health of those they serve.

Xhale Assurance, Inc. (www.xhale.com), Gainesville, provides from a single disposable sensor placed on the nasal ala (fleshy portion of the nostril) critically needed cardiorespiratory parameters that today require multiple sensors, or that in many cases are not currently available for patients from any other technology.

West Central/Southwest Florida

Homee, (www.homeeondemand.com), Tampa, is an on-demand property maintenance service that provides customers with instant access to electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians and handymen from the convenience of their smart phones.

Ravti, (www.ravti.com), Tampa, provides a platform to quickly mobilize a complete HVAC inventory (in the United States) along with the world's largest organized HVAC database to drive capital savings for commercial real estate's largest M&R (maintenance and repair) expense. The company’s software tracks, manages, and procures HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) for sophisticated commercial real estate owners/operators.

SynDaver, (www.syndaver.com), Tampa, designs and builds the world’s most sophisticated synthetic human tissues and body parts. The company’s SynDaver Synthetic Human bleeds, breathes, and employs hundreds of replaceable muscles, bones, organs, veins and arteries – all made from materials that mimic the mechanical, thermal, and physicochemical properties of live tissue. This validated technology is used to replace live animals, cadavers and even human patients in medical device studies, clinical training and surgical simulation.

North Florida

HomeASAP LLC, (www.homeasap.com ), Jacksonville, is the leading provider of online marketing solutions for real estate professionals. The company offers a broad portfolio of integrated applications and services that help connect agents and brokers with home buyers, sellers and referral business, with an emphasis on Facebook.

LegacyShield, LLC, (www.legacyshield.com), Ponte Vedra Beach, is a B2B2C platform to help insurance and financial service organizations and their advisors onboard, engage and monetize their customers.

Rhode Island 

eNow, Inc., (www.enowwnergy.com), Rhode Island, is the leader in solar-based auxiliary power systems built exclusively for the transportation industry. The company’s proprietary solar products are designed to support and maintain auxiliary power to vehicle HVAC systems, hotel loads, liftgates, telematics, refrigeration units, and safety/emergency lighting.

 Exhibiting Companies:

Fortress Information Security, (www.fortressinfosec.com), Orlando, helps companies and people identify, prioritize, remediate, and monitor cybersecurity risks. Using flexible security orchestration and collaboration platform and managed services, the company focuses on providing custom solutions designed around clients’ regulatory, compliance and security goals.

 Vijilan Security LLC, (www.vijilan.com),  Ft. Lauderdale, specializes in threat intelligence monitoring and response, which represents 50% of the Cyber Security Market. The company’s services include threat detection and response in real time. It combines threat intelligence and correlation rules with a robust ticketing system that integrates with most CRM tools in the market (Connectwise, Autotask…) and provides monitoring through its 24/7 Security Operations Center in Ft. Lauderdale.

-Submitted by Florida Venture Forum

Drive for Uber, ride Uber? Ironhack/Uber offer $200,000 in coding scholarships

 

Ironhack-logo-235x235For the second year in a row, Uber is teaming up with coding and design bootcamp Ironhack to award scholarships to Uber drivers and riders to help them acquire professional skills in coding and design.

This year, $200,000 in scholarships will be given out.  Four winners will be awarded full scholarships (each valued at $11,000) to enroll in one of Ironhack’s bootcamps in 2018, and 40+ partial scholarships will be awarded to additional winners.

“We were overwhelmed with the response to our first scholarship campaign last year, and we’re delighted to bring back this great opportunity for our driver-partners and riders,” said Uber Florida General Manager Kasra Moshkani. “We’re excited to make this invaluable learning opportunity accessible to new South Florida residents who are looking to launch careers in technology.”

The first class of 2017 scholarship winners included 19 year-old Ivan Jorge, a Cuban immigrant who has been working since he was a teenager to support his family. After completing his bootcamp course at Ironhack, he was hired as a Software Engineer at Xevo, which provides software for the automotive industry. Oleh Kolinko, an immigrant from the Ukraine, discovered Ironhack through the Uber Scholarship. After completing the web developer bootcamp in January 2017, he was hired as a Web App Developer at JetSmarter, a mobile marketplace for shared and private charter flights.

“We’re thrilled to team up with Uber for the second year in a row and to double our scholarship offer,” said Ironhack Miami General Manager Alia Poonawala. “We continue to see increasing demand for tech talent both locally and nationally, and through this scholarship, we’ll be able to educate 50 more South Floridians who wish to make massive career changes and become part of the rapidly evolving tech landscape. We’re inspired every day by the stories of the students who pass through our doors and who have been placed at reputable companies in South Florida like Magic Leap, Visa, and CareCloud, and we can’t wait to see what our 2018 scholarship winners achieve.”

Rated the #3 coding school in the world in 2017 by global rating site SwitchUp, Ironhack is located in the heart of Brickell at Building.co, Miami’s shared workspace for tech companies and startups. The school, which opened in Miami three years ago, also has campuses in Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, and Mexico City.

To apply, here is the process:

  1. Uber riders and driver-partners in Florida should check their rider or driver app between January 8 and January 19 for details about the scholarship opportunity. To enter, users should enter their information and will receive a link to apply to one of Ironhack’s three courses (riders should make sure they have the latest version of the Uber app installed).
  2. Scholarship applications must be received by 11:59 PM EST on January 21, 2018.
  3. Selected finalists will be contacted for second-round interviews.
  4. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, February 6.

Interested Uber driver-partners and riders can also learn about the scholarships at Ironhack’s upcoming open house on Saturday, January 13 at 11 am. This free event will take place at Ironhack’s campus at 120 S.W. 8th Street in Miami. To attend, RSVP here.

For more information about the open house event or Uber’s scholarship, contact Ironhack at (305) 907-7086 or admissionsmia@ironhack.com.

  • Submitted by Ironhack