August 21, 2016

Entrepreneurship Datebook: Events, workshops in South Florida this week

Tech eggBrainfood Speaker Series: Brainfood with Endeavor @ The LAB Miami featuring Brian Brackeen of Kairos, Seth Cassel of Everymundo and Jaclyn Baumgarten of Boatsetter. 6:30-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 23,  at The LAB Miami: 400 NW 26th St., Miami. $30. Brainfood with Endeavor @ The LAB is a monthly, hands-on discussion with successful entrepreneurs, investors, and CEOs. More info here.

NelyGalan_0435_RGBConnecting Minds:  "Connecting Minds," a new of business event series will launch in Miami on Wednesday geared to help Hispanic small business owners bolster their success. Topics include access to capital, experts and resources to grow small businesses. Nely Galán, media executive, entrepreneur, author and founder of the Adelante Movement, will kickoff the first event with learnings and best practices on building relationships.Chase and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) are joining forces to kick off the free business breakfast meeting event, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24,   Coral Gables Country Club, 997 N. Greenway, Coral Gables, FL 33134. Registration required:

Venture Cafe: The free weekly Thursday Gathering will feature networking and  a  “Choose Your Own Beer Adventure” and discussion  on the growth of Miami’s craft beer industry over the last few years with four local brewery founders (and tastings), CIC Miami, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., 1951 NW 7th Ave., Miami. More info here.

StartUP FIU Match-UP Night: Have you ever wanted to work on a startup but lacked an idea or team?  StartUP FIU invites you to attend its Match-UP Night. StartUP FIU has already selected  19 startups to join its Incubator, which begins this Fall. These startups are looking for additional team members. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25, College of Business Complex (CBC) Room 232,  11200 Southwest 8th Street, Miami. More info here.

Refresh Miami: Ever wonder w:at goes on in a startup incubator & how to pick which is the right fit for your business? Join us as we discuss how incubators are changing the start-up landscape and the future of financial technology. Jeff Cain, from Envestnet|Yodlee Corporate Incubator, based in the Silicon Valley will share his experiences via a Fireside chat, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday, August 25, WeWork Lincoln Road. More info:

Next week:

Advertising and Public Relations for Your Business; In this free seminar in Spanish, you will learn how to effectively communicate in today’s multicultural environment, including effective strategies and plans to successfully portray your businesses to the public. The session is  offered by the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund and hosted at the Florida Blue Center in Fort Lauderdale, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 31.  To register, click here or call 786-329-5830.

How VR and AR will Change the World: The Idea Center in collaboration with MAGIC at Miami Dade College introduces IMMERSIVE TECH MIAMI, a program that teaches you everything you need to know about starting your own VR and AR business. To kick it off, listen to Sivan Iram, general manager of River Studios, a company that is pushing the boundaries of VR, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 1, The Idea Center at Miami Dade College, 315 NE 2nd Ave, Building 8, 5th Floor. More info here.

Have an event you would like considered for Entrepreneurship Datebook? Email it to


August 18, 2016

Ride2MD, Lyft team up to fuel patient transport

Miami-based startup Ride2MD rolled out its service in Miami-Dade and Broward, and announced a partnership with Lyft for on-demand medical transportation. 

By Nancy Dahlberg /

Ride2MDMiami startup Ride2MD hit the streets this summer with its new medical transport service. This week it picked up a well-known partner in the on-demand transportation world: Lyft.

Ride2MD provides efficient, technology-enabled patient transportation to doctors’ offices, outpatient facilities and hospitals. George Fernandez, Ride2MD’s CEO, believes Lyft could provide 25 percent to 40 percent of Ride2MD’s transportation needs, primarily for Ride2MD clients who do not require ambulatory or wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

“Transportation no longer needs to be an inconvenience or barrier to those who need it most,” Fernandez said. “This is another conduit to providing good service to our clients. .. It’s cheaper than sending a taxi, it’s usually faster than sending a taxi, and it is something that people are getting more and more used to as a service level.” And as to Lyft team, Fernandez added: “They get healthcare.”

Fernandez, an executive in the healthcare insurance business before launching Ride2MD, said Thursday he was impressed with Lyft’s tool called Concierge that allows third parties to book rides on patients' behalves, and its commitment to the sector, including bringing on Gyre Renwick, who used to help run Google’s industry sector for healthcare.

“Every year, around 3.6 million Americans miss or delay medical care because they lack appropriate transportation to their appointments. We want to fix that. Getting a patient to their doctor appointment can lower the cost of care and increase the quality of care,” said Renwick, head of enterprise healthcare partnerships at Lyft. “Ride2MD has a similar viewpoint so our partnership is well-aligned.”

For patients that do need wheelchair-equipped or ambulatory vehicles, Ride2MD partners with medical transport companies. 

A few weeks ago, Ride2MD began its service in Miami-Dade and Broward, and plans to move into Palm Beach and Monroe as well as Central Florida in coming months.

Ride2MD, which won second place overall in the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge this year and also was the Challenge’s People’s Pick winner, is forecasting an aggressive growth trajectory, expecting to manage over half a million members within the next 24 months and upwards of 3 million within five years.

For now the service is for private-paying customers, but Fernandez said Ride2MD has reached agreement with two major health plans and those details will be rolled out soon. The company is also establishing contracts with assisted living facilities, nursing homes and healthcare providers.

Most of the trips so far have been to doctor’s offices but Fernandez said Ride2MD has also served patients with rides to family events. “It’s kind of evolved into patients with special needs that need a helping hand getting around,” said Fernandez. “And that’s great, that’s what I want to see.”

Nancy Dahlberg: @ndahlberg

Read more: Ride2MD: Driving a plan to vastly improve medical transport


LaunchCode partners with City of Miami to place tech apprentices

LaunchCode, a nonprofit founded by Square co-founder Jim McKelvey, announced this week that it will partner with the City of Miami to place technology apprentices across a number of departments.

 LaunchCode opened its South Florida office in 2015 and has partnered with more than 100 local companies to place more than 80 technologists in jobs and apprenticeships in tech. In addition to placing qualified candidates into jobs, the nonprofit also hosts computer programming classes and bootcamps with Miami Dade College. LaunchCode is supported by national and local organizations, including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

 “This partnership between LaunchCode and the City of Miami creates a new pathway for emerging technologists from diverse backgrounds to help solve our community’s most pressing problems. It’s an important step as we commit to strengthen collaboration between City government and Miami’s growing tech scene,” said Mike Sarasti, Chief Innovation Officer at the City of Miami.

Learn more at

Florida Venture Tech Showcase offers opportunity to pitch, win $100K

The Florida Venture Forum and Space Florida, in partnership with Hillsborough County, will co-host the inaugural 2016 Florida Venture Tech Showcase on November 1, 2016 at CAMLS  in downtown Tampa.

The half-day afternoon Showcase is a capital acceleration competition and business-networking event featuring presentations by some of Florida’s most promising growth-stage companies who are cash positive and established in business. Troy Knauss, instructor with the Angel Resource Institute will be the special guest speaker.  Selected presenting companies will compete for the Space Florida Accelerating Innovation (AI) Award totaling $150,000: $100,000 for the Winner and $50,000 for the First Runner-Up.

Event details, company criteria and presenter’s application are available on the Florida Venture Forum’s website at The final application deadline for presenters is Friday, Oct. 14.


August 17, 2016

Pipeline Workspaces opens Fort Lauderdale co-working location


By Nancy Dahlberg /

 Pipeline Workspaces is on the move again.

Thea national shared workspace company that started in Miami opened its fifth U.S. location this month in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Pipeline occupies a floor at One Financial Plaza at 100 SE Third Ave., marking its entry into the Broward market and expanding Pipeline’s presence in South Florida. The 28-story office tower is one block off of Las Olas Boulevard and home to the popular dining spot Tower Club.

Pipeline Lauderdale is the company’s fourth location in South Florida; it previously opened in the Miami's Brickell neighborhood, Coral Gables and Doral. Part of a wave of co-working spaces opening around the Miami area, all the spaces offer sleek open co-working space, tech-enhanced conference rooms, phone booths, dedicated desks and private offices designed to foster productivity and collaboration.  Each space has a different theme or feel fitting with the neighborhood; Pipeline Lauderdale has a nautical theme, and it was designed by architecture firm Gensler and built by high-end interior specialists Amicon Construction. 

 “The opening of our Fort Lauderdale workspace is a natural next step in our growth strategy given the established and growing high-tech, legal and international business community in Downtown Fort Lauderdale,” said Todd Oretsky, who co-founded the company with Philippe Houdard, in a news release.  “Our goal is to create a business and social network that makes it possible for individuals in different stages of the business cycle to have access to each other’s talents and resources to build meaningful connections that will help them prosper.”

Pipeline also runs a Pipeline location in Philadelphia.


Fintech company Nymbus closes $12 million financing round

By Nancy Dahlberg / 

On the heels of a summer acquisition spree, Nymbus, a Miami-based financial technology company, announced this week that the company has completed a $12 million financing round led by major shareholders of Vensure Enterprises.

Nymbus, founded in 2015 and now with about 150 employees, provides mission-critical core technology for financial institutions that not only drives day-to-day operations, but also serves as the institution’s backbone for new capabilities and growth. 

With the funding, Nymbus will accelerate product deployment and infrastructure teams to support the company’s SmartCore platform, as financial institutions of all sizes attempt to transform their technology for the new digital economy.

"Nymbus is here to help the 12,500 financial institutions encumbered by some of the oldest enterprise technology still in use, many developed as long as 30 to 40 years ago,” said Scott Killoh, Nymbus’ executive chairman. “This additional funding will help us rapidly convert the already high demand for our SmartCore platform." 

This summer, the company announced a trio of acquisitions: KMR, a provider of software services and products to credit unions; R.C. Olmstead, which serviced credit unions in the Midwest; and Sharp BancSsystems, a Texas-based financial software provider. With the Sharp acquisition, the company acquired $200 million of intellectual property, running software that has been tried and tested in publicly-traded financial institutions, Nymbus said.

At least two executives on the Nymbus team, Killoh and Harry Flood, were recently listed as directors in Miami Beach-based Vensure Enterprises.


125 South Florida companies make 2016 Inc. 5000 list

The 2016 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies includes 125 South Florida companies. The list, released on Wednesday, ranks companies by revenue growth between 2012 and 2015.

Tribeca Marketing Group in the education sector, with 8,395 percent revenue growth over the three-year period, clocked in at No. 20; the Hollywood-based company was the highest Florida company on the list. No. 27 was healthcare company Blackstone Labs of Boca Raton, with 7,546 percent growth. Fitness player Orangetheory of Fort Lauderdale was No. 60 with 4,308 percent growth. Rounding out South Florida players in the top 100 was Deerfield based Solar Media Team, with 3,428 percent growth.

Other South Florida companies in the top 500 were Herman Integration Services (100); the K Company Realty (116); Engage PEO (127), Greenlight Staffing Group (157), Florida Premier Realty of the Palm Beaches (170), Florida Solar One (261), Nearpod (297). WebME Technologies (298), Rafael Marrero and Co. (350), The Retail Outsource (376), (388), (398), Fresh Meal Plan (490), SoBe Promos (448) and Ultimate Jet Vacations (465).

Last year, 139 South Florida firms made the 5000 list. To see the full list of Inc. 5000 companies, go to

To see the full list of South Florida companies, go here.

August 15, 2016

Q&A with Loren Ridenger: Changing the face of beauty

LorenRidinger-globalannualreport (1)
By Nancy Dahlberg /

Loren Ridinger has been changing the face of the beauty business as well as internet shopping for more than 20 years, and the entrepreneur and senior executive has no plans to slow down. “It’s not in my blood,” she says.

With humble beginnings working out of their rental home’s garage at the time, she and her husband, JR, co-founded internet retailing giant Market America in 1992, in Greensboro, North Carolina, where the company is still headquartered. Earlier this month, the company held one of its twice yearly empowerment conferences there, hosting 25,000 people, and she gave the opening speech. Today, the Ridingers live in Miami Beach, and each February, the Market America World Conference takes over AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, bringing about 25,000 people to town.

Market America | has generated more than $5.5 billion in accumulated retail sales and individuals have earned more than $2.9 billion in commissions and retail profits, the company said. In addition to the U.S., the company operates in Canada, Mexico, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Mexico and Spain.

Ridinger also founded the award-winning cosmetics line Motives, her first line. She also created the solution-oriented personal care line Fixx and the jewelry collection Loren Jewels. Her daughter Amber is also an entrepreneur, having created DNA Miracles, a line of body and wellness products designed for babies, children and expectant mothers. Loren speaks about entrepreneurship regularly and has mentored young entrepreneurs. Last year, she partnered with Miami Beach startup Flat Out of Heels to create a line of shoes for the young fashion company.

Active on social media, Ridinger blogs regularly on, named one of Forbes’ Top 100 websites for women, and her fashion blog,, often speaking about inspiration and women’s empowerment. “I use my voice wherever I can to make a difference,” she says. “The message cannot be heard enough. Sometimes thousands of people have to read for one of them to get it, but if one of them gets it, that’s all that matters, right?”

Loren Ridinger, senior executive vice president of Market America, serial entrepreneur, fashionista, mentor, mom and grandmother with a third grandchild on the way, surrounds herself with successful people and those who want to be. She calls Jennifer Lopez and Eva Longoria good friends. Still, Ridinger is a self-described private person, who puts socializing at the bottom of her priority list as she manages her many ventures and adventures.

She took time out this month to share her views about Market America, entrepreneurship, what’s next and the importance of knowing your “why.” Here are excerpts of that conversation.

Continue reading "Q&A with Loren Ridenger: Changing the face of beauty" »

Deadline this week to enter $10K competition for food and beverage entrepreneurs

Update: Deadline extended through Aug. 26

Only 5 more days before the Wild Card deadline.

That would be the Samuel Adams and Entrepreneur's 3rd Annual Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room Wild Card Competition, where food, beverage and craft brewing entrepreneurs from all over the country have a chance to “win it all”: a $10,000 grant and a year’s worth of mentoring from senior executives at Samuel Adams.

It works like this: From now to August 26th (updated), entrepreneurs prepare and upload their best two-minute video pitch ( on why their business should be selected to join regional winners from Boston, Denver, Washington and San Diego at the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream National Pitch Room Finals in December. A panel of experts from Samuel Adams and Entrepreneur then judge the videos based on criteria including pitch quality, creativity, passion, and product viability.

The top five or six best video submissions, selected by the panel, will then be posted on, and the general public will be invited to vote for their favorite from September 1st –23. The small-business owner who receives the most votes for his/her sales pitch will be named the Wild Card winner and receive a trip for two to compete in the Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room competition finals in Boston this December.

Read more about the contest here.

August 13, 2016

Let’s be mindful about Wynwood and Zika

Sacred space

Yoga at the Sacred Space in Wynwood.

By Demian Bellumio

Kahill Head, one of the most positive and inspiring people that I’ve met so far through Dawnings  —  a little event that I created in order to bring mindfulness and wellness to Miami’s entrepreneurial and professional communities — told me today:

“Dawn is the light that comes after the darkness, so Dawnings was born at the perfect time to help Wynwood”

He told me this insight after I called him to see how we can raise awareness around what is going on by leveraging our next Dawnings event Burning Man Edition, which is taking place next Wednesday, Aug. 17th starting from 6 to 9am.

As I researched more and more about the Zika issue, I had more questions than answers. And, as I talked to more and more people that live and work in the area, I realized that the public officials and government institutions also did not have all the answers that the citizens were looking for.

One question in particular stuck out to me. What is more dangerous, the Zika virus or the chemicals that are being used to fight it? I live in Edgewater, basically the same neighborhood as Wynwood, and from my hi-rise, I saw the planes spray gallons after gallons of liquid just a few blocks from the park where my daughter plays every afternoon.

After speaking with Kahill and other partners and friends, I decided that we MUST to use the next Dawnings as a platform to raise awareness about the real issues that concern the Wynwood and Miami community (the infamous map actually includes Edgewater, Midtown, Design District, but Wynwood is the one singled-out) and more importantly, to bring our collective positive energy and support for the people whose livelihoods are being threatened by the negative, and sometimes not completely accurate, press that is coming out daily in local and national outlets.

We couldn’t have asked for a better partner for the venue. The Sacred Space Miami is a state-of-the-art facility that has plenty of indoor space to accommodate our guests, so the entire event will take place inside. In addition, they installed a permanent system called Mosquitonix on the property to mist spray and ensure that you can walk safely to your car. The spray is biodegradable and plant based. I expected no less of the Miami home to the world-famous Plant Food + Wine Miami.

Yoga at The Sacred Space Miami

During the Meditate section, where we will start with a 30-min yoga session led by Pablo Lucero (OM Movement)followed by an inspiring candlelight meditation led by Kahill Head (SPIRIT-ILL) that will culminate with the creation of a shrine with our collective candles and with the special intention of helping our Wynwood neighbors. It will be followed by the Educate section, with inspiring talks from Natalia Martinez-Kalinina(CIC) and Dane Andrews (Roam). And we will end the morning experience with a celebration during the Liberate section that will include kick-ass music by DJ Alan Epps (Do Not Sit on the Furniture), natural juices from ColdPressRaworganic fruits from Endlessly Organic and healthy treats, including organic teas, acai bowls, and local fruits and breads from Wynwood Farmers Market’s vendors.

In conclusion, Dawnings was born in Wynwood at LAB Miami and we will do everything we can to support this energetic, entrepreneurial, forward-thinking and creative piece of Miami. We will take every precaution to have a safe experience for all guests, and we will harness the positive intentions of the community so that we can close this chapter sooner rather than later. But we are conscious that there are many questions still unanswered, so we want to provide a platform to find the correct answers. Therefore, I want to offer the following:

If you live/work in Wynwood and feel that you need a mindful experience and community to rely on, I want to offer you a free ticket to Dawnings. Please contact me at

To the rest of the Miami’s entrepreneurs, professionals, adventurers, artists, athletes and just curious beings, please join us next Wednesday at 6am and help us create a more mindful, educated and health-aware Miami. For more information, please visit