Postmates launching delivery service in Miami

Postmates - square 2Wish you could have your groceries, 3:05 cafecito or  favorite restaurant meal delivered? Postmates is launching in the Miamii area on Friday. Postmates connects customers with a dedicated fleet of couriers to deliver anything -- from restaurants to groceries and more -- in under an hour. Postmates said it is currently doing over 20,000 deliveries a week in 14 markets across the U.S., and allows customers to get any item — from takeout and groceries to retail items and even prescriptions — delivered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The initial delivery zone in the Miami area covers South Beach, Downtown, Midtown, Brickell, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Wynwood and the Design District.

 The app, available for iOS and Android, allows users to browse an inventory of restaurants (regardless of whether they offer delivery themselves)  and stores in their city, add items instantly, watch their rated "Postmate" (either a driver or bike messenger) moving on the map, and track their order status in real time. Deliveries start at $5 and users pay for everything within the app — including tip. The company said it is also beginning to integrate with merchants to power on-demand delivery of  clothing. 

There are some Miami launch promotions.  The first 500 people who download the app and enter code MIAFRIEND will get $50 in delivery credit added to their account. And on Friday, Miami customers can also receive two coladas free by accessing the offer on the app.

Postmates is also available in the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, Boston and Philadelphia.

Sept. 11, 2014



What competitors are using to track your every move


By Emmanuel Trenche

Ever get the feeling that you’re being watched?

If you do, you’re not paranoid. It’s likely your competitors are watching your every move with new technology that will give you a shear wake up call.

Following the old adage of keeping your enemies closer, they’re monitoring everything - from your company’s blog articles to customer tweets about your products or services. In many cases, they’re even tracking company websites and receiving email alerts or phone notifications when website changes indicate you’ve entered a new market or industry, among a slew of other things. Spooky, right? No, it’s called competitive intelligence technology and it’s becoming mainstream across all markets and industries.

What Are Competitors Looking for Online?

There are a few reasons why more companies are investing in digital competitive intelligence approaches. First, competitors want to know if you’re doing better than them. Depending on your industry, they’ll look for cues that could threaten their market share. This could be your product line, promotional tactics, a new partnership or something as small as new certifications or accolades. Every company wants to be the market leader and if they’re losing their competitive edge, they’re likely to pinpoint what’s holding them back by browsing the web since almost everything ends up online anyway.

The second reason why they’d keep tabs on your company online is to differentiate themselves. There’s no competitive advantage in mimicking others, but rather in doing something unique that’s hard to replicate. Aggressive competitors monitor your website to determine if they can compete through price, service, or new technology, to name a few approaches. When monitoring your company’s website, for instance, they’re watching how you’re communicating value or claim a market position. If they find that your company and other competitors mostly use videos to generate leads, they may want to use videos in a different way or do something totally unique to stand out and take away your leads.

Thirdly, and most importantly, competitors want to predict your next move. Even the smallest bit of data published online can be the key that unlocks what’s happening behind closed doors. Some clues lie on your own website, like a job listing in a new department or a new partnership recently announced. Even employees are capable of accidentally leaving behind clues on social media. Granted companies aren’t looking to hack into your website and start spying, but they do notice breadcrumbs left around the web about your company and use them to figure out where you’re heading.

Now, how exactly are they keeping up with your company’s moves? Every industry and company will focus on different things, but here are a few areas of interest that get the attention from many competitors:

Continue reading "What competitors are using to track your every move" »

Grasp Learning pioneers after-school programs with tutoring and tech


Story and Photo by Our City Thoughts

Gary and Valerie Berman are the co-founders of Grasp Learning, a pioneering after school program that provides academic support and enrichment to children with hands on tutoring and tech. 

Our City Thoughts: Why did you create in Miami?

Gary We’ve been in the Miami community for almost 40 years, and we’re seeing that Miami is just at the precipice of something that can be very important regarding entrepreneurship. There is an ecosystem that’s been created here over the last several years to facilitate that.

OCT: What does your company do?  How was it founded?

G: We open micro learning centers inside not-for-profits such as JCCS or community centers or churches and other settings for after school and out of school learning for k-8 children. One of the most important innovations of our system is that we’ve figured out how to drive most of the costs out of starting your own company. In particular, we’re focusing on educators because we know that teachers are underpaid, and this is an opportunity for them to earn supplemental income by opening their own micro-learning center wherever they live, in every neighborhood throughout the United States.

V: We were challenged by a local entrepreneur to “do something disruptive in education.” So the journey began in Miami and proceeded through different parts of the country where we checked out innovations in education at Stanford, Harvard and other centers of academia, and gathered best practices in out of school learning.

OCT: Describe an innovation advancement you are working on?

G: We have several innovations. The first is the business model itself, which is to empower a generation of educators to own their own micro-learning centers. The second very exciting innovation is that when a child comes to one of our centers, they’re also going to have access to 24/7 on-demand academic coaching through any electronic device. So if a child is stuck, 4:00 in the morning with geometry, they’ll be able to go online and get help. I think the other big innovation for us is establishing partnerships with not-for-profits. So by opening up inside not-for-profits, we’re really helping the not-for-profits accomplish their mission by providing high quality academic support.

 Read the rest of the interview here and find other interviews and videos on OurCityThoughts.org


ENTREPRENEURradio, live events offer indepth interviews of successful entrepreneurs

Want to learn from people who have been there, done that? More and more, successful entrepreneurs are sharing their stories in South Florida, as part of a regional effort to inspire innovation and nurture an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Lifelong entrepreneur Seth Werner runs the nonprofit Entrepreneurs Workshop, an organization that provides education and scholarship opportunities to entrepreneurs who are launching, building and growing businesses. He and a partner recently launched an online educational service called ENTREPRENEURradio.

Werner, chairman and CEO of Harbour Real Estate Investments, and Marcy Rosenbaum, president of Consulting Alliance and producer/host of the Internet radio Livelihood Show, produce the new podcast series, which features 30-minute in-depth interviews with successful entrepreneurs, both local and nationally based.

ENTREPRENEURradio donates proceeds earned from sponsors and donors toward grants for students enrolled in entrepreneurship programs, said Werner. These students are then able to attend selected conferences and gain access to inspiring mentors and cutting-edge concepts. ENTREPRENEURradio has formed partnerships with Nova Southeastern University and University of North Carolina and others involving South Florida institutions are in the works, Werner said.

Recent podcast interviews have included Michael Grimmé, who went from oil trading to hotelier to founder of AMC Liquidators, and Beverly Raphael, who took over as president and CEO of RCC Associates, a general contracting firm, after her husband’s sudden death and managed to triple the size of her company. Another interview was of Marcell Haywood, CEO of Dirt Pros, the 6th fastest growing privately-held company in South Florida, according to Inc. Magazine. Find their stories and others on this new resource at www.entrepreneurradio.org.

OurCityThoughts.org, which launched about 10 months ago, also offers entrepreneurial stories, albeit in shorter form. Here you will find short videos, Q&As and feature stories on South Florida entrepreneurs and changemakers.

If you would rather experience the interview in person, you can do that too in a growing number of regular events in South Florida that feature talks by South Florida’s most successful entrepreneurs.

The latest entry is a free speakers series hosted by The Idea Center @ MDC, a new entrepreneurship center for Miami Dade College students. The inaugural Pioneers @ MDC lecture will feature Juan Diego Calle, co-founder of .CO Internet and TeRespondo.com at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17. This event is free and open to the public, and will be the first of many speakers. Find more information and register here.

Startup Grind features an hourlong interview each month, usually the second Tuesday, and there is plenty of time for questions from the audience and networking. Past interviews have included Daniel Cane of Modernizing Medicine, Rodolfo Saccoman of AdMobilize and Mario Cruz of Choose Digital, and John Duffy of 3C Interactive is speaking this Wednesday at The LAB Miami and tickets are availabe at startupgrind.com/miami. These interviews are also videotaped and archived on the website.

Tech Cocktail (tech.co/miami) also brings a local speaker series to Miami as part of its programming. It recently featured Andres Moreno of Open English. Creative Mornings (creativemornings.com/cities/mia) features entrepreneurs from the creative industries who speak on a particular theme. Brainfood @ The LAB started the trend with insightful interviews of Maurice Ferre of Mako Surgical, Jose Vargas of Healthcare.com, Albert Santalo of CareCloud, Hugh MacLeod of Gapingvoid and others.

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.


The survey says... Pembroke Pines 'best city for Hispanic entrepreneurs

Pembroke Pines — not Miami — ranked as the “Best City for Hispanic Entrepreneurs,” according to a report released Tuesday by WalletHub.

WalletHub said it assessed the minority business climate within the 150 largest U.S. cities, by examining 19 key metrics such as Hispanic entrepreneurship rates, corporate tax systems and the share of businesses owned by Hispanics.

The only other Florida cities to make it to the top 10 were Jacksonville, at No. 6 and St. Petersburg at No. 8. Orlando ranked 15; Fort Lauderdale 17; Miami, 42, Hialeah 72.

For the full report and to see where your city ranks,  visit: 

- Ina Cordle







Providence, R.I. came in at the bottom of the list, at No. 150.

WalletHub said it defined Hispanics as those who classified themselves in one of the specific Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino categories listed on the U.S. Census questionnaire. Persons counted in the census include citizens, legal immigrants, non-citizen long-term visitors and illegal (or undocumented) immigrants.

South Florida fashion startups starring in documentary

Logo_stillApril GoLightly, style & lifestyle blog personality, will be premiering “Startup is the New Black,” an independent documentary film featuring an inside look at the world of South Florida fashion startup companies. The film, highlighting these fashion houses’ highs, lows and everything in between, will be screened for the first time at Miami Fashion Film Festival on September 11, 2014 from 9:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at Miami Beach Cinematheque.

“We are very excited to showcase the fashion industry and startup culture right here in South Florida and thrilled to be screening the film for the first time at the Miami Fashion Film Festival,” said April Erhard, Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Lifestyle Blog, April GoLightly (www.aprilgolightly.com). “‘Startup is the New Black’ sheds some needed light on the countless facets of the fashion industry within our community-- from fashion apps to accessory design; there is talent and passion around every corner in South Florida and we want the rest of the country to see what we see.”

“Startup is the New Black” was produced and directed by Sunstone Productions, the Boca Raton film production company owned by April Erhard and husband, Kevin Erhard. April Erhard acted as Producer and Kevin Erhard was the Director and Editor. The husband and wife team of Christian and Ecaterina Pareja assisted as well, with Ecat acting as an additional camera operator and Christian providing location sound recording, as well as performing the final audio mix.

Tickets for the first screening on September 11, 2014 will be available at www.StartuapistheNewBlack.com starting August 1st and are $12 per person.

Featured South Florida Fashion Startup Companies:

Brad Liff, founder of Fitting Room Social.

The Scandar Sisters, co-founders ofVividly.co.

Anca Bettencourt, founder of Penny’s Dreamology.

Mitali Saxena, founder of a mobile app called Fashom.

Cristina Llanos founder of Lost in Lusso.

Larisa Jevtovic, founder of Shopping Minute.

Tatiana Torres, founder of Furor Moda.

As well as recent MIU graduate and fashion designer Pilar Tarrau.

Neil Ramsay, a specialist in startup operations, acts as a guide through the film.

Submitted by April GoLightly  

Save the dates: Strong event lineup marks Season of the Startup

With summer soon turning to fall, the greatest indication of a change in seasons is in the event calendar. The Season of the Startup is already shaping up; here’s a look at a sampling of events:

Social Good Summit Miami, Sept. 22-23 at Miami Innovation Center, will examine the impact of technology and new media on social good initiatives, and community leaders will discuss solutions for Miami’s greatest challenges. The theme, #2030NOW, asks the question, “What type of world do I want to live in by the year 2030?” More info: sgsmiami.com

Fintech LATAM, at the Lightbox in Wynwood on Sept. 24, will bring together 200 banking executives, tech professionals and innovators to share ideas on technology trends that are changing the way businesses and consumers use financial services. Fintech aims to push forward Miami as a financial technology center. Info: fintechlatam.com.

TigerDirect’s TechBash will welcome 20,000 to Marlins Stadium on Nov. 7 from 7 to 11 p.m. for a free event that will feature more than 150 vendors, entertainment, food, exhibits, opportunities to purchase the latest technologies at Black Friday-like prices and “many surprises,” say the organizers. For the first time, the event will also include the finals of the Build Your Own PC Race For Charity. Info: tigertechbash.com

The Miami Mini Maker Faire, an all-day, family-friendly celebration of the maker movement is back to a second year in Wynwood Nov. 8 and will include a street festival with more than 120 makers, including artists, engineers, entrepreneurs and educators. Info: makerfairemiami.com

WebCongress, a two-day conference Nov. 13-14, will feature speakers, workshops and a party. Info: webcongress.com/miami

SIME MIA will once again gather global thought leaders from technology, media and the arts. The event, at the New World Symphony Center and The LAB Miami Dec 1-2, will again be hosted Ola Ahlvarsson, serial entrepreneur and former Kickboxing world champion, and will include dozens of speakers, including Jimmy Maymann, CEO of Huffington Post, Bobby Moresco, Oscar-winning screenwriter for Crash and Million Dollar Baby; and Karin Nilsdotter, CEO of Spaceport Sweden. Info: simemia.co

ITPalooza, Dec. 4 at Nova Southeastern, is an all-day event for tech professionals. with a hackathon, workshops, exhibits and holiday party. Info: itpalooza.com

WeXchange 2014, an event to promote Latin American women entrepreneurs and offer networking, education, a pitch competition and opportunities to meet with investors, will be Dec. 11-12 at Miami Dade College and The LAB Miami. Info: wexchange.co

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.



Entrepreneurship Datebook

Tech eggBUSINESS BASICS: SCORE Miami-Dade presents a free workshop called “Simple Steps for Starting Your Business,” 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8, 2000 Ponce Business Center, 2000 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables. This workshop is free but it is part of a five-part series. To register. email events@scoremiami.org or call 786-425-9199.

CIVIC HACK NIGHT: Join the weekly civic hack sessions in Wynwood, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8, The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th St. More info: thelabmiami.com

1 MILLION CUPS: South Florida startups make pitches, present their challenges and gain feedback, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10, Venture Hive, 1010 NE Second Ave., Miami. More info or to sign up to present: 1millioncups.com/Miami.

STARTUP GRIND: This month’s featured interview is with John Duffy, founder and chief executive officer of 3Cinteractive, a pioneer in mobility for businesses, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10, The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th St. $5-$25. More info and tickets: Startupgrind.com/Miami

STARTUP SHOWCASE: Selected startups will give short pitches and the audience chooses the winner at Tech Cocktail’s Miami Mixer and Startup Showcase, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.,Wednesday, Sept. 10, The Stage, 170 NE 38th St., Miami. $15-$35. More info and tickets: tech.co/miami

Posted Sept. 7, 2014



Social Good Summit Miami plans 2-day conference

Social Good Summit Miami, Sept. 22-23

WHERE: Miami Innovation Center, 1951 NW 7th Ave, 6th Floor, Miami, FL 33136

WHAT: #SGSMiami is a two-day conference examining the impact of technology and new media on socialgood initiatives locally. Held during UN and Social Media Week from September 22-23, uniting a dynamic community of local leaders and grassroots activists, to discuss solutions for the greatest challenges of our city.

Miami will join New York City as the only two US cities participating alongside 37+ other confirmed countries worldwide.

WHY: Our goal for the Social Good Summit Miami is to bring together community thought leaders focused onsocial good, joining the voices and ideas of people around the world. We want to highlight all the good that is already being done here in Southern Florida, tackle challenging questions, exchange information and rally behind the global hashtag, #2030NOW and the local hashtag, #SGSMiami.

Our theme, #2030NOW, asks the question, “What type of world do I want to live in by the year 2030?” During the Social Good Summit, global citizens around the world unite to unlock the potential of technology to make the world a better place. 

Tickets are available through Eventbrite at sgsmiami.com


Venture Hive wins SBA grant in nationwide competition


Venture Hive, an accelerator, incubator and entrepreneurial education company in downtown Miami, was one of 50 winners of the inaugural nationwide Growth Accelerator Fund competition, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced Thursday. Venture Hive was  selected after reviewing more than 800 applications. The 50 recipients represent 31 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and come from a broad set of industries and sectors - from manufacturing to tech startups to farming as well as a focus on a diversified range of demographic groups.

"We’ve seen the enormous success of the accelerator model in communities like Silicon Valley. We believe we can export this type of sophisticated support structure across the country to help startups become commercially viable and create jobs more quickly," said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. "I want SBA to stand for 'Smart, Bold and Accessible' and these accelerators encompass all three of these goals.”

Winners were selected by a panel of seven judges who are experts in entrepreneurship, investing and business plans both inside and out of the federal government. The judges reviewed the applications and pitch videos submitted by the 100 finalists in the competition.

Each organization will receive a cash prize of $50,000 from the SBA. In accepting these funds, the accelerators will also be committing to quarterly reporting for one year.  This will allow the SBA to create a useful database of accelerators and their impact, and to develop long-term relationships with the startups and constituents in these innovative and entrepreneurial communities.

“It’s rewarding to see a local business accelerator win an award in SBA’s first Growth Accelerator Fund competition,” said SBA South Florida District Director Francisco “Pancho” Marrero.  “Miami’s Venture Hive is working hard to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem based on sound educational principles."

The purpose of the competition was to draw attention and funding to parts of the country where there are gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.  The SBA is going to honor the winners at a Fly-In day in Washington, D.C.  in November during National Entrepreneurship Month, in partnership with the Global Accelerator Network.

Venture Hive's accelerator serves selected tech startups in the tourism/hospitality, healthcare, creative and logistics sectors, all industries Miami-Dade is strong in.

  In May, Venture Hive was selected to host the country’s first Microsoft Innovation Center, and it just wrapped up a virtual accelerator for entrepreneurs in Africa, Venture Hive founder Susan Amat said. More information is available on venturehive.co