November 19, 2015

Start small, be realistic as well as optimistic, founder says

Diener founder offers insights on entrepreneurial success during talk at University of Miami School of Business for Global Entrepreneurship Week.

 By Richard Westlund

To succeed as an entrepreneur, do your homework, limit your spending, start small, and be willing to give back. Bob Diener, founder of and, offered that advice to students, alumni and others during a talk at the University of Miami School of Business November 16. Diener spoke in the inaugural Fouad H. Scandar Memorial Speaker Series as part of the University’s Global Entrepreneurship Week activities.

“Most entrepreneurs don’t think things through,” said Diener. But you have to be realistic as well as optimistic. That means being careful and frugal, as well as moving quickly to take advantage of a market opportunity. You also have to treat your customers right in order to keep them coming back to your company.”

Diener’s talk on "Conservative Entrepreneurship: A Business Philosophy"

was supported by the School of Business Entrepreneurship Program, the Launch Pad, and RefreshMiami. Will Silverman, director of The Launch Pad, introduced Diener, who signed copies of his book, “Biblical Secrets to Business Success,” after his presentation.

Susy Alvarez-Diaz, director of entrepreneurship programs at the School of Business, thanked the Scandar family for making Diener’s appearance possible. “Fouad Scandar was a lifelong entrepreneur, who came from his native Egypt, studied nuclear medicine at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital program and managed a successful consulting and diagnostic business,” she said. “He believed that someone who was willing to boldly seek new solutions, dream big, and take advantage of available resources could become a great entrepreneur, and this series imparts that message.”

In his talk, Diener traced the evolution of the online travel industry, dating back 25 years to when the Internet was in its infancy. “We looked at the hotel industry and saw the average occupancy was only 60 percent,” he said. “That provided us with an opportunity to take those excess rooms and sell them to travelers at a discount.”

In 1995, Diener launched his first online travel site, which took off as the Internet’s popularity grew. Realizing that hotels were slow to pay commissions on the rooms his company sold, Diener created today’s “pay in advance” model, and changed his brand to in order to attract more consumers.  

Three years after a successful initial public offering (IPO) Diener sold the company, and recently launched a new brand,, offering a VIP program, flash sales and other features to give consumers lower room rate.

“Our industry is moving toward greater personalization,” Diener said in response to a student’s question about the future. “You will be able to get a simple, streamlined experience based on the destinations, types of rooms and deals you like, and you will be able to do it all on your watch or other mobile device.”

Drawing from his own experience, Diener gave attendees a number practical tips for entrepreneurial success. “I was trained as a lawyer, so I learned to think about what can go wrong,” he said. “Most business people focus on the upside, but you have to avoid taking on too much risk.”

He also emphasized the importance of researching the competition, gathering feedback from others, building a solid business model and offering an appealing value proposition to prospective customers. “You need to achieve a positive ROI (return on investment),” he said, “Always remember that you can’t conquer the world without figuring out how to make a profit.”


November 17, 2015

Sime MIA update: Startup contest, discounted tickets, new sponsors

If you haven’t purchased your Sime MIA ticket yet, here’s a way to get a big discount and help a South Florida startup win exhibit space at the same time. The Sime MIA conference, taking place Dec. 1-2, explores the intersection of media, innovation, technology and art. The events take place in Miami on Dec 1-2, 2015, at the beginning of Art Week.

 This week, a competition launched for select startups called "Bring Your Fans to Sime MIA." They are competing to win a free demo area to showcase their company at the Sime MIA Summits dedicated to FinTech and Big Data on December 2 at the LAB Miami and Lightbox, and attend the Sime MIA VIP exclusive events.

Fans can use the unique discount code for their favorite startup between Monday 11/16 at 9am and Friday 11/20 at 5pm. The startup that has the most fans purchase discounted tickets will be given a high-profile demo area.

With the fan discount, ticket purchasers can attend the half-day Sime MIA FinTech and Big Data Summits for $48 (normally $249), participate in the full day of Sime MIA Converge for $148 (regularly $399); get an “All Access Pass” for $248 (normally $799)

The startups for “Bring Your Fans to Sime MIA” 2015 Contest and their discount codes are:

SimeAdmobilize: AdmobilizeSimeMIA

Alzhup: AlzhupSimeMIA

Blackdove: BlackdoveSimeMIA

Centric Consulting: CentricSimeMIA

Eco Tech Visions: ETVSimeMIA

Kurator: KuratorSimeMIA

LiveNinja: LiveNinjaSimeMIA

Pidelo Rapido: PideloRapidoSimeMIA

POS Movil: POSMovilSimeMIA

SoStereo: SoStereoSimeMIA

Tesser Health: TesserSimeMIA

Tracks: TracksSimeMIA

Videoo: VideooSimeMIA

Sime MIA's speaker list includes startup founders, musicians, artists, inventors, social entrepreneurs an author, a neuroscientist and a Special Olympics World Champion. Day 2 is the summits. Recently, MIA Collective, the co-producer of Sime MIA, said Citi will be the co-host of the Sime MIA | Fintech summit; and arago will co-host the Sime MIA | Big Data summit, both taking place Dec. 2.

Each summit will be a half-day conference and will gather 400 attendees comprised of global entrepreneurs, startup founders, industry executives and investors. During the course of each summit, attendees can expect knowledge-packed keynotes, engaging panel discussions between industry leaders and hands-on workshops. 

“The goal of the summits is to complement the Sime MIA journey with a multi-sensory experience, ranging from coding classes to virtual reality exhibits, and covering some of today’s more significant opportunities in the tech space; all of which will be designed in partnership with our thought-leading partners Citi and arago,” said Demian Bellumio, co-founder of MIA Collective. Mr. Bellumio added, “The Co-Hosts will not only work with Ola and the rest of the team to select the most important topics to cover during the events, but also collaborate with us to ensure we gather the industry’s leading experts, executives and entrepreneurs under one roof."

Sime MIA is  supported by the Knight Foundation,  as well as leading local organizations such as The LAB Miami, New World Symphony, eMerge Americas, YellowPepper, Rokk3r Labs, Wyncode Academy and Senzari.  The event is produced by MIA Collective and Stockholm-based Sime, led by Ola Ahlvarsson. To learn more about Sime MIA 2015,  visit


Büro Group opens Coconut Grove co-working center, its fourth location

Büro Grove Int2 (1)

Miami-based Büro Group has opened its fourth co-working location, a 10,000-square-foot center in Coconut Grove, following openings in Midtown, South Beach and, most recently, MiMo.

Located above Harry’s Pizzeria, Kit and Ace and Panther Coffee in the recently renovated Engle Building, Büro Coconut Grove features a mix of private suites and open workspaces for entrepreneurs, freelancers and creative companies, with host of host of services and amenities including meeting and event spaces, monthly workshops and discounts at local restaurants.

“There is a new buzz in Coconut Grove these days and it’s really exciting for local residents and businesses. The addition of Büro should only accelerate this creative and retail resurgence, just as it did in Midtown and Sunset Harbour,” said Ray Fort, a designer at Arquitectonica and managing partner of the building housing Büro Coconut Grove.

Büro's growing community now includes over 750 members across 300 companies. In addition to local startups and creative firms, Büro is home to popular national brands such as Airbnb, Gilt Group, Postmates and Barry's Bootcamp. Over 30 companies have already moved into the new Coconut Grove space since its opening earlier this month, said Büro founder and CEO Michael Feinstein. For additional information:

The new space is part of a wave of co-working centers opening in South Florida, particularly outside Miami’s urban core from Brickell to Midtown. Recently, TamboWorks opened in South Miami and Pipeline opened a space in Coral Gables.

Tips for success at Startup Weekend Miami at FIU this weekend

By Adam Boalt and Tara Demren

AdamSouth Florida entrepreneur Adam Boalt is founder and CEO of tech company LiveAnswer. Tara Demren, an international business major at Florida International University, is LiveAnswer’s communications and strategy manager. Boalt, who hired Demren after her team took third place at a Startup Weekend event in May, will be the keynote speaker at Startup Weekend at FIU, scheduled for Nov. 20-22 at the university’s Tech Station on the Modesto Maidique Campus.  The event is designed to enable aspiring entrepreneurs to create, pitch and launch their startup ideas over one 54-hour weekend. To register visit StartupWeekend.Miami.

Why should someone attend Startup Weekend at FIU?

Adam: People think starting their own company is impossible or being an entrepreneur is something that they aren’t capable of. Helping them overcome that fear and take the plunge is the reason that I love going to Startup Weekends. I used to shuck oysters on the weekends at Monty’s. You can go from there to running a successful business in a relatively short period of time if you work really hard.

TaraTara: For me, the success of going to Startup Weekend is not necessarily walking out with a company built but it’s more that you create this new sense of awareness that there’s more to life than just being idle and going with what you’re familiar with. You get out of your comfort zone, you pitch your idea to strangers and you begin to understand that there’s a lot more you can do in life.

What’s the best advice you can give participants?

Adam: You have to embrace failure in order to be successful. You can’t be afraid of the one thing that prevents so many people from becoming an entrepreneur. Once you can accept that, it becomes a lot easier. If you can remember where you came from and remain humble, you know you can always go back and you’re not afraid to move forward.  

Tara: You have to portray confidence, that you are sure of what you’re doing and you really believe in your idea. You can be unsure inside but you have to project confidence to your team and to your mentors. And bring a yoga mat. Take breaks. You’re going to be sitting for an absurd amount of time.

What are some pitfalls to avoid?

Adam: Don’t try to take over the world in one weekend. Be hyper-focused on the goal, which is to build your team, build out your concept and refine your pitch for the judges. Don’t get hung up on details that don’t matter. The teams that are successful are structured, organized and they’re not biting off more than they can chew. You’re not going to go from zero to Uber in one weekend.

Tara: Look for the “MVP” – the minimal viable product. You want something that is valid but it could be the small, most minimal part of your startup. It doesn’t have to be a full-fledged company. It could be a small, bite-sized idea that you are able to prove is viable.  

Is there anything participants can do to prepare?

Adam: Yes, get your friends to go with you. And don’t overthink it. Be open-minded. It’s a wonderful learning opportunity, a way to experience entrepreneurship without taking a big risk.

Tara: Be flexible. You shouldn’t prepare too much with your own personal idea because that might not be the one you move forward with and that can be demoralizing. That’s not the attitude you want to have, that it has to be your idea.

Why is FIU a good place for startups and entrepreneurs?

Tara: The biggest thing is they are willing to support students like me who want to get involved with the startup community. I’d like to see a ripple effect, where more professors begin advocating for events like Startup Weekend to give students the confidence they need to get out of their comfort zone.

Adam: Miami is riding this wave of startup activity and it’s because we have pulled our resources together to work as a community. That’s true of FIU and other universities as well. Fear prevents students from taking risks. Anything universities can do to allow students to experiment with entrepreneurship without taking a huge risk is a good thing.

What’s the biggest takeaway you want to leave participants with about Startup Weekend at FIU?

Adam: I do what I do because I love it. The money is a byproduct. You can’t do this just to make money. You’ve got to love what you do, that’s the most important thing.

Tara: Go big or go home!

 To register visit StartupWeekend.Miami.



November 16, 2015

CappSci Inventors program awards inaugural innovation prizes

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Rivah Winter, top photo by World Red Eye, presents to Miami-Dade high school students and later that evening, all the CappSci finalists, including Prasoon Diwakar, above in photo by David Santiago of El Nuevo Herald, talk with community members at their booths at Gramp's in Wynwood.


By Nancy Dahlberg /

To win the CappSci Inventors Prize, it wasn’t enough for the scientists and engineers to be able to present their work to fellow academics and scientific leaders — they also had to win the hearts of a group of students representing three high schools and startup community members attending “Nerd Nite” in Wynwood. That’s just one of the ways that the new prize program is unique.

CappSci, a science nonprofit that runs innovation prize programs, and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science announced that Andrew Baker and Rivah Winter of the University of Miami and Prasoon Diwakar of Purdue University were selected as the winners of two inaugural CappSci Inventors challenges; one called for solutions for protecting coral reefs and the other was for protecting humans from carcinogens. And when the new museum opens next summer, patrons will be able to watch the innovations come to life over the course of a year.

The CappSci Inventors program will distribute $1 million over five years to 10 inventors, offering fresh approaches to solving major global problems. Winners received a $100,000 grant to support a 12-month residency at Miami’s new Frost Science to build out and test their early stage technology.

Baker and Winter, both Miami residents, won for their project on stress-hardening corals, which involves priming corals with heat-tolerant processes to increase stress resistance and make reef restoration more effective as ocean temperatures rise. At their booth at Nerd Nite at Gramp’s bar in Wynwood last week, Winter, a PhD student, said she was excited about the possibility of getting out of the lab and being able to interact with museum goers and the science community in such an interactive and public way, combining her passions for scientific research and education.

Diwakar, a resident of Indiana and a research scientist, won for his proposed Laser-induced Breakdown Spectroscopy Detector, a portable instrument for real-time detection of carcinogens in airborne material as well as solid or liquid samples. His solution, a sampling kit that can be used by anyone, is quick, effective and less expensive than existing solutions, making it accessible to schools, airports, museums, government and private office buildings and other venues, Diwakar said on Thursday while showing off his booth. He, too, likes the idea of “bringing science to the people.”

Gillian Thomas, president and CEO of Frost Science, said that the residency with the Frost Science Innovation Labs will offer mentorship, important contacts and critical feedback. “The visitor interface is a critical component of the program and showcases the capacity of the Innovation Labs to engage the entire community in addressing 21st century challenges,” she said.

Inventors will work in an open laboratory housed in the museum’s Innovation Labs, Thomas said. Museum visitors will be able to observe the inventors in action, see a real-time log of their progress and share ideas with them. Accompanying exhibits will explain the underlying science and technologies in coral restoration and carcinogen detection.

The inaugural winners were chosen from dozens of global entries and were among six finalists who participated in a rigorous final evaluation process, which included input from Miami-Dade County Public Schools students, the local startup community and an expert judging committee. Winners were selected based on their invention’s technical potential and suitability for public participation in a museum setting.

“Part of the prize is about technology, but part of it is engaging the community, and we wanted winners who could do both,” Ted Caplow, CEO of CappSci, said Monday. “There’s tremendous excitement in Miami around trying to make Miami a tech city, and CappSci Inventors is my effort to play an important role in that. We have a new and unique model to harness the power of the crowd to incubate startups and foster good ideas that have the potential for global impact.”

The other two finalists presenting coral reef research were Remy Okazaki and Benjamin Mason of the University of Washington and Steve Whalan of Southern Cross University in Australia. The other two finalists with carcinogen-detecting solutions were Vinay Bhardwaj of Florida International University and Jose Almirall and Anamary Tarifa, also of FIU.

For the carcinogen category, the judges were Norma Kenyon, University of Miami’s vice provost for innovation; Svetlana Shtrom, director of technology commercialization at the University of Central Florida; and Jon Yoo, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Buffalo. For the coral reefs prize, judges were Reia Guppy, assistant professor at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (Marine Sciences and Environmental Studies Department); Carrie Manfrino, founder of the Coral Reef Conservancy; and Ken Nedimyer, founder of the Coral Restoration Foundation.

Interestingly, the high school honors students from Miami Beach Senior High, Sunset Senior High and WilliamH.TurnerTechnicalSchool chose the same winners as the judges, Caplow said. 

Caplow said next year’s CappSci contest will do a better job of conveying the full spectrum of what the prize offers from a career standpoint; it’s not just money to build a technology, but the opportunity to gain professional exposure to mentors and other experts as well as investors and potential partners. He said CappSci will continue the interactive judging process. “All of our finalists said they really appreciated the opportunity to speak to school kids in the morning, adults in the evening in an informal setting, and have a more formal pitch to experts the next day. ... My hope is that anyone who is involved with any of our contests learns something and gains something.”

For more information on CappSci Inventors, visit

In addition to the CappSci Inventors program, CappSci is also leading the Miami Science Barge project, a public floating marine sustainability lab that won the inaugural 2015 Knight Foundation Cities Challenge and will be stationed near Frost Science.

Nancy Dahlberg; 305-376-3595; @ndahlberg.

Kairos funded by Florida Institute, 500 Startups

By Nancy Dahlberg /

Kairos, a Miami-based human analytics company, found mentorship, a support network and most of its angel investors in the Sunshine State. Now – with a little help from YouTube – the venture-funded startup licensed a key piece of its technology from a state university and received an investment from The Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research

The Florida Institute supports company creation based on publicly funded research, and Kairos recently exclusively licensed technology from the University of Central Florida. Kairos’ CTO Cole Calistra came across a YouTube video by a PhD student at the time who created technology to identify faces in movie trailers, and CEO Brian Brackeen got the licensing process rolling. Some of the profits are shared with the university: “It’s a huge win for both Florida and Kairos,” said Brackeen, who founded the company.

Kairos will be using its Institute investment of $300,000 to hire a couple of computer vision engineers, Brackeen said. Kairos uses three-dimensional data gathered by its face analysis algorithms to measure people’s feelings and interactions as they interact with content and products.

“We believe that data as we know it today is just the beginning for business intelligence, and our mission is to radically change how companies understand people,” said Brackeen, noting that Kairos now owns the intellectual property for all the technology it uses. “Kairos is the only player offering both emotional analysis and facial recognition technologies used to capture decisive moments in people's behavior to empower companies with meaningful metrics. We help our customers understand humanity.”

Kairos has been on a roll. In April, it purchased a startup competitor, IMRSV, gaining valuable emotion analysis technology and expertise. Kairos, now a team of 14 in its Wynwood office, has raised $6 million in total and is planning a $10 million Series A venture capital round early next year. Brackeen, selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in 2014, and his team are participating in the 500 Startups Miami Distro program, a growth marketing accelerator in Miami, and also received a $200,000 investment from 500 Startups, a Silicon Valley accelerator and fund. “We are learning really advanced concepts to find new customers,” said Brackeen about the program, which includes eight growth-stage tech companies from around the world.

In the last month, The Florida Institute also finalized a funding agreement with Genetic Networks, a Miami based company with technology developed at the University of Miami. Genetic Networks accelerates drug discovery and predictive medicine through its proprietary data-driven approach that delivers actionable data on both genes and compounds. “Genetic Networks' translational medicine informatics engine rapidly identifies lead compounds to therapeutic targets bridging the gap between drug targets, molecules and medicine,” said Genetic Networks’ founder Gennaro D'Urso, who declined to disclose the funding amount.

Formed in 2007, the Institute works collaboratively with Florida’s universities and research institutions to uncover commercially-viable technologies that may become the basis for tomorrow’s leading products and companies. The Institute provides company-building support services and seed-stage funding to help new ventures achieve development milestones and attract additional private investment capital needed for growth.

A recent study conducted by The Washington Economics Group found that between 2011 and 2015, companies supported by the Institute created of 1,144 new jobs; nearly 80 percent of which were in targeted, knowledge-based industries, with an average salary of $76,628. Entrepreneurs raised in excess of $28 million, inducing capital into Florida companies that may otherwise have been invested outside the state, the report said. Including Kairos and Genetic Networks, The Institute has funded 45 companies.

Nancy Dahlberg; 305-376-3595; @ndahlberg


Vigilant BioSciences gets approval to market OncAlert product in 28 European countries


Vigilant BioSciences, an innovator and developer of solutions that aid in the early detection and intervention of cancer, announced Monday that it has CE Marked its OncAlert LAB Assay for oral cancer risk. What that means: CE Marking allows Vigilant Biosciences to market the product in the 28 countries of the European Union as well as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. 

The OncAlert LAB Assay is a noninvasive, accurate and cost-effective tool for clinicians involved in the diagnosis and treatment of oral cancer. The test, an oral rinse, measures specific protein markers known to indicate risk of early stage cancers, aiding in the diagnosis of oral cancer, along with other clinical factors.

Vigilant Biosciences licensed technology from the University of Miami, and its creator,  Dr. Elizabeth Franzmann (pictured above with CEO Matthew H.J. Kim), is a co-founder of the company. The venture-backed company has multiple distribution agreements secured across the EU and expects to begin shipping the product during the first quarter of 2016.

Kim, who was recently named Entrepreneur of the Year by BioFlorida, called the approval a "major milestone" for the company. "With numerous distribution agreements in place and an aggressive marketing strategy, we are looking forward to making an impact on the high rate of late-stage oral cancers diagnosed globally," he said.

See in-depth story about Vigilant here.

November 15, 2015

Endeavor Miami report: 5 industries with strongest entrepreneurial growth potential

By Nancy Dahlberg /

Technology, healthcare, education services, creative industries and food/beverage are entrepreneurial industries that play to Miami’s strengths and appear to have the strongest growth potential in the local innovation economy, a new report by Endeavor Miami finds.

Endeavor Miami, a nonprofit organization that selects, supports and accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs, produced a report in order to get a better reading on where Miami’s entrepreneurial economy may be headed.

“I believe that Miami is beginning to define itself as an entrepreneurial community,” said Endeavor Miami Managing Director Laura Maydón. “Over time, industries with competitive advantages in South Florida versus other ecosystems will be able to attract resources faster and will have a higher impact in the economic development of our community. This report allows us to have a strategic view of where South Florida's entrepreneurial movement is growing.”

Maydón said people sometimes think that entrepreneurship is mostly related to tech but the report shows that there is strong entrepreneurial activity in several industries. The report also shows in what sectors there is an opportunity to innovate and differentiate South Florida, but resources have to be allocated not to miss that opportunity, such as in education, she said.

Here are a few highlights of the report released this week and available on

Software rules: The technology industry shows potential as a leading industry for entrepreneurial activity in South Florida because of the strong infrastructure of support services, including eMerge Americas, the Idea Center at Miami Dade College, Venture Hive and Refresh Miami. The best evidence of promise is the investment progress: The software and technology sector was among the most active in South Florida in 2014 in venture funding. Furthermore, software and tech jobs are expected to grow faster than overall employment growth in South Florida — 1.6 percent average annual growth compared to 1.2 percent. In addition, the report found that jobs in this sector are expected to grow from about 36,000 in 2014 to 40,000 in 2022, the report found.

Healthcare has a healthy heartbeat: Success stories, a large mentor network and access to a talent pool are helping to drive substantial progress in entrepreneurship in the healthcare and medical technology sector. Indeed, the sector received the second-highest level of investment in South Florida (and this trend is accelerating in 2015). Growth in the talent pool is expected to accelerate with the number of biomedical engineers expected to grow 5.3 percent annually from 2014 to 2022, while the numbers of mechanical and electrical engineers are expected to grow 1.4 percent, all outpacing the average annual growth rate for all South Florida occupations.

Ginnybakes_2946It’s not only about tech: Food and beverage could sizzle for entrepreneurial activity because the ingredients are already here. Miami has been outperforming the rest of the state in food service earnings growth, while the number of firms and sector employment have also been increasing. There’s a foodie culture here, expertise, a talent base and educational opportunities to augment progress. Still, South Florida entrepreneurial investment in this sector has been sorely lagging, forcing entrepreneurs to go elsewhere for funding, the report said. Notably, three selected Endeavor Miami companies are in this sector: My Ceviche, DeliverLean and ginnybakes (Ginny Simon of ginnybakes pictured here).

Innovation gets creative: Similarly, the creative industries sector is seen as a leading player in entrepreneurial growth because of the infrastructure already in place: a pool of multicultural professionals, a burgeoning art scene and a growing network of TV production facilities, fashion designer icons and renowned art events. Some trending areas entrepreneurs could take a leading role in include solutions for making the supply chain more efficient; data analytics for retailers, brands and suppliers; wearable technology; leveraging video and social media for more consumer interaction; and Internet advertising.

Leading education innovation: Education services have underperformed in earnings, but healthy job growth reflects the potential need for more innovation in the industry. While private investment has been low, public investment in the classroom has been a bright spot and “leaders recognize that education is an important area to innovate in if our community is to flourish,” the report said. Game-based learning, online and hybrid learning, and data-driven learning and assessment are a few of the trends driving innovation in South Florida’s education services sector.

“Endeavor Miami will continue to look for the best high-impact entrepreneurs across industries; that won’t change,” said Maydón. “But the report provides us with guidance of where South Florida is growing and allows us to be more strategic about our sourcing. It also helps me think about what type of mentor capabilities and partners will be needed by our entrepreneurs as they continue to develop themselves within those verticals. The more entrepreneurial activity within one industry, the faster that sector will attract the resources needed to grow.”

Endeavor Miami launched in 2013 with significant funding from the Knight Foundation and Endeavor Miami’s local board; Endeavor Miami was the global nonprofit’s first U.S. program. In the past two years, Endeavor has screened 211 companies. Through an extensive selection process that culminated in judging by international selection panels, 11 companies with 17 entrepreneurs are now Endeavor Entrepreneurs, joining the global network of more than 1,100 entrepreneurs in 25 countries.

Together these 11 companies will generate more than $60 million in revenue and more than 1,200 jobs in 2015, the report said. Forty-nine mentors have donated 781 hours since 2013, and 12 of them sit on Endeavor Miami Entrepreneurs’ advisory boards. In addition to receiving mentorship and introductions, Endeavor companies have participated in or have been supported by programs such as EY’s Growth Navigator, Bain & Company’s “Externship” program, Harvard and Stanford business schools and Kellogg’s executive MBA program.

Endeavor banks on the multiplier effect: These high-growth companies not only generate jobs, but their founders become role models and leaders in the entrepreneurship community, inspiring and mentoring future generations to think big and pursue high-growth entrepreneurship.

Nancy Dahlberg; 305-376-3595; @ndahlberg

Find out more about Endeavor Miami

Read the report, “Impact Report 2015: Insight on Trends in Entrepreneurship in South Florida,” find out more about Endeavor Miami and nominate a deserving entrepreneur for the program at Find the report here.

Coming up: Endeavor Gala

Endeavor Miami is holding a gala on Wednesday evening at the New World Center, and all proceeds go to furthering the organization’s mission. Honored with “Impact Awards” will be Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square and LaunchCode, and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, co-founder of Gilt Group and GLAMSQUAD. Find out more and buy tickets at


Global Entrepreneurship Week 2015: A listing of events

Globalentrepreneurshipweek800x400Global Entrepreneurship Week, created in 2008, is the world’s largest celebration of those who invent products and create new companies and startup businesses, in addition to those who use their business to create a social change.

During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. Many South Florida universities and organizations are celebrating  Nov. 16-22 with events speakers and activities aimed to inspire and engage students and the community. Most are free. Scroll down for events at St. Thomas University, University of Miami, Florida International University, Miami Dade College, Venture Hive , EcoTech Visions and more!

 If you have GEW-related events that are not listed here that are low-cost and open to the public, email and put GEW in the subject line and I will add them.

 St. Thomas University’s GEW at STU

 Monday, Nov. 16

Opening Ceremony: 3 – 4 p.m., Goldbloom Convocation Hall

Keynote Speaker: Manny Medina, CEO of Medina Capital Partners and founder of eMerge Americas and Terremark. Medina will be speaking about the opportunities and threats of the data revolution.

Business Leaders Roundtable: 4 – 5:30 p.m., Goldbloom Convocation Hall

Dynamic corporate leaders representing critical industries in South Florida will discuss their professional journeys, and how they see their industries changing and evolving in the next five years. Panelists include: Fabrizio Alcobe-Fierro, senior vice president of Univision Networks; Jacqueline Dascal Chariff, chairwoman of Continental National Bank; and Sam Zietz, CEO of TouchSuite.

Tuesday, Nov. 17

Young Entrepreneurs Panel: 3 – 4:30 p.m., Goldbloom Convocation Hall

This group of under-40 entrepreneurs are changing how people live, think and play through innovative ideas and technology. Panelists include: Stephanie Diaz, founder and designer of Love Always by SD; Vincente Fernandez, co-president of SportsMania; Felice Gorordo, CEO of Clearpath and co-founder of Roots of Hope; and Calibe Thompson, author and television producer.

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: 7 - 9 p.m., Goldbloom Convocation Hall

Our distinguished panelists will share how they adapted to a completely new culture, and the barriers they overcame to become successful entrepreneurs in the United States. Panelists include: Aston Lue, co-founder of Ocho Rios International Foods; Amir Hagoo, trial attorney and counselor-at-law at Law Office of Amir Hagoo, P.A.; Alvaro de la Cruz, founder, Fox Webpages LLC; and Anastasiya Voronina, CEO, Private Investment Firm.

Wednesday, Nov. 18

Women in Entrepreneurship Panel: 12:15 – 1:30 p.m., Bobcat Hall of Fame

This panel of trailblazing women is comprised of both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, in the areas of professional sports, insurance, technology, and real estate. They are leaders in their fields, and running businesses on their own terms. Panelists include: Patricia Delinois, CEO of Premier Elite Realty; Rachel Sapoznik, CEO of Sapoznik Insurance; Maria Hernandez, vice president of Modernizing Medicine; Kim Stone, vice president of Miami Heat Group; and Maria Arazoza, senior vice president at Merrill Lynch.

For registration information, please visit



For a complete event listing, please see:

Monday, November 16

The Birth of Internet Travel. The Fouad H. Scandar Memorial Speaker Series presents Bob Diener, founder of and  Mr. Diener talks about launching and growing the world’s most successful travel booking website, and his decision to sell. Sponsored by The Launch Pad at UM, the UM School of Business Entrepreneurship Program, and RefreshMiami.

7:30 to 9:30 p.m. University of Miami School of Business Storer Auditorium, 5250 University Dr. Coral Gables, FL 33146

Tuesday, November 17

The Launch Pad Demo Day. Meet, greet, and hear pitches by top entrepreneurs from the University of Miami.

6 to 7:30 p.m. Toppel Career Center Loft, 5225 Ponce De Leon Blvd Coral Gables, FL 33146 

Show Me the Money! – A Conversation About Securing Investment.  Angel investors and VCs from Miami and around the country will speak about the fund raising process and what it takes to raise money for a startup in our local ecosystem.

Moderated by Matt Haggman, The Knight Foundation

Panelists include: Jason Shuman – Corigin Ventures, Jack Karabees – Miami Innovation Fund, Bob Williamson – New World Angels

8 to 9 p.m. Toppel Career Center Loft, 5225 Ponce De Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, FL 33146

Wednesday, November 18

The Law of Startups – What You Need to Know. The Launch Pad and the UM School of Law offer a presentation by LegalTech Labs, a Miami-based legal technology incubator, followed by a panel of distinguished attorneys in the startup field discussing the legal issues startups face.

Moderated by Professor Dan Ravicher.

Panelists include: Jacqueline Hodes - DLA Piper; Michael Serotte - Serotte Law; Jamie Vining - Friedland Vining, P.A.; Brent Friedman, GC360 & Brent A. Freidman, P.A.

6 to 7:30 p.m.  University of Miami School of Law Faculty Lounge, 1311 Miller Rd Coral Gables, FL 33146 

HOW TO ATTEND:  All events are free and open to the public. Register here.

Florida International University


Starup Weekend Miami is a 54-hour event for developers, designers and entrepreneurs to hack on your latest idea. You will be able to present your own concept and form a team around it or join forces with someone else.

Over the weekend, you will be putting the foundations of a business case, designing and building a product prototype, testing your assumptions with a potential customers, and, on Sunday night, pitch the results of your weekend's work to a panel of amazing judges. What's more, over the weekend, you will have access to startup experts, investors, coaches and mentors there to help you bring your big-ideas to life.

Startup Weekend Miami has a "communication" focus. So your pitch and big idea could include: websites, apps, communication tools, wearables, journalism, PR, big data --essentially any that informs and engages people or groups and provides them information.

Where: Tech Station on FIU’s Modesto Maidique campus.

More info: or on Eventbrite.


Miami Dade College

Monday, November 16
6:00p.m. to 8:00p.m.
Audience: MDC Students and Community
Do you need to raise capital? Recruit top talent? Close a big sale? PitchMasters is the resource that will enable you to effectively, enthusiastically, and efficiently pitch your company to your intended audience. Pitching is as much an art as it is a science. Learn proven structures, psychology, and verbiage to craft and deliver your ultimate pitch
Free of charge to MDC students, please contact the Idea Center to find out more! _____________________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday, November 17
Innovation Lab Open House
9:50a.m. to 11:30a.m.
Audience: MDC Students and Community
Receive an in depth look at The Innovation Lab at The Idea Center. Join us for
Creativity, Innovation and Human Centered Design, a course lead by Ramiro Almeida of MIT’s Media Lab and Director of Innovation at The Idea Center.
For more information and to RSVP:

Thursday, November 19
Global Student Entrepreneur Awards
Peter Kellner, co-founder of Endeavor
6:30pm to 9:00pm
Audience: Students  Community
As part of EO’s commitment to advancing entrepreneurship within local communities, EO in partnership with The Idea Center at Miami Dade College host the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) local competition. The winner will have an opportunity to compete in our national competition in February 2016 in Miami and ultimately our global competition in May 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand. Keynote speaker will be Peter Kellner, Managing Director of Richmond Global and co-Founder of Endeavor.


 Monday, November 16th - from 8:30-10am - Global Entrepreneurship Week Breakfast with Lionel Carrasco (Leapfactor)

Event sponsored by sponsored by Endeavor and Venture Hive 

Speaker: Lionel Carrasco

Lionel came to Miami in 2001 as a CTO of Neoris, the second largest consulting firm in Latin America. Before Neoris he sold Alterbrain (e-builder) to CEMEX and ran a couple of startups in the Silicon Valley. Marcela Henao started Terremark back in 2000 after a successful career with Telcordia. Thereafter Marcela and Lionel started Leapfactor in 2010 with the idea to create a cloud based platform for business mobile Apps. Five years after Leapfactor continues to offer leading business Apps to help brands transform the way to touch their customers and how to enable their sales teams. Leapfactor has over 50 talented people on the team across the Americas and Marcela and Lionel are proud Endeavor entrepreneurs stubborn enough to stay in Miami.

Registration link:

Tuesday, November 17th - from 8:30-10am - Global Entrepreneurship Week Breakfast with Roger Duarte (My Cheviche)

The event is sponsored by Endeavor and Venture Hive

Speaker: Roger Duarte 

During his time as an investment banker, Duarte worked with Latin American companies, as well as the Hispanic business market in the U.S. Quickly climbing the corporate ladder, he tasted success but couldn’t help but feel unfulfilled in some way. Never wanting to work for anyone but himself, he always knew there was something else in the stars and actually stumbled upon the idea for what would be his next venture completely by chance. 

Now, as founder and president of the largest stone crab home delivery service in the U.S., as well as his stone crab export business Premier Exports, his national delivery outpost of George Stone Crab, his George Stone Crab take-out counter at Miami International Airport and most recently, the bustling South Beach take-out and delivery counter My Ceviche, Duarte is at the top of his game with no plans to slow down. 

Registration link:

Monday through Friday - 11/16 to 11/20

11/16, 11/17, 11/18, 11/19, 11/20 - from 5-7pm - Global Entrepreneurship Week - Food entrepreneurs Session 1-5 

Speaker: Zalmi Duchman

Zalmi Duchman is the Founder of The Fresh Diet. He began operations on January 1, 2006, with three clients. While Zalmi "shopped and dropped," his wife "cooked and packed." Today, Zalmi has grown his business to become the largest US food producer in the freshly-prepared, daily delivery category - which now delivers meal plans to thousands of clients nationwide. 

Consequently, Zalmi and The Fresh Diet have earned numerous prestigious accolades over the years, including making the Inc. 500 list consecutively in 2010 and 2011, The Forbes Top 20 Most Promising US Companies List in November of 2011, as well as being an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Nominee in both 2011 and 2009. 

Registration link: Session 1 

Registration link: Session 2 

Registration link: Session 3 

Registration Link: Session 4 

Registration Link: Session 5 

Thursday, 11/19 - from 8:30-1-am - Global Entrepreneurship Week Breakfast with Juan Damia, Intellignos’ Founder and CEO
Speaker: Juan Damia 
Juan Damia has more than 15 years of experience in the Big Data Analytics field. He developed the Meta Analytics theory that can be found in his Book Meta Analytics or on his Blog 
Juan co-founded two companies in the Analytics field, Socialmetrix (Part of the Daily Mail group) and Intellignos (part of Havas Media Group). In 2010, Juan was selected as an High Impact Entrepreneur and Emerging Entrepreneur in the same year. He is a mentor at Wayra, Venture Hive, University of Miami (The Launch Pad) and Endeavor and is an  international Speaker for eMetrics, DMA, GAUC, WebCongress, E-Commerce Day, Google Analytics Summit USA among many others.  
Registration link: 

Friday - 11/20 - from 8:30-10am - Global Entrepreneurship Week Breakfast with Mike Simon (Ginny Bakes).

The event is sponsored by  Endeavor and Venture Hive 

Speaker: Mike Simon with ginnybakes

ginnybakes is a Miami-based company producing feel-good cookies, bake mixes, and health bars that have the added benefit of being organic and gluten-free. The ginnybakes team has leveraged close relationships with distributors in a fragmented and competitive market to sell its products in many locations. 

Ginny, Steve and Mike develop the recipes in-house and then package and prepare the cookies for distribution at ginnybakes’ facility. While its competitors may outsource at least one step of the production cycle, ginnybakes can maintain fresh cookies while achieving quadruple its current revenues with integrated production facilities. Ginny, Steve and Mike have been able to create a dynamic brand in a competitive health food space despite their limited F&B experiences. ginnybakes is not only an inspiring story of a family business, but also a potential high-impact success story for Miami in the booming healthy foods market.

Registration link:


EcoTech Visions, a green-focused business incubator and accelerator for entrepreneurs, is launching the first annual EcoFest Miami 2015 on Thursday, Nov. 19 from noon-6 p.m.

The South Florida community is encouraged to attend and experience a day of eco-friendly living, products, entrepreneurship and community building.

Attendees will enjoy performances by Sekajipo for the People and Ronnie The VOP, plus seminars including: a solar panel technology presentation by PWRstation, a vegan cooking demonstration by Heal Nation & Baba, a Farmer's Market with free produce giveaway, interactive demos and exhibits from Frost Museum of Science, artists and sculptors creating art projects in real time, and much more!

The event will be held at Broadway Place, NW 68th St & NW 18th Ave in Miami and is free and open to the public. To learn more about EcoFest Miami, visit:



BRAINFOOD@THELAB: The speaker series features “A Case for Innovation and Scaling Businesses” with Adriana Cisneros, CEO of Cisneros Group and board member at Endeavor Miami, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th St., Miami. Register here:

CREATIVITY, INNOVATION: Ramiro Almeida of MIT’s Media Lab and director of innovation at The Idea Center at Miami Dade College presents a workshop on Creativity, Innovation and Human Centered Design, 9:45 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, The Idea Center, Wolfson Campus, Building 8, fifth floor.

CELEBRATING THE VALUE IN FAILURES: A panel discussion with Mike Fernandez of MBF Healthcare Partners, Ivan Rapin-Smith of Watsco Ventrues and Lilia Luciano of CoInspire hosted by Luminary Central and YPA, 6 p.m. Wednesday, The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th St. Tickets:

SALES GENIUS MIAMI: Topic is tools for finding leads and prospecting for B2B sales. Speaker: Auston Bunsen. 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Senzari, 601 Brickell Key Drive, Miami. Register here:

CITEE SUMMIT: Digital Grass Innovation & Technology presents the Continuing Innovation Technology Entrepreneurship Education (CITEE) Summit Thursday and Friday at the FIU College of Architecture + The Arts Miami Beach Urban Studios. More info:

HACKATHON: CODE2040, a nonprofit focused on driving greater diversity in tech across the country, presents HACK2040 Saturday and Sunday at The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th St., Miami. More info:



November 14, 2015

Entrepreneurship Datebook: Events, workshops in South Florida Nov.16-22

Tech eggMark your calendars: Global Entrepreneurship Week offers dozens of events, including speakers, panels, networkers, pitch contests, a hackathon and a Startup Weekend. Many events are free. For a more comprehensive listing, see the Starting Gate blog tomorrow and all week. If you would like to have an event listed, email

FOOD ENTREPRENEURS: All week long,Venture Hive features a series of sessions and breakfast talks by local food and culinary entrepreneurs including Zalmi Duchman of The Fresh Diet, Roger Duarte of My Ceviche and Mike Simon of ginnybakes. For the schedule of all events, go here:

THE DATA REVOLUTION: Manny Medina, founder of eMerge Americas, Terremark and Medina Capital, will keynote the opening GEW ceremony at St. Thomas University, 3 p.m. Monday, Goldbloom Convocation Hall. This will be followed by a Business Leaders Roundtable with Fabrizio Alcobe-Fierro, senior vice president of Univision Networks; Jacqueline Dascal Chariff, chairwoman of Continental National Bank; and Sam Zietz, CEO of TouchSuite, 4 p.m., Goldbloom Convocation Hall. To register, visit

THE BIRTH OF INTERNET TRAVEL: Bob Diener, founder of and, will talk about launching and growing the world’s most successful travel booking website and his decision to sell, in a talk hosted by The Launch Pad at UM, the UM School of Business Entrepreneurship Program, and RefreshMiami, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday, University of Miami School of Business Storer Auditorium, 5250 University Dr. Coral Gables. Register:

BRAINFOOD@THELAB: The speaker series features “A Case for Innovation and Scaling Businesses” with Adriana Cisneros, CEO of Cisneros Group and board member at Endeavor Miami, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th St., Miami. Register here:

CREATIVITY, INNOVATION: Ramiro Almeida of MIT’s Media Lab and director of innovation at The Idea Center at Miami Dade College presents a workshop on Creativity, Innovation and Human Centered Design, 9:45 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, The Idea Center, Wolfson Campus, Building 8, fifth floor.

THE LAW OF STARTUPS: The Launch Pad and the University of Miami School of Law host a presentation by LegalTech Labs, a Miami-based legal technology incubator, followed by a panel discussion by attorneys in the startup field, 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, UM Law School Library, fourth-floor faculty meeting room, 1311 Miller Road, Coral Gables. More info: (click on Events).

CELEBRATING THE VALUE IN FAILURES: A panel discussion with Mike Fernandez of MBF Healthcare Partners, Ivan Rapin-Smith of Watsco Ventrues and Lilia Luciano of CoInspire hosted by Luminary Central and YPA, 6 p.m. Wednesday, The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th St. Tickets:

ECOFEST MIAMI: EcoTech Visions presents a day of eco-friendly living, products, entrepreneurship and community building, noon to 6 p.m. Thursday, Broadway Place, NW 68th St. and NW 18th Ave., Miami. More info:

CITEE SUMMIT: Digital Grass Innovation & Technology presents the Continuing Innovation Technology Entrepreneurship Education (CITEE) Summit Thursday and Friday at the FIU College of Architecture + The Arts Miami Beach Urban Studios. More info:

HACKATHON: CODE2040, a nonprofit focused on driving greater diversity in tech across the country, presents HACK2040 Saturday and Sunday at The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th St., Miami. More info:

STARTUP WEEKEND MIAMI AT FIU: Join a team, build a company in a weekend and compete for prizes, with food and mentorship included, Friday through Sunday, Tech Station on FIU’s Modesto Maidique campus. More info: or on Eventbrite.


The Idea Center at Miami Dade College hosted Uber CEO and founder Travis Kalanick. Read about it here. Uber also announced it will be launching its ride-pooling service called UberPOOL in the Miami area. The Fresh Diet will be spun off as a separate publicly traded company. Keep up with startup news on the Miami Herald's Starting Gate blog.


Nancy Dahlberg @ndahlberg