November 23, 2015

Andres Cardona of FIU wins regional finals of Global Student Entrepreneur Awards


 Miami entrepreneur and college student Andres Cardona took home the big win at the regional finals for the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards last week.  The regional finals for the contest, in which college students from 50 countries ultimately vie for a prize of more than $500,000 in cash and services, was sponsored by Entrepreneurs' Organization South Florida and hosted at the Idea Center at Miami Dade College.

Six finalists were chosen to participate in a live pitch competition Nov. 19 at MDC’s Idea Center, which also included a keynote speech by Peter Kellner, venture capitalist and co-founder of Endeavor Global. For winning, Cardona received $1,000 in cash and $20,000 in services such as web, accounting and marketing from EO South Florida professionals.  Cardona will now go on to compete against 25 student entrepreneurs at the GSEA national finals in the spring, which will also be hosted at the Idea Center, and a $10,000 cash prize. The winner of the national competition will go on to complete in the global finals in Bangkok Thailand in May, with a $40,000 cash prize plus services.

Cardona, a  Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship alum and now a finance major at Florida International University, created the business plan for and began working on a youth basketball academy called Elite Basketball Academy ( while in high school because the student athlete was passionate about coaching young athletes and found a big need in the market. He's continued to grow the academy while a full-time college student,  and now the academy  has nearly 200 students/athletes. It's the largest of its kind in Miami, he said.

 “Our mission is to instill success principles in the youth of our community using the sport of basketball as a tool. We emphasize academic success, hard work, dedication, and a no-excuse mentality in order to achieve success. We focus on creating habits that will be everlasting and always present in the minds of our disciples,” said Cardona, who has also been honored by NFTE and Ernst & Young. Within three years, Cardona hopes to expand nationally, he said.

“This competition is special because the winners are not chosen solely on profit potential or the financial merits of their business plans, but largely based on their entrepreneurial journey,” said Mark Sanna, National GSEA Chairman, and EO-South Florida’s past president. “What challenges did these student entrepreneurs overcome, or what problem are they solving for others?  Compelling questions like these play a big role in the competition, and we know there are many great stories like this in South Florida.”

EO-South Florida is one of the world’s largest EO chapters, with  180 members whose businesses account for more than $1 billion in annual revenues and 30,000 jobs in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. EO-South Florida and the Idea Center, Miami Dade College's entrepreneurship hub, have partnered to support entrepreneurial innovation for MDC student entrepreneurs and other South Florida startup businesses.  To learn more about the GSEA competition or EO-SOFLO, visit

 Photo above is Andres Cardona presenting his business at the event and to the left is Mark Sanna of EO-SOFLO.


November 22, 2015

Startup Spotlight: Mundo Lanugo


From left, Mundo Lanugo’s Natalia Becerra, Avery Bailey, Roberto Castro and Carla Curiel. Photo by Hector Gabino.

Company: Mundo Lanugo

Headquarters: Venture Hive, downtown Miami.

Concept: Mundo Lanugo is a Latino entertainment brand that, through fun and authentic stories shared via digital videos and apps, inspires children to maintain their Latin culture and Spanish language while building the child’s self-esteem and identity.

Story: The second Carla Curiel became a mom, she had an urge to share with her twins her culture’s traditional songs, games and stories. She also wanted to pass along her Latino values and traditions as well as give them the gift of being bilingual. “But when I went to the stores looking for tools to help me raise proud bilingual and bicultural children, I just could not find any products that resonated with me,” she said. “I longed to see our spice, our culture, our uniqueness represented in media and consumer products.”

Next, the Babson College graduate set out to figure out if this was just the experience of “one crazy Latina mom” or a real unmet need in the market. Seeing the staggering numbers from her research, she concluded: “My calling was to develop those characters and that brand that I so desired for my kids, and that would serve as a bridge to help them grow a healthy identity with both cultures.” Curiel is creating a Latino children’s lifestyle and entertainment brand of American appeal and Latin feel that promotes the Spanish language and rich Latino culture.

Launched: September 2014.

Management team: Carla Curiel (co-founder and CEO), Roberto Castro (co-founder and VP), Natalia Becerra (creative director).

No. of employees: Four.


Financing: Mundo Lanugo has mostly been financed by Curiel’s husband and co-founder, Roberto Castro, and herself. Four months ago, the company raised a friends and family seed round of $200,000 and plans to raise more money in 2016. 

Recent milestones: Mundo Lanugo’s special 45-second animated interstitials centered on teaching values through Latino idioms were broadcast on Univision’s Despierta America during the summer, and ratings increased while animations were on the air. The company’s Christmas YouTube and Facebook videos have reached 1 million views and over 33,000 shares. Corporate partners have included Macy’s, Humana, Seventh Generation, Jackson Memorial Hospital, Hialeah Hospital and Miami Children’s Museum. The Mundo Lanugo: Juega & Aprende app has been downloaded more than 25,000 times. Alongside President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, Curiel celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month and the 25th anniversary of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics in Washington, D.C.

Biggest startup challenge: “Our biggest startup challenge has been organizing a complex and comprehensive idea for teaching culture to children into one single product, and also finding an ecosystem in Miami that supports entrepreneurs building brands, rather than a tech product,” Curiel said. 

Next steps: Continuing the path toward developing a full children’s animation series. In the meantime, the company will continue to share the Latino story and culture through shorter animations and interactive apps. “There are so many opportunities in the works for Mundo Lanugo,” Curiel said. “I can’t spill the beans on some of those yet, but you can expect great partnerships with broadcasters, co-production companies, distributors and direct-to-retail programs.”

Advisers’ views: As a board member, Michelle Spinale lends her expertise to help direct brand efforts anchored in content development and key partnerships to drive awareness, grow a loyal audience and connect with both Latino parents and kids in memorable ways. “I believe Carla and Roberto have the right vision, commitment and passion to make Lanugo Mundo a tremendous success,” said Spinale, brand marketing strategist and principal at The Spinale Group.

Venture Hive mentor Andrew Heitner, an entrepreneur and investor, has been helping Mundo Lanugo on the business side: “Carla is the expert on animation and creative endeavors. I have helped them create a sales funnel in order to categorize and prioritize potential key partners for the animation series, as well as future licensing opportunities. We have also explored together their go-to-market strategy and pricing model for their apps.”


 By Nancy Dahlberg; @ndahlberg


November 16, 2015

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 10, 2015

Healthcare startup in the spotlight: FIGS



FIGS finds better way to clothe an industry

The best medical treatment in the world can be sabotaged by a hospital-spread infection. Trina Spear and her co-founder Heather Hasson are squarely focused on making a difference there with their mission-driven e-commerce startup, FIGS.

FIGS, a fashion-forward medical apparel company based in South Florida, makes scrubs and sells them directly to healthcare professionals on To shake up an antiquated industry making the same boxy, uncomfortable and not-always-hygenic scrubs for a century, FIGS spent two years innovating the fabric alone.

“We were the first company to develop an anti-microbial treatment so that bacteria and infection and fluids aren’t seeping through and harming the medical professional. That was important to us,” Spear said. “Our fabric is stain-repellent and has moisture-wicking abilities. Think about what Dry-Fit did for athletics: We are the company that is bringing performance elements and technical elements to this industry that has never existed before.”

The scrubs are designed to look nice, too, with lots of functionality — pockets properly sized for today’s devices, medical supplies and other work gear, inside zippers where you can put your your wedding ring or your watch. “These are very important when you are on your feet 14 hours a day and you need something comfortable and functional for your job,” Spear said.

Based in Hollywood with an office in Los Angeles, the venture-funded FIGS is now a company with about 15 people. Before co-founding FIGS, Spear went to Harvard Business School and worked in investment banking: “I was doing very well and was working with talented and smart people, but I wanted to make a bigger difference in the world.”

FIGSINGUATEMALAHasson, a serial entrepreneur in the fashion industry, was trying to help a nurse practitioner friend find a better pair of scrubs — without success. At about the same time, Spear had done a private equity deal on a large medical apparel company, so she knew the antiquated industry needed disruption. They teamed up.

Integral to its social entrepreneurial business model, FIGS (which stands for Fashion Inspires Global Sophistication) has a nonprofit arm, Threads for Threads: For every set of scrubs sold, FIGS gives a set to medical workers in need in emerging economies in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and other parts of the world.

“In two years, we’ve donated about 75,000 sets of scrubs in 26 countries, and we’ve been able to reduce the hospital-acquired infection rate there by 66 percent,” said Spear. “It’s really just about having a clean pair of scrubs: Many [medical professionals] are working in dirty jeans and a T-shirt, and they are spreading disease from patient to patient.”

The company also partners with organizations such as International Medical Corps and sponsors medical missions for doctors and nurses to go abroad and help. It has sent in scrubs after natural disasters.

Nancy Dahlberg, @ndahlberg

See more healthcare startups in the spotlight here. 

See Special report Prescription for economy: Healthcare startup energy here.



November 05, 2015

RedCap, Videoo rocket to top in ETBS competition, take home the big checks


David Zwick, founder and CEO of RedCap, and Videoo co-founders Barry Stamos, CEO, and Joshua Stedman, COO, won the Emerging Technologies and Business Showcase. Photo by Jim Donnelly

By Nancy Dahlberg /

South Florida tech startups are finding more opportunities to pitch their businesses – and perhaps take home some big checks.

Twenty-four startups from around the state presented to a roomful of investors and business people on Wednesday at the day-long Emerging Technologies & Business Showcase hosted by Enterprise Development Corporation of South Florida, Florida Venture Forum and Space Florida and held at the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables.

They were selected from about 150 submissions, said Rob Strandberg, president of EDC. EDC has been running the event for several years, but this year the event was greatly expanded with Space Florida’s sponsorship. Along with the opportunity to pitch on stage and network with investors in the exhibit area, offering the winners a meaningful prize that will help take their companies to the next level  was important, said Strandberg. Companies received pitch coaching from the EDC, which runs startup incubators and mentors startups.

The winners, selected by panels of investor judges: RedCap (, a company that brings car sales and service to the consumer, won the growth stage category, and Videoo (, a startup that helps brands leverage social video, won the early-stage category. They took home $100,000 and $50,000 respectively.

The 24 companies represented all areas from the state and included medical device companies from Gainesville, a drone startup and a solar energy company from Jacksonville, ed-tech companies from Naples and a predictive analytics startup from St. Petersburg.

“Events like the Emerging Technologies & Business Showcase promote the growth of Florida-based, high-tech businesses, but also highlight the growing capital formation community in the state and showcase that we have the quality innovation-based businesses as well as the experienced management teams to execute bringing them to market,” said Space Florida President Frank DiBello. “The quality of the presentations was truly outstanding.”

Here’s a closer look at the winners:

Everybody loves their cars – except when they have to buy, sell or service them, said RedCap founder David Zwick. RedCap has a solution for that.

RedCap has developed software that enables automotive dealers to offer their customers “out of store” experiences, which allows a customer to service and purchase without leaving their home or office. “We take all of the pain out of buying and servicing a car,” said David Zwick, CEO of RedCap, based in Fort Lauderdale.

In its pilot tests, RedCap has found that the software improves customer satisfaction, increases revenue by 18 percent and reduces loaner expense by almost 50 percent. “The message is clear that dealers and manufacturers have to change the way they do business,” he said.

Now five years into RedCap (RedCap also offers a successful on-demand driver service for consumers), Zwick says the growth-stage company is at an inflection point. Nationwide, its software solution for auto businesses is in 50 to 60 locations around the country, but plans are to be in close to 1,000 stores next summer. South Florida customers include Warren Henry dealerships, Ferrari-Maserati in Fort Lauderdale, The Esserman Group in Miami, and several area AutoNation stores.

Zwick says he plans to use the money to help hire four additional software engineers and expand its customer service team as it ramps up more pilot programs.

Miami Beach-based Videoo offers software-as-a-service technology built for brands and publishers to better engage audiences through social video, said co-founder and CEO Barry Stamos. Videoo automatically pulls content from Vine, Twitter and Instagram for all-in-one playlists that re-order in real-time as audiences watch, vote, upload and share. Early adopters include A+E Networks, The Huffington Post, Mitu Networks, Bob Marley and Fusion (a joint venture between ABC, Disney and Univision).

Videoo signed two new clients this month, and has about eight new commitments from TV networks and major publishers to use Videoo in pilots, Stamos said. For example, Videoo is helping Fusion figure out how to be more creative with user-generated video and advance its methods of storytelling. It is also planning pilots with the History Channel for more social TV early next year.

Videoo also recently added Spanish and Portuguese and will be launching in Latin America soon, beginning with NBCUniversal Live from E! Latino. Stamos said Videoo, which has raised about $1.64 million, will likely raise another $400,000 to bridge to its Series A.

Other South Florida companies that presented at ETBS were BDEX, ClassWallet, EGLA Communications, Neocis, SettleitSoft, 71 Pounds, SirenMD and Symptify.

“I was humbled and inspired by so many of the other incredible entrepreneurs who were selected to participate. It’s inspiring that so many people have the courage and the commitment to bring new innovations to the marketplace,” said Stamos. “We all talked about how we could get together and help each other.”

More opportunities await. Startups and early-stage companies can apply for the Startup Showcase exhibition and competition at eMerge Americas April 18-19; find more information at The Florida Venture Forum is also taking applications to pitch at the Florida Venture Capital Conference in January; find more information at

Follow me on Twitter @ndahlberg


Action in the exhibit hall at ETBS; photos by Jim Donnelly.




November 02, 2015

Robotics startup in the spotlight: Neocis


Alon Mozes, left, and Juan Salcedo are CEOs of Neocis. 

Neocis targets dental implant market

By Nancy Dahlberg /

Alon Mozes worked at a number of young companies, including MAKO Surgical from the early days through its IPO. Then the Miami biomedical engineer took the plunge with his own robotics startup, Neocis.

Neocis is creating a robotic guidance system for the fast-growing dental implant market. The system provides the dental surgeon guidance both physically and visually before and during surgery, aiming to reduce surgery time and improve accuracy and outcomes through a minimally invasive approach. The surgeon’s procedure is planned in the software beforehand and the robot guides the drill while the doctor can also see everything on a large screen. “It’s perfect execution of your plan every time,” said Mozes. And if the surgeon needs to change her plan, that can be done on the spot within the software.

Mozes grew up in South Florida, and after getting his bachelor’s and master’s in engineering at MIT, he got his start in Silicon Valley. He worked for SportVision, an innovator in special effects for sports broadcasts like that yellow first-down line, gaining knowledge that would later come into play in robotics. But he wanted to come back to Miami, and returned in 2004 to study biomedical engineering at the University of Miami, earning his Ph.D. a few years later.

In 2005, he became one of the first 20 employees at MAKO Surgical. Mozes helped the robotics company develop software for its ground-breaking Rio system for orthopedic robotics surgery, create its first cadaver lab, and get its first FDA clearance.

He met his future co-founder in Neocis there as well: Juan Salcedo. Salcedo, who received his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering and master’s in biomedical engineering at Florida International University, was a key player in the design of Mako’s first and second generations.

Both men believed there was an unmet need and a lot of potential in the fast-growing dental implant market for robotic surgery. The $4.5 billion dental implant market, driven by an aging population and rising awareness about oral health, is estimated to reach nearly $8 billion by 2020, according to a 2014 research report.

They began working on their idea about 2009, Mozes said. Their prototype, made with scrap metal, looks nothing like what they have now, but it is proudly displayed in their office. “Nights, weekends, in the garage, that’s our beginning,” Salcedo said.

Neocis raised seed funding — its first investor was Fred Moll, who founded Intuitive Surgical and is well-known in the industry — at the end of 2012 and hired its first employee in January 2013. The company’s next multimillion-dollar injection came from a mix of local investors from Mozes’ Mako network as well as some from California.

Now with 11 employees, Neocis has completed its first-generation system and is going through the FDA process. Neocis is raising more money now.

Still, funding has been a challenge, Mozes said, because South Florida is still not seen from the outside as a typical environment for robotics and medical device innovation. But he’s happy to be seeing a growing healthcare innovation ecosystem here, with companies like MAKO, OrthoSensor, Modernizing Medicine and CareCloud among the leaders of the current generation: “It’s great to see them growing here and finding success.”

See all four healthcare startups in the spotlight here.

October 25, 2015

Startup Spotlight: Tio Foods aims to reinvent soup

Tio gazpachoCOMPANY NAME: Tio Foods

Headquarters: Wynwood

Concept: Tio Foods is on a mission to reinvent soup. Ditch the spoon, get rid of the bowl, forget about the mess: Its first product line, Tio Gazpacho, is soup that is as convenient as it is delicious, offering single-serve bottles for a premium organic light lunch or healthy snack on the go.

Story: Austin Allan lived in Spain for four years in the early 2000s and fell in love with gazpacho. He returned to the U.S. and worked at a startup in Washington, D.C., and then later for a large bank in New York, but he never found his calling. In 2012, he left his career and New York City behind to move to Miami to start a gazpacho company — with no food industry experience. 

“I am passionate about this product because it is a game-changer for the soup industry. We make a product that is certified organic, harms no animals, creates little waste, can be consumed on the go, and is going to shake up the soup industry,” Allan said. “Gazpachos are the first of many products that we are going to offer that will change people’s perceptions about soup.”

Tio Gazpacho has wholesale distribution in 14 states; it also has direct distribution in all 50 states through Its biggest customers are Whole Foods,, King’s Markets, Balducci’s and Shop-Rite. The company works with UNFI and Kehe, two of the largest distributors of natural, organic and specialty foods in the U.S., and is actively working to expand distribution in Florida and the Southeast.

Launched: Company founded in January 2013; first product launched in September 2014.

Management team: Austin Allan, founder, CEO and Totally Important Officer. Carolina Braunschweig, VP of sales.

Number of employees: Four.


Financing: Allan invested $100,000 of personal funds to start the business, then raised $325,000 in a friends and family/seed round that closed December 2014. Currently raising $500,000 through CircleUp:

Recent milestones reached: CEO was chosen to participate in a two-year emerging brands forum organized by Coca-Cola. Won a Best of East award at Natural Products Expo East, the largest organic food trade show on the East Coast. Drinkable soup named as one of the hottest food trends of the year by the Specialty Food Association (organizers of the Fancy Food Shows), SELF Magazine and CNN Money.

Biggest startup challenge: Without having a finance background, Allan said convincing investors that the concept was financially viable was a huge challenge. He spent the summer updating his business plan with the help of his advisors to show investors why this is a winning proposition. He turned to Circle Up to attract the interest of investors who want to write smaller checks. “And Circle Up is a great way to market your business in the investment community,” he said.

Next step: Launching a Watermelon-Cilantro Gazpacho in early 2016, and in the planning stages of an entirely new line of chilled soups (that are not gazpachos) in mid-2016. West Coast expansion in early 2017.

Strategy for next step: “I have assembled a rock-star team of food industry veterans that are advising me every step of the way,” Allan said. They include Eric Schnell, founder of Steez Tea, and Debbie Wildrick, a former Tropicana executive.

Nancy Dahlberg,


October 20, 2015

Former NFL star Jason Taylor joins hometown startup team Boatsetter

Jason taylorSouth Florida-based Boatsetter will have a new player on its startup team – former Miami Dolphin star Jason Taylor.

The boat-sharing company announced that Taylor, a new shareholder, will assist with client recruitment and will be joining the Boatsetter advisory board, along with acting as company spokesperson. Taylor will make a number of appearances on behalf of Boatsetter in the coming months, adding his star power to promotional events throughout Florida, said Boatsetter co-founder and Executive Chairman Andy Sturner.  “He knows boating inside and out and has been on both sides of our business as a renter and a boat owner.  He is a great role model and a real friend to our organization.”

Boatsetter, which matches potential boaters with privately owned boats and often captains, is counting on Taylor to bring its boat-sharing concept to fans new to boating. “I like the fact that Boatsetter has created a way for anyone to have the opportunity to experience boating,” said Taylor, who developed a passion for boating after moving to South Florida to play for the Dolphins.

Boatsetter announced in September that it merged with Cruzin, forming a company with more than 3,000 boats, nearly 200 marina partners and $7 million in investor financing.


October 14, 2015

New Wynwood startup launches daily fantasy sports app

LetsRUMBLSynkt Games has launched letsRUMBL, a free mobile Daily Fantasy Sports application available in app stores in the U.S. and Canada.  While many fantasy sports enthusiasts are crunching numbers with the hopes of hitting big jackpots, this Wynwood tech startup says it is offering a user experience that is designed for the casual sports and gaming fans that want a real chance to win prizes.

letsRUMBL enables anyone to immerse themselves into fantasy sports without the traditional challenges that come with setting up a fantasy team. “We have created an experience that is easy and approachable.  All a fan has to do is issue a challenge to another user, kick-in some coins and draft their five-athlete team. The reward for winning includes coins that can be redeemed for prizes including gift cards from national retailers,” said Bryan Abboud, founder and CEO of Synkt Games, the parent company that owns letsRUMBL, a daily fantasy sports app. “Our mission is to expand the market with a product that connects friends and gives players a real chance to win.”

The Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimates that the Daily Fantasy Sports market in the U.S. and Canada is expected to hit $1.2 billion by 2020, with a large share of that market still unclaimed. “With only a fraction of an estimated 56 million fantasy sports players participating in daily fantasy sports contests in 2014, letsRUMBL expects to appeal to that broader audience,” said Abboud, in a news release.