October 07, 2015

Endeavor taps EveryMundo, Yandiki to join global network

EveryMundo is a marketing technology company serving the travel and hospitality industry. Yandiki leverages the cloud to connect enterprises with on-demand talent. The founders of these two young Miami companies were selected Wednesday as Endeavor Entrepreneurs at the global nonprofit’s 61st International Selection Panel in Morocco.

SethAntonAnton Diego (left) and Seth Cassel (right), co-founders of EveryMundo, and Silvina Moschini, CEO and co-founder of Yandiki, join Endeavor Miami’s growing portfolio of high-impact entrepreneurs, which now includes 11 companies in its portfolio. The three join a total of 22 high-impact entrepreneurs representing 18 companies from nine countries selected at the panel. Endeavor Entrepreneurs receive targeted services including mentorship and access to capital, markets and talent.

“Endeavor has been incredibly influential for us in the preparation for entry into the organization. Our advisors have shaped our strategy, personnel and growth tactics over the past year,” said Cassel, from Morocco. “We are excited for what's to come.”

EveryMundo works with numerous airlines worldwide to increase their direct customer acquisition and therefore own their customer relationships. The company offers software products and services to increase online and mobile traffic acquisition and transaction conversion, in any language and country worldwide, said Cassel, adding that the team is comprised natives of 11 countries speaking 10 languages.

SilvinaYandiki’s core product, WaaS, functions as a marketplace with filtering features (skills, rating, cost, and productivity) for talent, verified through a series of customizable online tests, video interviews, and user generated feedback and certifications. The product allows for workforce monitoring including project and task management, real-time business analytics and billing, and clients include Twitter, MasterCard, Criteo, Tinder and Google, said Moschini, an international expert on Internet marketing.

"I experienced Endeavor while I was part of the leadership team at Patagon.com (the internet bank that was later sold to Banco Santander Central Hispano for $785 million and was one of Endeavor's first companies) and I cannot be happier that now I am joining their network," said Moschini. "I am super confident that they will bring me on step closer to make my dream of changing the world of work a mainstream reality."

Matt Haggman, Miami program director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and an Endeavor Miami board member, said: “The expanding group of Miami Endeavor entrepreneurs aligns with the consistent growth we’ve seen in the city’s innovation and startup ecosystem over the last few years. These new additions also highlight both the creativity and variety of ideas that are fueling Miami’s evolution.”

Endeavor’s International Selection Panel is a three-day process, where panels composed of six top global business leaders interview candidates about their businesses, high-impact leadership potential, and timing. To be selected, an entrepreneur must receive a unanimous vote.

Endeavor Miami launched its operations in September 2013 with the support of Knight Foundation and an active local board of business leaders. For more information on Endeavor Miami or to nominate entrepreneurs, visit www.endeavormiami.org.


October 05, 2015

Miami startups Biscayne Pharmaceuticals, Insero Health merge

Two young Miami-based biopharmaceutical companies, Biscayne Pharmaceuticals and Insero Health, already shared a lead investor and executive chairman, as well as office space on Biscayne Boulevard. On Monday they announced that they merged, giving the combined company two areas of focus.

Biscayne Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage company developing therapies for drug-resistant cancers, and its technology is licensed from the University of Miami. Insero Health is focused on treatments for epilepsy, pain and other central nervous system disorders. Dr. Stephen Collins, formerly CEO of Insero Health, has become CEO of Biscayne Pharmaceuticals. Samuel Reich, a Miami Beach healthcare investor who co-founded both Biscayne and Insero Health and most recently was CEO of Biscayne, will retain the position of executive chairman of the combined companies. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. The combined company, which will be called Biscayne Pharmaceuticals, has about five employees plus contractors.

Insero was co-founded by Harvard neurology professor and epilepsy expert Dr. Steven Schachter, and Biscayne’s cancer program is based on the work of Nobel laureate Dr. Andrew Schally, an endocrine researcher and prolific drug developer, said Reich. “Biscayne now is in the enviable position of having two novel platforms with excellent proprietary protection championed by world class scientists and targeting refractory conditions with major unmet needs,” he added.

September 28, 2015

Hail, taxi: ZabCab rolls out in South Florida

By Glenn Garvin

ZabcabCalling a taxi in South Florida no longer requires dealing with an actual human voice, just nimble fingers on a smartphone keypad. The New York-based company ZabCab unveiled an app Monday that will allow passengers in Broward and Miami-Dade to summon a regular taxi — though not Uber or Lyft — with a cellphone app.

Hundreds of Miami-Dade taxis began accepting calls from the app Monday, and ZabCab officials say they hope to have 1,500 of the county’s 2,200 cabs signed up by next year. And Broward’s Yellow Cab, which controls about three-quarters of the county’s legal taxis, has moved its existing app onto the ZabCab platform.

“This is going to give our customers — our residents and visitors — an easier way to get a taxi,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who attended ZabCab’s press conference at the Perez Art Museum Miami and made the first official call for a taxi on the company’s software.

“More and more of our younger people — and even people my age — are wanting to use their cell phones to get a cab quickly and easily,” he said. “This is definitely a big plus.”

The bilingual app, available for both Android and iPhone, in some ways resembles those introduced so successfully by Uber and Lyft. A prospective passenger is able to see cabs closest to his location and whether one of them has decided to accept his call. Then he can track the cab’s progress.

And, like Uber and Lyft, the app allows passengers to rate their drivers. Cabbies with low marks will be kicked out of the ZabCab system.

That’s where any resemblance to Uber or Lyft ends, though. Customers will still pay their drivers directly, rather than using credit cards through the app, and the prices will be the same as those set by county law.

There’s no charge to customers for using the app — or to drivers, either. In 2016, ZabCab will start charging drivers a flat 99 cents per trip for every customer obtained through the app.

“We won’t be making any money for a couple of years,” said ZabCab CEO Martin Heikel. “But eventually we hope to make a lot. We’re going to make this the first truly national taxi app. Once it’s on your phone, you can use it to get a taxi in Miami or San Francisco or New York, wherever you are.”

ZabCab has been operating on an experimental basis in Manhattan for about two years, but South Florida is its first big full-service rollout. The company plans to add 24 other metropolitan areas next year.

Apps are not completely new to the South Florida taxi industry; some cabs — it’s not clear how many — have been accepting fares using an app called Ways2Ride for a few months.

But industry officials say apps are the way of the future.

“I keep trying to explain to the county commissioners that radio dispatching is as old as horse-drawn carriages, and soon it will be about as common,” said Diego Feliciano, president of the 1,200-member South Florida Taxicab Association. “Uber and these other companies were early at the get-go, but lots of companies are going to be doing this. It’s just another way, the newest way, to call a cab.”


Startup Spotlight: Taylannas breaks reading, language barriers


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/biz-monday/article36632964.html#storylink=cpy


Susan Perry, center, is founder and CEO of Taylannas, a company that makes products that speak for those with language and reading obstacles. From left is Daryl Viamonte, Crystal Ice and Olivia Gomez.  PETER ANDREW BOSCH pbosch@miamiherald.com

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/biz-monday/article36632964.html#storylink=cpy

Company: Taylannas

Headquarters: Miami

Concept: “Our products remove the language and reading obstacle to healthcare and hospitality,” said Taylannas founder and CEO Susan Perry. “Our mission is one of inclusion.”

Story: Perry created her first product, MenusThatTalk, to help people who have impaired vision or who cannot read, and a version for hospitals followed. Then she looked at traditional healthcare communication in a broader way. She thought, how can patients and their caregivers follow instructions when they don’t understand them?

“Imagine that your life depended on taking a bottle of pills properly. Now imagine how scary it would be if you were one of the 90 million people who, for educational reasons, stage-of-life reasons, or different first-language reasons cannot read, understand or process the complexity of medical instructions, especially if other members of your family or your caregivers had the same problem,” Perry said. “We developed a new range of voice-driven technologies that would really help guests and patients by providing easy-to-use tools that include reading information to them in the language that they understand.”

SpeechMED was a result of experiences with caregiving for her mother and mother-in-law and a visit to the VA hospital: “My mother-in-law is a great example of how bad things can get when people don’t understand what they are supposed to do. Her life was ruined by a medication mishap after discharge from a hospital. She spoke English, but at 81, did not read it as well.”

SpeechMED, Taylannas’ voice- and video-information platform, delivers a wide range of personalized care information and discharge instructions, as well as medications, reminders, emergency contacts, appointments and explainer videos in the patient’s own language. It also provides that same information in the caregiver’s language should it differ. More important, it provides audio instructions. It is being pilot tested now.

The initial mechanical version of MenusThatTalk was developed in 2009 and was innovative in its time. A hospital version, launched in 2012, is used by Baptist Health South Florida. Perry is particularly excited about the newest all-digital version of MenusThatTalk, which offers 16 languages — including Klingon, of the fictional Klingons in Star Trek. A large restaurant chain will be its first big customer, Perry said.

“Taylannas is driven by a desire to create fresh thinking and new solutions to large and scale-able — sometimes systemic — problems. And the company clearly is not afraid to take on challenges for which no sustainable solutions currently exist,” said Bill Connors, managing director of The C Group and advisor to Taylannas. Staying focused on the core business will be critical, but that will be guided by Perry’s passion, he said. “In the world envisioned by Taylannas, in a way literally everyone will someday have a seat at the table.”

Launched: MenusThatTalk, 2009; MenusThatTalk Hospital Version, 2012; SpeechMED, 2013.

Management team: Susan Perry, CEO; Olivia Gomez, director of operations; Daryl Viamonte, production manager; Crystal Ice, creative director, Bill Connors, advisor.

No. of employees: 8

Website: www,taylannas.com

Financing: The company has been mostly self-funded by Susan and husband Tayloe Perry, in addition to an investment by Dr. Bill White. In total, about $1.25 million.

Recent milestones reached: Launched SpeechMED Caregiver, an application for caregivers and patients to use at home. New pilot test starting at the University of Miami Hospital to test SpeechMED with congestive heart failure patients in English and Spanish. For MenusThatTalk, secured new technology partner for a planned 250-restaurant concept that will launch in December and offer the MenusThatTalk product in at least 10 languages.

Biggest startup challenge: Access to funding and finding the right business partners.

Next steps: Building the most innovative restaurant technology available and refining SpeechMED to fit patient needs by continuing to implement strategy with the understanding that validation has to be achieved at each crucial milestone.

“The biggest challenge for Taylannas now is to develop strategic alliances with more health industry partners whose patients could benefit from the potential life-saving features of SpeechMED and the related cost savings from reduced readmissions,” said Anne Freedman of Speakout Inc., who has been mentoring Perry and her team in leadership and marketing. “The company also needs to expand its reach to restaurant chains to help them satisfy federal requirements to serve the disabled, as well as simply provide better customer service.”


September 15, 2015

Ahoy, mates: Aventura-based Boatsetter, Cruzin merge, aiming to dominate boat-sharing marketplace


By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Two big competitors are teaming up to make a giant splash in the young, burgeoning boat-sharing marketplace.

Aventura-based Boatsetter and San Francisco-based Cruzin announced Tuesday that they are merging their companies. The combined company will carry the Boatsetter name but the brand and website incorporate the Cruzin look and feel. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

BaumgartenJaclyn Baumgarten (pictured at right), formerly CEO of Cruzin, is the new CEO of Boatsetter, and Andrew Sturner (pictured above), formerly CEO of Boatsetter, is the executive chairman. The company will have headquarters in both South Florida and Silicon Valley, bringing together the capitals of boating and technology, Sturner and Baumgarten said.

Together, the company offers a network of more than 3,000 boats, which people can rent from private boat owners through an app or website by the half-day, day or longer. Boatsetter differentiated itself from other boat-sharing companies by offering a network of more than 1,200 U.S. Coast Guard certified captains, allowing boat owners and renters the peace of mind that an experienced captain will be at the helm and allowing captains to grow their independent businesses. Both companies had dozens of marina partners – and together have nearly 200 partners, the largest network in the industry, Sturner said. And together the two companies have raised about $7 million in financing so they are well-capitalized to face any choppy startup waters ahead.

“We were both pulling in the same direction but had complementary strengths,” said Sturner, a serial entrepreneur with 25 years of startup experience in technology, including as an early executive in CBS SportsLine and MovieFone, and in the marine industry as founder of Aqua Marine Partners. “Together, we are positioned to be the market leader, offering the only complete solution in the boat-sharing market.”

Cruzin was founded by Baumgarten and launched in 2012, creating one of the first online marketplaces for renters and private boat owners. Boatsetter launched in 2014 and was the first peer-to-peer company offering captained boats to recreational boat renters, in addition to insurance and on-the-water services. The two entrepreneurs have known each other for a couple of years, as Cruzin had set up operations in South Florida and had partnered with Westrec Marinas, owner of Harbour Towne in Dania Beach and other marinas. They began negotiating the merger in June. Baumgarten will be moving to South Florida but will also spend time in the Silicon Valley office. Boatsetter now has 20 employees.

“This is a big leap forward for the brand,” said Baumgarten, who has 15 years experience in Silicon Valley as a founder of startups and senior roles at Fortune 500 companies. “We have remarkably complementary assets and look forward to accelerating the speed of innovation in the multi-billion dollar marine industry.”

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.

September 09, 2015

Miami-based Willing went to Valley to find its investors, take part in Y Combinator

Eliam 3

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

To a determined entrepreneur, “no” just means find another way. And for one Miami entrepreneur, the way meant leaving his wife and two young daughters for several months this summer and heading to Silicon Valley to develop his concept.

But Eliam Medina’s story actually starts a year earlier, when he was faced with helping his aunt get her affairs in order after a medical emergency. His Columbia MBA and years of working for McKinsey and in private equity had not prepared him for this new, foreign estate-planning world that was not simpler, less expensive and less time consuming with today’s technology. So he set out to change that.

What Medina (pictured above) has created is Willing, a platform that enables anyone to make a legal will. Willing.com’s business model is to always offer the wills for free – unlike competitors such as LegalZoom and Quicken WillMaker – but then in the future to offer other related services where there will be costs, such as trusts, power of attorney and funeral arranging services. A $5 billion estate planning market awaits for this one-stop shop, and the entry door is the estimated half the population with no legal will. "With Willing you can have one account for your entire life and change your documents anytime," said Medina, who is 34.

When Medina, who also is an alum of Florida International University, couldn’t find a developer to create what was in his mind – a platform where users could create a will free of charge and legal in their state in about 10 minutes -- he resigned from his executive position with 3G Capital at Burger King and enrolled in the 12-week online coding school Bloc. He chose Bloc because he was paired with a mentor and could move at his own accelerated pace – 20 hour days. And for his class project, he built the initial platform for Willing.com, his startup idea.

Rob DysonThen he sent emails to contacts and placed some Google ads and 500 people went on the site in January to make wills. Armed with that validation of his idea, he began developing a team – Rob Dyson (pictured here), also of Miami and a friend since high school, joined as CTO, and he applied to the prestigious Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator as a long shot but at the same time Medina started approaching investors in Miami. That’s where he heard the refrain of "no’s."

"You get really discouraged, you feel like a loser," said Medina.

But a connection of his through his work at McKinsey who founded a startup in Silicon Valley helped open doors for him. "That was a huge turning point in our trajectory," Medina said. Ashton Kutcher soon came on as an investor -- they met on Thursday and by Monday the money was in the bank, Medina said. Christine Tsai, co-founder of 500 Startups, and Gary Vaynerchuk of VaynerMedia are also investors. And soon Y Combinator called.

After a six minute interview with Sam Altman, Y Combinator’s executive director, he was in. Just 1.5 percent of Y Combinator applicants are accepted. "They care about you more than they do about the idea," said Medina. "So Rob and I moved to Silicon Valley on this adventure to try to build this company."

The experience was second to none, with opportunities to meet Peter Thiel and the founders of Airbnb, among others. "It surrounds you with winners," said Medina, noting that Y Combinator has turned out eight billion-dollar companies in eight years. "You think, man, in this room there could be a billion-dollar company and there is no reason it couldn’t be us."

Medina’s focus was on growing fast and growing smart – Willing ranked as the fastest-growing startup in its class. In a few short months, Willing logged more than 10,000 wills. Medina’s goal is to make that many wills in a month.

Now that the accelerator program ended, Medina and Dyson are back in Miami. For Medina, the son of Cuban immigrants with a huge extended family in Miami, the decision to return to the Magic City was non-negotiable. And that’s always been the case, like when he chose a position at a then-small McKinsey office in South Florida over bustling New York City: "You can make it work." The lean team is looking to hire an attorney and an engineer.

As Miami is trying to build its entrepreneurial ecosystem, it doesn’t have what entrepreneurs need yet, Medina says. While he wants to see Miami thrive, he also believes the way to get there is with more entrepreneurs building great companies, more technical talent and a different mindset among the investor set. "The investing mentality has to evolve. You can’t evaluate a startup like a mature business. Make more, smaller bets... The investor mentality in the Valley is go build an amazing company and if you need me, call me... The idea is important but more important is the entrepreneur."

Like other entrepreneurs here, he has been turned down for Silicon Valley funding because he was in Miami, but not all investors there feel that way. His advice to Miami entrepreneurs: Go West to seek funding. He plans to spend several days in Silicon Valley every month to meet with advisors and network with other entrepreneurs. But at the same time, he wants to see progress at home.

"We need to raise the bar everywhere," said Medina. "Let’s not pretend we are better than we are. Let’s just get better everywhere. Let’s build something awesome."

Willing - Dashboard

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.


September 07, 2015

Startup Spotlight: Moonlighter Makerspace


Company: Moonlighter Makerspace

Headquarters: 2041 NW First Place, Miami

Concept: Moonlighter is a membership-based makerspace for creative collaboration, personal manufacturing and engaging in the design process. Moonlighter features and supports local designers, artists and creators and aspires to engage the communities with fun and educational STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics) experiences that foster the growing maker movement.

Story: After co-founders Tom Pupo and Daisy Nodal graduated with a master’s in architecture, they realized that there wasn’t a place in Miami equipped with the same technologies they were used to using on a daily basis for design projects. After doing some research, they found that this need was unfulfilled for a range of different user groups, including artists, designers, engineers, entrepreneurs, professional firms and hobbyists.

They visited various makerspaces around the country and in Europe to see how these new organizations were fulfilling this need for their communities and realized it was becoming a global phenomenon. “We bootstrapped for a year, bought our first two 3-D printers and hosted a series of maker workshops around the city. Each one was booked over capacity, and we found that there was a huge demand for a place where one can come and create anything with the high-tech machines needed to do so,” Pupo said. The team also entered the 2014 Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge (they were finalists) and participated in the Miami Mini Maker Fair, MDC MOA+D Bazaar Bar, Miami Science Museum’s Innovation + Engineering Weekend, BritCode for Britweek Miami, Art Basel, eMerge Americas and other events that drew creative people and listened to feedback and needs of the community.

Moonlighter 2Then Pupo and Nodal sought out the guidance of SCORE Miami-Dade, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at FIU and the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund (HBIF). They took SCORE workshops on business planning and funding, and SCORE and SBDC counselors connected them with the Miami Bayside Foundation’s loan program. “We were able to obtain a loan to finally open our doors in Wynwood, to become a hub for the emerging creatives in our city and to empower a new generation of technology enabled creators,” Nodal said.

Launched: 2014

Management team: Daisy Nodal and Tom Pupo

Website: Moonlighter.co 

Financing: $85,000 in personal savings and friends and family; $50,000 loan from Miami Bayside Foundation.   

Recent milestones: Celebrated grand opening Aug. 14 of Moonlighter Makerspace with the latest technologies for digital design and personal manufacturing; also chosen to join as the first littleBits Global Chapter in South Florida, joining a community of creative spaces worldwide. Received loan from Miami Bayside Foundation.

Biggest startup challenge: Raising capital. “Our space doesn’t have all the technology in our vision, and we don’t have as much space as we know the concept needs, but we produced our current space as a prototype to illustrate the possibilities. Hopefully, as [investors] inhabit the space and understand the relationship between each machine and component of our vision, they will understand the bigger picture,” Pupo said. 

Next step: To build a membership base while hosting workshops, classes and events led by experts in art, design and engineering.

“It is crucial to generate different sources of revenue and to keep on with educational sessions in schools and universities in order to grow the future community of makers in South Florida,” said Gustavo Grande of HBIF, which helped Moonlighter with a marketing plan, promotions and media strategy. “Moonlighter will definitely add value to the technological and innovative ecosystem that is growing in South Florida and at the same time is a wonderful place where anyone can have fun, meet great people while making a new collection of furniture, an exclusive piece of jewelry or a robotic prosthetic arm.”

Nancy Dahlberg


Creating Revolutions in the hospitality industry


By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Where's our waiter? Patrons won’t ever have to ask that again if a South Florida tech startup has its way.

Einar Rosenberg (pictured above), a 15-year veteran of innovation in NFC (Near Field Communications), mobile payment and mobile retail technology, has turned his attention to solving an age-old problem: finding an employee to help you. His startup company, Creating Revolutions, is focusing first on the restaurant industry.

Creating Revolutions, founded in 2013, creates mobile hardware and software that increase employee efficiency and enhance customer engagement. With its first product, Service Pager, a restaurant patron can communicate with his or her waiter in one step. In the past few months, the product was extensively tested at the Miami restaurant City Hall, shown at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, and picked up by the world’s largest restaurant distributor.

Why hadn’t technology solved that problem yet? Rosenberg believed that the right technology needed to be invented, and /"said/" it took his team around the world two years to create it.

The technology needed to be a tool for an employee, not a replacement for the employee like other table-top ordering systems, said Rosenberg. Creating Revolutions’ Service Pager lets employees access notifications on basically any device. For instance, if a restaurant patron wants another glass of wine or changes her mind about dessert, she can text it and then simply tap her phone to a disc affixed on the table to be securely sent to the waiter. “We made it only one step to initiate for both customer and employee, and intuitive, with a near-zero learning curve,” said Rosenberg, founder and CEO. “Only telepathy could be easier.”

The son of a small business owner also knew he wanted to make the product affordable. “So the little guy gets the technology at a low monthly cost (about $10 per table per month), and average setup time is less than 30 minutes, with minimal technical knowledge. Every year you renew your subscription, your hardware and software get replaced with the latest and greatest,” said Rosenberg, who holds dozens of patents in the areas of mobile payment, security, digital signage, medical, vending, retail and restaurant industries. He was also a founding partner and currently a board member of Narian Technologies.

“About 20 minutes into my first meeting with Einar, I concluded that he was a uniquely talented genius: a rare and prolific inventor capable of transforming the lives of others. I was not wrong. He isn’t legally permitted to talk about much of what he’s accomplished, but I can tell you that the majority of people in America already have technology that Einar invented,” said Owen Evans, a corporate attorney with Comiter, Singer, Baseman & Braun LLP who has worked with Rosenberg’s Creating Revolutions and previous endeavors.

The product includes three parts, starting with the company's small Touch & Discover disc that sits on a restaurant table and works on 95 percent of smartphones. It doesn’t need to be recharged or plugged in and lasts up to 10 years. The waiter can receive the customer’s request through a specially designed watch made by Creating Revolutions or on any number of screens at waiter stations or elsewhere, which instantly shows customer requests and can be translated from more than 15 languages. Customers can also receive marketing information and offers from the business while they wait, if the business chooses to do that. Through the employee ID system in the technology, management always knows which waiter received requests and how long it took to be serviced.

Earlier this year, Creating Revolutions, now a team of six, began a six-month long pilot at Steven Haas’ City Hall restaurant in Miami. Each day, Rosenberg checked in with Haas and the restaurant’s staff, received feedback and made changes — many times the very next day, said Haas, who said he was happy to be the first “guinea pig.”

“This is the hottest, latest, newest, the future in customer service,” said Haas, also a former chairman of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. The product changed significantly at least five times, he said, adding that it was accepted by customers in all age groups. Haas lauded Rosenberg’s outside-the-box thinking: “And he thinks really big.”

The results of the pilot test: Tables turned over for new customers on average 10 minutes faster, and up-selling of high-profit items such as liquor increased by 32 percent, boosting both a waiter’s tips and a restaurant’s bottom line, Rosenberg said. With less than 1 percent of customer usage, the service is profitable for a restaurant. “The feedback [Steve] gave was constant, patient, insightful — and daily,” said Rosenberg. “The product wouldn’t be half as good today if it wasn’t for Steve’s wisdom.”

Cr2In addition to City Hall, the Service Pager is now also in use at HighBar at the Dream Hotel in South Beach, and the company also launched with its first group of independent sales operators in four countries. But Creating Revolutions’ big coming-out nationally was at the National Restaurant Association Show in May in Chicago, with 68,000 people in attendance. After waiting hours, Rosenberg received a 15-minute meeting with Brad Wasserstrom, president of The Wasserstrom Company, the world’s largest distributor of restaurant products. That 15 minutes turned into a two-hour meeting — and then a deal.

Last month, The Wasserstrom Company announced it would be distributing Creating Revolutions’ Service Pager system. “Wasserstrom is excited to partner with Creating Revolutions. Their new Service Pager product is a fantastic innovation, bringing better service to the customer, up-selling opportunities to the brand, as well as increased labor efficiency and management tools,” said Brad Wasserstrom.

Creating Revolutions’ development costs of more than $1 million have so far been self-financed, and the company is now seeking one or more investors for a $500,000 to $1 million round of funding. Its management team includes Chief Marketing Officer Rosemary Staltare and Chief Development Officer Ricardo Mamani.

The timing is right for the company, believes Bengt Horsma, head of Issuer Commercialization for Visa Token Service, who has worked with Einar more than 10 years. “Einar has always been able to evolve and adapt his NFC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and technology solutions to adapt to the changing market. Unfortunately it has taken the industry and market’s infrastructure 10-plus years to reach the current tipping point whereas we will see the demand for Einar’s solutions grow fast. … Consumers are now getting familiar with using NFC technology for payments with ApplePay, AndroidPay and SamsungPay.”

Creating Revolutions is going to focus sales efforts first on beach and poolside resorts, sports bars and casual dining restaurants, Staltare said. Casual dining and bar, which includes sports bars, in 2014 was a $431 billion market in the U.S., more than half the $709 billion U.S. restaurant industry.

The Touch & Discover Service Pager is the first of eight services Creating Revolutions plans to release over the next year. As Service Pager sales begin to roll in, the company plans to open an assembly and distribution center, creating nearly two dozen jobs in South Florida.

“It was more than a dream for us, it was a vision to create a technology that would make the day to day of living better for not just some of us, but for all of us,” Rosenberg said.

While Rosenberg has global aspirations, Haas hopes to some day soon see the Creating Revolutions discs at poolside resorts and restaurants all over Miami-Dade, where customer service powers one of the area’s biggest industries: “How cool to see this being developed in Miami.”

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.

September 02, 2015

Magic Leap files 97 patent applications in August

Magic Leap, the secretive Dania Beach-based company developing “mixed reality,” filed 97 new patent applications between Aug. 20 and Aug. 27,  including one for a contact lens.

The company, which raised more than half a billion dollars in a Google-led funding round last year,  is believed to be developing a wearable device that would display 3-D virtual objects in the real world. The patents provide a few more hints into what the company is developing; CEO Rony Abovitz has suggested that the technology may replace the need for a smartphone and other screens.

Most of rest of the patents filed in August “underscore Magic Leap’s push to make virtual objects fit seamlessly into their physical environments,” said Re/Code  in a recent post. “Several concern the behavior of ‘outside light’ (that is, the light bouncing off of real-world objects and hitting your eyeballs normally) and how it will be ‘selectively attenuated,’ or dimmed, when it reaches a user,” the report said.  Read more here.

August 31, 2015

The Wynwood Yard to open a culinary incubator in Miami


By Evan S. Benn / ebenn@MiamiHerald.com

The Wynwood Yard, a new community gathering space opening soon at 70 NW 29th St. in Miami, will be home to a culinary incubator that’s a little like Shark Tank meets The Great Food Truck Race with some Art Basel mixed in.

The Yard will host four pop-up food kiosks, along with a bar, in a green space with garden beds, shaded seating areas and communal tables. A focal point with be a prototypical container home from design start-up Wyn-Box, and local art and design elements will be present throughout.

The first two food tenants to sign on: Myumi, an omakase-style sushi truck (pictured above) that was previously parked a few blocks away in another Wynwood lot, and Della Test Kitchen, which will offer plant-based bowls, juices and sweets.

Della%20HeimanDella Heiman (pictured here), CEO and founder of The Wynwood Yard and Della Test Kitchen, said the space is aiming for a November grand opening.

Heiman has brought on chef Jeffrey Brana as her director of culinary operations. The former chef of Norman’s and Restaurant Brana in Coral Gables, Brana will oversee research and design and day-to-day operations of the Della food truck.

The Yard is accepting proposals from other potential food operators: apply at thewynwoodyard.com/read-me. Entrepreneurs with fitness, art, design or other creative ideas also are encouraged to apply.

“This is the kind of space where you can engage in activities all day,” Heiman said in a statement. “You can arrive in the morning for a sunrise yoga class ... maybe take an urban gardening class. In the evening, gather your friends and savor food and wine on a picnic blanket under the stars while enjoying live music or a speaker series.”

Every few months, the participating food start-ups will have a chance to pitch their concepts to investors, real estate developers and business owners, Heiman said.

“We’re building a collaborative ecosystem where entrepreneurs can rapidly test, iterate and incubate ideas on a daily basis,” she said. “Start-ups will continuously hone their product based on real-time customer feedback, resulting in surprising new experiences for guests each time they visit The Wynwood Yard.”

Jake Smith, a Brooklyn transplant who helped bring Myumi to Miami, said the Yard is “exactly the kind of cool, collaborative environment food start-ups like us are looking for in Miami.”

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/living/food-drink/article32855553.html#storylink=cpy