August 31, 2015

The Wynwood Yard to open a culinary incubator in Miami


By Evan S. Benn /

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 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:

August 25, 2015

HelloDotMiami opens pre-registration for .miami domain names

HelloDotMIAMI, a company specializing in domain name registrations, has opened pre-registrations for .MIAMI Internet domains ahead of their public availability on Oct. 2. Any business or individual can apply for a .MIAMI domain name at starting at $23.99 per domain.

The new .MIAMI domain is like the traditional .COM, .NET, .ORG, etc. but identifies the website as made in or about the city of Miami, such as or This new extension is part of a program developed by ICANN to increase the number of possible domains. Other major cities, including New York, London, and Berlin, have already launched their own domain extensions.

"We’ve seen a huge response for these city-focused domains elsewhere and expect the same excitement here in the MagicCity,” said Gerardo Aristizabal, director of HelloDotMIAMI, whose team was involved in .NYC domain.

August 10, 2015

Startup Spotlight: Blue Ring Technologies a one-stop shop for inventors


Company name: Blue Ring Technologies

Headquarters:2240 SW 70th Ave., Suite J, Davie.

Concept: Blue Ring Technologies, a startup manufacturing company, specializes in helping entrepreneurs and businesses develop their ideas, manufacture their products and realize their dreams.

Story: Blue Ring Technologies began when its founder, Jay Prendes, was creating his own product, the Jayster, a keychain and app that used Bluetooth technology to find lost valuables. Having tech manufacturing experience with IBM and Motorola and a firm understanding of the development process, Prendes, a computer engineer, set out to assemble the necessary professional services to help bring Jayster to life and manufacture it in South Florida. Yet he found a lack of affordable engineering services that can help to prototype, design and manufacture plastic parts for small businesses within the immediate area.

Prendes decided to invest in 3D printing technology to help with his design process. Because of the success of his Kickstarter campaign in 2013, he was able to buy tooling equipment and injection-molding machines to help create Jayster in its product form. In the process, he began meeting fellow inventors who were seeking the same kind of services he put into place for Jayster: He saw a clear market need for a business with all the engineering services under one roof.

JaysterToday, Blue Ring Technologies handles hundreds of projects for clients ranging from individual, self-funded inventors who bring in ideas or rough prototypes for consumer products to larger companies such as Pavilion Furniture and Home Depot that may need a particular plastic part or project item manufactured. One of the products Blue Ring still manufactures is the former Jayster, which has undergone some iterations, was licensed by ShopLive, and is now called Beacon Plus.

Blue Ring Technologies provides additive manufacturing, 3D printing, rapid prototyping, product tooling and injection-molding services. In 2014, Blue Ring expanded into its 2,500-square-foot Davie facility. It has added 3D printers, CNC machines, which guide manufacturing tools by computer, and more advanced and larger-process injection-molding machines for plastic manufacturing, including with bio-degradable, eco-friendly plastics. A recent afternoon was abuzz with activity, as several of the machines were producing parts for companies, while engineers were working on designs and prototypes for other clients.

“We are most known for the ability to create products for our clients quickly and efficiently — in the most affordable manner possible,” said Prendes, 33, who worked for Motorola for seven years before jumping full time into entrepreneurship. “Though born with a focus on prototyping, Blue Ring has quickly evolved to become a one-stop shop for our clients, expertly bringing ideas from concept to finished product.”


Launched: 2012

Management: JoaquinJay” Prendes, president.

Employees: Rodrigo Lima, engineer/designer; Fernando Gomez, master machinist; Jesse Azueta, designer; Travis Pittman, machinist; Brian Fata, designer.

Financing: Raised $15,000 through Kickstarter in 2013. Now exploring raising capital for new equipment and ISO certification costs.

Recent milestones reached: “We have added CNC machines, moved into our larger Davie facility, added engineers to our team, started a tooling apprenticeship program, and signed major corporate accounts,” said Prendes, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer engineering at Florida International University. We just purchased another professional 3D printer, expanding our prototyping capability.”

Biggest startup challenge: Hiring qualified team members to serve its growing client list.Our team needs to be versatile, have experience in manufacturing and handle CNC machines. This is a very hard skill set to find,” he said.

Next step: Expansion through attaining full ISO 9001 certification, which will allow Blue Ring to pursue projects in the aerospace, medicine and government sectors. “We are seeking partnerships or investors that can help accelerate our ISO 9001 certification,” Prendes said.

Nancy Dahlberg


August 03, 2015

Will SpeedETab find its funders deep in the heart of Texas? Stay tuned!



Are investor checks bigger in Texas? A bootstrapping South Florida startup founder is about to find out.

Adam Garfield (pictured above), co-founder of SpeedETab, will be the first entrepreneur to seek funding when a new CNBC show, “West Texas Investors Club,” premiers at 10 p.m. Tuesday. He will pitch his mobile application that modernizes the way customers order and pay for food and drinks at their favorite hangouts.

“West Texas Investors Club” is an eight-episode reality show set deep in the heart of West Texas featuring multi-millionaires Rooster McConaughey (brother of actor Matthew McConaughey) and Butch Gilliam, who struck their millions in the oil pipe business. In each episode the duo will be seeking their next big investment by interviewing up-and-coming entrepreneurs to uncover their potential as well as the potential of their products. The show is produced by the same team behind the network’s popular entrepreneur reality show “The Profit.”

Frustrated with poor service and long wait times in the hospitality industry, co-founders Garfield and Edward Gilmore developed SpeedETab to let customers order and pay for menu items right from their smartphone.  Once the drink is ready, SpeedETab sends a notification to the user to pick up their items; it can also deliver promotions and customer analytics. An  iOS version of the app is on the market, and  an Android version will be released on Tuesday, timed with the show.

Garfield, 27, was born and raised in South Florida, graduated from the University of Florida, worked in Boston after graduation at a hedge fund firm, and returned to South Florida earlier this year to work on his startup fulltime.

Garfield said he never set out to be on a reality show, but he met a Shark Tank producer at a Boston meetup who suggested he apply to be on Shark Tank. While that didn’t go anywhere, CNBC executives saw his application video for the contest on YouTube and reached out.

“At first I only knew that it would be a shark tank-like show,” said Garfield. But he is happy with the potential exposure. “It’s a little of Shark Tank meets Texas, the good old boys of Texas who have a slightly larger focus on the entrepreneurs behind the product as well as the product. We got to showcase that the product is serving a need, whether that need is South Florida or West Texas.” SpeedETab will be the focus of about 60 percent of the hourlong show, he said.

SpeedETab launched in South Florida in April with a dozen locations, mainly bars, and plans are to expand nationally. So far, the endeavor has been financed mainly by Garfield’s $100K in life savings.

So did SpeedETab get funded? Like with Shark Tank, the episodes have already been filmed --forget Hollywood or New York’s financial district, we’re talking Midland, Texas -- and Garfield is sworn to secrecy about the outcome.

Yet, the press materials say there was at least one aspect of the business model the investors really liked: They would get their drinks faster.

SpeedETab will be having  a viewing party Tuesday night at Tongue & Cheek, 431 Washington Ave., from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. You can also follow along on Twitter at #WestTexasInvestors. 

UPDATE AFTER THE SHOW: Funded! Garfield repped the #305 well, and in the end SpeedETab accepted the club's offer of $250,000 now in exchange for 40 percent of the business and another $250,000 once SpeedETab is in 250 bars.  Rooster and Butch promised help to get SpeedETab in Caesars and other establishments. And "we're going to have to stop drinking beer during these negotiations."

Something you'd never see on Shark Tank: The show went into the West Texas local Corky's bar and let Garfield loose to demo SpeedETab among the regulars. Though Corky's is not SpeedETab's target demographic, the bar goers really took to it -- the waitresses, not so much...

If you missed the premier episode, catch it on the web. 


On-demand storage startup Stow Simple launches in Miami area

Stow simple

By Nancy Dahlberg /

Joining the “on-demand economy” with a new twist on traditional storage, Miami-based Stow Simple has launched its valet storage service in Miami’s urban core from Brickell through Midtown, as well as Coconut Grove, Miami Beach, Key Biscayne and Coral Gables, with plans to continue to expand in South Florida.

Stow Simple, runner-up in this year’s Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge, aims to offer another alternative to schlepping boxes to the storage facility. The transaction can be booked through its mobile-friendly website,, and an app is under development. Stow Simple provides free bins and pickups. Items are photo-catalogued and stored in a secure, climate-controlled facility. Customers can log into their account any time to see what they have or schedule delivery or pick up of items.

Siblings Silvia and Jorge Camps (pictured above), founders of Stow Simple, soft-launched in a smaller area in June and said they have been going door to door to Brickell property managers and doing direct mailings, online ads and events to get the word out. Based on feedback, they added more pricing options for customers, too; customers can now rent a 5-foot-by-5-foot or 5-foot-by-10-foot space, in addition to its four bins for $28 a month or per item pricing. “We will store as much or as little as you want,” Silvia Camps said.

Bag with 2 bins_smallThe company has also partnered with the Miami Rescue Mission to make it simple for customers to give back. With branded donation bags provided at the time of bin drop-off, customers can simply fill up the bag with any unwanted clothing, which will then be delivered free to the Mission as a tax-deductible donation.

People who have been using our service have been using it again and that is very encouraging,” said Silvia Camps, adding that customers so far have included downsizing families, international customers who also rent out their second home when they aren’t there, college students coming and going and small businesses and law firms undergoing renovation or moving to new offices. “It isn’t peak storage time yet, which is great for us because it has given us time to learn. We want to hit the fall full throttle.”

Stow Simple has national aspirations, but is starting with the South Florida market. Read more about Stow Simple here.


July 28, 2015

Wyncode offers bootcamp scholarships in low-income communities

Wyncode Academy, which runs coding bootcamps, will provide scholarships to nine Miami-Dade County residents from low-income neighborhoods.  The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is investing $75,000 to fund the scholarships.

Recipients of the Future Leaders of Tech scholarships will be enrolled in a nine-week Wyncode Academy cohort at its Miami campus, which is located within The LAB Miami in Wynwood.  Wyncode’s coding bootcamps are focused on project-based learning and promote hands-on education as students learn to build full stack Web applications.

“Our mission at Wyncode is to give anyone the skills and tools to begin a career in coding,” said Wyncode Academy co-founder Juha Mikkola said the scholarships “enable us to extend this opportunity to members of our community who lack the means, but certainly not the passion and drive, to follow their dreams and learn to code.”

Scholarships will be awarded on an ongoing basis, but to be considered for a scholarship in time for Cohort 7, which starts on Sept. 23, applications must be received by Sept. 2.   For more information or to apply, visit

July 26, 2015

Startup Spotlight: Symptify


Brandt Delhamer, M.D. (left), CEO Jalil Thurber, M.D., (center) and Mazyar Rouhani, M.D. (right), started a company called Symptify which helps users figure out causes for their symptoms, what to do about them and where to go for help. | PETER ANDREW BOSCH MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Read more here:

Company name: Symptify

Headquarters: Sunny Isles Beach

Concept: Symptify is a virtual doctor. It helps users figure out causes for their symptoms, what to do about them and where to go for help.

Story: As emergency physicians, Symptify’s co-founders have seen many people make needless and costly ER visits after “Googling” their symptoms online. In many cases, an online search for answers actually led to an unfounded escalation of fears. A recent study by Microsoft found that the medical content on the Internet is skewed toward more serious conditions. This is part of the reason why “Googling” your symptoms is not the best way to arrive at a diagnosis.

The Symptify team created a proprietary, patent-pending algorithmic engine that renders virtual consultations by asking users a series of questions regarding their symptoms. Because Symptify takes into account a user’s own medical history, it gives personalized and precise results. This has helped many people become more knowledgeable regarding their health conditions, helping them avoid “cyberchondria.” Symptify also facilitates a user’s access to healthcare providers by allowing the person to transmit his or her consultation record and medical profile to participating facilities.

“Ninety million Americans go online to self-diagnose their symptoms. But they didn’t have an app for that, so we made one,” said Dr. Jalil Thurber, CEO of Symptify.

Founded: 2013.

Management team: Co-founders Dr. Jalil Thurber, CEO; Dr. Mazyar Rouhani, COO; Dr. Brandt Delhamer, CCO; Nicola Mazola, CTO; Pierre Schiro, CIO.

Number of employees: Three developers.


Financing:. The company has been funded by its founders, who have provided $1.5 million in cash and services. Seeking $2 million in additional seed funding.

Recent milestones reached: Won the eMerge Americas Startup Showcase for early-stage companies, and through that victory Symptify obtained first outside investment of $50,000. Participated in Miami’s first Healthbox Studio, a program that was sponsored by Florida Blue. Last year signed up 10 emergency rooms that renewed their contracts three months ago. Launched a Spanish version of the platform in May. Launched a doctor appointment scheduler app in February and several physicians have enrolled for this service.

Biggest startup challenge: Raising capital in South Florida.

Next step: “We have a large sales funnel and anticipate that we will announce partnerships with large and well recognized brands soon,” said Thurber.

Strategy for next step: Continue building Symptify’s brand, which emphasizes the functionality and ease of its unique medical self-assessment platform. The end goal is to brand Symptify as synonymous with an online “virtual doctor” and essentially create a new paradigm through which users self-diagnose their symptoms online, Thurber said.

Advisor’s view: “This is a company founded by people with deep subject matter expertise. That's exciting and not necessarily common. Their company is solving a real problem and will have meaningful impact on probably the most important thing in life, our health,” said Payam Zamani, board member of Symptify and chairman of Reply! Inc. “The core technology and the highly intelligent platform that allows you to diagnose yourself using your smart phone is light years ahead of anything else out there.”



July 21, 2015

Miami-based BoatDay launches with new twist on boat-sharing concept


BoatDay has joined the boat-sharing party, launching recently in the sizzling hot and increasingly crowded Miami market. However, this Miami-based company says it has a new take on the concept: per-person pricing. 

While other services make it easy to rent a boat or even a yacht for a day of fun in the sun, the BoatDay app connect potential passengers with boat owners, what it calls “Hosts,” who are willing to take guests out for a "BoatDay" for such activities as cruising, fishing, sailing or water sports. “We created BoatDay to provide all those interested in boating experiences with a more convenient, reliable, and affordable way to enjoy a day on the water,” said BoatDay founder Kimon Korres, who practiced corporate law at White & Case before launching BoatDay.

According to BoatDay, here’s how it works: Users download the iOS app and can choose from boating activities to partake in.  Filters will match users with BoatDays meeting their criteria, including the hosts willing take them out on the water. Boat owners essentially get paid to take out their boats rather than handing over the keys to strangers, BoatDay says.

BoatDay, which is only available in South Florida so far, says its hosts are fully screened, including criminal background checks. Like other boat-sharing services, hosts and guests provide ratings and reviews. BoatDay requires its hosts have their own private boat insurance, and BoatDay provides $500,000 in liability coverage, less than some of its competitors. Emergency on-water assistance is accessible through the app. More info:

As of now there are just 10 listings on the BoatDay site, which include  $35 for four hours of fishing or paddle-boarding to $66 for sailing and $136 person on a 50-foot yacht. There are no user reviews so far for the current version of the app or the hosts.

Which of the boat-sharing companies will make the biggest splash? We'll have to wait and see. But I guess my high school friend and his "brother with a boat" were ahead of their time when they would charge us $5 or $10 to sign up for one of their weekend "short or long" boat trips. They made a killing -- long before the Internet. 


July 16, 2015

South Florida startup offers first flood-risk score for home, business

By Nancy Dahlberg /

A Fort Lauderdale startup believes you should be able to get an affordable flood-risk score for your home, similar to a credit score for your finances or a Carfax report for your car.

Coastal Risk Consulting’s new online products forecast the frequency and severity of flooding due to sea-level rise, sinking land and coastal erosion for individual properties over a 30-year mortgage cycle. It also forecasts the depth of flood waters relative to a property’s base elevation and storm surge risk in the case of a category 3 hurricane. Starting this week, its products are available to more than 50 million coastal properties in the United States, said Albert Slap, founder and president of the 1-year-old company.

This information has always been available from big engineering companies, said Slap, who had a 40-year career as an environmental lawyer and professor at Florida International University and University of Cincinnati. “We’re democratizing this information to make it available to millions of people at an affordable price.”

By entering a property’s address at and paying $49.95, the property owner or potential owner will get a short report and score based on the projected number of days of flooding over time. Detailed 20-page reports costing $250 to $400 are also available, as well as custom reports for neighborhoods, communities, businesses and governmental facilities. All use the company’s proprietary algorithms. A sample report is available on its website.


CRC’s target market is homeowners, home buyers, investors, Realtors, home inspectors, lenders, insurers, businesses and governments — essentially for anyone who needs to make informed decisions about the resilience of real-estate assets in the face of rising sea levels and other climate impacts, said Slap, a serial entrepreneur. In the late 1990s, he co-founded GeoSphere Emergency Response Systems, a venture-backed enterprise software company.

In CRC’s first couple of days on the market, property developers, a golf course, a power plant and homeowners have learned whether their properties are at significant risk of flooding over the next 30 years.

CRC has partnered with the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) to enable its 14,000-member inspectors to provide CRC services to their residential and commercial clients.

Home inspectors already point to risks of termites, mold and lead paint, said Slap. “This technology is not going away. People are going to be adding it to their market baskets of tools with which to judge properties. … Better information leads to better decision-making.”

CRC, a 2015 Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge finalist, has also been working with IBM’s Smarter Cities program, as the predictive flood modeling technology can be used to evaluate transportation processes and logistics of a smart city. The need has never been greater to be “climate-ready and storm-safe,” Slap said.

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.


July 15, 2015

Magic Leap to move into Motorola facility in Plantation


In another signal of its growing South Florida presence, the secretive technology company Magic Leap is consolidating the majority of its Florida workforce into a former Motorola facility in Plantation.

The company, led by Mako Surgical co-founder Rony Abovitz (pictured above), will be occupying the facility at 8000 W. Sunrise Blvd., said Andy Fouché, head of public relations and government affairs for Magic Leap. Magic Leap would not disclose timing of its move.

According to Broward County property records, the facility once owned by Motorola is 339,813 square feet in size and last sold for $38 million in 2013 to a private investment group. The Plantation site has five sections and reportedly now houses Motorola Solutions, Motorola Mobility and other tenants.

The heavily funded Magic Leap says it is developing a new “mixed reality” computing platform that will “enable people to interact with the world in ways never before possible.” Magic Leap, believed to have hundreds of employees and many of them now working in its base at DCOTA in Dania Beach, also has offices in Santa Cruz, Los Angeles and Mountain View, all in California, Seattle, Austin, Texas, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

In early June at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech Digital conference in San Francisco, Abovitz said Magic Leap will build a 300,000-square-foot pilot manufacturing facility in Florida for its “photonic lightfield chip.” Fouché would not confirm if this was the same facility but it is about the same size. He would also not say how many employees would be working at the Plantation facility.

In February before Abovitz gave a speech at his alma mater, the University of Miami, the CEO told the Miami Herald that Magic Leap was approaching “a few hundred” employees spread between Dania and Mountain View, Calif., as well as New Zealand and London. Abovitz said then he would like to base 80 percent of the company in South Florida.

More than 100 jobs were listed on its website this week, including optical, systems, software and vision systems engineers, machine learning positions, designers, art directors and cinematic producers, most of them for South Florida, but some were in Mountain View and Austin, Texas.

One of the first articles that have begun to explain the technology was published earlier this year in the MIT Technology Review. Said the writer, Rachel Metz, who tried an early prototype of the technology: “It’s safe to say Magic Leap has a tiny projector that shines light onto a transparent lens, which deflects the light onto the retina. That pattern of light blends in so well with the light you’re receiving from the real world that to your visual cortex, artificial objects are nearly indistinguishable from actual objects.”

The company raised more than half a billion dollars in a funding round led by Google last fall.

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg