August 13, 2015

Wyncode launches WynTank to partner Wyncoders with entrepreneurs, local businesses, nonprofits

Wyncode Photo3

“Have you ever had an app idea but you didn’t know where to start?” asks Juha Mikkola, co-founder of coding bootcamp company Wyncode Academy. “After just seven weeks at Wyncode, our students can build it for you.”

Wyncode Academy, with campuses at The LAB Miami in Wynwood and General Provision in Fort Lauderdale, has launched WynTank, a program that matches Wyncode students with local entrepreneurs, businesses, and nonprofits to help them bring their app ideas to life.

The participants with the best ideas will be invited to pitch their app concepts in front of Wyncode students who will vote on which apps to build for their team projects during the last two weeks of the course. To enter WynTank or for more information on the judging criteria and process, aspiring entrepreneurs can submit their ideas via

The completed, full stack web apps developed in WynTank will be presented and voted on by a panel of judges during Wyncode’s Pitch Day II on August 27 at its Fort Lauderdale campus within General Provision.

“We believe in the South Florida tech ecosystem and hope that WynTank projects can spur new businesses and build a stronger local and regional economy,” said Juha Mikkola. “A cross-community partnership between entrepreneurs, local businesses and nonprofits will allow some of our city’s up-and-coming coders to build apps that can really make a difference.”

The idea for WynTank was sparked when a Miami tech community member was invited to collaborate with a team of students and have their app idea built for Wyncode’s Pitch Day V.  The project, called Outnix, not only won Pitch Day V, but one of the students on the development team raised $50,000 for the company. Outnix joins a group of eight other startups that have originated in the Wyncode program.

A WynTank beta was held at the Miami campus on July 27 in preparation for Wyncode’s Pitch Day VI on August 13th. Two concepts from community members were selected. Stacy Glover of Caveat pitched the first concept, referred to as the Uber of tailoring. Mike Sarasti and Ernie Hsiung of MiamiDadeCounty pitched the second concept for an app aimed at simplifying the Miami commercial permitting process.

See the results at Thursday evening’s Pitch Day at The LAB Miami. See more information here.


August 11, 2015

My life after coding school


By Christina Douzmanian

If you had told me, a year ago, that I’d be working as a developer, I wouldn’t have believed it. A year ago, I was riding my bike across the Venetian Causeway at 6AM to go to work behind the coffee bar at a hotel on South Beach. Now, a year later, I’m about to start my first job as a junior full stack developer, making three times what I was making at the hotel.

Last fall, I began to teach myself to code through a slew of online tutorials, but found it difficult to grasp the concepts on my own. That’s when I heard of a coding school named Ironhack through a friend; it had a solid reputation and offered scholarships for women. In short, Ironhack sounded ideal. They had plans to open a school in Miami, but it wasn’t for another 6 months or so… next thing I knew, I had quit my job, sublet my apartment, and used up all of my miles to go to Barcelona and learn to code for 2 months.

Ironhack was intimidating! My peers were from all over the world, and they seemingly all had some experience with programming. It was hard not to feel like my acceptance had been a fluke. However, I soon found that with the support of the teachers and my peers, I progressed as much as my fellow peers. My final project ended up being voted one of the top 5 best projects in my cohort! I won’t lie, it was hard - I probably slept an average of 5 hours a night, and there were many times during the course where I felt like I wasn’t cut out for it. Ultimately, the camaraderie that was likely a product of the prolonged, shared suffering, was what got me through the course. Not only did I get to spend 8 weeks with amazing, interesting people from different corners of the world, but I also befriended some of the newest, best talent in tech and they’re connections I’ll have for the rest of my life.

 Although I would have been grateful to get any job that allowed me to have weekends off, I had always dreamt of working remotely so that I could travel and live wherever I pleased. The amazing staff at Launch Code Miami made this dream a reality! It took them less than three weeks to find me a position for a company that I’m genuinely excited to work for, all the while being remote! I never assumed that after a decade of working in the foodservice industry, I’d have so many doors open for me. Yet, here I am, beginning my new journey. A journey that includes a generous salary, health care, benefits, paid time off, and most importantly, the flexibility to do the things I love.

Christina Douzmanian, 26, is a Miami local and lives in Wynwood.


August 07, 2015

Ironhack’s new Miami headquarters location announced. And it is ...

 Photo by Bonomotion

Ironhack’s Miami HQ and classroom will be based at Building, one of Miami’s newest co-working centers. The partnership was announced at Friday night’s Ironhack Hackshow, where the top five projects from its third cohort were demo-ed on stage.

Ironhack is a web development school that teaches  coding -- Ruby, Javascript and HTML/CSS specifically -- to students of all backgrounds, creating a new talent pool of junior web developers here in Miami. “We are very excited that they’ll be a core member company at Building, and that together we will be helping to build the MiamiTech ecosystem,” said Jose Rasco, one of Building's co-founders.

Through this partnership, Ironhack will run its web development bootcamps from the 3rd floor of Building. Ironhack students will have access toall the benefits of Building – including all 3 floors of meeting space, the rooftop patio and free drinks and snacks. In addition, all members of Building will get discounted access to Ironhack’s courses and free “Learn to Code” events. “Not to be overlooked is the  unique ability for Building members to get a first-hand look at the growing talent that Ironhack develops during each cohort, with the potential to scout new hires from each class,” Building said in its blog post announcing the event.

Building, started by the entrepreneurs behind Straat Investments and .CO Internet, is 16,000 square feet and recently opened in the west Brickell area. It already has a dozen member companies, including Neustar,, Instacart and Boatrax.

IronHack co-founder Ariel Quiñones moved to Miami from Barcelona last year to set up the Spanish company’s new U.S. base, which was located in Pipeline Brickell before moving and expanding in Building. Ironhack expects its fourth cohort, which starts in October, to include up to 20 students. More information here.



August 06, 2015

Women, minorities tweet #ILookLikeAnEngineer -- South Florida, represent!

South Florida, join in!

In Tech Gender Stereotypes And More

By Associated Press

Thousands of female engineers, coders, self-described science nerds and other tech superstars joined a Twitter campaign this week to break down stereotypes about what engineers should look like.

As of Thursday afternoon, more than 75,000 people used the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer to post photos of themselves and promote gender diversity in technology, according to analytics firm Topsy. The campaign started when Isis Anchalee, an engineer at tech startup OneLogin, got an avalanche of attention after her photo appeared in a recruitment ad for her company.

The ad features Anchalee, with long, wavy hair and glasses, smiling in a black T-shirt bearing her company logo. Many people could not believe that an attractive woman could also be an engineer at a tech company and assumed that the company had hired a model for its recruiting efforts.

"I didn't want or ask for any of this attention, but if I can use this to put a spotlight on gender issues in tech I consider that to be at least one win," she wrote in an essay on Medium. As such, she suggested people use #ILookLikeAnEngineer to post photos of themselves and redefine perceptions of what engineers should look like.

From the look of the photos, it's working. And it's not only women. Other traditionally underrepresented groups in tech, such as African-American men, have joined in too, as the campaign grows bigger each minute.

— Barbara Ortutay, AP Technology Writer

August 03, 2015

YellowPepper brings on payments pioneer as chairman

Yellowpepper logo newYellowPepper, a Miami-based mobile payment and mobile banking company focused on the Latin America market, on Monday said payments industry pioneer Mohammad Khan has been named chairman of the board of YellowPepper.

Khan is former president and founder of ViVOtech, a pioneering NFC software and hardware company that paved the way for mobile payments.

“We have recently launched our mobile payment solution in Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador, and his extensive expertise within payments and commerce will be invaluable to further increase the success of those implementations,” said Alexander Sjögren, CTO of YellowPepper, which now has 74 employees in the region. “NFC is currently getting established as the standard for mobile payments with Visa, MasterCard, Apple Pay and Android Pay all adopting some version of it. Having Mohammed onboard, who is considered to be the forefather of NFC’s role in payments, will give us a unique expertise in the area.”

In his 12 years at ViVOtech, Khan led the deployment of NFC readers and field-testing a number of mobile payment trials globally. His efforts in driving mobile payments successfully set the stage for widely accepted NFC mobile payments such as Apple Pay and Android Pay. Prior to founding ViVOtech in 2001, Khan held leadership positions at Verifone, which he joined in 1983. Khan helped the company develop its point-of-sale systems and later helped market them in 96 countries. Khan was also a co-founder of the Internet Commerce business for Verifone.

“In Latin America, YellowPepper has done an excellent job over the last 10 years to establish an infrastructure, widening financial services like mobile banking to 5 million users and that number is growing, and now they are working hard in mobile payments,” said Khan on Monday. “I see this effort as very important for the payment industry as well as consumers and I want to see how I can help in the coming years.”

In June, YellowPepper partnered with Carta Worldwide to bring Host Card Emulation (HCE) NFC mobile payments to Latin America. Carta Worldwide will provide its HCE technology to YellowPepper that will, in turn, leverage its regional footprint with more than 50 financial institutions and retailers to introduce the new technology to them and future clients.



July 23, 2015

Idea Center, LaunchCode expand CS50x training to MDC's North and Homestead campuses

To serve more communities, the Idea Center at Miami Dade College, in partnership with LaunchCode, a nonprofit focused on technology education and job placement, will expand its CS50x Miami program to additional locations in Homestead and Northern Miami-Dade County, as well as the Wolfson campus. CS50 is an introduction to computer science offered online through edX and HarvardX, and the Idea Center complements the course with in-person mentors.

Registration is now open for the 20-week class, which provides students with a foundational understanding of computer science principles and includes six weeks highlighting web and mobile application training. Classes, which are open to the community, begin Aug. 31. The $299 course fee covers all materials and expenses.

LaunchCode and The Idea Center will offer free information sessions at the CS50x Miami locations:

Friday, July 31, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at The Idea Center @MDC

Monday, August 10, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at MDC  Homestead Campus

Tuesday, August 11, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at MDC North Campus

“We’re making better jobs accessible through world-class education,” saysLeandro Finol, executive director of The Idea Center at MDC. “Now, with three locations and extended supplemental tracks, CS50x Miami is poised to offer even more expertise and support to students pursuing technology careers.”

For more information and to register, please visit


July 19, 2015

More Magic Leap news: Report says company is opening Israeli offices

 Magic Leap is adding offices in Israel, according to Globes, an Israeli business publication. Magic Leap has offices on Abba Hillel St. in Ramat Gan, according to Israel's Registrar of Companies. It is apparently planning to recruit local developers in order to accelerate development of its technology although the extent of its planned research and development efforts in Israel is not yet clear, the Globes report said. Read more here.

An R&D presence in Israel, known as Startup Nation and considered by many to be No. 2 behind Silicon Valley for tech prowess, would not be surprising for the secretive company said to be developing a new generation of augmented reality technology. Magic Leap, which  raised more than half a billion from Google and other investors late last year, already has offices Silicon Valley, as well as its headquarters in Dania Beach (and moving to Plantation),  Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

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


July 09, 2015

#Twitter opens #office in #Miami

Twitter is the latest Silicon Valley tech powerhouse to announce it is opening an office in Miami.

Twitter’s office, at 1395 Brickell Ave., opens with six employees but is expected to grow, said a spokswoman Thursday after the company announced the news on #DáleTwitterMiami. The local team will support large and mid-market sales, media partnerships, marketing Communications and brand strategy.

The Miami office will be lead by Guilherme Ribenboim, vice president of Twitter Latin America, with the help of Marco Botero, head of sales for Twitter Miami and Matt Drinkwater, head of agency relations. Ribenboim leads Twitter’s sales operation in Latin America as well as relations with sales partners that serve the needs of agencies and businesses in the region. Twitter, operating in Latin America since 2012, now has more than 100 employees distributed in offices in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and now Miami.

Twitter, with $1.4 billion in revenue in 2014, joins Facebook, Google, Uber, Lyft, Square, Instacart, Postmates, Shyp and other Silicon Valley tech companies with offices in the Miami area.

July 01, 2015

Shyp’s on-demand workforce now 100% employees

Bucking a trend in the sharing economy, Shyp, the app-enabled shipping service, said today it is re-classifying its couriers from 1099 contractors to W2 employees, making it the first on-demand company with a workforce made up entirely of employees. 

“This move is an investment in a longer-term relationship with our couriers, which we believe will ultimately create the best experience for our customers,” said CEO Kevin Gibbon in a blog post. “This is an operational decision based on our interest in owning the entire, end-to-end Shyp experience; it is not in response to recent lawsuits against other technology companies.”

Newly classified W2 couriers will now get workers’ compensation, and Shyp will pay for their vehicle expenses, in addition to unemployment, Social Security, and Medicare taxes. Depending upon the number of hours worked, Shyp provide additional benefits such as healthcare. Added Gibbon: "This is a huge step forward for Shyp."

Shyp launched in Miami just before Art Basel last year, its third city after San Francisco and New York. It's now also in Los Angeles and headed to Chicago, and it has continued to grow. In an interview earlier this year, Gibbon said the Miami market skews particularly high for international shipments, including art.  Shyp now has a team of about 25 in Miami, including couriers, drivers and warehouse technicians, said Johnny Brackett, who heads communications.

Read previous coverage of Shyp in Miami here.