March 28, 2015

Entrepreneurship Datebook

TecheggSTART-UP CITY: MIAMI: The Atlantic magazine’s event returns Monday with speakers such as Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square and LaunchCode, Vand ikram Dendi of Skype Translator. and those at the helm of Slack, Lyft, Postmates, Coursera and more, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at New World Center in Miami Beach. Tickets: www.theatlantic.com/live.

VENTURE LAW PROJECT: Learn how to protect your business in a workshop, “Key Documents Every Entrepreneur Needs,” 6-9 p.m. Tuesday March 31st at The LAB Miami. www.dadelegalaid.org/venture-law-project/

MICRO VC CLUB: Two entrepreneurs will pitch their startups and receive feedback from other entrepreneurs and investors, 8-10 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, 1951 NW Seventh Ave., Miami.  http:// www.meetup.com/microvc/events/220632614/

SALES BLAZER: Want to learn how to effortlessly transform cold contacts into new business relationships? This sales speaker series features Carecloud, 6-8 p.m. Thursday at The LAB Miami, thelabmiami.com

STARTING GATE

Keep up to date with startup news, read community views and find tools and resources for entrepreneurship on the Starting Gate blog on MiamiHerald.com/business.

BUSINESS PLAN CHALLENGE

We will announce the finalists in the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge next Monday. Stay tuned!

Student view from SXSW: Miami’s Moment Is Now

By David Capelli

Photo 3For decades, March in Miami has been known as the best vacation hotspot on earth. This March tells a different story for many Miamians during Spring Break. On a warm 87-degree night, American Airlines’ newly announced nonstop flight to Austin, Texas departed into the sunset with entrepreneurship hopefuls and heroes.

SXSW Interactive, a four-day series during the first portion of the world famous music and film gathering, welcomed guests from around the world in technology, entrepreneurship, and creative industries. Miami made a splash, to say the least. Here are five takeaways from the SXSW gathering from a student entrepreneur in Miami’s tech scene:

 Miami’s time to become a global entrepreneurship hub is now.

If there was a moment where I realized when Miami needed to take an even more aggressive plunge in building a start-up hub, it was the General Assembly and Kauffman Foundation event at SXSW. Political, institutional, and student leaders in the entrepreneurship community need to come together and make Miami the city it is destined to be. People are waiting for Miami’s boom in entrepreneurship. They see Miami as a true opportunity to be the next best entrepreneurial ecosystem. Now is Miami’s moment.

Miami needs to own its identity: we are a global community unlike anywhere else in the United States.

I noticed how Austin lacked a strong international business community and relationship-based culture, yet embraced their “Weird” techie brand. It’s working. Miami needs to brand itself as the most diverse and vibrant entrepreneurship hub in the world. This helps other strong local industries in real estate, tourism, and trade. We have an entrepreneurial bug. One can feel it walking anywhere downtown or driving past cargo stations in Doral. We aren’t like any place else, and that’s fine.

Students need to get more involved in the entrepreneurial community.

I met a group of Michigan State students who came together and crowd-funded a bus/hotel package and came to SXSW for free. I connected with Texas-Tech students who were sponsored by their school. Local universities need to expose students and provide more financial opportunities for students to engage in the entrepreneurial community. Most importantly students need to empower each other – entrepreneurship is a team sport; building a culture starts with us, regardless of our school affiliation.

People want to move to Miami but don’t know where to begin.

If I received a dollar for every time I heard “I love Miami and would move there, but I don’t know where to begin,” I could be making six-figures. Simply put, Miami is overwhelmingly awesome and needs a welcoming, streamlined pipeline for people to come and stay in Miami.  

Like Austin, Miami is still a new city with a world of opportunity.

Transportation is a major issue that needs to be taken more seriously by all community members. Politicians can’t do it alone. Austin has a sprawl issue: it is the fastest growing city in the United States. Miami has a different issue: the city exists but is changing rapidly. A deeper understanding of why Miami traffic is so terrible is proximity of resources. Currently, there is not one walk-able urban district with safe, tech-friendly public transit, affordable housing, and centralized start-up resources for the emerging entrepreneurial community. Until this happens, young talent will continue to leave, and traffic will continue to plague the city. Projects like All-Aboard Florida are sparking the trend for building better transit in Miami. The transportation panel at SXSW left a solid reminder for I want to emphasize: Sustainable, privatized innovation and technology in transportation improves lives of all citizens, regardless of political views.

SXSW was an invaluable experience. Meeting Matt Haggman and seeing so many people enthusiastic about Miami made me as a student excited to graduate and continue to lead the student entrepreneurial movement in Miami. Miami will forever be a top vacation destination in the world, but as the months go by, a new story is being told on Magic City’s horizon.  

 David Capelli is founder of TECH Miami student non-profit and a former Operations Intern at Miami- Dade Aviation/MIA.

 

March 27, 2015

MIA Music Summit celebrates digital innovation, social media success

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Indy music personality Raquel Sofia performs at the MIA Music Summit — a one-day conference bringing together startups and leaders in the creative industries on Thursday, March 26, 2015 at the Colony Theater on Miami Beach. PATRICK FARRELL MIAMI HERALD STAFF

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Nicky Jam credits his comeback to Instagram.

“Instagram changed my life,” said the popular Latin singer-songwriter, who explained his career had taken a dive. He now has 2.8 million Instagram fans. “You can call me an Instagram celebrity. … Even my dogs are famous, even though they are ugly, they are Chihuahuas — people love them.”

And while many artists say digital revenues don’t pay the bills, Nicky Jam disagrees. “On YouTube, I have people sponsoring them, I pay all my bills just with YouTube,” he said, speaking by Skype from Colombia. “The success I have been having is 70 percent because of the Net.”

Nicky Jam was one of the speakers at MIA Music Summit, the second annual tech-entrepreneurship conference for the fast-changing music industry that took place Thursday at the Colony Theater in Miami Beach. The summit gathered entrepreneurs, studio executives, investors and musicians to explore the intersection of technology and music, and it was planned to coincide with Miami Beach’s Centennial, the Winter Music Conference and Ultra.

Demian Bellumio, chief operating officer of music-technology companySenzari and the organizer of the summit, said Miami can become an ideal location for creating and growing digital music startups. “As a city, we have a rich music history … and today it is home to top record labels, music executives, artists, festivals, media companies and even some globally recognized digital music startups,” he said.

At the summit, there were conversations about mining Big Data and music recommendation services such as Pandora (you are much more likely to get out of your comfort zone and experiment with your music in the evening, a Pandora data expert said) and attracting investment. Speakers also included leaders from Fon, 8tracksHavas Sports & EntertainmentAtom Factory, Splice and Jukely, among many others.

A half-dozen startup founders demonstrated their emerging technologies, including Pablo Osinaga of Bandhub, a collaboration music platform for recreational musicians around the world. Dubset is solving the complexities behind proper rights-holder identification, licensing and distribution. South Florida media entrepreneur Derrick Ashong, master of ceremonies for the summit, gave a sneak peek of his new startup Amp.It, which is running a global Take Back the Mic: The World Cup of HipHop competition, with winner to be revealed at eMerge Americas in May. Muzik, based in Miami Beach and a maker of smart headphones and, soon, as seen at this year’s CES, smart drum sticks, also presented.

 

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Bandhub co-founder Pablo Osinaga demonstrates his product at the MIA Music Summit — a one-day conference bringing together startups and leaders in the creative industries on Thursday, March 26, 2015 at the Colony Theater on Miami Beach. PATRICK FARRELL MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Partnerships between brands and artists are trending in popularity, and companies are starting to partner with emerging artists and growing with them rather than just the superstars, panelists said. These social media partnerships are significant new revenue streams, but you need to make the content so relevant it doesn’t feel like advertising, they said.

As Ultra gets underway, one of EDM DJ David Guetta’s managers, Jean Charles-Carre, shared some secrets of Guetta’s success: “We never sleep.”

Guetta, who will be performing at Ultra’s closing Sunday night, has sold more than 9 million albums. Guetta’s preferred social platform, said Charles-Carre: “He used to do Twitter, but now it’s Instagram. Facebook, not much.”

MIA Music Summit d 3Instagram is in fact the fastest growing platform for artists, said Liv Buli of Next Big Sound. But don’t count Facebook out: millennials still are the strongest demographic group following artists on Facebook — nearly half of the total music followers, she said.

Local indie artist Raquel Sofia is one of the first artists Sony signed for its new digital label. Instead of doing the traditional route, cutting an album, doing tours, etc., all the music is available digitally.

“People ask me, ‘Why doesn’t Sony give you a real record deal?’ It is a record deal but a new approach,” said Sofia, who has 6 million streams on Spotify. “We’re measuring in streams, we are measuring in views, we are measuring in all these social media platforms. That is the new way of making it.”

Sofia, without releasing an album, has already written and performed with some of the most popular and influential artists in the Latin market, including Shakira and Juanes.

“There are a lot more tools, it’s easier, it’s more accessible,” she said. “You can have a home studio and put the music out yourself. It’s cool that everyone can be a musician, everyone be an artist.”

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.

 

March 26, 2015

HUD Secretary Julian Castro to keynote at eMerge Americas

Julián_Castro's_Official_HUD_PortraitJulian Castro, the U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development, will be a keynote speaker at eMerge Americas, the South Florida technology conference taking place May 1-5. Castro will deliver his address during the main conference May 4 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Castro, who joined President Barack Obama’s Cabinet last summer, gained national attention in 2012 when he was the first Hispanic to deliver the keynote address at a Democratic National Convention. The 40-year-old former mayor of San Antonio — who was in his third term when he got the Cabinet post — has been mentioned as a potential running mate for Democrat Hillary Clinton, who has not yet announced her presidential candidacy.

Castro’s “vision and success in positioning San Antonio as a leader in the new energy economy and now as the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development makes him an ideal speaker for our eMerge Americas attendees,” said Manuel D. Medina, managing partner of Medina Capital and founder of eMerge Americas.

Now in its second year, eMerge Americas’ goal is to attract 10,000 attendees. Other keynote speakers include author Deepak Chopra; Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square and LaunchCode; and entertainer Armando Christian Perez, also known as Pitbull.

In addition, eMerge will include eGov Government Innovation Summit, a two-day private event for dignitaries from around the Americas and Europe, and a Startup Showcase involving about 100 early-stage companies, which includes a one-day bootcamp and a pitch contest with a prize pool of $150,000. There will also be country pavilions and a Women, Innovation & Technology summit, as well as a fashion show, a STEM tech showcase, a hackathon and networking.

Last week, NBCUniversal announced a group of programs that will be filmed at eMerge Americas.

Medina said eMerge also needs to be fun, so a number of parties and other surprises are planned. Music-tech entrepreneur Derrick Ashong, also known as DNA, said that his startup Amp will be announcing the winner of its Take Back the Mic: the World Cup of HipHop, a contest to find the next hip-hop star, at eMerge Americas.

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.

Start-Up City to feature social entrepreneurship contest with Miami Soup

When Start-Up City: Miami returns for a third year on Monday with a full day of speakers, panel discussions and networking, attendees will also get a taste of social entrepreneurship.

For the first time, Start-Up City: Miami is partnering with Miami Soup, a grassroots model for funding small to medium-sized projects designed to enhance the quality of community life. Throughout the conference, Start-Up City will feature three local social innovation projects; they will all present or show videos about their work and how their mission helps to “start-up” Miami; attendees of Start-Up will vote and select one project to be awarded a SOUP microgrant of $2,000.

Presenting will be:

Urban Paradise Guild, which aims to provide family gardens to 300 low-income families living in apartments in Opa-Locka, Hialeah and North Miami;

 

Upper Room Art Gallery, a non-profit global collection of artists and designers whose artwork specializes in organic and recycled materials and are focused on issues of global poverty, social justice and the environment; and

Rising Tide Car Wash, a scalable conveyorized car wash dedicated to the empowerment of individuals with Autism.

Start-Up Miami speakers include Chef and Crafted Hospitality owner Tom Colicchio, who will talk about how opening a new restaurant compares to launching a startup, Slack’s Bill Macaitis on its plan for the billion-dollar brand, Veronica Juarez on Lyft'sgoals in Miami and beyond, MIT Leadership Center’s Hal Gregersen on how to become a better leader and increase creativity, Vikram Dendi of Microsoft Research, who will discuss Skype Translator, and Square and LaunchCode cofounder Jim McKelvey's insights on partnering up to start up.

The event, presented by The Atlantic, CityLab and Knight Foundation, which will be at the New World Center in Miami Beach and tickets are $99. For the full list of speakers or to buy tickets: www.theatlantic.com/live/events/start-up-city-miami/2015/.

March 23, 2015

OrthoSensor raises $19 million in Series C funding

OrthoSensor, the Dania Beach-based maker of intelligent orthopaedic devices, raised $19 million in a Series C round of financing. Bridger Healthcare and The Tullis Growth Fund participated in the round, the company said.

The proceeds will be used to drive the commercialization of VERASENSE, OrthoSensor's leading product, and expand product development activities. OrthoSensor produces sensors that deliver data during surgery that help doctors pinpoint the positioning of knee implants to minimize or eliminate complications after surgery. OrthoSensor markets the disposable sensors through leading sellers of medical devices including Biomet, Stryker and Zimmer Holdings.

VERASENSE is a disposable sensor-assisted total knee replacement instrument that delivers data wirelessly and enables surgeons to make evidence-based decisions on ligament/soft tissue balance and implant position in real time.  Patients whose knees have been balanced through the use of VERASENSE show statistically significant improvements in joint function, pain, activity level and patient satisfaction, the company said.

"Our proprietary technologies are providing orthopaedic surgeons with valuable new tools to enhance clinical outcomes and deliver greater patient satisfaction following total knee arthroplasty procedures," said Ivan Delevic, president and CEO of OrthoSensor. "We have an exciting path forward and believe that the support of high-profile investors such as Bridger Healthcare and The Tullis Growth Fund illustrates broad potential impact of our technology in the future of orthopaedics."

OrthoSensor, founded in 2008, has already raised about $53 million in financing, bringing its total funding to about $72 million.

March 21, 2015

Entrepreneurship Datebook

Tech eggSCORE THAT GRANT: A workshop about acquiring grants for your business, presented by SCORE Miami-Date, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 24, Innovation Center at UMLPTP, 1951 NW 7th Ave., Miami. Fee applies. More info: Miamidade.score.org (click on local workshops).

MIA MUSIC SUMMIT: A gathering of leading digital music experts, startups and investors from around the globe to discuss the latest trends at the intersection of music and technology, Thursday, March. 26, Colony Theater, Miami Beach. More info and tickets: mms.co

CITI FINTECH/REFRESH MIAMI MEETUP: Citi's second Miami fintech meetup will be 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 26, at Miami's Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, where a panel of experts will discuss how financial technology can drive financial inclusion. More info: refreshmiami.com (click on events)

BARCAMP MIAMI: Dubbed an “unconference,” this ad-hoc gathering was born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from attendees. Everyone is expected to participate in some way –: by giving a talk, asking questions or organizing a session. Saturday, March 28, at Miami Ad School in Wynwood. Free. More info: www.barcampmiami.org

CODE4GOOD HACKATHON: Quantum Foundation is teaming up with Modernizing Medicine and FAU’s new entrepreneurship program, Tech Runway, to stimulate health-related innovation. Saturday and Sunday, March 28-29, at Tech Runway. More info: www.code4goodPBC.org.

START-UP CITYMIAMI: Atlantic magazine’s one day event returns March 30 with speakers such as Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square and LaunchCode, Vikram Dendi of Skype Translator and those at the helm of Slack, Lyft, Postmates, Courssera and more. More information here.

STARTING GATE

Shyp, the on-demand shipping service, has been making tracks in Miami, including the introduction of a service that expedites the return of unwanted items. Find this, plus reports on Modernizing Medicine’s latest round, NBCUniversal’s coverage plans for eMerge Americas and  more South Florida startup news and community views on Starting Gate on MiamiHerald.com/business.

500 Startups' PreMoney Miami: Emerging opportunities, unicorns, bubbles and more

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McClure interviews Fabrice Grinda at 500 Startups' PreMoney Miami event on Friday. 

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

The secret to building a healthy ecosystem, according to Dave McClure: Write checks.

Of course there is a little more to it, he said, but it’s really key, particularly at the seed stage level -- $100K to $2 million check sizes, the founding partner of venture fund and accelerator 500 Startups told attendees on Friday at the Epic, where 500 Startups held its first PreMoney conference outside Silicon Valley.

“The opportunities here are huge. Right now you are sitting on your money and putting it all in real estate," McClure said. "Some of the best entrepreneurs are right under your noses. They won’t stick around if you don’t write checks. … It’s really that simple.”

Money2Several hundred accredited investors and others attended the all-day PreMoney Miami conference, sponsored by the Knight Foundation and others, to network and hear a variety of speakers from Silicon Valley and other regions –- including Christine Herron of Intel Capital,  Ash Fontana of AngelList and Thomas Korte of AngelPad. But some of it also focused on Miami. You can see slideshares of many of the presentations here: http://www.slideshare.net/500startups/. Videos will be posted on PreMoneyMiami.co soon, McClure said.

Christian Hernandez Gallardo, founder and managing partner of White Star Capital, talked about ecosystem building around the world and even blogged about it. The secret, he says, is starting with “a healthy supply and access to technical talent. If ‘software is eating the world’ you need founders and team members who can build said software,” he said. To become an ecosystem, that base of talent needs the right building blocks, including culture and role models, accelerators and incubators, seed funding and advisors, and growth stage capital. “And the final (and one could argue most critical piece) of healthy ecosystems is a vibrant and active path to exits.”

Building that ecosystem will take time, he said, but in the meantime Miami is already attracting new talent.

David Koretz of Plum said when he told VCs he was moving from the Valley to Miami, he got comments like “you are halving your odds of success by moving there” and “you are moving from the major leagues to a farm team” -- “It wasn’t a positive reception,” he said.

Beyond the  tax advantages, he chose Miami for quality of life and lower burn rates. “In Miami, capital goes twice as far if not three times as far.” But also, he said, the culture wants you to win.

“I moved here in January, got introduced to almost everyone in the first few weeks, these are things that don’t happen in the Valley,” he said.

Not that everything is perfect. His view: "There are a lot of people playing VC. It’s not that hard to get $100K in Miami, in my opinion, but expansion capital doesn’t exist here. A lot of businesses are going to die in that gulch.”

Angel investor Mark Kingdon, whose third investment was Twitter, moved here last April from New York. The former CEO of Second Life and other companies invests in ecommerce and social media  and has already made two South Florida investments: Sktchy and Everypost.

He rattles off the advantages: Weather, yes, we have to say that. It’s a gateway market. The immigrant energy here is invigorating. There is startup capital here. Rent and office space is half. You can get incredible developer talent for less.  Developer salaries are just about half of major markets -- It’s hard to recruit loyal employees in the Valley.

“And I love the deal flow I have seen here; it’s much more than I expected,” said Kingdon, who said four of his last five investments were not from the Valley or New York.

He agreed with Koretz about the welcoming community. "I think that is important because we need to recruit more entrepreneurs to the market, it is a numbers game.” 

As to challenges: “I think the winning companies are underfunded, there may be too many checks written -- a lot of companies are getting a little bit of money, and it is not being consolidated around the winners.”

Patrick McKenna of High Ridge spent 12 years in the Valley and built three companies before focusing on investing full-time and moving here last July.

He said he was looking for a world class city with a highly connected airport in the eastern time zone with interesting people and a progressive culture. Miami ticked all the boxes. “What surprised me is there is so much more,” said McKenna, who already invested in his first Miami company Home61. “And I wasn’t particularly focused in Latin America, but I have found great opportunities.”

Opportunities in LatAm and other areas of the world was also a focus of the conference.

“The reason we are bullish about emerging markets is because we think it is an easier bet. There are really not that many people paying attention to it,” said McClure, whose 500 Startups really has invested in about 1,000 startups, not only in the Valley but in Latin America (100-plus), India, China, Taiwan, Middle East and the UK.

“Exits and available capital have been challenges, but we want to be first in,” said McClure. "We are starting to see very big companies coming out of unusual places like Nigeria, like Pakistan, like Thailand. We are seeing respected investors like Sequoia making $100 million investments or more in emerging markets," said McClure, whose 500 Startups is  raising its third fund. "This is new."

Globally and in the U.S., angel investor Fabrice Grinda, co-founder and CEO of OLX, has a track record of picking winners. He’s made 182 investments, 22 of them this year. They include both seed stage and late stage deals and he’s had 56 exits so far, 30 of them in the money. He invests in categories that he understands, particularly marketplaces. Dropbox, Airbnb and Alibaba are just a few. “Do I like the market, the team, deal terms, do I like the business? Based on those four criteria within an hour, I know.”

And of course there was some bubble talk.

Scott Kupor, partner and COO of Andreessen Horowitz, and Mark Suster, partner of Upfront Ventures, who spoke via Skype and Meerkat, both made cases with a series of charts. Suster made the points that there are 50 times more Internet users today than in 1995,  Internet speeds are 180 times faster and smartphone and social media adoption rates continue to soar, enabling companies that work to grow faster than anytime in human history. All of this has essentially created a new VC landscape, Suster said.

Kupor believes the market is still at healthy levels. For example, the 49 IPOs in 2014 that raised eyebrows? That has been the median the last 35 years. And companies are staying private longer; the companies going public are at $100 million in revenues, rather than $10 million like during the dotcom bubble.

That is one of the biggest sea changes in the last 24 months, he said -- companies are staying private longer so they are far more mature when they do go public. Another: mutual funds, hedge funds, private equity are coming into the venture market. He is also seeing more money coming into the enterprise side and into “full-stack startups” that control the entire customer experience, such as Airbnb and Lyft.

For now, Kupor doesn’t see a bubble.  “If we get a correction, I believe it will be a global market correction, not a tech event…. Tech is still, from an overall perspective, well valued.”

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg

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Ben Wirz of the Knight Foundation interviews Kingdon, McKenna and Koretz.

 

Startup Spotlight: Caribbean Journal

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Guy Britton, executive vice president, and Alexander Britell, editor-in-chief/founder, of Caribbean Journal in the offices of Pipeline Brickell on March 16, 2015. WALTER MICHOT MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Caribbean Journal

Concept: Caribbean Journal is a daily digital magazine covering news and travel in what the publication likes to call the “Greater Caribbean.”

Story: Alexander Britell graduated from Harvard College cum laude and received a scholarship to attend the University of Miami School of Law, where he soon began studying Caribbean law. He had been a journalist since high school, and one night before graduating from law school, had the idea to launch a regional Caribbean news source. In 2013, Britell joined forces with longtime media executive and former Caribbean and Travel and Life Publisher Guy Britton and expanded the site with more robust travel and tourism content.

“The Caribbean is unique in the world in that it is a place that everyone wants to know about and visit, but for which there has long been a significant information deficit, even more so for people who live within the region,” said Britell, editor of Caribbean Journal. CJ aims to bridge that gap by focusing on two major areas: news (politics, economics, energy and the environment) coupled with travel and tourism, the region’s single largest economic driver. “The goal is to unite two often disparate worlds: the people who live in the Caribbean, and the people who travel and invest in the Caribbean, and to inform them about what’s happening in the region and why it matters to everyone,” Britell said.

Today, the magazine has grown to become the world’s largest website covering the Caribbean and the leading resource for news and travel information on the Caribbean, Britell said. It is read in more than 200 countries and territories, with the largest concentration (about 65 percent) in the United States.

CJ has its office at Pipeline Brickell, which has proven to a valuable collaborative resource for the company’s growth. CJ even hosts regular Rum Tasting at the space as part of its Rum Journal section.

Founded: 2011

Management team: Alexander Britell, editor-in-chief/founder; Guy Britton, executive vice president.

Number of employees: Five.

Website: www.caribjournal.com

Financing: $500,000 in angel equity financing

Recent milestones reached: 460,000 visits in one month in January, just topped 44,000 subscribers (email newsletter goes out every day of the week) and 88,000 Facebook likes, 268 percent year-over-year audience growth. Won two Caribbean Tourism Organization media awards. Hired Caribbean travel expert Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon as travel editor at the end of 2014. “Among our staff, we’ve now visited every country in the Caribbean,” Britell said.

Biggest startup challenge: Building an Internet audience from scratch. In the very early days, CJ was getting 50 people a day. Now it’s 15,000, Britell said. 

Next step: Hosting conferences and small events in Miami and expanding audience development. “We believe that there’s nothing stopping us from reaching 5 million visits a month or more. But what’s important is that we stay lean and efficient and maintain our editorial vision,” Britell said.

Partner’s view: “I knew the minute I saw Caribbean Journal what a great opportunity there was to grow the audience and make it valuable for advertisers,” said Britton, who has more than 20 years of digital publishing experience and knowledge of the Caribbean. “We will continue to produce new, useful and entertaining content that attracts the right readership. Events are a great way to grow. We will continue to host rum tastings, small press conferences and accept speaking engagements.”

Nancy Dahlberg @ndahlberg

March 20, 2015

NBCUniversal programming plans for eMerge Americas unveiled

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The upcoming Miami technology conference eMerge Americas will be covered live on popular programs such as CNBC’s Fast Money, MSNBC’s The Rundown with José Díaz-Balart and Telemundo’s Enfoque con José Díaz-Balart, Un Nuevo Dia and Al Rojo Vivo.

CNBC, MSNBC, NBC News and Telemundo announced the news Friday morning, and Manny Medina, Miami technology pioneer and founder of eMerge Americas, and Telemundo and MSNBC anchor José Diaz-Balart highlighted some of the plans, including for his own shows, at a gathering in Miami Beach Thursday night. eMerge Americas takes place May 1-5, with the main conference May 4-5 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. "We'll see you on the air," said Diaz-Balart.

Now heading into its second year, the conference is expected to attract more than 10,000 attendees. It will include a Government Innovation Summit, a Startup Showcase, Country Pavilions and a Women, Innovation & Technology summit, as well as speakers, panel discussions, contests, an expo and networking opportunities. Keynote speakers include author Deepak Chopra; Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square and LaunchCode; and Armando Christian Perez, also known as Pitbull (pictured above in eMerge interview last year with Manny Medina).

Medina told the crowd he founded eMerge Americas because he believed there was a need for a tech hub of the Americas, and the partnership with NBCUniversal will accelerate the effort to build it in Miami. “If we come together as a community, Miami can have tech,” he said.

As part of the three-year media partnership between eMerge Americas and the NBCUniversal News Group announced in January, coverage plans for the conference include:

* CNBC’s Fast Money (airs at 5 p.m. Monday-Friday), anchored by Melissa Lee, will broadcast live from the event. In addition, CNBC’s Chief International Correspondent Michelle Caruso-Cabrera will report live from eMerge Americas for CNBC’s Business Day programming.

* MSNBC’s The Rundown with José Díaz-Balart (9 a.m. weekdays) will broadcast live Monday, May 4, and MSNBC reporters will cover eMerge Americas live for msnbc.com/shift.

* Miami-based Telemundo plans coverage on multiple programs. Telemundo’s Enfoque con José Díaz-Balart (noon Sunday) will air a segment about eMerge on May 3. Telemundo’s Diego Schoening will report live May 4 and May 5 for Un Nuevo Día (7 a.m.-10 a.m. Monday-Friday). Telemundo’s Al Rojo Vivo (4 p.m. Monday-Friday), hosted by María Celeste Arrarás, will feature stories about fashion and technology.

In addition, NBCUniversal network websites will live-stream portions of eMerge Americas, and NBC News’ Chuck Todd, moderator of Meet the Press, MSNBC, Díaz-Balart and CNBC’s Melissa Lee will moderate panels at the event, NBCUniversal said. The NBCUniversal News Group of on-air and digital news properties in the world reaches more than 147 million people each month.

For more information about eMerge Americas and tickets: emergeamericas.org

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.