April 24, 2015

CareCloud announces new CEO, $15M in funding

Ken-Comee-CareCloud-CEOCareCloud, the Miami-based provider of cloud-based practice management, electronic health record and medical billing software and services, announced that it has appointed a new CEO.

Carecloud announced that Ken Comée, with a background leading enterprise cloud technology businesses, will take the helm, replacing CareCloud’s founder, Albert Santalo, who will remain as chairman and chief strategy officer.

The company also announced $15 million in additional funding from its investors, which it said will be used to further advance product innovation and customer success.

During the past three years as a Carecloud board member and operational advisor, Comée has helped steer CareCloud’s fast growth. As CEO of Cast Iron Systems, Comée grew the company into the No. 1 brand in cloud integration, leading to its strategic acquisition by IBM, the company said. Most recently, he was CEO of PowerReviews, a leader in product ratings and reviews, and oversaw the scaling of its operations and fast growth in the market.

“The health information technology landscape has changed dramatically in the past year,” said Comée, in a news release. “Regulatory considerations once drove many purchasing decisions. Today, large ambulatory medical groups demand a true platform of choice that offers superior ease of use and better business results in support of patient care. As the first quarter of 2015 demonstrated, no company is better positioned than CareCloud to lead the charge in replacing legacy systems. I look forward to leading this team in support of that mission.”

SantaloThe company’s investments follow the achievement of record contract values in the first quarter of 2015: CareCloud signed seven of its largest deals to date in Q1, as average contract value tripled over the prior year. Among the nearly 50 new clients to select the CareCloudplatform in Q1 was a large, multispecialty urgent care group practice with locations across the Southwest.

“Since its inception, CareCloud has achieved incredible success and growth by delivering an unparalleled platform to help healthcare organizations run better than they ever have before through connected technologies. Ken has been a supporter, friend and confidant for a number of years now and I’m confident that the team, under his leadership, will reach new heights and continue to drive CareCloud’s mission,” said Santalo, in a news release.

Prior to the new funding, CareCloud, founded in 2009, raised $55 million in venture funding from firms such as Intel Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, Tenaya Capital and Adams Street Partners and received a $25.5 million debt financing commitment from Hercules Technology Growth Capital last summer.

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg

April 23, 2015

Smart City Startups puts urban innovation in the spotlight




Curtis Tonge explains to Jed Hoffman, (center) and his brother Isaac Hoffma, (right) and mother Joana Hoffman, (back) about energy managment at Smart City Startups, which had about 100 startups demoing their products, all products that help cities work beter. This took place at the Wynwood Warehouse Project. Peter Andrew Bosch Miami Herald staff

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/technology/article19341024.html#storylink=cpy

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Inside and outside a Wynwood warehouse on a hot, rainy Thursday, startups were proudly demonstrating electric skateboards for city commuting, a city bench that doubles as a power station, new concepts in personal mobility and plenty of energy-saving products and services for homes, businesses and governments.

The startup festival, which was open to the public, featured nearly 100 startups and kicked off Smart City Startups, a two-day urban tech conference showcasing startups, entrepreneurs, new research and ideas that are transforming cities. Hundreds of people crowded into the Wynwood Warehouse Project and nearby LightBox theater for demos and talks. The conference, now in its second year, is being produced by Shaun Abrahamson and Stonly Baptiste, co-founders of Miami-based Urban.Us, an investment fund focused on supporting startups that make cities better.

Event2Festival-goers were introduced to emerging tech being used to solve pressing urban issues in areas such as energy consumption, transit, sustainable building, governance and public safety. Fueling this trend is this global urban reality: More than half the world now lives in cities, and in 30 years, 70 percent will live in cities, Abrahamson said. Large cities now consume two-thirds of the world’s energy and create over 70 percent of global CO2 emissions. In the United States, 80 percent of residents already live in cities, stretching resources.

Some of the startups that participated in the festival help budget-strapped cities provide services more efficiently and save money, such as SmartProcure of Fort Lauderdale, which offers an easy way to find out what other government agencies paid for contracts, offering transparency. Michigan-based MiniRent showed off a platform for municipalities to share large equipment, such as excavators and street sweepers. TransitMix, a software tool for quickly mapping transit routes and calculating costs, was the crowd favorite at a startup contest during the event. Co-founder Tiffany Chu said she has meetings lined up with Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach transit authorities on Friday.

Sandra Richter’s startup, Soofa, makes a smart city bench with a solar-powered charging station. “We took something every city has a lot of — benches — and makes them a place where they can charge their phones,” said Richter, who introduced the product at the White House Maker Faire last summer. “But it doesn’t stop there. The benches can be loaded with sensors collecting data on all kinds of uses.” The University of Miami will get a bench on Friday, she said.

Your park or campus doesn’t have smart benches yet? Perhaps you can charge your phone and protect the environment, too? Woosh is installing purified water stations in parks (complete with WiFi and electricity) in a half-dozen U.S. cities and Tel Aviv to encourage people to refill their bottles rather than buy disposable plastic ones.

Ludovic Roche, CEO and co-founder of PWRstation, was showing off his company’s portable, retractable solar power system. He is finding lots of interest in Europe, the Middle East and Africa for his product that unfolds to cover 480 square feet (60 by 8 feet), and is planning to go through the certification process for the U.S. market soon. For the startup, which has offices in Miami and Switzerland, ease of installation and the retractability are key differentiators, Roche said. Hurricane coming? Retract them. Moving? Take it with you. “We’re a product, not a project,” Roche said.

Direct Energy decked out a trailer with the latest innovations in smart appliances for the connected home that will tell you if you left something on the stove or signal unhealthy gases in the air. Also on display: Nest for energy and Rachio for water conservation.

MeterHero, which launched in California last year, creates rebate programs linking your water and gas company and issues cash rebates based on your conservation habits.

Existing utility-based rebate programs fund discounts on purchases like low-flow shower heads and toilets, but MeterHero is the first to offer cash for conservation. Rebates, which are funded by organizations, companies or individuals, are paid at $1 for each 100 gallons of water saved, 10 kilowatt hours of electricity saved, or 100 cubic feet of natural gas saved. Participants can earn $75 or more per month, the company says.

MeterHero and the Florida Clean Water Network announced a partnership this week to encourage Floridians to conserve water and energy. The Florida Clean Water Network is sponsoring conservation rebates for homeowners across the state who track their water and energy savings through MeterHero.

Of course, no tech conference would be complete without drones. While a booth inside showed how a construction drone works and the high-resolution images it collects, everyone wanted to see a drone fly. Dodging the rain, Trevor Duke was sending them up and down in the parking lot, while riders nearby tested out the OneWheel, an electric skateboard for personal mobility. Duke owns Icarus Ariels and is a drone pilot for SkyCatch, which is putting drones to work to automate processes at construction sites around the world; people program the machines and push a button to send them to work.


The conference continues Friday with The Summit, a smaller, more intimate event for invited urban-tech startups, government officials and nonprofits from around the world, with discussions about procurement, city-startup partnerships, harnessing early adopters, and capital raising on the agenda.

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.

See cover story about Urban.Us here.


 Soofa is a smart bench with a solar powered charging station. Middle photo: Kyle Doerksen, CEO of Future Motion, demonstrates a onewheel and how it works at Smart City Startups on Thursday at the Wynwood Warehouse Project.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/technology/article19341024.html#storylink=cpy

Startups rock the house at Venture Hive's The Swarm


Video marketing startup Cinemad offers a B2B solution to turn viewers into customers, and plans to first conquer the Latin American market, and then the U.S. Quotanda, now based here, is launching programs in Mexico now and its two-year goal is to be the largest student loan source in Latin Americas. Clicky is a reservation platform for sports facilities, already with 2,300 venues, including 10 in Miami. "It's like Open Table but for sports," said co-founder Ezequiel Bucai.

PRX Control Solutions, which develops solutions for reducing the expense of pharmaceutical treatments, moved the company to Miami and is focusing on the Latin America market initially. How about games for sports brands? "Thousands of teams, thousands of stars, the sky is the limit," said German Tarico of Argentina, who found his first investor here and says he plans to stay in South Florida.

These are some of the companies that presented at The Swarm, Venture Hive's version of the Demo Day.

And true to the name, Wednesday night's event was buzzing with activity. The 10 startups (pictured above) in the accelerator hailed from seven countries, including India and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The 10, plus one company from Venture Hive's incubator, Snapscore, presented their companies to a roomful of investors, mentors and community supporters.

"One of the things we worked on very hard over the last year is not only supporting ideas and MVP-state businesses but finding companies all over the world who already have solid businesses, who have investment, who  have traction and helping them be better," Susan Amat, founder of Venture Hive, told the crowd. "Tonight you are going to see 10 of those companies from seven countries, and one homegrown business."

The Swarm was the conclusion of an intensive  12-week accelerator program, the third annual class held  at the downtown Miami accelerator and supported by Miami-Dade County and Miami DDA.

Roberto Interiano, who has been involved with Venture Hive since the first year, said that this year was not only about helping the startups scale but also scaling Venture Hive. In addition to its programs in Miami, Venture Hive just announced it will open an accelerator for veterans in North Florida and it currently runs four virtual pre-accelerators with the Microsoft Innovation Center in Chile, Pakistan, Armenia and Nepal. Workshops and speaker sessions the third accelerator class took part in were taped and sent to the  pre-accelerators almost immediately as well as additional content and lessons. And each lesson was followed by a live Skyped Q&A session, Interiano said. Following the Swarm, Amat was headed to Chile and Armenia to take part in their demo days. "It's exciting to see the model being used all over the world -- and the results," said Interiano.

At the Swarm Wednesday night, each  team gave a six-minute pitch. The companies presenting were:

Cinemad: Interactive videos for converting viewers into customers. Website: cinemad.tv. Founders: Mariano Lo Cane, CEO; Gabriel Dominguez, COO. Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Clicky: An online booking platform for sports facilities. Website: clickyreserva.com. Founders: Ezequiel Bucai, CEO; Gonzalo Conde, CMO; Alejandro Silvestro, CTO. Cordoba, Argentina.

Fanjam: Fantasy basketball contests for cash. Website: fanjam.com. Founders: Toni Gemayel, CEO; TJ Weigel, COO; Travis Staton, CTO. Chattanooga, TN.

Helpjuice: An auto-updating knowledge base platform allowing companies to scale supporting & deliver instant answers to customers. Website: helpjuice.com. Founders: Emil Hajric, CEO; Eldin Hajric, VP. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Paganza: A bill-paying app for the LATAM market. Website: paganza.com. Founders: Marcelo Lanfranconi, CEO; Leo Vernazza, CTO. Monteviedo, Uruguay.  

PRX Control Solutions: Solutions for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, reducing the expense of pharmaceutical treatments in health plans. Website: prxcontrolsolutions.com. Founders: Alfredo Vaamonde, CEO; Miguel Ambrosio, CTO. Caracas, Venezuela.

Quotanda: A student financing platform democratizing access to education. Website: quotanda.com. Founders: Grant Taylor, CEO; Lino Pujol-Soliano, COO. Barcelona, Spain.

Referrizer: A total solution to generate new customers and keep existing ones loyal. Website: referrizer.com. Founders: Andre Cvijovic, CEO; Manuel Tuveri, VP. Deerfield Beach.

Rock N Roll Games: A gaming company for making sports brands rock. Website: rockandrollgamestudio.com. Founders: German Tarico, CEO; Ezequiel D'Amico, CMO. Buenos Aires, Argentina.             

Snapscore:  Measures individuals’ qualifications and provides meaningful insights to accelerate their careers. Website: snapscore.me. Founders: Newton Porter, CEO; Taylor Auerbach, COO. Miami.

TommyJams: Innovative technologies to revolutionize  music entertainment. Founders: Parth Saxena, CEO; Dhruv Saxena, CTO. Bangalore, India.


Accelerator companies TommyJams, above, and Quotanda, below, present at The Swarm at Venture Hive.

  Vh 2 IMG_1075

April 22, 2015

CBRE study: South Florida lags other markets for tech-talent growth

50 Miami, FL

Tech-talent clustering is a growing driver of demand for office space in both large and small markets across the United States, according to a research report released Tuesday by CBRE, a global commercial real estate and investment firm. But of the 50 top office markets it studied, Miami ranked at the bottom for tech-talent growth -- No. 50. Fort Lauderdale ranked 48th.

Among other Florida cities, Tampa ranked 36th and Orlando 47th. At the top of the list: Silicon Valley, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, San Francisco Peninsula, New York; Seattle, Boston, Baltimore, Austin and Atlanta. Smaller markets in the top 25 included Edison, NJ, Columbus, OH, and Salt Lake City, UT.

“Tech talent growth rates are the best indicator of labor pool momentum and it’s easily quantifiable to identify the markets where demand for tech workers has surged,” said Colin Yasukochi, director research and analysis for CBRE, in a news release. “Tech talent growth, primarily within the high-tech industry, has recently been the top driver of office leasing activity in the U.S.”

Orlando ranks as one of the most affordable of the markets in the U.S., based on rent and wage costs, according to the report.  Fort Lauderdale and Miami made it to the list as a result of the sizeable increase in their millennial workforce, which is considered a robust contributor to the growth of tech-talent pools. Since 2000, the population in Miami’s urban core has doubled, according to a recent Miami DDA study.

 Though tech talent  comprises only 3.4 percent of the total U.S. workforce (4.4 million workers), the high-tech industry accounted for more major U.S. office leasing activity than any sector in both 2013 (13.6 percent) and 2014 (19.0 percent), according to the CBRE report.

CBRE is tracking tech companies that are moving into Miami and hopes to have data to present to media and clients attending eMerge Americas, said Quinn Eddins, director of Research and Analysis, CBRE Florida.

“Why do we care? A strong tech sector is good for Miami in many ways of course, but also because there’s a strong correlation between tech clusters and high-performing office markets. Nationally, the tech talent labor force is growing at a rapid pace,” said Eddins. “More tech or tech-related jobs mean more demand for office space. More demand for office space means decreasing vacancy and rising rents, and that’s what makes a strong office market, and an attractive environment for investors.”

  48 Fort Lauderdale, FL

Social entrepreneurship leads FIU Track pitches in the Business Plan Challenge



The FIU Track of the Business Plan Challenge held a live pitch event as part of the judging. Here is a report from that. Who won? Find out April 27 in Business Monday or on MiamiHerald.com/challenge.

By Cynthia Corzo, FIU College of Business

Innovation for social good was the leading theme among the six semifinalists chosen in the FIU Track of the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge, co-sponsored by the College of Business’ Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center:

  • Court Buddy offers affordable access to legal services;
  • FlowKPI provides real-time performance data for retailers;
  • Relentless Roasters aims to create a specialty coffee bar and collaborative workspace for students;
  • Room2Care.com proposes a cost-effective solution for elderly care;
  • Senzu Foods offers affordable, high-protein foods made from bugs.
  • Wuelto taps the growing e-commerce marketplace for virtual mall experience;

“It’s nice to see people thinking big, solving big issues for the market and delivering proposals that are economically viable,” said John Fleming, Pino Center advisor and one of the judges on the FIU Track.

Senzu Foods’ founders gave their presentation an added boost, sharing cricket-based cookies with the judges and the other teams participating in the March 30 “Shark Tank Forum” at The Miami Herald. The consensus: they tasted good.

Impressed by the proposals, the judges offered three words of advice: “Don’t give up.”

It may not have been as fierce as the original “Shark Tank” television show, but the FIU Track judges spared little mercy in their questions to the participants.

“How are you going to deal with online fraud?” the judges asked Wuelto founder and FIU alumnus Alejandro Gomez. “Why should consumers buy from you and not Amazon?” added Seema Pissaris, professor at FIU’s College of Business Department of Management and International Business. They also quizzed the Senzu team on their failure to address the required FDA approval and pointed out the need for a food industry expert on their team.

Money was at the core of the judges’ questions to Relentless Roasters’ Daniel Choiseul, an FIU graduate, asking for details on cost per square foot and revenue per square foot – neither one covered in the presentation. “If you can’t explain those two numbers you can’t get anywhere,” said Karlene Cousins, associate professor in the Decision Sciences and Information Systems Department.

Difficult and demanding.

The annual Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge tasks contestants with creating a succinct yet detailed presentation of their business concept, the issues it will solve and how the venture will become a success. The ultimate goal: securing investors to get the venture off the ground or grow an existing business active for less than two years.

“This is real money and I expect you to do real things with it,” Fleming, , co-founder and technology practice lead of Biztegra Partners, told participants as they prepared to make their presentations. “If you’re taking other people’s money, you’re responsible for it.”

A record 248 entries were submitted for the 2015 competition, now in its 17th year. The six semifinalists selected in each track – Community, FIU and High School – all made live presentations before judges and filmed a 90-second video elevator pitch.

Participants in the FIU Track, the majority of them alumni, admitted the challenge wasn’t easy, with tough questions from the judges about costs and business models, competitors, target markets, and marketing strategies.

“It was tough, but it’s constructive criticism from someone who sees these types of presentations all the time,” Nicolexander Garza, an FIU undergrad who co-founded Senzu Foods with current FIU students Ricardo Delgado and Valerie Yoda, said about the shark tank forum, “They suggest what areas we need to work on and we learned from their questions to us and to the others.”

Court Buddy co-founders attorney James Jones Jr., an attorney, and Kristina Jones, an FIU alumna, were asked what their critical mass would be, both in terms of attorneys and non-attorney members, how they would attract new lawyers to the service and maintain interest of those already subscribed, and details about the actual costs of running the business.

“They brought up points that made us realize that we needed to focus more on the business side of Court Buddy,” said James Jones. “It’s a process that requires our daily attention and dedication to meeting our member’s needs.”

Lessons to be learned.

The judges described the business proposals as interesting, original and well presented. One of the areas that Business Plan Challenge contestants, and anyone who’s planning to launch a business, must overcome is the “assumption factor.”

“They have to help me understand the problem and how the business will fill in the gaps,” said Pissaris. “Paint a clear picture of what the market looks like, address the risks and have a plan to mitigate them, describe what makes you well matched to execute the business.”

The presenting teams also need to work on the competitive environment and how to execute the business plan, noted Cousins.

“Some couldn’t explain how their product would be better than competitors’ until they were probed,” said Cousins. “They have to examine legal and regulatory issues, provide solid information on the return for investors and conduct more sophisticated analysis about the business model.”

The grand finale comes on April 27, when a special edition of The Miami Herald’s Business Monday will showcase the winners – the judge’s top three selections in each track, the People’s Pick, and the overall 2015 Challenge Champion.

For a closer look at the contestants and their companies: go here.

Cynthia Corzo is Assistant Director of Media Relations and Communications for FIU College of Business.

April 21, 2015

Enstitute apprenticeship program launching in Miami this week

Enstitute, a national non-profit apprenticeship program, will launch its Miami Hub this week.

In conjunction with the launch, Enstitute is bringing in a dozen investors and entrepreneurs from around the country to explore the Miami startup ecosystem and meet with local founders and investors.

Visiting venture capitalists mainly from New York, San Francisco and Washington will spend 36 hours “founder dating” with about 30 Miami startups, touring local co-working spaces and communities such as Wynwood, Buro Midtown and The Idea Center, and have meetings with the Miami DDA, Knight Foundation, Venture Hive and other key Miami organizations, said Kane Sarhan, co-founder of Enstitute.

Investors include Nic Poulous of Bowery Capital, Scott Laughlin of LAO Ventures, Greg Rosen of BoxGroup, Patrick Murphy of Universal Music Group, Julia Taxin of GroTech, Megan Hannum of Comcast Ventures, Will Peng of Red Swan Ventures and others.

Enstitute is also hosting a launch event to introduce its program at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Venture Hive. More info: http://enstitutemiami.splashthat.com.

To equip millennials with relevant skills for 21st century careers, Enstitute provides participants with one-year, paid, full-time apprenticeships at high-growth startups, small businesses and corporations. Through Knight Foundation funding, Miami became the organization’s third hub; the others are in New York and Washington.


Comcast to offer 2-gigabit Internet to homes in South Florida

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@Miamiherald.com

Fast, faster, fastest.

In the race for speed, Comcast soon will offer the fastest residential Internet speed in the country to its 1.3 million residential customers in South Florida.

Comcast’s Gigabit Pro will offer 2-gigabit-per-second (Gbps) service — twice as fast as its competitors — to its customers in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties as well as those in the Jacksonville area beginning next month.

How fast is 2-gigabit service? Internet service at that speed would allow customers to download a high-definition movie in 12 seconds. “You can download your favorite band’s entire album in less than a second or an episode of Parks and Recreation in 2 seconds,” said Comcast Florida spokeswoman Mindy Kramer.

Comcast has not announced pricing or installation costs for its new service.

Gigabit Pro is a symmetrical service, meaning the speeds are the same for uploads and downloads. It will be available in areas with access to fiber, which is throughout its tri-county coverage area. Comcast also plans to offer a 2-megabit fiber service through its XFINITY Communities program servicing some local multi-dwelling units such as apartment complexes.

Unlike some competitors offering gigabit speeds, “this will be one of the most comprehensive rollouts of multigig service,” said Thomas Zemaitis, vice president of sales and marketing for Comcast Florida. “We didn’t want to pick specific neighborhoods or cities or towns. ... It is throughout our marketplace.”

South Florida is the third Comcast market to announce Gigabit Pro, following Atlanta’s launch earlier this month and California last week. The company has built out more than 145,000 route miles of fiber across its service area, including Florida, to serve residential communities with a fiber-to-the-home service.

Zemaitis said the initial target for this service would be early adopters. They may be streaming videos, movies and TV across multiple devices, or they may be hard-core gamers or customers who need to transfer large files, for instance.

“More than half of our customers have speeds that are 50 megabits or faster. They are looking for more speed and this competitive move is a reaction to that,” Zemaitis said, noting that 25 megabits is typical.

The company will announce pricing next month, Zemaitis said. There also will be installation costs because Comcast has to run fiber from the node to the home and install professional grade equipment outside the house as well as a professional-grade router inside, he said.

In South Florida, 1-gigabit service is either already being offered or in the plans for several carriers.

Atlantic Broadband, the nation's 13th largest cable operator, began offering 1-gigabit service to its Indian Creek customers last summer, and is expanding throughout its Miami Beach service area. AT&T announced in August that it will expand its 1-gigabit AT&T GigaPower network to Miami, but the company has not released specific locations of availability, pricing or a timeline for the project that involves a nationwide rollout. And while South Florida is not yet on Google Fiber’s expansion map, the company has been rolling out its 1-gigabit service in selected cities across the country, and announced earlier this year that four cities in the Southeast are in the plans.

Teresa Mastrangelo, analyst with the market research firm Broadbandtrends, told the San Jose Mercury News that Comcast is trying to get a jump on AT&T, Google Fiber and smaller players rolling out 1-gigabit service, but that Comcast's pricing will play a key role in whether it will appeal to customers. “I don’t know if anyone will know the difference between 1 and 2 gigabits,” she said. “It’s going to be fast, period.”

Comcast has been delivering multigig (up to 10 Gbps) Ethernet service to businesses in Florida since 2011 and serves more than 1.5 million businesses nationwide. With the introduction of Gigabit Pro, the company has now increased speeds for its subscribers 14 times in the past 13 years, Comcast said.

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.


Venture Hive to open accelerator for veteran-owned tech businesses

Susan Amat Venture 05 (2)


By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Venture Hive, the Miami-based entrepreneurship education company, is partnering with the city of Fort Walton Beach to launch a national accelerator for veteran-owned businesses.

Through this public-private partnership, Fort Walton Beach will enable Venture Hive to provide selected veteran-owned tech businesses with access to business coaching, customized training and a relevant network to scale their ventures, driving the economic growth of the region. Fort Walton Beach has allocated $500,000 to the initiative and will provide renovated space to house the Venture Hive Fort Walton Beach Accelerator.

“Our area is home to Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Field, and the 7th Special Forces Group, among other specialized military-related organizations, so we have long been a center of innovation and cutting edge ideas tied to our military. With the launch of Venture Hive we will expand that innovation to cutting edge veteran owned businesses as well,” said Mike Anderson, mayor of Fort Walton Beach, in announcing the accelerator Tuesday.  

Venture Hive aims to help vetrepreneurs build large scale and global market companies that can take advantage of the innovative research already being conducted in the Fort Walton Beach area, said Susan Amat, founder of Venture Hive.

Benefits of the program include a $25,000 non-equity grant, a world-class curriculum of practical workshops and training sessions, access to a collaborative working space in Fort Walton Beach for a year, mentoring from a vetted network of local, national and international entrepreneurs and experts, exposure to qualified investors and a Demo Day celebration on Veteran's Day. The first 12-week accelerator class, which will be free for the selected companies, will run from Aug. 17 – Nov. 11 in downtown Fort Walton Beach. Applications will be accepted from April 21 – June 1.

Venture Hive Fort Walton Beach will also offer a pre-accelerator program to help military veteran entrepreneurs begin to build businesses that are still in the idea phase of development. The first 12-week pre-accelerator class will run from July 18 – Oct. 12; applications will be accepted from April 21 – June 1.

 “We take great care in building individuals to reach their potential so they can execute on their visions – no matter how impossible it may seem,” said Amat. “We are thrilled to support Fort Walton Beach’s economic development goals by doubling down on the incredible existing talent and resources of a city that offers both a wonderful lifestyle and great opportunity.”

The program is open to any business founded by a U.S. military veteran developing innovative web, mobile or technology product solutions to address a clear market need. To apply and learn more, visit http://veterans.venturehive.com.

Venture Hive’s existing programs in Miami have shown a $7.3 million economic impact in less than two years of operation, with support from Miami-Dade County and the Miami Downtown Development Authority. In addition to an accelerator and incubator in Miami, Venture Hive runs an entrepreneurship program for high school students as well as summer camps for younger students. Venture Hive also runs virtual pre-accelerators with the Microsoft Innovation Center for Chile, Nepal, Armenia and Pakistan, among other programs.

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg


April 20, 2015

2nd annual eMerge Americas Hackathon needs you!

In partnership with Ironhack, eMerge Americas is hosting its second annual eMerge Americas Hackathon. This year, the eMerge Americas Hackathon is focusing on developing innovative applications using some of Facebook’s newest technologies.

Hackathon participants will be required to implement their idea using one of these three Facebook products:

  • Facebook Messenger API - Get whitelisted and be one of the first developers to use the recently released Facebook Messenger API.
  • React - Join the growing community of developers using Facebook’s most talked about Open Source project. Use React to build your Web application or your native mobile app thanks to React Native.
  • Facebook Login - Make your login secure and easy for your users on any platform with Facebook Login.

With these Facebook products, participants can build their project on the platform of their choice! This event can be enjoyed by developers of all levels.

The Hackathon will be hosted at Miami Dade College's Idea Center on May 2nd, and will last 24 hours. Come with a team or come by yourself and join one.

Prizes: $50,000 in cash and prizes ($10,000 in cash guaranteed for the first-place team) and the opportunity to build something from the ground up.

To find out more information on the hackathon and register, click here.

- submitted by eMerge Americas


April 19, 2015

Entrepreneurship Datebook: Events, workshops in South Florida this week

Tech eggLEGAL HACK NIGHT: A presentation and discussion about the intersection of law and technology, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aptil 22, General Provision, 525 NW First Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Info: www.meetup.com/Code-for-FTL/

SMART CITY STARTUPS FESTIVAL: An opportunity to see, try and ride the very best emerging technologies from 100 of today's leading startups re-imagining cities and hear from sci-fi author Ramez Naam, 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 23, Wynwood Warehouse Project, 450 NW 27th St., Miami. Read more here. Tickets: www.smartcitystartups.com.

GOOGLE SPEAKER: Join Refresh Miami and The Launch Pad in welcoming Max Henderson, head of Google Cloud Platform, during an appearance at the University of Miami. 6:30 to 9 p.m., Thursday, April 23,  University of Miami Alumni Center. Info: www.refreshmiami.com

GUIDE TO SELLING YOUR BUSINESS: When is the right time to sell? Learn 20 steps to selling your business , 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 23, 2000 Ponce Business Center, 2000 Ponce De Leon Blvd., Suite 569, Coral Gables. Fee applies. Info: www.miamidade.score.org (click on local workshops).

WRITE YOUR FIRST ANDROID APP: A weekend workshop to learn how to use Android Studio and Java to build your first Android App;  no experience needed, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 25, and  Sunday, April 26, at  CityDesk, 350 S Miami Ave., Miami.  Fee applies. Info:   http://www.meetup.com/Girl-Develop-It-Miami/events/220245181/


JPay of Miramar was sold, OpenEnglish launched into the U.S. market, AdMobilize launched  AdBeacon, Wyncode expanded to Fort Lauderdale's General Provision, Caviar restaurant delivery service began in Miami, UM's School of Architecture, with Knight funding, will create entrepreneurship centers in two low-income neighborhoods, FashInvest and Open Source Fashion are teaming up on back-to-back events, and healthcare dominated South Florida's Q1 venture capital numbers. That's just some of the news you missed last week if you aren't reading Starting Gate. Find it all on MiamiHerald.com/business.

Nancy Dahlberg @ndahlberg