Nine startups competed in front of a shark tank-like panel of judges at SuperConf, held at the Miami Beach Convention Center on Friday. After the judges deliberated, one Miami company — CodeMeet — left with $26,000 in cash and prizes.
CodeMeet, founded by Deverraux Jones, is a live video and realtime platform for developers around the world to meet and work on code together. Jones moved to Miami about six months ago from Boston, where he was a student at MIT and developed the platform. So far a one-man show, Jones is ready to put his prize money to work by beginning to build out his team, and will be looking for programmers and business development people, he said.
(Photo above by Bruno Miranda shows grand prize winner Deverraux Jones receiving his prize from SuperConf founder Auston Bunsen and one of the judges, Pedro Torres Picon, founder and managing director of Quotidian Ventures.)
Each presenting company gave a 10-minute pitch. Then, judges, most angels and VCs from Silicon Valley or New York such as Brad McCarty of The Next Web, Matt Tanase of Slicehost and DevStructure and Pedro Torres Picon of Quotidian Ventures, lobbed questions at them on revenue models, scalability, target markets and marketing strategies, among other topics. The startups also took a grilling from the packed room. The pitches were also live-streamed at supercomf.co/live.
The other companies that presented were Freqent, Politify, LiveNinja, 71Lbs, GoodMate, WhatUpBridge, Flomio and DateLatte. All but Politify and Goodmate are from Florida. Miami-based LiveNinja, a video chat marketplace and monetization platform for experts on any topic, was runnerup and received $3,500 in prizes. Its founders are Will Weinraub, Emilio Cueto and Alfonso Martinez. (Photo by Bruno Miranda shows runner-up Will Weinraub and other LiveNija team members receiving their prize.)
The nine companies were chosen from a pool of about 60 from around the country, the organizers said. Opportunities to network and pitch in front of investors are becoming more commonplace in South Florida, and that's a good thing for the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
SuperConf is billed as a two-day conference where web development and entrepreneurship converge. Organized by developer Auston Bunsen for the second year, the conference continues Saturday for ticket-holders, and will feature speakers such as Jeremy Ashkenas of the New York Times and creator of programming language CoffeeScript, Zach Holman and Ben Bleikamp of GitHub, Jason L. Baptiste of OnSwipe, Chris Nagele of Wildbit, Richard Crowley of Square and Luke Seeley of MetaLab, publicist Pabla Ayala said.
(Photo by Bruno Miranda shows the SuperConf audience asking questions of a startup after a startup presentation)
SuperConf is one of about a dozen events that were held this week as part of Miami Tech Week.