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36 posts from March 2016

March 29, 2016

Meet Nelly Farra, new leader of WIN Lab set to launch in Miami

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Wanted: South Florida women “with the fire to make it happen.”

Nelly farraThat’s Nelly Farra’s message. She’s the new director of the WIN Lab, a Miami accelerator for women entrepreneurs launching on Thursday. With the launch, the program plans to begin taking applications for its first cohort of 20 selected female founders that will start this fall.

The eight-month entrepreneurship program was the brainchild of Babson College, consistently ranked tops in the nation for entrepreneurship education, and its Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership. Its Miami expansion, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will be modeled after Babson’s successful program in Boston.

The WIN (Women Innovating Now) Lab is looking for outstanding early-stage founders — so-called WINners — from South Florida.

 “We are industry-agnostic and age-agnostic. We are looking for women who might have come out of wonderful corporate jobs and now are starting their own businesses as well as individuals earlier on in their careers who have that idea and are going for it,” Farra said.

Farra, born and raised in South Florida, most recently led business development for the Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra (MBAF) accounting firm, where she expanded the firm’s reach into the entrepreneurial ecosystem through its work with Endeavor. Before joining MBAF, Farra partnered on the launch of a green-gym concept in the Los Angeles area and also pioneered wellness professional talent management in South Florida. Farra is a graduate of the University of Miami and received her MBA from Babson College in 2010, where she was also co-chair of the Babson Entrepreneurship Forum.

“Our secret sauce is a developing community of women eager to build the next big idea,” said Farra, noting that just 15 percent of venture accelerator participants are women. That low level of diversity also pervades venture capital, the tech industry, CEO ranks and boards. To help build a stronger pipeline, Farra said: “We use near-peer role modeling so we have women who have been there and done that. We’ll have 20 female mentors matched up with the founders. We will also have entrepreneurs, executives and investors in residence.” Johanna Mikkola, co-founder of Wyncode Academy, will be an entrepreneur-in-residence, and others will be announced soon. The program will be free, and WINners will also get co-working space.

The program will meet one evening a week. It will begin with a two-day retreat for self exploration, idea investigation, inspiration and community building, Farra said. Then the WINners will get help in every step of launching and growing a business, including building a team, customer acquisition, capital raising and scaling.

The program is more spread out than a traditional three-month accelerator, so women may find it easier to work into their lives while their build their startups. They could also be students.

In Boston the WIN Lab has attracted founders such as Emily Levy and Maria Del Mar Gomes of PICCPerfect, maker of functional and fashionable medical dressings for chronic illness patients treated with PICC lines. Francine Gervazio of Cargo 42 created a platform where customers can post their shipping needs and shippers can make an offer to carry their cargo. Bernette Dawson launched Made Organics, a line of handcrafted personal-care products.

“We will expect a lot from our founders — an eight-month commitment — but we provide a lot in return,” Farra said.

The program embodies entrepreneurial thought and action — part of Babson’s methodology — to balance action, experimentation and creativity to create economic and social value. “That is what we are all about,” Farra said. “The concept is to take iterative steps to prove your model. That’s how I embody it: Everything I do is to go out and get it done.”

The deadline for applications will be May 2. For more information about the WIN Lab, go to www.babson.edu/WINLab and learn more about the program at the launch event on Thursday. (See accompanying box).

WIN Lab Miami Launch

When: 6-8 p.m. Thursday

Where: The Light Box, 404 NW 26th St., Miami

Speakers: Mary Biggins of ClassPass and MealPass; Julia Ford-Carther of Bammies; Jessica Do of PalmPress; Isabella Acker of Culture; Johanna Mikkola of Wyncode Academy

Cost: Free, but registration is required on Eventbrite.

For more information about WIN Lab: www.babson.edu/WINLab

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

Read more: Babson's Women Innovating Now Lab to launch in Miami

Read more: Numbers don't lie: Silicon Valley still has a diversity problem

 

March 28, 2016

Home61: A real estate startup powered by tech

 

Home61 picture

The Home61 management team in the office: Brian Paran, left, Olivier Grinda, center, and Olivier Brion, with snapshots of their happy clients are on the walls. Photo by Carl Juste.

 

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

A Miami-based upstart is trying to shake up the way home buying and selling has been done for decades.

In buying his own condo, Home61 CEO Olivier Grinda found the experience stressful and unnecessarily complicated — “not the level of service you should expect in 2016,” he said. As a serial entrepreneur, he thought there had to be a better way.

Home61 is a tech-enabled brokerage that brings automation and transparency to the residential real estate experience. Technology enables easy scheduling of viewings, anytime access to notes and analytics and a streamlined contractual process for buyers and renters as well as sellers and agents. If agents are unburdened by administrative work, they can better focus on service, which receives star ratings on home61.com.

“Our business is the client,” said Grinda, who moved from Brazil to Miami in late 2013. “We’re known as the teddy bear guys,” pointing to a large wall in the company’s Midtown Miami office adorned with snapshots of happy Home61 clients holding the bears in their new homes.

Grinda’s startup has lots of company in its greater mission. From techy brokerages like Home61 and property listing services like Zillow to commercial leasing and real estate analytics, real estate tech companies aim to transform a massive industry, according to tech research and data analytics firm CB Insights.

The multibillion-dollar real estate industry is now seeing a slew of real estate tech startups, including virtual property-viewing services, property management software and real estate investing platforms. It’s a global trend that looks to be on the upswing. Last year, a record" $1.7 billion in venture capital was injected into the sector, a 50 percent increase over 2014, and this year is on track to top that if current trends hold, according to CB Insights.

Home61 chose Miami for its launch site in September 2014 because of its location, location, location, with real estate already one of the region’s biggest industries. This year, Home61 began expanding throughout Broward County, too. Now with 26 agents, some full time and some part time, Home61 acts very much like a traditional broker in its commission structure and basic model, but the innovation comes in with the back-end technology that helps agents, and buyers and renters make appointments, track analytics and automate much of the process.

A recently added feature, called Seller Dashboard, lets property owners see in real time the total impressions and online visits to a listing, physical visits to the property, a comparative market analysis and marketing objectives. A proprietary pricing bar allows a seller to calculate the best asking price compared to the comparable properties, as well as metrics on the condo building or neighborhood, with alerts when a sale is made or another property hits the market. A calendar makes it easy to view showings or confirm appointments, and a document center stores all signed contracts.

Most of Home61’s transactions last year were rentals, but the company is making a bigger push for sales. Doris San Martín used Home61 recently to buy a home in South Miami and said she would use Home61 again and would recommend it to friends.

That word-of-mouth is mainly powering the growth of the hyper-local Home61, which was named after the record-breaking 61 points that then Miami Heat star LeBron James scored the night the co-founders were mulling company names. In 2015, the company netted 204 closings and has closed another 92 transactions since January. It has generated more than $32.5 million in gross revenue since inception, Grinda said. Home61 has raised" $1 million in funding from tech investors, including 500 Startups, Kima Ventures and a number of angel investors including Grinda’s brother, Fabrice.

In addition to traditional brokers, competitors include the heavily funded New York-based Compass, which has a sizable Miami team but focuses more on higher-end listings than Home61, Grinda said. TripleMint and Redfin are potential competitors, but for now they are focusing primarily on other markets, Grinda said.

Grinda, raised in France, had founded a number of Internet businesses in Brazil, including the venture-funded e-commerce site Shoes4You, which he closed in 2013, and a buying club, BrandsClub. His Home61 co-founder and business partner, Olivier Brion, brings real estate industry experience to the team. Brion was COO of the vacation rentals site Roomorama before it merged with Lofty, and he co-founded and ran Previsite, a cloud-based marketing solutions company for the real estate industry.

The company appeals to technology-loving millennials — many of them first-time buyers and renters — as well as international buyers and sellers.

Stefanie Schmalz said she and her husband, who were moving from Zurich, had earmarked a week to learn the neighborhoods and rent a condominium. She found Home61 on the Internet and decided to give it a shot. After submitting a request through the site, she was quickly paired with agent Carlos Gauch, who like her is Brazilian and speaks Portuguese. Schmalz said Gauch was sensitive to what her family was looking for and smart and effective throughout the process.

“Within just a few days, we found an apartment, we made the offer and submitted all the documents. Home61 gave us a really nice welcome,” Schmalz said.

Gauch, one of the company’s top-performing agents, joined nearly a year ago when he saw a Home61 ad boasting that agents could expect 20 to 25 leads a month. That sounded good to him because he was relatively new to real estate and did not have a large network.

Gauch said that 90 percent of his leads are generated through Home61, from people looking for their own rentals to investors seeking to acquire income property to rent out or flip. Lately, he has been getting more lucrative sales leads than rental leads: “I don’t bring a single piece of paper when I go to a showing. Everything is through the iPad. It makes our jobs a whole lot easier.”

There is a sense of teamwork in the office rather than every agent out for him or herself, Gauch said. “There is friendly competition inside, but everyone helps each other.”

U.S. expansion is on the company’s road map, but for now, the focus is at home. Grinda isn’t worried about a real estate slowdown.

As he sees it, Home61 could thrive in down times, too: Efficient systems will be that much more valuable, and sellers will want to keep a close eye on what’s happening with their properties.

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

March 27, 2016

Entrepreneurship Datebook: Workshops, events in South Florida March 28-April 3

Tech eggFUNights: The Anti-Portfolio: A candid discussion with investors Tigre Wenrich, Mark Kingdon and Ben Wirz moderated by AGP’s Nico Berardi about their biggest missed and/or failed investments, "5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, CIC Miami, 1951 NW Seventh Ave., Miami. More info: Refreshmiami.com (click on Events)

Waffles After Work: Join the Miami startup, tech and creative community for this once a month night version of #WaffleWednesday, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, LiveNinja HQ, 120 NW 25th Street, Loft #301. More info on Eventbrite.

The State of Miami’s Tech Hub: Miami has made some important strides in startup activities, but what is the true state of where it is in the growth process? Real vs. hype, let the discussion begin with a panel discussion, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Miami Ad School, 571 NW 28th St. More info on Eventbrite.

Refresh Miami: Topic is the future of gaming, with speakers from Alienware, Origin PC and SEGA Networks and pre-event demos of the Ocolus Rift VR Headset, local game developers and the latest Origin PC products, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Miami Dade College Auditorium, Room 1261 (Building 1), Wolfson Campus. More info: RefreshMiami.com

STARTING GATE

Find startup news, community views and tools for entrepreneurs on the Starting Gate blog on MiamiHerald.com/business. Have news? Email ndahlberg@miamiherald. com.

Nancy Dahlberg@"ndahlberg

Last-minute guide for entering Business Plan Challenge

Procrastinators, take note: The deadline to enter the Community Track or FIU Track of the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge is Monday night; high school students have one more week. Don’t worry, you are in good company; most entries arrive on the last day. Here is your guide to entering your business or concept:

Who can enter: Entrepreneurs with businesses less than 2 years old or with business ideas. There is a community track, FIU track and high school track.

What to enter: Up to a three-page business plan (one additional page for charts or photos is allowed). See the contest rules and tips here.

Entry deadline: 11:59 p.m. March 28 for the Community and FIU Tracks; the High School Track deadline is 11:59 p.m. April 4.

Email entries to: Challenge@MiamiHerald.com (for community track), FIUchallenge@MiamiHerald.com or highschoolchallenge@MiamiHerald.com. You should get a confirmation from Nancy Dahlberg that your entry was received. If you do not get one, a confirmation, please email ndahlberg@miamiherald.com so that we can ensure your entry makes it to us".

Rules, other info: MiamiHerald.com /challenge

Questions: ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

NANCY DAHLBERG, @ndahlberg

 

March 25, 2016

My experience at SXSW 2016: 'Hope, inspiration, family and support'

Sxsw hall

Michael hallBy Michael Hall

Digital Grass Innovation & Technology's vision is to transform, develop and promote diversity inclusion by increasing the presence of diverse groups in entrepreneurial ventures, innovation and technology. Digital Grass provides symposiums, training curriculums and professional services to develop a more diverse community in South Florida (Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach) nested in a technological hub for entrepreneurs. While the mission started off in South Florida, we quickly realized working with other organizations throughout the nation is more of the legacy we would like to leave. We focus on building a place of comfort for excellence in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship.

Our team of 11 entrepreneurs came together with one goal: to offer the support to others that we didn't receive ourselves. Self motivation can easily lead to depression when you don't have a support system. The biases at play in the tech world may have just made the national platform in the last two years, but I grew up seeing this problem as a young black man from Brewton, Alabama while watching a majority of my family attend Tuskegee University to become engineers when there was a fight for diversity in engineering. I watched my father, Marcus Hall, take this fight into his own hands and build a program recognized by the Pentagon, where he recruited black engineers to work for the Department of Defense. I strive to continue his legacy. Diversity inclusion in technology is not a new problem, rather, it is an old problem in a new sector. In the legal realm, the National Bar Association has spearheaded the fight for inclusion and in the engineering sector, the National Society of Black Engineers champions the cause. No matter how much patience one can have, you must have a leader to take action, but that lies in comfort when you come to South by Southwest and you realize you are not the only one fighting.

As a business owner, innovator and advocate for diversity inclusion in innovation and technology, meeting peers, those you admire, from Brandon Andrews leading the diversity inclusion in Shark Tank to Leslie Miley, the last black engineer of Twitter, to Joey Womack with Goodie Hack’s Founders’ Therapy program, SXSW offers hope, inspiration, family and support. The price you pay for that golden ticket offers the support that drives you for the next nine months to make it through the year because you quickly realize you aren't fighting for popularity, fame or fortune, but a legacy to help others become successful and simply not give up. The moment you realize that someone is not just introducing you to someone because you are black, but simply because you are talented, is priceless. The sharing of resources and the free advice is monumental to helping someone keep their path or pivot to make the best decisions. While the speakers for keynotes and sessions are amazing, nothing beats the conversations in the JW Marriott with meetups by Black Tech Week to the "Capital of Talent' in the We DC House with young amazing talent floating around like Angel Rich of the Wealth Factory while relaxing in the Black Wall Street House with Talib Graves Mann and Jessica Averhart of American Underground.

I can't name the endless count of mentors, friends, leaders and inspiration that is convened at SXSW, but aside from my outlet to Sherell Dorsey, I am not sure who was there to envision this beautiful scenery beyond the techies themselves.

You continue to notice that there are many others doing great things, but what you never see is them getting coverage for just being great, but only because they are a visual representation of "diversity". The role of Digital Grass will remain true to the original name, Digital Grassroots, connecting our community and sharing resources to help us strive forward. And to think it’s only March, we have 9 months left!

Michael Hall is the founder of Digital Grass Innovation & Technology.

5 reasons to enter the Business Plan Challenge

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

You have about a few more days to participate in the 2016 Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge — and a little more time if you are a high school student. If you are on the fence about whether to enter, jump over. Here are five reasons to get moving:

  1. Motivation. Perhaps you’ve been meaning to write a short business plan. Well, this might just be that kick in the behind you need. Writing down your business strategy and road map will help you focus, and give you a document for potential partners or investors. Whether you are entering the Community Track — open to all of South Florida; the FIU Track — open to students and alumni of that university; or the High School Track — which is also open to eighth-graders this year, entering the Challenge will help you get moving.
  2. Publicity. If you are one of the top three winners in each track or the “People’s Pick,” you will be profiled in a special section of the Miami Herald’s Business Monday announcing the winners, in print and online. If you are in the top six in the Community or FIU Tracks, you will participate in the People’s Pick, our popular video contest hosted on MiamiHerald.com [See last year’s video contest here.] We also announce our first cut, the semi-finalists, to keep the interest going. Social networking is a key component of our contest. Next year, we will look back on our winners and we follow them for years to come.
  3. Feedback and education. I’ll share feedback from the judges with you if you request it, whether or not you are a finalist. Winners will also receive opportunities for entrepreneurial education. If you are chosen for the aforementioned People’s Pick contest, that’s a terrific opportunity to polish your elevator pitch. If you are entering the High School Track, remember that winning sure looks good on a college application.
  4. Exposure and connections. It can’t hurt to have your plan read by South Florida’s top entrepreneurial experts, including serial entrepreneurs and investors (judges’ bios are at MiamiHerald.com/challenge). Sometimes long-lasting mentorships are developed. Some winners have been introduced to investors or potential partners; others gained key customers. If you are one of the winners, you will receive other opportunities for mentorship and connections — for example, the top Miami-Dade winner will have the opportunity to compete in the finals of the American Entrepreneurship Award (www.americanaward.com), with a $25,000 prize, and top finalists will receive tickets to the eMerge Americas conference. All winners will be honored at a luncheon with the judges and business staff and invited to FIU’s Hall of Fame reception honoring entrepreneurs.
  5. Pride. I know you’re passionate about your concept — and aren’t you just a wee bit competitive?

The deadline is March 28 for the Community and FIU Tracks; the High School Track deadline is April 4. Contest rules are at MiamiHerald.com/challenge.

If you entered last year and weren’t one of the top three winners, regroup and try again. Business ideas in the ideation stage are fine for this contest. Class projects are welcome, and we love high school entries.

Do you have questions? Email ndahlberg@MiamiHerald.com or tweet @ndahlberg.


March 20, 2016

Entrepreneurship Datebook: Workshops, events in South Florida March 21-27

Tech eggMarketHack Presents: Topic is Master Facebook with Christian Pretelt, who will share strategies on building successful campaigns, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, The Idea Center at Miami Dade College. More info on Eventbrite.

The Basics on Bitcoin and Blockchains: This free talk will provide you with a basic understanding of the economics and science behind bitcoin and the blockchain, 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, The LAB Miami, 400 NW 26th St. More info: thelabmiami.com

MIT Enterprise Forum: This event’s topic is “Music on Demand: The Next Iteration: with panelists including a Grammy producer and a Warner Music executive, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Venture Hive, 1010 NE Second St., Miami. Tickets: http://www.mitforumfl.org.

South Florida Technology Alliance: Topic of the SFTA forum is “Cracking the Code on Tech Talent in South Florida” featuring CEOs of 3C Interactive, Modernizing Medicine and ClubMed, 5 to 8:30 pm Thursday, Citrix Systems, 851 W Cypress Creek Road, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets: https://www.southfloridatech.org.

STARTING GATE

Find startup news, community views and tools for entrepreneurs on the Starting Gate blog on MiamiHerald.com/business. Have news? Email ndahlberg@miamiherald.com.

Nancy Dahlberg @ndahlberg

 

March 19, 2016

Tick-tock, Business Plan Challenge deadline looms - your questions answered

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Planning to enter the Business Plan Challenge? Time is ticking away.

We offer three tracks to win our contest, which is sponsored by the Florida International University Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center. There is a community track, open to all South Floridians; an FIU track for the university’s students and alumni; and a high school track. You can enter our contest with a business idea or an existing business if it is not more than 2 years old. The deadline is March 28 for the community and FIU tracks and April 4 for the high school track.

Here are some common questions we have received.

I entered last year but did not win. May I enter again?

Yes, we welcome repeaters, as long as you were not one of the top three winners or the People’s Pick and your business isn’t more than 2 years old. Several of our winners of the past did not bring home the win the first year they entered. Freshen up that plan and try again.

May I enter both the community and FIU tracks with the same plan?

Nope, pick one. For the FIU track, at least one member of your top management team must be student or alumnus of the university.

Is there a required template I should follow for my entry?

The short answer is no. Your entry is a three-page business plan, with one addendum page allowed for a chart or graphic, and we allow people the freedom to send it in as they would like. But we suggest you consider including all or most of this information: brief product or service description; problem it is solving in the market (market need); a little about your target market and competition; relevant experience of your team; your business model — how you will make money — and growth strategy (how will you scale it); your marketing strategy (how will you get the word out and sell it); and some financials, for example your startup costs and three years of projections. It can be done. Keep each section brief — bulleted items are your friend. Many use their extra page for their financial chart.

Some people download templates for business plans (easily found in a Google search) and include the categories most relevant. Some use an executive summary they already have written and add to it. People who already have investor decks already have the info in a concise way — just put it into a three-page word doc and you are done. If you are starting from scratch, good for you! You have probably been meaning to do it anyway, and it will be a roadmap you can continue to update in months and years to come. Find the rules of the Challenge here.

Why the page limit?

Short business plans are in vogue, actually. Investors (and judges) tell me they want the information fast and brief and will ask for more info as they need it. Learning to be concise is both a science and an art, and our judges (who are often in positions where they read a LOT of business plans) have told me over the years that in real life, if you don’t capture their attention in the first page or even the first paragraph, they will move on. Pro tip: Ask someone who doesn’t know anything about your business or business concept to read your plan, or at least the first few paragraphs, to make sure they understand it.

Also, though our judges are almost super-human, we can’t ask them to judge hundreds of full business plans. You can meet our judges here.

What is the biggest mistake people make when they enter?

A lot of entrants spend too much of their precious three pages talking about all the features of their product or service and don’t include enough about the problem it solves, your target market, your business model and how you plan to make money, your team, your financials and your marketing strategy.

Another judge comment I see on a lot of plans: Think bigger. A lot of entrants have concepts with market growth potential but don’t express how they would expand beyond their initial markets. A lot of advice was shared at our recent Business Plan Bootcamp – read about it here.

Any other tips?

Yep. Show your passion. Make every word count. Keep each section brief: Bullet points are your friend. Don’t forget financials: Judges want to see you have thought through startup and operating costs and would like to see projections for at least the first three years. Don’t wait till the last minute. Here are some good reasons to enter.

May I enter more than one business idea?

Yes, as long as they are separate entries.

Why don’t you have a social entrepreneurship track?

We welcome social entrepreneurial companies in all our tracks. We’ve had several winners in recent years with social-impact missions, particularly in the high school track. The plan must be for a for-profit business, not a nonprofit.

My daughter is in the eighth grade. May she enter in the high school track?

Yes, we welcome ambitious middle school students in the high school track. Good luck to her!

Ready, set, enter! Find everything you need on MiamiHerald.com/challenge.

Have a question? Email ndahlberg@miamiherald.com and put Challenge in the subject line.

March 18, 2016

14 fintech companies faced off in Temenos Innovation Jam: And the winners were....

PictureWinnersF60A9053 (1)

From right to left: Joel Brown from DocuVital, author and futurist Brett King and Javier Mira from FacePhi

Submitted by CVOX Group

Last week, the Temenos Innovation Jam  at The Lightbox at Goldman Warehouse in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District featured fintech companies from South Florida and around the Americas. Each  had the opportunity to pitch products and solutions to renowned financial institutions. 

Fourteen companies were pre-selected to showcase their company: AppDome, BillBit, Billshark, Coinapult, Facephi, DocuVital, HID Global, iQuantifi, Lenddo, Mesfix, Quotanda, Strands, VU and Zave App Inc. 

Each company had even minutes to make a presentation and the audience of bankers and community supporters voted to choose two winners. And the winners were (drumroll please)...

The first prize went to Javier Mira from Facephi and second prize to Joel Brown of Miami-based DocuVital.

Facephi, headquartered in Spain, is a global leader in facial recognition technology.   Its product is rapidly becoming a service used by banks all over the world.  This innovative technology enhances the client experience effortlessly by simply using the camera on their mobile device to take a selfie; this then becomes their method of identification and interaction with the bank’s mobile application. 

DocuVital is the turbo tax for end of life planning.  Over 100 tasks need to be completed by the family after a loved one dies.  DocuVital, based at Miami's Venture Hive, solves this problem by organizing your vital information and documents, automating the process, storing it all using bank level security and encryption, and finally delivering it all seamlessly to your loved ones when you are gone.   Banks now want to provide services for the whole life cycle of their clients and Docuvital is a great tool for end-of-life issues and planning. 

The DocuVital platform is very simple to use, guiding the user through a simple step-by-step process of uploading all their vital information and documents. Using a set-up wizard, the platform quickly and easily instructs the user what information will be needed and then takes them to a dashboard page where they can seamlessly navigate through different sections, including personal, financial, legal, funeral and miscellaneous. (This was Brown's second fintech win)

“The Fintech Innovation Jams provide a unique opportunity for each for us to engage, identify and partner with the hottest fintech companies in the world. Through the Temenos MarketPlace, fintech companies get access to the more than 2,000 financial institutions running our software, who serve more than 500 million banking customers. Our clients in turn get access to cutting-edge innovation, making it a true win-win situation,” said Ben Robinson, CMO for Temenos.

He added that “Latin America is a region bubbling with technology innovation and we are excited to help propel fintech to the forefront as a sector with great opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs.”

Now the winner has the opportunity to travel to Barcelona in May 2016 and compete in the Temenos Community Forum (TCF) with finalists from Singapore, Dubai and London.  

 

March 17, 2016

Flat Out of Heels founder wins 2nd place in national contest

 

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

DawnMiami Beach entrepreneur Dawn Dickson took home second place Tuesday in the 2016 InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge, the Small Business Administration’s nationwide business competition to highlight innovative products and services created and launched by cutting-edge entrepreneurs. Dickson won $20,000.

Dickson’s company designs and sells rollable ballet flats that can easily fit in a purse — a convenient way for women to relieve stiletto sore feet on the go. She has partnered with Loren Ridinger of Market America on an exclusive collection, and has won a number of contests, including a national pitch competition by PowerMoves last year.

Other winners in the InnovateHER contest were Elizabeth Caven from Upcraft Club in Des Moines, Iowa, winning $40,000 and first place, and Dr. Agnes Scoville from Scoville & Company in St. Louis, Mo., taking third place and winning $10,000.

In making the announcement, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet said: “SBA created this challenge to empower women in the face of ongoing gender inequities in the technology and investment sectors. Women venture capital partners are stuck below 10 percent. The amount of venture capital funding that goes to women entrepreneurs is even lower — only about 4 percent. On behalf of SBA, I congratulate all of our winners and contestants. Their incredible talent is proof that America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs are launching and growing businesses that not only disrupt the status quo but have the power to improve countless lives.”

The InnovateHER Business Challenge began in August 2015 and drew nearly 2,000 competitors, who competed first in regional competitions around the country. The contest culminating in Tuesday’s live pitch competition involving 10 finalists in Washington, D.C.

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter