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22 posts from August 2017

August 30, 2017

Entrepreneurship degree students will be taught by Facebook, Lyft, tech and media execs

Melissamedina (1)

Melissa Medina, executive vice president of eMerge Americas, will be one of the instructors in Miami Dade College’s revamped entrepreneurship degree program. Carlos LLano

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

The Idea Center, Miami Dade College’s entrepreneurship hub, and TheVentureCity, a new internationally focused tech accelerator in Miami, partnered up to redesign MDC’s Associate in Science in Business Entrepreneurship degree. As a result, students will be taught by some of the region’s top business leaders.

In the two-year degree program, which kicked off Monday, the leaders will serve as instructors to mentor students in becoming visionary entrepreneurs who turn ideas into products, services, businesses and social ventures. “An engaged and supportive mentor has a transformative impact on a young person,” said Miami Dade College President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, in the news release.

Instructors include Adriana Cisneros, CEO of Cisneros; Francesca de Quesada Covey, Head of Platform Partnerships for Facebook in Latin America; Melissa Medina, executive vice president of eMerge Americas; Sam Cohen, GM for Lyft in Florida; and Laura Gonzalez-Estefani, CEO and founder of TheVentureCity.

Students will work with teams of their peers to bring ideas to life. Topics covered will include startup strategy and execution, product development, project management, digital and social media marketing, user experience design, human resources and team management and organizational development.

TheVentureCity was founded by former executives of Facebook, Google, eBay and other leading companies. It launched its program at eMerge Americas in June, and at the time Gonzalez-Estefani said partnering with colleges and universities would be a pillar of its venture. The Idea Center at MDC launched in 2014. Some of its other programs include MarketHack, CREATE accelerator, CodePro, The Startup Challeng, and the Innovation Lab,

More information: mdc.edu/entrepreneurship

August 28, 2017

Facebook teams up with Wyncode, TheVentureCity and WM.Digital to launch Dev Circles in Miami

Wyn1

By Juha Mikkola

Last week, Facebook teamed up with Wyncode Academy, TheVentureCity and WM.Digital to launch the first Developer Circles in North America.

  Wyn2

Facebook’s Dev Circles empower a diverse range of technical talent to improve their skills and access the information they need.

The sold-out event at Wynbase brought together over 100 developers of varying levels to learn about React. React is a JavaScript library created by Jordan Walke, a software engineer at Facebook. Wyncode teaches React as part of its 10 week immersive course and in its new part-time Front End Web Development course.

Wyn3
 

The speakers included:

Chris Stegner of MadDev, who was selected Technology Entrepreneur of the Year by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and has hired a Wyncoder Developer, spoke about why his firm uses Reac

Adrian Martin of CareCloud, who have hired 13 Wyncode Developers, presented React JS basics

* Wyncode’s own Ed Toro live coded how to add React into an existing software stack using Rails as an example

 Missed the event? Watch the Facebook Live feed here and make sure to join Developer Circles from Facebook to sign up for the next event.

Do you or someone you know want to learn to code? Join Wyncode’s next full-time cohort starting September 11th or part-time cohort starting October 16th.

Thank you to our partners who made this event possible:  Facebook  Wyncode Academy  TheVentureCity  Digital

 Juha Mikkola is co-founder of Wyncode.

August 24, 2017

Friday is deadline to apply to pitch at Refresh Miami Demo Day

Refresh2

Join  Refresh Miami's annual pitch competition featuring South Florida’s top startups. Refresh's largest event of the year invites entrepreneurs to give their best 5-minute pitch in front of an audience of their peers and a panel of judges. Winners walk away with a host of amazing prizes to help propel their business forward.

Date: Tuesday, September 19
Time: 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Location: Miami Dade Wolfson Campus, Chapman Conference Center (Room 3210)

300 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33132

Tickets: FREE

Register here!

Interested in pitching? Apply here by end of day Friday, Aug. 25.

Why you can't overlook a major source of funding: the government

By Keith Gibson

What do robot vacuum cleaners and personal DNA tests have in common?

Both Roomba and 23andMe received government funding to help build their businesses.

23andMe has received $4.1 million in investment from the Department of Health and Human Services over five years through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which encourages US-based startups to explore their technological potential and provides incentives to profit from its commercialization.

iRobot has received $10.2 million in investment from the Department of Defense through SBIR, and recently sold its entire defense division for $45 million in order to focus on its Roomba line of robot vacuum cleaners.

So, it begs the question. If you’re raising money for your startup...have you thought about tapping the government?

Most entrepreneurs face one common problem during their entrepreneurial journey: how to raise funds. Although some know exactly where to turn—from angel investors to VCs—many ignore a great source of capital which may very well catapult their growth: the government.

To start getting entrepreneurs thinking about government funding, we created Pitch the Gov, designed to educate businesses on federal, state and local procurement initiatives, and provide them with ways to navigate this process and access these funds.

We recently visited 10xU, where we had the opportunity to share the 10 things every entrepreneur should know when it comes to pitching the government.

Here is what we discussed:

Check government sites often: Start with www.fbo.gov / www.sbir.gov , then check out www.americassbdc.org for opportunities relating to federal, state and local funding.

Network, network, and network again: Research and identify the decision makers in your market, and reach out to them for “informational interviews” to build rapport.

Build a clear understanding of what you do: Clearly define the problem and solution your company, product, or service tackles so you may better explain it to others. This will help you navigate the federal procurement landscape more smoothly. 

Have a vision: Government grants are designed to help your company get from where you are to where you want to be, so it's very important to have a clear view of where you are headed and what you need to get there.

Read up on how others have succeeded: Read success stories to learn how other companies have used government resources to grow and scale. These are also a great way to boost your spirits when you’re having a bad day.

Gain an understanding of what the government wants: What is the government looking for? What is the issue or problem they want to address? Figure out how your company can offer a solution so you can better explain it to them.

Figure out what the government may need: Startups are all about thinking outside the box. If you have a better solution to a problem or issue the government is tackling beyond what they are asking for, share it with them. You might be surprised at the results.

Follow directions: The government is very strict when it comes to the format and procedure for grant submissions, so make sure you follow directions to the tee. This is not the time to get creative.

Build your own support network: Government procurement is a tough process. At times it may become tedious and irrational, and it involves a lot of red tape. It’s important to build a support network that will help you navigate this process. Plus, it will also do wonders for your mental sanity.

Get to know your audience: You've come up with the next best thing. It's only natural you want to showcase your technical expertise by using industry jargon, but grant managers are not necessarily experts in your field. So explain your idea in a way that anyone can understand, and take it from there.

We've also developed this graphic you can always keep handy, summarizing these 10 tips.

Pitch-the-Gov-Infographic

 

Entrepreneurs don't always think to ask, but federal, state, and local governments all have programs to help.

Total federal spending for 2016 exceeded $3 trillion; contracts accounted for $474 billion and grants accounted for $667 billion. Federal grants can provide start-up capital, while federal contracts can provide steady cash flow with low default risk.

Which means, there's a lot of opportunity for budding startups.

Our goal is to guide entrepreneurs through this process and helping them think beyond traditional sources of capital when it comes to raising funds. This goes hand-in-hand with 10xU's overall mission -  connecting the entrepreneurial community with those that may help make their ideas into successful companies.

If you're interested in learning more: visit pitchthegov.com or you can always reach out to 10xU.com which will help you guide you in your entrepreneurial path.

Keith Gibson, CEO of SBC Solutions, an Air Force veteran and Goldman Sachs alum,  is passionate about hiring military veterans and developing the local economy, and today focuses his efforts on teaching companies how to access trillion dollar opportunities by pitching the government.

 

August 23, 2017

Demian Bellumio announces launch of Miami-based AI startup GraphPath, acquisition of Socialmetrix

Demian

GraphPath office in Buenos Aires.

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

AI is redefining entire industries, and entrepreneur Demian Bellumio believes Miami can have a leading role in shaping how the entire Latin American market takes advantage of these powerful technologies to improve the lives of 500 million people.

On Wednesday, Bellumio launched a new company, GraphPath, that builds on his 10+ years working on semantic computing and machine learning. He said it is the industry’s first Knowledge Graph-as-a-Service that allows organizations to evolve from Big Data to Big Knowledge through the creation and management of large-scale enterprise knowledge graphs.

“The increased interest in adopting machine intelligence and AI technologies across enterprises has accelerated the need to turn data into knowledge so that machines and humans could make better use of it,” said Bellumio, founder and CEO Aunken Labs, parent company of GraphPath. “Additionally, GraphPath allows organizations to collaborate seamlessly across all functional areas, from data engineering to the C-suite, so that knowledge is universally available and actionable.”

Aunken Labs also announced on Wednesday the acquisition of Buenos Aires-based Socialmetrix, a leader in the multi-language social analytics and listening space, to accelerate the deployment of GraphPath into enterprises across the U.S. and Latin America. As part of the acquisition, Socialmetrix’s founders Martin Enriquez and Gustavo Arjones will be joining as COO and CTO of Aunken Labs, respectively.

“I’m personally very excited about the impact that GraphPath can have in the local data science, machine learning and AI ecosystem, as I truly believe that these are the verticals that can have the most transformative impact in our community in the shortest amount time," said Bellumio, who was previously COO of Senzari, which is a minority shareholder in GraphPath.

GraphPath already is a team of 18 and has a number of investors and advisors from the AI, tech and venture capital industries, Bellumio added. "We already have presence in Miami, Buenos Aires and Guadalajara, and plan to continue to expand throughout the region." 

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

 

Legendary Silicon Valley entrepreneur launches his sixth company, but in South Florida

Jimclark

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

One of Silicon Valley’s most successful serial innovators is launching his sixth company in South Florida.

Jim Clark, founder or co-founder of Silicon Graphics, Netscape, WebMD, MyCFO and Shutterfly, this week has launched CommandScape, a digital building-management system for commercial and high-end residential properties, based in Delray Beach. Its suite of products and services combines video surveillance, security, lighting, fire alarms and other functions on a 24/7 cyber-secure platform. Its users can operate multiple properties from anywhere in the world .

“It could be an enormous company... in a slow-moving [$100 billion] market where technology is 15 years old. We have some grandiose plans,” the 73-year-old billionaire told USA Today about the startup venture he self-funded with $10 million.

In 1981, Clark, a computer scientist, co-founded Silicon Graphics, which brought forth high-end computing hardware and software and was an innovator in 3-D imaging. Then in the 1994, he co-founded Netscape with Marc Adnreessen and they developed the early web browser, the Netscape Navigator. The online health website WebMD was acquired for $2.8 billion by KKR’s Internet Brands last month.

CommandScape stemmed from a side project developed while he was building a command center for his boat, USA Today said. Clark had been scouting the area for tech developers and designers over the past year.

Don Boerema, who has held senior executive positions at Boca Raton-based ADT, P&G, PepsiCo and AT&T, will be president and CEO. The company has 27 employees and an office in New York City.

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

August 22, 2017

Continental National Bank and Miami-Dade's Small Business Development Division relaunch financial assistance program

Continental National Bank in partnership with Miami-Dade County Small Business Development division has relaunched a program designed to lend short-term working capital to Small Business Enterprise (SBE) firms. 

The Small Business Bonding and Financial Assistance Program (SBBFAP) offers eligible SBE firms, including goods, services, construction, architecture and engineering firms, a line of credit financing up to $250,000. The borrowed amounts will be used to fund invoices or requisitions for work completed under a Miami-Dade County contract or subcontract. The program’s kickoff workshop met July 28.

“The Small Business Development Division of Miami-Dade County is enormously grateful to Guillermo Diaz-Rousselot and Continental National Bank for their continuous support and visionary leadership in assuring that small business owners have access once again to bonding and financial assistance for their businesses. Historically, this has been a major inhibitor to success. We believe this program will have positive and productive results for the Miami-Dade community,” said Carlos Ansuarez, bonding and loan coordinator at the Small Business Development division of Miami-Dade County’s Internal Services Department.
 
“We are committed to helping small businesses grow. For 43 years we have provided access to capital that helps drive business expansion and strengthen our economy. Already, this program is supporting business growth and new opportunities for small business owners across our county,” said Guillermo Diaz-Rousselot, president and CEO of Continental National Bank in his keynote address at the workshop.
 
“For so long, small business owners have been held back from participating in county projects and other large undertakings, because they had difficulty getting the necessary funds. We are pleased to be a part of this program again to help change that. The Small Business Bonding & Financial Assistance Program will open up new opportunities and give these business owners the chance to tackle more and larger projects, to grow their businesses, to create jobs and foster economic development all across our community,” said Ivette Llopiz, SBA officer at Continental Bank. 

 
Also attending the kickoff event was Miguel Miranda Sr., vice president and credit administrator at Continental National Bank; Anthony Acosta, bonding and loan coordinator for the county’s Small Business Development division; Vivian Walters Jr., SBD section chief at Miami-Dade County's Internal Services Department; and Gary Hartfield, SBD director at the Internal Services Department who spearheaded the lending initiative.

-Submitted by Continental National Bank

How a Miami tech company is bringing the doctor’s office into the digital age

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Ken portrait 1This year, CareCloud, the Miami-based healthcare technology company that provides a software platform for high-performing medical groups, has recently added two executives to its C-suite. It released a new product for the promising field of telemedicinefueled with a $31.5 million financing round at the end of last year. And its chief executive, Ken Comée, says more company developments are in the pipeline for later this year.

“EHR [electronic health records] is where we started but now we are moving out into where the patient is involved. When you walk into the doctor office, they give you a clipboard. We are eradicating the clipboard” with sophisticated automation tools, Comée said, without revealing too many details about CareCloud’s product plans. “Patients are demanding ease of use when they go to the doctors. We see this as an opportunity for doctors to provide ease of use, ease of access; those are the technologies that will make the practices more efficient and drive customer loyalty.”

Comée took the helm as CEO in April 2015, relocating from California. Previously, Comée was CEO at Cast Iron Systems, a cloud integration company acquired by IBM. He was also CEO of PowerReviews, a leader in product ratings and reviews, also acquired, and CEO of Badgeville, a gamification startup. Before assuming the helm of CareCloud, he was a CareCloud board member, investor and operational adviser.

“When I came on board, there was such promise in the company, but something needed help. It was the classic ‘founder got it to a certain level,’ ” Comée said. “We had to fix a few things, slow things down and focus on building the right foundation for what we are now seeing — the growth engine. You will start seeing us getting very aggressive.”

CareCloud, founded by Albert Santalo in 2009, grew quickly to become one of South Florida’s most successful early-stage technology companies. It currently manages more than $4 billion in annualized accounts receivables. CareCloud now has about 250 employees, about 180 of them in Miami, Comée said. He declined to disclose revenues, only saying, “We are adding 40 to 60 new clients per quarter and I think that will continue to accelerate.”

The Miami Herald discussed the company’s growth, trends in the industry and what’s next for CareCloud with Comée last month. Here are excerpts of the conversation.

Q. You arrived in April 2015. What was your goal for the company then and have your goals changed?

A. My primary goal then and now actually is the same — focus. There’s a tendency for early-stage companies to try to do too much. Success is about doing a few things really well. For CareCloud, that means building the best cloud solution in the market and having customers who rave about it.

Q. I see you have hired a chief revenue officer and a chief financial officer in 2017. Is the top management team now where you want it to be?

A. For the chief revenue officer, I went out and got a real pro. Greg Shorten had spent 12 years building Allscripts. ... He is a terrific sales leader. ...

My CFO, Shari VanLoo, and I worked together at my first company that I sold to IBM. As I look at this company and the opportunity to go public in three, four or five years, I need someone of her background and stature for that potential outcome. She has a lot of experience taking companies to market. Yes, my management team is set for now.

Q. I think you just answered one of my questions about whether going public is in the plans?

A. I think it absolutely is. My competitors are 20- and 30-year-old technologies, and I have the best damn platform in the space. Personally, I would love to take one out public. I’ve had a couple of acquisitions and those are nice, but I would love to build a legacy company.”

Q. Healthcare is moving more and more to a consumer-focused model. How is CareCloud leveraging that trend?

A. CareCloud always has been focused on delivering incredible software to the people who deliver healthcare, whether it’s clinicians, practice administrators, billing professionals or others in the practice. With the paradigm shifting from a payer-provider to a provider-patient focus, we’re building technology that allows patients to have the same kind of technology that they have in other parts of their lives, whether it’s booking a restaurant, checking in for a flight or paying their bills online.

Because consumers are taking a more central role as money managers for their healthcare, we’re putting a lot of focus on supporting physician practices and their patients with tools that make it easy and convenient for people to view and pay their financial balances.

Q. It sounds like that is a reason for your recent move into telemedicine. Why do you think telemedicine hasn’t taken off like it was expected to?

A. People want to be able to access their personal physician when they can’t physically make it into the office, but until this point, telemedicine has been dominated by stand-alone service companies. It hasn’t become mainstream within private medical practices for two primary reasons: daunting upfront costs and uncertainty about what will be reimbursed by payers. With more insurers reimbursing for telemedicine and new guidelines coming online, the regulatory and reimbursement landscape is taking care of the latter.

We recently launched CareCloud Telemedicine to remove the other main barrier of burdensome upfront costs and time required to integrate telemedicine into the practice work-flows.

Q. You are also getting more involved in specialty areas now. Why?

A. There are certain nuances in clinical work-flow management that are unique to specific specialties. Now that physicians are using their second or third generation of EHR, they are asking themselves not just “how does this EHR work for me?” but “how does this EHR work for me as an ophthalmologist, an orthopedic surgeon, a rheumatologist?”

While meaningful use regulations have helped advance the adoption of technology in the medical practice, they have had the unintended consequence of cluttering EHR user interfaces with information that isn’t relevant for certain specialties. With the focus shifting from demonstrating use to demonstrating value, we’re in a great position to leverage the flexibility of cloud technology to give specialists an EHR solution that illuminates that set of information that they need to answer a specific question or to complete a certain clinical or administrative task.

Q. How is the millennial generation shaping your road map?

A. Millennials were born on digital. While they don’t yet use healthcare as much as older generations, they do expect to have the same kind of experience in the doctor’s office as they do in other aspects of their lives. Online health portals, telemedicine, online reviews, scheduling apps and e-payment options are just some of the ways millennials are using tech to manage their healthcare.

And, we’re in the very early days of digital health. For CareCloud, this means building a platform that gives physician practices the flexibility to bring on whatever technology will help them deliver that level of personalized service and support that their patients need. It also means creating tools that free up clinicians and practice staff so they can focus on delivering great outcomes and an excellent consumer experience.

Q. The small doctor practice is under pressure and we are seeing more consolidation. What does that mean for CareCloud?

A. Think about what it takes to consolidate a dozen brick-and-mortar doctor’s offices. You’ve got multiple physical locations operating on different EHRs, practice management, and IT systems to contend with — not to mention mountains of paper and fax machines. In the past, it would have been a monstrous, multi-year task to integrate all of these systems ... even to get all the locations simply talking to each other! And of course, the resulting labyrinth of servers and software would do very little to streamline operations.

To realize the efficiencies and economies of scale inherent in the model, many of these practices are joining together to operate as one entity. These practices need to knit together geographically dispersed medical practices around a centralized technology backbone. They need to have patient data, billing and practice management, and other services managed from a unified platform.

This is where CareCloud comes in. With cloud-based technology, these groups can bring everyone together on a common, shared infrastructure. Physicians and administrative staff can access information via a uniform, universal browser rather than a complex patchwork of legacy systems. Systems can talk to each other via secure, open APIs. Groups can also create standardized playbooks for accounting, payroll, and marketing, allowing them to quickly ramp up new practices as they’re acquired and merged.

The power of cloud technology as a force multiplier for growth can’t be overstated. Cloud technology makes the entire consolidation model exponentially more attractive, feasible and cost-effective.

Q. More broadly, how does healthcare learn about disruption from other industries?

A. If you think about how you go about your everyday life — how you get information, make decisions, plan activities, connect with others — the Internet is woven into almost everything we do. Except for when we’re at the doctor’s office. There are so many opportunities for us to align healthcare to where the market and society has already moved and to leverage best-in-breed technology from other industries.

Q. What’s next for CareCloud?

A. We’re going to continue to innovate around all the constituents in healthcare — the clinicians, the staff, the patients. We’ve historically focused on technology to support those working “behind the glass” and while we’ll continue to do that, we also are innovating “in front of the glass.” We’re working with some incredible strategic partners to apply best-in-breed consumer technology from other industries such as banking and retail to create an outstanding patient experience. We’re excited to be able to democratize this technology for independent medical practices.

Q. In your view as a relative newcomer — almost 2.5 years now — what is South Florida’s strength as an emerging center for technology, and where does it still need work?

A. There is a lot of entrepreneurial spirit here — that’s a strength that just keeps building on itself. South Florida can take a few pages from Silicon Valley in how it has nurtured a healthy ecosystem for innovation and startups. Silicon Valley succeeds by combining that entrepreneurial spirit with educational infrastructure and capital to fuel ideas and bring them to market. South Florida has these assets individually. They need to be brought together and become a humming engine to power innovative disruption across industries.

Q. Have you been able to find the tech talent you need?

A. The answer is yes. It’s not as prevalent and you have to dig for it but it’s here. I do believe there has to be a lot of thought and care put into creating the education curriculum around healthcare IT. This will be a booming space as we move from the old client servers of the world to a cloud-based world. If we can train them, we can hire them.

Q. What’s the best career advice you’ve received and from whom?

A. Promod Haque, a senior managing partner at Norwest Venture Partners, offered some great advice that has stuck with me over the years. I share this often because it is so important and so easy to forget in the high-pressure environment of a startup. He said, “When you have a failure, remember it’s not about the person, it’s about the event. Don’t let failure scare you or define you. The freedom to fail is a unique and an essential part of innovating.”

Nancy Dahlberg: 305-376-3595, @ndahlberg

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KEN COMÉE

Age: 54

Title: Chief executive officer at CareCloud. Before assuming the helm of CareCloud in April 2015, he was a CareCloud board member, investor and operational adviser for three years.

Experience: Formerly CEO of PowerReviews, a social commerce network that powers customer conversations on more than 5,500 websites. Also CEO of Cast Iron Systems, a global leader in the cloud integration sector acquired by IBM. Comée also held executive positions at CollabNet, a software development pioneer in the cloud, and at product life-cycle leader PTC.

Education: Bachelor’s of science in finance from Santa Clara University and an MBA from the London Business School.

Favorite book: “The Boys in the Boat,” by Daniel James Brown

CareCloud website: www.carecloud.com.

August 20, 2017

Want to know about Miami startups? A user's guide to this blog

Dear reader, Starting Gate has been providing and archiving South Florida startup and tech community news, views and resources since 2012. New to the Miami area? Thinking about relocating here? Just want to keep up with news, events and opportunities? We're there for you.

How to use Starting Gate: Besides scrolling the blog for the latest entries, you can access news and views by category. The "Funding" category will capture venture capital and angel funding news of individual startups as well as stories about funders. The startup categories chronicle news and my regular "Spotlights," and in Q&As you'll find interviews with CEOs and leaders in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. There are also categories for guest posts, views, accelerators/incubators, resources, events and more.

Have news? Have an idea for a guest post? Send it to me at ndahlbergbiz@gmail.com. (See my Facebook announcement here)

Thank you for your support through the years and please come back often. Follow me on Twitter @ndahlberg. - Sincerely, Nancy Dahlberg

August 17, 2017

Shoring up the boat-sharing industry, Boatsetter buys Boatbound, raises more funding

Boater

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

South Florida is already one of the world’s great boating capitals. Now the region can also claim to be a boat-sharing industry leader, as more people seek out accessible ways to get out on the water and more boat owners oblige by turning their pleasure crafts into money makers.

Boatsetter, a peer-to-peer marketplace for boat rentals, has acquired its Seattle-based rival Boatbound, powering up the South Florida startup’s presence throughout the United States. The Aventura-based company also announced that it has raised an additional $4.75 million in funding, on top of the $13 million announced in December, to fund its international expansion.

Like others in the boat-sharing economy, Boatsetter attempts to make the boat rental experience as seamless as booking a room on Airbnb by connecting people seeking rentals with boat owners looking to monetize the time their boats aren’t used. But Boatsetter differentiates itself by giving its users access to a large network of licensed captains as well as a growing roster of high-end boat rentals for yachting, cruising, fishing or sailing, 24/7 customer support and insurance coverage for renters, boat owners and captains.

Jackie headshot“This acquisition now makes us the No. 1 peer-to-peer boat rental community in the United States hands down,” said Jaclyn Baumgarten, CEO and co-founder of Boatsetter, who wouldn’t disclose terms of the deal. “It means about 5,000 quality vessels ready to be rented, it brings us 1,500 U.S. coastguard licensed captains, it will mean about 10,000 transactions between the companies in 2017 and it brings us 300 locations.”

Baumgarten said the acquisition particularly expands Boatsetter’s inventory in Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington, DC.

“Additionally, we will be getting some great new talent from the Boatbound team, and we will be relocating them and the entire Seattle office to South Florida with us – a true Miami startup expansion,” said Baumgarten, in an interview with the Miami Herald on Wednesday. Boatsetter’s team will grow to 27 employees.

While accelerating operations in the U.S. five-fold is the goal for 2017, Baumgarten said, the acquisition and additional funding will also help fuel Boatsetter’s international expansion in 2018. Boatsetter plans to focus first on the Caribbean and Mediterranean, driving demand through global partnerships. It already has “phenomenal boats” in Bali, Ibiza, Mexico and South Africa, she said.

“This market is ripe for consolidation and I believe we are strongly positioned to lead that consolidation,” Baumgarten said. “We worked with a third-party investment bank and they value the peer-to-peer and charter business at $50 billion that we expect in the years to come to grow to $100 billion. That’s a huge opportunity and we are primed to lead a rollup strategy over the years to come globally.”

To that end, Boatsetter extended its Series A round, adding $4.75 million in funding to the $13 million the company raised in December. Key investors of the most recent round include Nordic Eye Venture Capital and the Miami-based TheVentureCity.

Laura Gonzalez-Estefani, co-founder of the TheVentureCity, which acts as an incubator for international-focused high-growth startups, said it’s the “super-driven” CEO and Boatsetter team, their data-driven approach to growth, international strategy and local expertise that attracted TheVentureCity as an investor. “The numbers are astounding in terms of engagement rates, their expansion plans are very interesting in the U.S. but also in Europe and we hope we can help them,” she said.

The young boat-sharing industry began making waves in South Florida in 2013.

That year, Boatbound entered the market in Miami, setting up a small office in Key Biscayne and developing a local network of boats. Boat-sharing was just getting started then, and rival Cruzin, led by Baumgarten, had also put down stakes in South Florida, too. As other rivals such as Sailo began expanding into the market, several locally based startups were developing, including Boatsetter, led by South Florida marine industry veteran and serial entrepreneur Andrew Sturner. Boatsetter and San Francisco based Cruzin merged in 2015, and Baumgarten became the CEO of the combined company. Sturner is executive chairman.

As the industry has matured and consolidated, locally based technology companies serving niches of the boat rental and sales industry have emerged here too, such as YachtLife serving the highest end of the market and Boatyard to handle boat-sharing related management and maintenance tasks for the owners. Meanwhile, a large online boat-sales marketplace, Boats Group, relocated its headquarters to Miami this year.

This summer, Boatsetter began offering uniquely curated experiences through the Airbnb platform in Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Barcelona, Baumgarten said. In Miami, the experiences range from watersports trips, experiences for fishing fanatics and luxury excursions with full course meals.

“We’ve taken boating from being a rare pastime for a fortunate few boat owners to being a universally accessible lifestyle activity for anyone with a smartphone and a credit card,” Baumgarten said in an earlier interview.

Nancy Dahlberg: @ndahlberg