« September 2017 | Main | November 2017 »

21 posts from October 2017

October 30, 2017

The Idea Center at MDC launches $50K Innovation Prize competition

The Idea Center at Miami Dade College announces a $50K Innovation Prize from the Veronica and Gaston Taratuta Foundation. It is an exciting entrepreneurship competition open to all MDC students and recent alumni, within last three years, who have innovative business solutions.

The winners will share in the $50,000 in prize money with a potential for up to $250,000 in follow-on investment. In addition to the funds, the Idea Center will support entrepreneurs to develop their ideas through educational workshops and mentorship.

The Idea Center is looking for entrepreneurs and innovators who can bring fresh ideas forward to solve critical problems affecting lives in our community. Their business should have a direct positive impact on the community while demonstrating the potential for business growth and sustainability. Some areas of focus can include tackling climate change, income inequality and poverty, public transportation, housing or healthcare. There are no restrictions to the type of problem being addressed, however, applicants should demonstrate their business solutions to be repeatable and scalable.  

Four prizes will be awarded in two categories: start-up and existing business. One first place award for $25,000 and a runner-up $15,000 prize will be awarded for existing businesses and two for $5,000 each for startups. Winners will receive a complimentary branding strategy session with an industry expert, a featured page on The Idea Center website to profile the problems they are tackling and their proposed solution and enrollment at no cost into any Idea Center workshops and program for 2018. Winners will also be featured in The Idea Center newsletter and the Refresh Miami blog. 

To apply, those interested must complete a registration form at http://theideacenter.co/solutions/, which also consists of a video submission. The form must answer the following two questions: What is the problem that you are trying to solve or need that you would like to satisfy? Why is your approach innovative? The one-minute video should include a detailed explanation of your solution and highlight its three key benefits, and examples, stats, or facts that support its impact and uniqueness.  The deadline to apply is December 15.

-Submitted by Miami Dade College

 

October 27, 2017

Innovation festival unbound lands in Miami Nov. 1-2

 

  Unbound

By Daniel Seal 

Daniel SealFive years ago, I saw there was a need for a forum that could connect brands and corporations with grassroots startups and the cutting-edge technology that they offer. With so much innovation and ingenuity on the start-up stage, I saw an opportunity to bridge that gap between growing and established brands and the new ideas that will inevitably shape how we live and how we do business. That is how unbound was born. For startups, festivals are the opportunity to meet individuals crucial to their future success: investors, clients and partners, and for organizations, unbound festivals are where they can build their own platforms, connect with key audience members, and deliver but also look beyond their strategic objectives.

Anchored by annual festivals in London and Singapore, we wanted to add a third festival to the roster, and Miami was the best destination for us. As the gateway to the Americas, Miami and its thriving entrepreneurial community – connecting the US and Latin America – is the perfect backdrop as it’s now on everyone’s radar, from venture capitalist firms, to funds and angel investors from across the globe.

Next week, Mana Wynwood will host the first unbound Miami festival. The two-day event kicks off on Wednesday, November 1, and will gather 100+ future-focused speakers from the worlds of fintech, adtech, AI, healthtech, eCommerce, robotics and more, as well as feature immersive brand experiences, pitch sessions and startup battles. We have assembled a prestigious lineup of speakers (from VICE Media, Twitter and Slack to Marriott, VISA and Johnson & Johnson), sessions, and partners that set this event apart from any other taking place in South Florida.

ProColombia will be using unbound Miami as a platform for its annual Colombia Bring IT On campaign, bringing together 120 Latin American startups to meet brand and corporate decision makers in Miami with experience in mobile applications, digital animation, video games, digital marketing and IT solutions.

In addition, unbound Miami will present the Female Founders Startup Challenge, which will see eight female founders battle for access to a place on the Babson College Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab program. Claro Americas will also be hosting a startup battle to showcase the best innovations in the areas of Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and ecommerce, among others. The winner will have the chance to visit the company’s facilities in Guatemala.

We hope you can join us and participate in what is sure to be a memorable event. Please follow this link to register and use discount code sgate50.

 

When: November 1 & 2, 2017- 9:00am – 5:00pm

Where: Mana Wynwood, 2217 NW 5th Ave, Miami, FL 33127

Who: 3,000 attendees – made up of 35% corporate and brand executives, 35% founders and entrepreneurs, 15% digital and media agencies, 5% government and trade agencies, 5% investors, 5% journalists.

 

Daniel Seal is the Founder & CEO of unbound.

October 26, 2017

Endeavor taps Miami-based Chargello to join global network

Chargello

 

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@MiamiHerald.com

Your phone is dead – again.

In our world where a dead phone is a catastrophe, Miami startup Chargello has a solution for that. Its proprietary battery device, already available at thousands of venues worldwide, can simultaneously charge six phones three faster than a wall charger and four times faster than a battery pack.

ChargelloteamThis week, the entrepreneurs behind Chargello, co-founders Johnny Bosche and Freddy Sidi, were selected as Endeavor Entrepreneurs at Endeavor’s 75th International Selection Panel held in Sofia, Bulgaria. Endeavor is a global nonprofit organization that selects, mentors and accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs.

Bosche and Sidi, both born in Latin America, founded the ad-tech company in Miami in 2015 and began selling the product last year. Chargello is focused on building a platform to solve the low-battery problem in public places, such as restaurants, hotels and airports.

The batteries not only charge phones, but serve as an advertising platform. Chargello’s batteries can be found in about 5,500 businesses across 22 countries, and the startup is working with global brands such as Diageo, Heineken and Uber. Locally, the devices can be found at Casa Tua, Cipriani, Prime 112, Morton’s, W Hotel, Confidante, One Hotel and the Collection car dealership, among many other businesses, said Bosche, in a phone interview from Sofia. Former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning is a shareholder and brand ambassador.

Chargello is a team of 14 in Miami, but it has more than 200 employees through partnership businesses in the countries it sells in, Bosche said.

“We’re looking to scale globally and get access to top-tiered talent. Our goal is to be in 100 countries by the end of next year,” Bosche said. “We believe Endeavor will be an undeniable resource to us as we expand.”

Endeavor Entrepreneurs receive services that include mentorship and access to capital, global markets and talent. Based in New York City, Endeavor operates in 27 countries in Europe, Latin America, North America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and supports more than 1,000 entrepreneurs.

Endeavor Miami launched in September 2013 with the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as the first U.S. affiliate of Endeavor Global. Endeavor Miami’s entrepreneurs are now generating close to $130 million in revenues and employ 1,600 people, according to its impact report released earlier this month.

“As we support Chargello in scaling rapidly via a robust advisory board and additional services, I am confident that Johnny and Freddy will act as role models to inspire the burgeoning South Florida entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Laura Maydón, managing director of Endeavor Miami.

For more information on Endeavor Miami or to nominate South Florida entrepreneurs, visit www.endeavormiami.org.

October 24, 2017

Need help? Me, too. A woman's view: 'It is time we support one another and speak up'

 

Pilar2

By Pilar Guzman Zavala

I consider myself a strong woman. I am the owner and CEO of Half Moon Empanadas. I am also the CEO of my home, where I am helping raise two wonderful children along with my husband and business partner.

Recently I had an interview with a panel of community leaders. The idea of this panel was to understand if I could be really someone who can commit to making a difference in Miami, to leading the way, to helping bridge the gap between the poor and rich. We talked about my experience over these years and their questions took me back to some of the most painful moments of being an entrepreneur. Like the time we suddenly got a notice of eviction, both from the business and our apartment. I left the restaurant to go to my car, sat in there and screamed. Or the time when my first child was born, I remember being at the hospital after the c-section and learning that the checks were bouncing because we did not have enough money in the bank.  I remembered how stressed and scared I was; I vividly remember the pain I felt.  I talked about how in the past two years, we tried really hard to focus on streamlining the operation and created a structure that finally set us in the path of growth, and made us the 2016 Best Concession Overall for Miami Airport. And how proudly we did it.  This also took me back to the many dark places I had been, how much I have fought, how much I had sacrificed to be where I am today, to have what I have today, to be who I am today.

During the interview, they asked me where I thought I could use help personally. I went straight to my entrepreneurial side and spoke about my operational challenges, but the panel pressed on and asked again what help I needed. Nothing else came out. 

I left the interview thinking about all of the things I didn’t say, and should have.  But there was no time to pause or think. This day was like many in my life where the responsibilities of being a mom, wife, business owner, and daughter took over. I had to pick up my kids and take them to a play date that I had promised. I was grateful to have had 20 minutes to speak with my father, which I rarely do because of time, but which I cherish so much. Then there was my Facebook feed full of friends posting #MeToo and me sharing the same two words. It was all so overwhelming.

That day I kept thinking of the question, “How can we help?” I wish I could have said “Of course! Of course, I do need help, I need help in all fronts of my life. I still feel lonely; I still would like to have a woman that I can look up to. I still would like to have another woman entrepreneur to just talk to, and for that someone to understand how I feel. I feel stressed many times. I am afraid I am not doing the right things as a mother. Am I a good example of this “working mom”, or do they need more of me? All of these questions that sometimes, more often than not, cross your mind. I wanted to tell them how hard it is to be this woman, but I couldn’t.

I had a hard time sharing my story during the interview. I talked about the hard times. I almost cried, but I controlled myself. I said that I am a true believer that entrepreneurship is the best equalizer force, that despite all the ups and downs and the sacrifices, that I truly believed my business was helping me make a difference. 

"I want to say that it is possible to have it all, just not all at once. I have learned that the life I chose as working/wife/mom/entrepreneur is about trade-offs, and that perfection doesn’t exist."

This day reminded me how strong I am, and how far I have come. I, ME TOO, struggle, and continue to stand on my two feet, despite it all. I have shared my story and days like this with other women, and I realized how lonely we all feel, and how little help we ask for.  The overwhelming statistics of gender inequality say it all.  I wanted to share this story because I understand that our lives as women, business owners, and mothers is hard.  I want to say that it is possible to have it all, just not all at once. I have learned that the life I chose as working/wife/mom/entrepreneur is about trade-offs, and that perfection doesn’t exist.  I have learned the importance of creating a support system around oneself. I continue to learn to be kind to myself, and to understand that if I take care of myself first, I will be a better at all fronts. And that quality is 10 times better than quantity with my children.

I still have a way to go. I want to be the best kind of mother my kids can have. I continue to dream Half Moon Empanadas will become a national name. I even just started a new business, and I also want to be able to make a difference in my community. I want to continue to work hard, and dream higher. I want it all.

But most of all, I decided that I am OK with being this strong woman who sometimes doesn’t have it all together, and who sometimes needs to reach out for help. I think it is time we all support one another and speak up.

Pilar Guzman Zavala is the owner and CEO of Half Moon Empanadas, based in Miami.  She is a mentor for women entrepreneurs in Miami with the WIN Lab Miami from Babson College and the FIU Startup Food Lab and is a Ricardo Salinas Scholarship recipient for the Aspen Institute and a Young American Leaders Program fellow from Harvard School of Business.

READ MORE ABOUT HALF MOON EMPANADAS IN THE MIAMI HERALD: Passion, perseverance powered empanada maker through tough start 

 

 

The SilverLogic of Boca Raton wins Money20/20 Hackathon and Visa Developer Challenge in Las Vegas

  Hack1IMG_2919 2

 

The SilverLogic, a Boca Raton based custom software development company, ran the table at the Money20/20 Hackathon in Las Vegas this weekend, taking home both the 1st place prize for the Visa Developer Challenge and 1st place in the overall Hackathon.

The winnings: $40K in cash plus prizes.

The Money20/20 hackathon, in which more than 120 teams competed, is an annual hackathon connected to the Money20/20 conference in Las Vegas sponsored by some of the world's most recognizable FinTech companies. These companies represent teams with innovative and fun challenges that are aimed at stimulating hacking and creative-problem solving skills. The team from The SilverLogic chose to take on the challenge presented by Visa.

Visa challenged teams to re-imagine the cardholder experience in a smart city of tomorrow that is totally cashless. Developers were tasked with coming up with a solution that answered the question: “How will the customer experience in payments evolve in this setting?”

Teams were tasked with building a solution that could help card issuers and/or merchants provide seamless payment experiences through connected devices, mobile applications or other emerging cutting-edge technologies (e.g., VR or AI). They were asked to use Visa APIs along with third-party APIs, to create that solution.

The team from The SilverLogic decided to tackle the issue of scarcity in urban parking, developing a peer-to-peer parking application called “OmniPark” that would connect people who needed parking spaces with residents who have spots available. This solution would allow individuals to monetize an under-utilized resource while providing a real benefit to individuals who are struggling to find parking on our ever-congested roadways.

OmniPark implemented a two-part navigation feature allowing users first to be directed to the general vicinity of the parking spot and then to have an Augmented Reality (AR) driven map guide users directly to the exact spot they have reserved. Users are then presented with an AR version of a parking meter where they can select a time period to remain parked in that location and initiate payment to the spot owner using Visa Direct. The application also allows merchants to “sponsor” parking locations nearby for their customers using the Visa Offers Platform.

“Tackling the Visa challenge of re-imagining the smart city of tomorrow that is cashless, OmniPark was able to quickly integrate Visa APIs via the Visa Developer Platform into their urban parking solution to enable secure, seamless payments opportunities for merchants and consumers alike. Visa applauds OmniPark who has a similar vision of ushering in a new era of digital commerce and driving towards a more cashless tomorrow,” said Paul Walsh, SVP of Platform Strategy & Innovation at Visa

David Hartmann, CEO of The SilverLogic and leader of the OmniPark team, said: “I am so proud of our team here at Money20/20 for representing the best of what The SilverLogic has to offer. Our motto is ‘We Make Ideas Happen’ and nowhere is it more apparent how committed we are to that motto than in settings like this where our teams are challenged to strengthen their relationships while exercising and developing creative problem-solving skills.”



Maxeme Tuchman of Caribu wins South Florida award at Demand Solutions Start-up Challenge

Demand Solutions Miami_367

 

Maxeme Tuchman, CEO of Caribu, was the South Florida winner of the Miami Dade College – InterAmerican Development Bank “Demand Solutions” Start-up Challenge that featured nearly 20 start-ups from Latin America and Miami, most owned by women entrepreneurs.

Tuchman took home the $15,000 prize and the “Most Innovative Startup in South Florida” distinction for Caribu, described as the place where FaceTime meets Kindle, for kids.

The education platform helps parents, family, and mentors read and draw with children when they’re not together. It provides an engaging livestream shared-screen experience in a carefully designed, platform with an in-app bookstore containing hundreds of books, in six languages, and educational workbooks with interactive drawing overlays. It was also a winner in the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge and other contests.

 Here are the other awards:

An Ecuadorian startup that created a platform for Latin American emerging writers was declared the winner of the Inter-American Development Bank's fifth pitch competition, held as part of the Demand Solutions event in Miami last week.

The event, featuring 18 innovative startups from across Latin America and the Caribbean, was co-hosted by the IDB and Miami Dade College (MDC). Demand Solutions, the IDB's flagship event on innovation and entrepreneurship, brings together creative minds from around the world to share solutions that improve lives.

The event closed with a pitch competition featuring 18 startups from Barbados, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Miami.

Galo Vargas, cofounder of the Ecuadorian startup Inkspired, won the top prize of $30,000 for being the Creative Entrepreneur with the Highest Potential for Global Impact. Inkspired is a platform that allows emerging fiction writers from Latin America and the world to publish their books and creative series, connecting them with interested readers and providing them with metrics to improve their work and make their stories more appealing.

Ariana Green, cofounder of Couple Six from Barbados won the Disruptive Creativity for Development Award, a $15,000 USD cash prize from the IDB. Couple Six is the first videogame development studio in Barbados; it features games based on narratives of the history and culture of the Caribbean.

Ariana also won a special award by Creative Business Cup : an invitation to participate in the Global Finals competition in Copenhagen in November.

Barbara Arteaga, cofounder of Ecoplaso from Mexico, won the Creativity for Social Impact Award, a $7,000 USD award by the IDB. Ecoplaso is a Mexican startup run by 5 women who use their proprietary biotechnology to turn fruit waste into textile substitutes of leather and fast fashion fabrics.

The entrepreneurs pitched their startups' innovations to an audience of more than 300 people and a jury composed of leading specialists from Santander Universidades, the Innovation Lab of Miami Dade College, Creative Business Cup, the Cambridge Innovation Center in Miami (CIC Miami), Latam Startups, Endeavor Miami, Babel Ventures, 23 Design, Lobo Ecosystem Builders, Babel Ventures and the Inter-American Development Bank.

The startups were selected from over 300 candidates to showcase their innovative products and services at the one-day Demand Solutions event, designed to connect startups with investors, mentors and thought leaders.

One representative from each startup traveled to Demand Solutions Miami for the Pitch Competition and to take part in two days of activities with innovators, mentors, entrepreneurs and investors, organized by MentorDay.

Other awards include:

Linda Franco, cofounder of Machina, won the award for the High-Growth Woman Entrepreneur, an invitation to participate in WeXchange Annual Forum in Santiago, Chile, in December 2017.

Julio Oliveto, cofounder of Livre, won the Lean Case award: legal and accounting services directed to startups from the creative and cultural industries to expand their business to Colombia.

All 18 startups were awarded free co-working space and network connections for programmatic objectives at the Cambridge Innovation Center in Miami (CIC Miami).

The event was sponsored by Santander Universidades. Other partners included Endeavor MiamiBabson Win Lab and Americas Society/Council of the Americas.

The livestream of the startup pitches is available here.

This was the ninth edition of Demand Solutions. The next edition of Demand Solutions will take place on November 9th in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

 

October 21, 2017

Ouch, that late fee hurt. This Miami startup wants you to never worry about parking tickets again

  Jinxdpress-photo-making-it-rain

From left, Jona Araujo, Charlie Melendez and Auston Bunsen of JINXD. Photo by Beyond South Beach. 

 

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Who hasn't forgotten to pay a parking ticket and paid the very steep price?   

Yep, been there, done that too many times. It's a fact of urban life.

JINXD, a new Miami startup, has a solution for that.

JINXD is one of only two apps in the United States that allow you to auto-pay your citations. You can simply sign up with your license plate numbers and payment info and the next time you receive a parking citation, JINXD automatically pays it, charging a small service fee.

"As you may already know, Miami is notorious for parking tickets and when you receive one, you cannot pay for it immediately on the Miami Clerk of Courts website until it populates their servers three to five days after -- another inconvenience," said Auston Bunsen, one of the co-founders.

"We're trying to be a magical background technology that you only think of when we make your life better. Our users love it when they get a notification that we saved them from getting a tow or just saved them from a $25 late fee," added Bunsen, who oversees technology. 

JINXD works with commercial clients that have large fleets such as rental car companies and automobile dealers. Braman BMW, Infiniti of Coral Gables and Mercedes Benz of Cutler Bay are customers. "JINXD for our business clients is a no-brainer as it frees up their afternoons to focus on bigger tasks at hand," said CEO and co-founder Jona Araujo, who also oversees marketing.

The  number of active customers has grown 448 percent and revenue has grown 346 percent since the beginning of this year, Melendez said. JINXD is tracking more than 2,000 license plates in Miami-Dade County among consumers and  commercial clients.

Late fees can add up quick. After two months, an $18 parking ticket rises to $63 in Miami -- ouch. And if you have five unpaid tickets, your car could be towed.

"We've found and/or paid thousands of tickets for our customers, saved our customers over $22,000 in late fees, as well as prevented dozens of customers from getting their car towed or having their registration renewal blocked," said co-founder Charlie Melendez, who oversees finance.

The team created a heat map of the most ticketed areas in Miami-Dade.

Jinxd-heat-map

Expansion to other cities could begin next year, and JINXD's market is sizable. The team said there is more than $200 million in unpaid parking tickets at any one time just in nine major U.S. cities that include Miami.  

Said Araujo, "We're laser focused on getting product/market fit for our existing product and expanding to other cities as soon as possible. We believe this product is helping businesses, consumers and government alike."

You can sign up at https://JINXD.co or download the 5 star reviewed iPhone app on the App Store here.

JINXD will be one of six startups competiting at Refresh Miami's Demo Day Oct. 27. Sign up to attend here

 

Finova Financial secures $102 million in funding

 

Money2

 

Finova Financial, provider of flexible, affordable alternatives for the 70 million Americans under-served by the traditional banking system, announced this week that has secured $102.5 million in equity and credit facility funding. 

The financing was led by CoVenture with participation from existing Silicon Valley investors who funded Finova’s $52.5 million seed round. The West Palm Beach-based financial-technology company was founded in 2011.

Gregfinova“Seventy million Americans spend $141 billion on alternative financial services a year because they don’t have or want a relationship with traditional banks or financial institutions. This rapidly growing group feels that traditional financial services companies can’t solve their core financial needs," said Gregory Keough, CEO (pictured here). "Finova is using advanced technologies and designing innovative new financial products to serve the needs of this large and growing population. Finova’s proprietary platform delivers an all-digital financial product and experience that fits the lifestyle of the 28 percent of Americans — and growing — outside the formal financial system.”

Finova’s digital products include its flagship Car Equity Line of Credit (CLOC), providing fast emergency loans based on car equity; and its industry-first Automobile-Secured Prepaid Card, which accepts either cash or car equity to fund the card.

Finova’s CLOC, currently available in Florida, California, Tennessee, New Mexico, South Carolina, Oregon and Arizona, has earned Consumer Affairs prestigious partner accreditation for delivering up to 50 percent lower cost than the national average on title loans to consumers, instant online pre-qualification, and payment-against-principal with every payment, the company said. Finova’s Automobile-Secured Prepaid Card helps consumers avoid check-cashing fees, get their paychecks faster, and better manage their finances, the company said. The new funding will be used to expand its digital financial services.

“We look at many fintech companies but Finova has built an incredible all-digital technology platform that consumers really like and has experienced amazing traction in a short period of time,” said CoVenture Managing Partner Ali Hamed. “Finova has created a customer-centric focus for Americans outside the formal financial system that is driving strong growth, rapid consumer adoption, and opportunities for rapid national expansion, which I think is what the future of banking will look like.” 

 

October 19, 2017

The party bobs along with this Shark Tank contestant’s products

Sharktank2

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Will the “Human Bobbers” sink or swim in the Shark Tank?

Justin Rietema of Oakland Park and Doug Schultz of Coconut Creek invented the Human Bobber line of multipurpose personal flotation devices. They will appear on ABC’s “Shark Tank’ show at 9 p.m. Sunday to pitch their Bottoms Up, a dual-purpose life vest that can also be worn like a pair of shorts, and the Scuttlebutt, a saddle-like float that’s also an in-water lounge chair or kayak seat.

“We are boaters at heart, and after watersports like tubing, water skiing and wakeboading, we would often anchor up our boat and float around in the water with some drinks,” Schultz said. “Most of the guys in our group would just put on a life vest upside down and use that as a saddle for floating, but as you can imagine, life vests are not designed for that. There was foam in all the wrong places.”

Rietema and Schultz have day jobs as landscape architects, but formed H3O Sports in 2011 as a side hustle.

After creating and testing several hand-made Human Bobber prototypes, they began manufacturing and selling the Bottoms Up and the Scuttlebutt on HumanBobber.com in 2012. Both products are patented, Rietema said.

Sales were slow at first, but in 2016, Bottoms Up received U.S. Coast Guard approval as a type III flotation aid suitable for rescues in calm waters. The process took two years but was worth it, Rietema said. Before 2016, sales totalled about $60,000 in total, but with last year’s sales and this year they will likely nearly double that. Another popular item is their Beverage Bobber, which runs $16 to $18.

Today, Rietema and Schultz still have their day jobs – but their hopes are high the Sharks will bite. The Sharks have taken a liking to other South Floridians’ products, including the AquaVault and Three Jerks Jerky. On Sunday, they will face Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John and Kevin O’Leary.

Like all Shark Tank contestants, these two entrepreneurs have to be hush-hush about the outcome of their time in the tank, but whatever happens they are planning to toast the journey at a watch party Sunday night at 26 Degree Brewing Company in Pompano Beach. No Beverage Bobber needed. Bottoms up!

UPDATE AFTER THE SHOW: On Sunday night, O’Leary pledged to back the inventors with $120,000.   Cuban said he would provide accounting and other business expertise. Rietema and Schulz entered the Shark Tank seeking $120,000 in exchange for 15 percent of their business. They ended up awarding 33 percent to O’Leary and 10 percent to Cuban.

 

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

Miami is bursting with startups. Problem is they aren’t growing, Kauffman study shows

Miami

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Good news, bad news: Miami is exploding with startups, but they are not scaling up.

That was again the conclusion of an annual Kauffman Foundation study released Thursday that showed that the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area ranked near the bottom of the pack for the entrepreneurial growth of so-called scale-ups, or fast-growing companies.

Still, ranking 36th out of 40 metropolitan areas nationwide for entrepreneurial growth is an improvement over 2016, when the metro area ranked 39th.

News of the index ranking comes in the same year that Miami ranked No. 1 in the nation in Kauffman’s 2017 Index of Startup Activity, a separate measure of new business creation that was released in May. Some years it ranks No. 2 or 3, but South Florida has always been in the top five of this national ranking for a decade.

The 2017 Kauffman Index of Growth Entrepreneurship used 2016 data on employment and revenues to rank states and metro areas in three areas: the rate of startup growth in the first five years; the percentage share of scale-ups that have reached at least 50 employees by year 10; and high-growth company density, or the number of private businesses with at least $2 million in annual revenue and three consecutive years of 20 percent annual revenue growth.

Miami ranked at the bottom of the pack for share of scale-ups, and in the bottom quartile for the other two categories. In Florida, Tampa (No. 26) and Orlando (No. 29) ranked higher than Miami. Only Jacksonville ranked lower, coming in at No. 40.

The top 10, in order: Washington, DC; Austin; Columbus; Nashville; Atlanta; San Jose’ San Francisco; Boston; Minneapolis; and Indianapolis.

The sobering ranking reflects the reality that the Miami area has historically had far more micro-businesses — those under four employees — than most other metro areas, and it still does. But it comes amid Miami’s ongoing efforts to address this issue and develop a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem, a process that takes time. In the past five years, the Knight Foundation has committed more than $28 million to more than 200 entrepreneurship projects and organizations in the city. Several organizations focused on scaling up companies have expanded to Miami in the past few years, including Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Endeavor and the Babson WIN Lab for women-led companies and are already showing progress.

 

Endeavor Miami’s impact report, released last week, shows that its 16 Endeavor companies have generated 1,600 jobs and are booking $130 million in 2017 revenue. Other South Florida tech companies, too, that started in the past five to 10 years are now booking tens of millions in revenue and employing hundreds of employees, including Modernizing Medicine, CareCloud, MDLive, Chewy and Nearpod, to name a few, and a number of other startups are on their way. And it’s not only tech: Food and beverage startups have been particularly active, including Pincho Factory, already generating about $14 million in revenue.

On a national level, the Kauffman index showed, entrepreneurial growth continued to rebound from the Great Recession slump, across different industries and geographies.

“What this shows us is that, while Silicon Valley, Boston and New York City tend to grab national headlines, other areas of the country have been flying below the radar, quietly growing their ecosystems and nurturing entrepreneurial activity in their back yards,” Bobby Franklin, president and CEO of the National Venture Capital Association, wrote in the report.

The report also found that startups are growing more rapidly and reaching scale at higher rates than in the years following the Great Recession. Yet, fewer companies are growing to become medium-sized or larger in terms of employment when compared to the levels in the 1980s and 90s.

“These findings are cautiously promising. We are seeing a new model of economic development emerge — one that infuses entrepreneurship into the economy and removes barriers to starting and growing businesses,” said Victor Hwang, vice president of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, in a news release. “Our research indicates that high-growth firms, particularly of young firms, are important to job, output and productivity growth. However, because businesses are creating fewer jobs, it’s more important than ever to empower people to control their own economic destinies.”

Among the 25 largest states, the five posting the highest entrepreneurial growth activity were Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts and Texas. Florida ranked 24th, the same ranking as in last year’s report.

Find the report at www.kauffmanindex.org.

Nancy Dahlberg: @ndahlberg