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

March 15, 2018

Co-founder Ryan Cohen stepping down as CEO of Chewy, a homegrown success story

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Ryan Cohen, CEO of Chewy.com, and his poodle Tylee at the company’s photo studio in Dania Beach in 2016. Photo by C.M. GUERRERO. cmguerrero@elnuevoherald.com


By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlbergbiz@gmail.com

PetSmart announced today that Ryan Cohen, the co-founder and CEO of Chewy.com, is stepping down.

In six years, the 32-year-old Cohen grew Chewy to a homegrown success story, selling it to PetSmart for about $3.35 billion last year, the largest e-commerce acquisition in history.

Chewy, headquartered in Dania Beach, will be led by Sumit Singh, current chief operating officer of Chewy, who joined the company in August 2017 from his role as director of Amazon Fresh Worldwide, the company said.

It’s a familiar story in corporate acquisitions -- that is, the founding CEO steps down to pursue other passions or is replaced at the top -- and it gives Cohen the opportunity to start or fund something anew in South Florida, which is what ecosystems are all about.

Cohen has quite a story of his own. Growing Chewy.com from zero revenues to a multi-billion company was an incredible ride, Cohen said in a keynote appearance at the Florida Venture Capital Conference early this month (see a post here). The pet supplies retailer now has about 7,000 employees nationwide.

Cohen, who has always been entrepreneurial and has no college degree, said he started Chewy to replicate the same “amazing” customer experience of his neighborhood pet store (he is pet parent of a poodle, Tylee), but online. He used Zappos, the massive shoe e-tailer, as a model and inspiration. When he needed capital to grow, he approached more than 100 investors – and they all passed. “But I thought there’s a chance … we were on to something genius. I felt with scale we will prove them wrong,” Cohen told the audience of investors and entrepreneurs at the conference.

When the sale to PetSmart was announced, some longtime customers worried their beloved brand would change, and this news will not make them feel better. Still, the hyper-growth continued after the acquisition. In February, Chewy opened a 100,000-square-foot facility for its customer service team, which had outgrown its space in the Dania Beach headquarters. In total, Chewy employs 1,500 in South Florida, with 1,000 in Hollywood, out of its 7,000 worldwide. Chewy plans to hire 400 more customer service employees for Chewy Hollywood this year, Cohen said earlier this year.

For its part, PetSmart said in a news release announcing the CEO change that the company will continue to operate largely as an independent subsidiary of PetSmart, focusing on its current business strategy.

“Ryan is an amazing leader who has built a unique and powerful ecommerce business with a strong culture that is laser-focused on serving the needs of customers and their pets. I have full confidence that this will continue under the leadership of Sumit, a seasoned ecommerce leader who is well equipped to carry Chewy’s strategy forward and grow the company,” said Raymond Svider, a managing partner at BC Partners and executive chairman of PetSmart.  “We have enjoyed a great relationship with Ryan and respect his desire to step back from running the company after the relentless pace of the last seven years; he has our unwavering support and we wish him well.”

Said Singh: “We will remain focused on Chewy’s founding vision, core values, operating principles and goals. Our business momentum remains strong as we continue to scale while improving our customers’ experience and lowering our costs. We will stay focused, keep moving forward and continue with our vision of making Chewy the best pet retailer on the planet.”

Singh has served as the chief operating officer of Chewy.com since November 2017. Prior to Chewy, Singh served as the Director of Amazon Fresh, and before that he worked for Dell. He received his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business and an M.S. in Operations and Logistics from the University of Texas at Austin.

In a statement Thursday, Cohen said: “The past 7 years have been a tremendous journey and the learning experience of a lifetime. In a short time span, Chewy has gone from a concept to disrupting and redefining an entire industry. I feel the time is right for me to pass on the torch so I can pursue personal goals and spend time with my family. I’m confident in Sumit and believe he will continue to carry on the vision of making Chewy the best and biggest pet retailer on the planet.”

What’s next for Cohen? He’s not saying yet, but no doubt it will be entrepreneurial. He also has the means to support other startups, should he want to go the investor route. But to be sure, entrepreneurship is in his DNA, he told the audience at his most recent appearance in South Florida.

“I have never been a clear cut career path kind of person. I started my first business when I was 14 or 15 building websites… My father was a business owner so I saw what it was. It was very clear early on that I would be my own boss,” he said at the appearance in January.

In the recent talk, he discussed the challenges along the way and shared war stories about Chewy, including the difficulty finding funding. He said he moved forward and never changed his business strategy, even after a hundred investor doors were shut on him.

“I spoke to over 100 investors and they all passed for one reason or another. At one point I got so desperate … we took a trip to Sand Hill Road [in Silicon Valley]. I literally went door to door -- that didn’t work. But one of those 100 investors that passed made a visit later and I remember it like yesterday.  I was 25 at the time, and looked like 15 years old. He followed up with us, was impressed with all of our numbers and ultimately he invested.”

Cohen, who describes himself as obsessive, relentless and contrarian, said the biggest challenge was managing the hyper-growth. He  talked about the transformative decision to bring fulfillment in house in 2014, rather than relying on a third party. “It was three or four months of pain. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. We worked through those problems and … in order for us to scale a billion dollar company we needed to go through that.”

Cohen also had some advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.

“You need to make sure you are in a place in the world that you are ready for this. Scaling a business is going to test you physically and emotionally, it’s not for everyone. I have an 11 month old now, and scaling a startup from inception to reality is like taking a human being from infancy to adulthood in a very short period of time. It’s going to get sick in the middle of night and you are going to be up all night taking care of it. It’s going to make mistakes and you will learn from it. It is a huge act of selflessness and dedication and if you are ready for it, it is going to be a crazy, crazy, crazy roller-coaster and it will be the journey of a lifetime.”

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

February 02, 2018

Exit news: Plantation-based e-Builder acquired for $500 million

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e-Builder CEO Ron Antevy in gameroom of Plantation headquarters. Miami Herald File Photo

 

South Florida construction-software company e-Builder has been acquired by Trimble, a global technology company based in Silicon Valley, for $500 million, the companies announced Friday.

Founded in 1995 by brothers Ron and Jon Antevy, e-Builder today is a company with $53 million in annual revenues and about 220 employees, sprouting from Jon's idea to transform construction technology explored in his University of Florida master’s thesis.

e-Builder has been growing at about 20 percent a year, but the Antevys wanted to expand further and believed they needed a partner to do that, CEO Ron Antevy told the Sun Sentinel. Trimble was approached but pitched the acquisition instead.

e-Builder will remain in Plantation, where it is headquartered, with the Antevys at the helm. Many of the employees reportedly had stock options so they will benefit financially from the deal, too.

Publicly-traded Trimble, which had $2.4 billion in 2016 revenues and is based in Sunnyvale, Calif., is the buyer in the cash transaction. The company provides technologies in the construction, agriculture, transportation, logistics and other industries, and it operates in 35 countries.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

 

June 19, 2017

BBX Capital acquires IT'SUGAR for $57 million

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

With a growing sweet tooth for the candy business, BBX Capital Corp. announced Monday it has acquired the majority stake in South Florida-based candy retailer IT’SUGAR in a $57 million transaction.

Fort Lauderdale-based BBX previously acquired Hoffman’s Chocolates of Palm Beach County, and its Sweet Holdings unit holds a number of other candy makers.

IT’SUGAR, founded in 2006 and based in Deerfield Beach, is the largest specialty candy retailer in the United States with 95 locations in 26 states and Washington, D.C. During the 12 months ended April 30, IT’SUGAR generated net revenues of $78.4 million, BBX said.

JeffrubinJeff Rubin (pictured here), IT’SUGAR’s founder and CEO, will remain in his current position and continue to hold “a meaningful membership interest,” BBX said.

With thousands of candy choices, “IT’SUGAR is not just a candy store,” Rubin said in a 2014 Miami Herald article. “We’ve really positioned ourselves as a gift store that lives at the intersection of attitude and fun. ... We sell humor, we sell fun.”

BBX said it now owns 93 percent of IT’SUGAR and plans to further expand IT’SUGAR by opening new retail locations in high traffic leisure locations. In South Florida, IT’SUGAR stores are at Miami International Airport, Aventura Mall, Sawgrass Mills and 10 other locations.

“IT’SUGAR has had great success expanding its presence across the United States as a modern-day candy playground, and we are very pleased to partner with Jeff Rubin and the IT’SUGAR management team to support continued expansion of its retail footprint and grow the brand in other channels,”said Jarett Levan, president of BBX Capital, who called it an “excellent fit” with the growth strategy of BBX Sweet Holdings.

BBX is a diversified holding company that owns timeshare company Bluegreen Corp. and other joint ventures and investments in real estate. BBX Sweet Holdings invests in and acquires manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of chocolate and confectionery products, including Hoffman’s Chocolates, Anastasia Confections, Droga Chocolates, Williams & Bennett, Helen Grace Chocolates and Kencraft Confections.

June 18, 2017

DonorCommunity merges with West Coast nonprofit management software company

Two nonprofit-management software companies based on opposite coasts have merged.

Fort Lauderdale-based DonorCommunity, developers of a cloud-based platform for online fund-raising, donations, volunteer management, event management and email marketing software for nonprofits, and Telosa Software, developers of donor management solutions, announced that they have merged to form Arreva, a software company serving the fund-raising needs of nonprofit organizations. Terms of the deal were not released.

DavidblyerDonorCommunity was founded by computer industry veteran and software entrepreneur David Blyer in 2010 (pictured here); in 2011, the company won the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge. Telosa Software, based in Palo Alto, Calif., was founded by philanthropist and computer scientist Susan Packard Orr in 1986. Combined, Arreva has thousands of customers, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Jewish Federations of North America, Ronald McDonald House Charities, The Arc, The National Association of Police Athletic Leagues, Variety - the Children’s Charity, Meals on Wheels America and others.

“This merger is a major milestone, not only for us, but also for the nonprofit industry as a whole,” said Blyer, a serial software entrepreneur who founded and sold Vento Software before starting DonorCommunity. “As Arreva, we’ll be able to offer nonprofits of every size a suite of best-of-breed applications for online fundraising, event management, campaign manager, grant management, gifts manager, people and organizations, donor relationship management, volunteer management, peer-to-peer fundraising, email marketing and website content management.”

Arreva will be headquartered in Fort Lauderdale with sales and support operations in Palo Alto. Blyer will lead Arreva as CEO; Telosa CEO Gregg Davis becomes executive vice president and chief operating officer. Blyer and Orr will have seats on Arreva’s board.

April 18, 2017

PetSmart to buy Chewy.com, and the price fetched may be eye-popping

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By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

The biggest e-commerce acquisition deal in history could be going to the dogs.

PetSmart, the nation’s largest pet-supplies retailer, has agreed to acquire Dania Beach-based Chewy.com, the market’s No. 1 online retailer.

The combination of Phoenix-based PetSmart, with 1,500 stores nationwide, and Chewy will enhance both companies’ reach, the companies said Tuesday. The acquisition, which is subject to customary regulatory approvals, is expected to close by the end of PetSmart’s second fiscal quarter.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. However, tech media site Recode is reporting that the deal in place is valued at $3.35 billion, according to its sources. That would make the sale of Chewy the biggest e-commerce acquisition to date, even larger than Wal-Mart’s $3.3 billion deal for jet.com last year.

“We are focused on improving our customers’ experience in-store and online as we continue to execute against our long-term strategic initiatives. Chewy’s high-touch customer e-commerce service model and culture centered around a love of pets is the ideal complement to PetSmart’s store footprint and diverse offerings,” said Michael Massey, PetSmart president and chief executive officer, in the announcement.

Chewy, which had been rumored to be a candidate for going public, has seen explosive growth since it was founded by Ryan Cohen (pictured above) and Michael “Blake” Day in 2011. The privately held company registered $26 million in sales during its first full year in business and logged more than $900 million in sales in 2016, the company said.

Although it was not yet profitable, Cohen said in February Chewy was projected to increase revenues to nearly $2 billion this year — nearly a 7,600 percent growth spurt in just six years. Today it has about 5,000 employees nationwide.

[READ MORE: Chewy has seen fantastic growth, but can it keep up the pace?]

The company built its following — more than 2 million customers nationwide — on customer service. Among its many campaigns, it sends hand-painted pet portraits as thank you gifts to 700 randomly selected customers every week.

“Since we started Chewy, we have been dedicated to understanding and satisfying the evolving needs of our customers to deliver the highest quality pet products and customer service,” said Cohen, Chewy’s CEO. “Combining our strong e-commerce expertise with PetSmart’s best-in-class infrastructure, footprint and breadth of offerings including services will help us wow our customers even more.”

Chewy will operate as an independent subsidiary of PetSmart run by Cohen and will remain focused on its current business strategy, while PetSmart will continue to execute its strategic initiatives across the combined company, PetSmart said.

Chewy tried to reassured customers on social media Tuesday that Chewy wasn’t going anywhere and the level of service would not change after the acquisition.

According to 1010Data, Chewy.com holds 51 percent of the online pet food market, including 40.5 percent in direct sales and 10.2 percent in subscription sales. But Chewy always had bigger aspirations.

“If you look at where we are today in the business, we’re still scratching the surface in terms of the total addressable market. We want to be No. 1. We’re No. 1 online. We want to be the largest pet retailer in the world,” Cohen said in a Miami Herald cover story in February.

Chewy had raised several rounds of capital — about $236 million in total — to support its growth. On Feb. 1, Wells Fargo Capital Finance had become the latest investor, announcing an agreement to lend $90 million over the next five years to Chewy.

Nancy Dahlberg: @ndahlberg

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April 12, 2017

Cheers! Delivery.com buys Boca Raton-based alcohol delivery startup Klink

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Klink team, from left: Jeffrey Nadel, CEO; Nicholas Bowers, CTO; Craig Bolz, COO; and Geoff Castillo, chief creative officer. Photo provided by Klink


Read more here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article144161594.html#storylink=cpy

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

KlinkappRaise a glass for Klink: The South Florida-based alcohol-delivery startup has been acquired.

Klink, founded in 2013, was one of the first companies to legally provide on-demand, technology-powered alcohol delivery, said the startup’s CEO Jeffrey Nadel. On Wednesday, New York-based delivery.com, a company that also delivers food, groceries, laundry and other products and services, announced that it had acquired Klink. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Klink’s first location was the University of Central Florida because two team members were students there. But the startup quickly pivoted from the college campus model and built a loyal customer base in Miami, Dallas and Washington, DC, markets that delivery.com has targeted for expansion. delivery.com has been offering food and laundry pickup and delivery in the Miami area for some time, but has never offered alcohol delivery in the area, said Nadel.

Significant recent milestones for Klink include its partnership with Total Wine & More, which included a campaign emphasizing the stories behind the products, and its campaign with Corona, in which customers could have Corona delivered by boat or jetski. For the co-founders born and raised in South Florida, the sale as a validation point for the growing South Florida tech scene is significant, too.

Klink, most recently based in Boca Raton, was part of a wave of South Florida startup companies creating concepts in just about every aspect of the spirits industry, including brewing and distilling, packaging, selling, dispensing – and delivering. Klink’s app, available on iOS and Android, brought the party to the customer, who could order beer, wine and spirits for delivery in under an hour.

But Klink was far from alone in the booze delivery game. In addition to delivery.com, Klink competed in various markets with a number of competitors, including Drizly, Velocity, Thirstie and Minibar, and recently national delivery apps Instacart and Shipt more known for delivering groceries have launched alcohol delivery in South Florida. The sale marks one of the first consolidation moves in the alcohol-delivery space.

READ MORE: South Florida’s spirited startups serve up innovation

Nadel wouldn’t disclose personnel transition plans for the Klink team of 10. “The immediate focus of the entire Klink team is working hand-in-hand with the delivery.com team to ensure the smoothest possible transition for our customers and retail partners. We are confident this will be a huge value-add for both our customers – who will be able to order food along with their beer, wine and spirits purchases – and our retail partners, who will have access to a wealth of new customers,” said Nadel, adding that Klink customers have been clamoring for an offering that combines booze and food almost since Klink’s launch.

The companies said a transition of Klink customers and merchants to delivery.com will be completed in coming weeks. delivery.com, founded in 2004, has made at least three other acquisitions over the years, the most recent being BrewDrop of Austin, Texas, last year.

READ MORE: Delivery on-demand – apps at your service

 

January 04, 2017

Net2Phone acquires LiveNinja, but the team -- and #WaffleWednesday -- will live on in Miami

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By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Net2Phone, a subsidiary of IDT Corporation, acquired LiveNinja, a Miami-based messaging and live chat technology startup, the companies announced Wednesday.

Net2Phone, based in New Jersey, will be integrating LiveNinja’s messaging technology into its new product now in development, called PicuP, a self-service communications platform that gives small and medium sized businesses tools to professionally answer, route and manage their inbound calls at an affordable price. LiveNinja, a team of 14, will stay in Wynwood, and will immediately add employees to enhance and support PicuP. Terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed.

“This is a big deal for us because we are joining a company that is just as bullish about the future of our product as we are,” said LiveNinja CEO Will Weinraub, who founded the company with Emilio Cueto and Alfonso Martinez (pictured above). “It just became clear that if we were going to scale this thing and reach the audience we were trying to reach, we needed additional resources and someone who believed in it to take it further. The two platforms complement each other well, and we can get the product out to market faster and reach a bigger audience.”

Was it the team or was it the tech? Net2Phone, founded in 1990 to pioneer VoIP communications, was attracted by both, said Zali Ritholtz, Net2Phone’s chief operating officer, who met Weinraub through a mutual acquaintance. Net2Phone had already built the extensive telecom components to its PicuP product and was planning to add live text messaging, but changed course after seeing what LiveNinja had built and what hundreds of LiveNinja’s business customers were already using.

“I took a look at [LiveNinja’s technology] and in my head said wow, this is the missing piece we were about to build for PicuP and these guys have done a phenomenal job and are such an energetic and amazing team,” Ritholtz said. With LiveNinja, PicuP will become a multi-channel platform that spans phone, messaging, SMS and live chat, he added. “Now we will have a super powerful tool to provide to small and medium-sized businesses so they can communicate with their customers however they like.”

LiveNinja, founded in 2012 as a video-chat platform, changed its own course and last year unveiled its messaging application that lets companies and their customers have seamless conversations across multiple messaging and chat channels, including live chat, SMS and Facebook Messenger – the messaging channels that businesses most often use to meet, convert and serve their customers. Over the years, LiveNinja raised more than $3 million in venture funding and is also well known for serving up innovative waffles at the lively community networkers the company hosts every week in its Wynwood office.

For LiveNinja, the new owner brings resources it needed to market and scale its technology. Weinraub said he will be posting eight software engineer jobs right away, doubling the engineering team in Miami. “Everybody’s staying, we’ll still be based in Miami,” he said. “[Net2Phone] came down and saw the space, saw the energy and felt the vibe of the community and wanted to be part of the community. There will still be #WaffleWednesdays with LiveNinja. It’s a big win all around for us.”

PicuP will be launched shortly and LiveNinja will continue to offer its messaging platform as a standalone product until the full integration of the two companies’ services has been completed later this year, Ritholtz said. At that point LiveNinja’s customers will be transitioned to PicuP.

In A Facebook posting Wednesday morning, Weintraub said: "We're absolutely thrilled to be joining forces with IDT and Net2Phone to not only scale our team, but to create a one-of-a-kind product that we truly believe in. We couldn't be more excited about this next chapter. It’s been a long ride, but it feels like we’re just getting started."

Is it the team or is it the waffles -- we can't be 100 percent sure -- but congratulatory messages flowed in by the dozens on Twitter and Facebook.

  

Liveninja3

 

  WaffleWednesday1

Nancy Dahlberg: @ndahlberg

June 23, 2016

Cooking up a combo: Hispanicize Media Group buys majority stake in Hispanic Kitchen

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HispkitchenBy Nancy Dahlberg/ ndahlberg@miamiherald.com


Hispanic Kitchen
, a Miami-based food website with a large social media following, looked mighty tasty to Hispanicize Media Group, which was looking to expand its digital media reach with brands.

“Hispanic Kitchen is a remarkable digital and social media platform for brands that want to engage audiences that are inspired by Latino culture and its passion for food, recipes and cooking in general,” said Manny Ruiz, founder and CEO of Hispanicize Media Group, the holding company for the annual Hispanicize event and DiMe Media.

Ruiz’s company recently announced it has acquired a majority stake in the Latino food media company. As part of the transaction, both Miami-based online advertising network Salvo Group and Hispanic Kitchen founder Jorge Bravo will own minority interests. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

This transaction is the first in a series of acquisitions that Hispanicize Media Group plans to enhance its expansion into digital media. “Combining the synergies of Hispanic Kitchen with our DiMe Media influencer network means we can now serve brands an incomparable 360-degree online solution that incorporates premium advertising, programmatic advertising, video integrations, social media engagement and influencer network marketing,” said Ruiz in the press release.

Founded in 2009 by veteran journalist Bravo, HispanicKitchen.com and its social media channels reach a combined 1.6 million monthly users. The newly re-launched website features a database of thousands of Latino recipes with 85 percent of its traffic coming from mobile devices and 90 percent driven by all major social platforms, especially Facebook, with nearly 1.2 million engaged fans.

“It's been a venture and an adventure,” Bravo said on his Facebook page. “I guess this is where I look back at what began as just an idea bouncing around in my head to where it is now, a growing, and much-loved food platform. We've had bumps along the way, but our fans have stuck with us. I value their loyalty and good wishes. I'm excited to begin this new chapter.”

Bravo, who like Ruiz formerly worked in the Miami Herald newsroom, said Hispanicize Media Group bought a minority stake in the company last year and they began working together, allowing the companies time to explore a larger partnership. “What we are trying to do is make HK the top destination for people looking for Latin flavors. This acquisition and the resources it provides ... brings the pieces together to help us get there. It’s been a seamless collaboration. ... We fully expect to be a major player in the space.”

Hispanic Kitchen will be led by Hispanicize Media Group’s Chief Operations Officer Piera Jolly. Bravo will continue as editorial director, overseeing the company’s team of writers and video producers. 

“When you start something like this you never know where it is going to go, but I knew there was a need because our fans told us so,” said Bravo. “We’re continuing to work on the product to meet that need and feed that hunger.”

June 14, 2016

Miami startup NightPro acquired by Tablelist

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By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Tablelist, a platform for real-time online reservations for nightclubs, lounges and bars, has acquired Miami startup NightPro.

Juan Bermudez and Francisco Quintero (pictured above) started NightPro about four years ago in a Midtown coffee shop. In fact, Bermudez pitched a very early concept of the venue management company at a HackDay Miami event in 2012. NightPro was also part of the inaugural class of Venture Hive in 2013.

 Over the years, NightPro made several iterations, but it grew into a venue/guest management platform for more than 100 venue partners worldwide, through which it has helped to manage over $250 million in reservations and 500,000 guests, Bermudez said. As revenue began spiking, so did interest from acquirers; NightPro received offers from two suitors.

But Bermudez said the company began partnering with Tablelist, based in Boston, by integrating Tablelist’s consumer sales technology into the NightPro platform, and they quickly released that their visions aligned and began talking.

 “Everything we were doing, we were heading in the same direction. It just made sense to join forces,” said Bermudez on Tuesday.

 “By merging our two platforms, we would be able to provide our partners with a one of a kind, all in one venue/guest management system that would not only streamline business operations, but also drive more business.”

NightPro’s management platform now complements Tablelist’s front-end booking application for tables at high-end clubs. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Venture-backed Tablelist launched its service in Miami last fall, joining a number of locations, including New York, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, DC, and Las Vegas.  Bermudez said the NightPro team will be continuing to work with Tablelist to distribute the joint platform and aggressively expand.

“Together we are the leading platform for real time online reservations and venue/guest management solutions for nightclubs, lounges and bars. This is an absolute game changer for the entire industry,” Bermudez said in a blog post to NightPro customers.

June 19, 2015

Boca Raton tech startup Glip acquired by RingCentral

RingCentral, a leading provider of cloud communication services, has acquired Glip, a Boca Raton tech startup focused on modern business messaging built for teams, the companies announced Friday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Glip, founded in 2012, makes teams more efficient by embedding shared calendars, task and project management, video conferencing and file sharing directly in the conversation stream. It launched its product in early 2014, relaunched with a Glip 2 early this year and launched an iOS and Android app this spring.

This is not the first exit for the Glip team. Led by co-founders Peter Pezaris, Claudio Pinkus and David Hersh, Glip's management team has worked together for 20 years and started and successfully exited several other  startups, including Multiply, inventor of the first social news feed. The self-funded Glip, with 13 employees,  recently relaunched its product that for the first time enabled the seamless integration of team conversation with advanced task and project management, Pezaris said.

Glip was being actively used by more than 10,000 teams – including at IBM, CBS Interactive, The Economist and Harvard University -- helping them be more productive with team messaging closely integrated with task management, group calendars, notes, annotations and file sharing. The product also includes integrations with Asana, Box, Dropbox, Evernote, JIRA, GitHub, Google, Zendesk, and many others.

Glip’s capabilities will be integrated and made available to all RingCentral Office customers. RingCentral also plans to keep the current stand-alone Glip application, renamed as RingCentral Teams, available for web, Windows, Mac, iOS and Android for all current and future customers, said Vlad Shmunis, CEO of RingCentral, a publicly traded tech company based in Belmont, Calif.

Glip “Collaborating with employees, partners, and customers to solve business problems is becoming more complex, and email is no longer sufficient by itself,” said Peter Pezaris, CEO of Glip (pictured here). “We started Glip with the vision of empowering employees to work more efficiently by developing a world-class messaging solution with integrated productivity tools. We’re excited to join RingCentral to take our vision even further by combining with their state-of-the-art business communications platform.”

Pezaris and the R&D team will join RingCentral.