DeliverLean, ginnybakes tapped to join Endeavor network

Four South Florida “foodpreneurs” were selected Friday to join the Endeavor network.

Www.endeavormiami.org (1)Scott Harris of DeliverLean, a fast-growing delivery service for healthy gourmet meals, and Ginny, Steve and Mike Simon of ginnybakes, maker of organic, gluten-free cookies and other treats, were selected after an intense three-day vetting process during Endeavor’s 55th International Selection Panel in Isanbul, Turkey. Entrepreneurs representing 23 companies in 13 countries were selected at this panel.

The entrepreneurs also join My Ceviche restaurant group, and technology companies KidoZen, Leapfactor and LearnerNation, all South Florida companies selected this year as Endeavor Entrepreneurs. The global nonprofit Endeavor selects, mentors and accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs around the world

“DeliverLean and ginnybakes are exemplary entrepreneurs that with their passion and the support of Endeavor Miami will have an impact in our city as we help them accelerate their growth,” said Laura Maydón, managing director of Endeavor Miami, speaking from Instanbul.

Endeavor’s International Selection Panel is the culmination of a rigorous selection process, where panels composed of top business leaders interview candidates about their businesses, high-impact leadership potential, and timing. In order for an entrepreneur to be selected, he or she must receive a unanimous vote. Endeavor Entrepreneurs receive targeted services including mentorship and access to capital, markets and talent.

DeliverLean launched in 2011 with a menu of caloricly balanced meals delivered to consumers’ homes and businesses, and has been vastly expanding its offerings. It recently opened the OnJuice BAR in Aventura, the first of several retail juice bar locations to be rolled out in South Florida. the company also launched DL Snacks, a line of raw, vegan dehydrated snacks, and expanded into the grab-and-go market, starting with salads and snacks at Juan Valdez Cafes in downtown Miami.

Next month, DeliverLean plans to launch DL revAMP, what it says is the first organic five-day plant-based food detox program on the market. DeliverLean’s expansion into New York and other major markets is on the horizon. Headquartered in Oakland Park, the company has more than 120 employees.

“Endeavor provides access to an amazing group of board members,” said Harris, DeliverLean’s founder and CEO (pictured below with his chefs),  from Istanbul. He said Endeavor has already helped him with strategy and business direction. “There’s no manual for business ... they give me advice based of hundreds of years of experience.”


Based in Miami, ginnybakes makes cookies, bars, baked mixes and other treats that are organic, gluten-free, kosher and vegan and sold locally in Publix, Whole Foods, The Fresh Market and a long list of independent retailers and restaurants. But the company, founded in 2010, is also expanding into markets all over the United States. Its products will be available in the 180-store national chain called Sprouts, for instance, as well as H&B Markets in Texas and Fairway in the New York region. Three new flavors are coming soon. Also, ginnnybakes recently ranked as the No. 2 gluten-free cookie of natural organic chains globally, said Ginny Simon. With Endeavor’s help, perhaps it could soon be No. 1.

“Endeavor makes us bigger, stronger and better in every way and we have already felt the impact of their guidance,” said Ginny Simon, CEO, who runs the company with her husband, Steve, who is the president, and her son Michael, executive vice president (pictured below). In a phone interview from Turkey, she said with Endeavor’s help, ginnybakes made a key hire, its chief operating officer, and attracted an investor from Bain Capital and plans to assemble an extraordinary advisory board.


About the new Endeavor Entrepreneurs, Matt Haggman, Miami program director of the Knight Foundation said: “It’s absolutely thrilling. It illustrates the amazing entrepreneurs we have in Miami. It also shows the power of the Endeavor network at work,” noting the feedback and advice from panelists from around the world. “This marks a terrific first year of Endeavor Miami.”

Haggman and Alberto Chang Rajii, both on Endeavor’s board, also served as panelists at the selection panel, interviewing and helping to select entrepreneurs from around the world. Haggman and the Knight Foundation were instrumental in bringing Endeavor to Miami, the first U.S. location for the global nonprofit that is in 20 countries, and provided $2 million in funding. The last selection panel of the year will be held in Miami in December.

It wasn’t lost of any of them that food-related companies are getting noticed in South Florida. Three of the six Miami-area companies selected so far have been of the culinary flavor.

“It’s exciting,” said Harris. “Miami is becoming a hub for foodpreneurs.”

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

Posted Oct. 24, 2014 


Foodpreneurs seeing heaping helpings of investment interest

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Call it the foodie effect.

The restaurant industry is a notoriously tough business. Margins are typically low in grocery sales, as food costs continue to rise. But there are some food entrepreneurs who are defying the odds: those focused on fresher, healthier eating.

Healthier eating habits and busier lifestyles are trends that are converging to put food businesses into higher favor in the investment community. Venture capital funding in food and grocery delivery companies only has soared, according to CB Insights. In 2010 for instance, the sector attracted under $10 million quarterly. In the first quarter of this year: more than $200 million. When you also include investment in food prep companies, that number soars to $738 million in the first quarter, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek report. The Angel Research Institute is also seeing angel funding in the food and beverage industries increasing each quarter.

On Thursday, six South Florida food businesses, from food delivery services to products to fast-casual restaurant chains focused on convenience, quality and value, participated in a panel discussion at the Emerging Technology Business Showcase hosted the the nonprofit Enterprise Development Corporation and the trade group Florida Venture Forum. The all-day event at Miami Dade College attracted about 125 people, a mix of entrepreneurs, investors and service providers.

While McDonald’s earnings recently dropped 30 percent, high-profile Silicon Valley investors have been pouring money into companies such as GrubHub, which reached a $1.9 billion dollar valuation earlier this year, Munchery, Sprig and Blue Apron. Meanwhile, a growing number of creative, business-savvy Miami area food and food-tech companies have been quietly and steadily growing and are “perhaps our region’s most successful and unique core entrepreneurial assets,” said Rob Strandberg, CEO of EDC. Indeed, the Miami arm of the global nonprofit Endeavor, which selects, mentors and accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs, is looking at a number of South Florida food businesses to potentially support; My Ceviche’s co-founders were two of the first three Miami-area entrepreneurs tapped as Endeavor Entrepreneurs.

Some South Florida companies such as Natural Sins, maker of a line of all-natural dried fruit snacks produced in Costa Rica, are taking a strategic approach to its U.S. expansion, market by market, said founder and CEO Andres Dominguez. Others, like Fresh Meal Plan headquarter in Boca Raton, have been growing quickly in South Florida and other parts of the state and now looking at national expansion. Fit2Go Meals was a pioneer in the meal delivery industry, entering in 2005. That meant a lot of time was spent early on on consumer education, said Cesar Quintero, founder and COO. He has since started two related companies – RawBar2go and Fit2Go DS. Along with having strong business plans and keeping a keen eye on their financials, all talked about the importance of social media and nurturing brand ambassadors in their success strategies.

“By 2020, 70 percent of food customers will be off premises,” said Quintero. Why? Because millennials don’t all cook but they still want to eat healthy and they want it delivered, he said. “You don’t have to leave your house of office.”

FoodOozle, which was founded last year and currently delivers in several Broward County cities, aims to provide fast reliable and cost-effective delivery using smartphone technology and data driven logistics "allowing us to deliver better, faster and cheaper than restaurants," said CEO Andre Melo.

The ETBS event also included a VC bootcamp with discussions about fund-raising strategies, termsheets and valuations. In the afternoon, eight South Florida startups  presented their companies -- Blackdove, FoodOozle, Fresh Meal Plan, Hair Construction, Haku, itopia, KottonZoo and netFundz --  to a panel of judges, all leaders in the South Florida business, entrepreneurship and investment communities.

And the winner was ... Haku (prize: 10 hours of legal services from Gunster).  Haku's app provides all of the tools you need to plan, manage, and execute a successful running, cycling, swimming or triathlon event.

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Carlos Escobar pitches Haku.

 Posted Oct. 23, 2014


Registration opens, plans announced for 2015 eMerge Americas


Photo by Herby Garcia/eMerge Americas 

A summit to showcase female entrepreneurs in technology and a strong speaker lineup are just a few of the highlights planned for the 2015 eMerge Americas conference, which will be May 4 and 5 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Manny Medina, founder of eMerge Americas, and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez (pictured above) kicked off a celebration at YoungArts on Wednesday night  for the next eMerge Americas, which included a look back at the inaugural year that attracted 6,000 people and a peek at what’s ahead for year two.

The mayor said that Miami already “is becoming known as a technology hub,” and noted several recent events. Three weeks ago he was in San Francisco when Miami-Dade was awarded a Code for America fellowship and last week he participated in the IBM Think Forum, the only elected official invited. “I know the 2015 eMerge Americas will be much greater than the first one ... a can’t-miss event,” Gimenez said.

Some of the plans for year two include:

Deepak Chopra, author and expert in the field of mind-body healing, and Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square, founder of LaunchCode and now a South Florida resident, will be among the speakers, Medina said. All the sponsors are back for a second year, he added. Also, the panels and keynote speaker sessions will be slightly longer and more integrated into the exhibit area. There will be auxiliary events in the week leading up to the conference, as there was last year.

“We listened to you and we are going to make 2015 even better than 2014,” said Medina, referring to the feedback from the 2014 conference. Noting that attendees were impressed by the speakers in the inaugural year, “you are going to be wowed by the content in 2015,” Medina said.

Melissa Medina, vice president of business development for eMerge Americas, said a new part of eMerge next year will be the Women Innovation & Technology Summit, a platform “that will showcase women who are tranforming technology,” with speakers from around the world. She said she and the team were disturbed that just 20 percent of the attendees in 2014 were women, and she hopes to draw not only more women as attendees but more women speakers than in the inaugural year. The summit will be May 4.

Registration for eMerge Americas is now open, and tickets are available starting at an early bird price of $245, a $450 savings off the regular price. For more information, www.emergeamericas.org.

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.


 Photo by Herby Garcia/eMerge Americas

Posted Oct. 22, 2014

MooVooZ, a Miami-based moving marketplace, launches app in South Florida

MoovoozAn estimated 43 million Americans relocate each year. To make the stressful situation easier, a new Miami company,  MooVooZ, has developed an online movers marketplace that allows consumers to search, compare and book movers with instant fixed price quotes.

Today MooVooZ announced its  mobile application for Android, Snap N Move, allowing customers the option to book their move on the go from their mobile devices.

"Snap N Move is an extension of our web app, MooVooZ, with added features" said Joel Burlin, CEO of MooVooZ. "It lets users book their move from their mobile device instead of a laptop or desktop."


In an interview last month,  Burlin expained that MooVooZ can be especially helpful for short, local moves, which are on the upswing. Whether it is a move down the hall, across town, or beyond, it's easy to get instant quotes because users snap photo and video of the items they wish to move, choose a pickup and drop off address, and a list of movers, prices, ratings, and reviews pops up. There's a lot to like about the ransparency, as the moving industry historically has  drawn a large share of complaints at Better Business Bureaus, consumer complaint divisions and the like. 


Burlin spent a majority of the last decade in the moving industry while owning and operating companies throughout the US. Founded in 2013, MooVooZ provides consumers with fully serviced, licensed movers that are pre-qualified and insured, he said. MooVooZ screens all of its partnering  moving companies to ensure customers are receiving top quality movers, he said.


MooVooZ is well-timed, too, with a resurgence in real estate in many parts of the country, but particularly in South Florida, where people are flocking to the urban core and more people are renting and moving more often. For these reasons and others,  Burlin opted to launch Snap N Move locally first. MooVooZ is working on its iPhone app.


"The hassle of moving is universal so the solution to an easy move should also be universal," said Jiblin George, CTO of MooVooz. Users can download the app for free on Google Play under "MooVooZ" or on www.moovooz.com/snapandmove.


One giant leap for kid-kind: iTech youngsters to send satellites into orbit


Christopher Jules, Steeve Jean-Louis and Janiel Adames, all ninth graders at iTech @ Thomas A. Edison Educational Center in Miami.They are working on basic coding with the hope of being able to one day build their own small satellites that they can remotely control in space and conduct science experiments by studying the data collected by the satellites.C.W. Griffin/Miami Herald Staff

By ALEXI C. CARDONA / acardona@MiamiHerald.com

As a child, Kiman McIntosh suspected the moon was made out of cheese, and he dreamed of launching himself into space to find out for sure.

While Kiman, 14, may not be able to take a bite out of the moon, his childhood dreams of space exploration are not entirely out of reach.

Students in the Geospatial Information Systems academy at iTech at Thomas A. Edison Educational Center in Miami, a magnet high school that just launched this year, can soon explore outer space from their classrooms. These students are learning the basics of coding and computer programming to build small, cube-shaped satellites that will be launched into low Earth orbit by astronauts on the International Space Station. Sensors inside the satellites’ payload connect students to the universe by taking pictures and collecting data about the earth’s composition, temperature, weather and light.

Using these sensors, students can study warming trends, map and predict thunderstorms and measure levels of radiation over certain areas of the earth’s surface. Students decide the type of information they want the satellite to collect and receive online reports from Ardusat’s Mission Control.

Read the story here.

What is your venture allocation? A white paper by Scout Ventures

By Brad Harrison

BradOne of our goals at Scout Ventures is to help South Floridians take a thoughtful approach to venture capital as part of an overall strategic asset allocation and demonstrate why investing in venture capital makes sense in that respect. Toward that end, we’ve recently published a white paper on investing in venture capital:

What is Your Venture Allocation?

There are number of recent market trends - including companies staying private longer, weaker post IPO stock performance, and the current regulatory environment that make investing in venture capital a more important part of an overall investment strategy. 

Venture Capital is an under-allocated asset class in South Florida and over the past five years, markets have shifted tremendously, altering what can be accomplished in public markets. However, many investors are still using strategies geared toward the markets of 5 or 10 years ago. This paper is intended to give investors a new perspective on venture capital in the larger context of what is happening in today’s markets.

We encourage anyone with an interest in generating investment returns to read the paper and contact the Scout Ventures team with any comments or questions.

Brad Harrison, founder and managing partner and Scout Ventures, a “Series Seed” technology investor with offices in New York and now Miami.


#305Pitch idea gains traction: What's that? Read on ... you never know who might buy you lunch

PhotoInvestor Faquiry Diaz Cala was sitting in Joey's cafe next to a table where  an entrepreneur was lunching with another potential investor. He said as a way to signal to the entrepreneur and the fellow investor that "we are all in this together," he picked up the check. On his Facebook page he wrote:

"Today I would like to start a new Miami tradition. If you are an investor and see a local entrepreneur lunching with another investor pitching them, pick up their table check as a way of showing that we are all together interested in growing our ecosystem and supporting our entrepreneurs. Post the location BUT not the parties involved. I just did."

Within hours, more than 65 people had liked the post, and about  a dozen commented.

Mark Kingdon, the angel investor on the receiving end of the lunch, responded with: LOVE THE IDEA AND  THANK YOU (AGAIN) FOR LUNCH!!!

"I think this could be a nice trend of showing the entrepreneurs that all of us as investors value them and for investors it's a way of potentially co-investing together and more importantly of keeping us honest when offering entrepreneurs market terms because we will know that others can pick up the lunch and term sheet as well.  We should not try to take advantage of the entrepreneur," Diaz Cala said later.

To keep this going, he says, use #305Pitch and a check-in.

As investor-entrepreneur lunches become more commonplace in Wynwood and around South Florida, who knows who will be buying your next lunch? 

 Posted Oct. 21, 2014

It's official: Magic Leap announces $542 million funding round!

In one of the largest venture capital deals on record, Magic Leap announced the close of its $542 million Series B funding, a round led by Google and including KPCB, Andreessen Horowitz, Obvious Ventures, Qualcomm, film-finance company Legendary Entertainment and Paul Allen’s investment firm Vulcan, the Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch and others reported today. The deal values the company at nearly $2 billion and the funding will be used for product development.

RonyMagic Leap, based in Dania Beach with more than 100 employees and led by co-founder and CEO Rony Abovitz, has been quite stealth, but the Wall Street Journal said the startup is developing its own eyeglasses-like device, different from Google Glass, designed to project computer-generated images over a real-life setting. In an earlier interview with me, he called the technology "Cinematic Reality," much different from virtual reality, he has said.  

Sundar Pichai, the head of Google’s Android, Chrome and Apps businesses, will join Magic Leap’s board in a rare move, while Don Harrison, the company’s head of corporate development, will become a board observer, The Wall Street Journal reported.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Abovitz said he sees Magic Leap as a new interface that could replace the PC monitors and smartphone screens that define the modern era of computing.

Read the Wall Street Journal article here. 

We particularly like FastCompany's description of Magic Leap as "a company that, at best, you heard of a week ago, based on the outskirts of Fort Lauderdale, Florida (!)" It is true that the funding round alone is quite a bit more than the amount in VC funding -- $418 million -- all companies in Florida received last year.

But Starting Gate readers know that Abovitz has done this all before as co-founder and chief visionary officer of Mako Surgical, Which raised more than $300 million in equity financing and sold for $1.65 billion to Stryker last year. He founded Magic Leap in 2011 and  has been quietly assembling a huge team, including from the film and comic book realm. In August, for instance, Magic Leap announced that "Guardians of the Galaxy" comic writer Andy Lanning joined Magic Leap as “Comic World Ambassador” and Dave Gibbons, co-creator of the “Watchmen,” joined as Creative Advisor.

Magic Leap raised $50 million earlier this year. 

In his own words? Abovitz's blog post is here. 


An animation on Magicleap.com shows a hint of Magic Leap's technology.

Posted Oct. 21, 2014

View: My courtship with Miami


By Austin Rhoads

AustinWhen I told friends and family I was moving to Miami, their initial reaction was:  "You're doing what? You... living in Miami?!" Once over the initial shock, the next natural question they asked was how soon could they come visit.  Before finding an apartment and even stepping foot on the ground, I had already experienced one of the biggest challenges this city faces.

Miami has a reputation for being a wonderful place to visit. A playground for the rich and famous.  A place where the sun always shines, drugs and alcohol flow freely, exotic cars grace the streets, and clothing is optional. People from around the world flock to Miami for vacation.  But who in their right mind would ever want to live there?

As it turns out, I do.

I have only been here for two months, but I can already tell you Miami is a much different place than I ever imagined.  Yes, the stereotypes mentioned above exist.  But they are just that -- oversimplified generalizations.  Consider the following:  I certainly don't own a lime green Lamborghini, my rock-hard beach body is a work in progress at best, and I have yet to hang out with Pitbull on the weekends.

Guess what?  There are hundreds of thousands of other Miamians like me who don't fit the stereotypes.  From institutions like the Knight Foundation and the Miami Foundation to entrepreneurs at the LAB and cycling activists in Emerge Miami, there are people in this city who care deeply about making it a better place.  I'm not talking about people who say they care and then run off to their next rah-rah speaking engagement.  I'm talking about people who are sacrificing their personal lives (and in some instances their careers) to pour their hearts, time, and money into the future of this city.                

I just graduated college and am, as Elite Daily so "eloquently" puts it, an idealistic twenty-something.  I may be overly naive and inexperienced, but I see tremendous potential in this city.

Each year when college graduates frantically decide where to begin their new lives, why shouldn't Miami be at the top of their list?  Instead of waiting until retirement to figure out S. Florida has some of the best weather and opportunities in the world, why not reap the benefits now?  Does it really make sense to run off to NYC and join a saturated, highly competitive market when you have a city like Miami that is ripe for change and young talent?

Millions of people both young and old visit Miami each year.  Instead of merely visiting, let's get them to stay.

Let’s get them to stay and become engaged in this community we call home.

Austin Rhoads graduated from Elon University in North Carolina in May and moved to Miami through the Venture For America entrepreneurship program.  He currently works for Vero Water in South Beach where he focuses on a variety of functions from sales to operations to business development.  Follow him on Twitter @austinrhoads.



Emerging Technology Business Showcase to include VC bootcamp, foodpreneurs, pitches

Entrepreneurs looking for financial support for their businesses and investors seeking insight on South Florida startups will learn about such opportunities at the 17th annual Emerging Technology Business Showcase on Thursday in Miami.

The Florida Venture Forum and the Enterprise Development Corporation are jointly presenting the one-day event, “ETBS in Paradise,” at Miami Dade College.

The all-day event will begin with a two-hour workshop in the morning giving insight as to what a fundable company looks like to investors and venture capitalists alike as well as a review by legal counsel on the components of a term sheet. During lunch, a panel of food experts and entrepreneurs will tell stories of their food startups and discuss trends, challenges, and opportunities in the industry in South Florida’s diverse market. The afternoon will start with a presentation about the valuation process and exit related issues for companies in their early stages of development.

The final session of the day will showcase some of the most promising startups in South Florida:

The Florida Venture Forum is Florida’s largest statewide support organization for venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. The Enterprise Development Corporation provides advisory and support services to help position entrepreneurs, investors and partners for success and growth in South Florida’s startup community.

For more information about the event: http://tinyurl.com/ofsm78z.

Posted Oct. 20, 2014