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.

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

November 16, 2017

Miami is fertile ground for world-class product design

By Gessica Tortolano

GessicaWith 20 yrs of experience building and leading User Experience (UX) teams from Boston to Silicon Valley on projects for Google, Facebook, Gap, Samsung and other exciting brands, I am bringing my expertise back to South Florida as head instructor of UX/UI Immersive, an intensive 8-week program at Miami’s Wyncode Academy.

UX is about solving real problems and addressing pain points, not just making something cool as a product or a feature. It is about storytelling, screen composition and clear paths to completion, while removing friction, not just rearranging elements on a screen. As a problem solving framework, UX puts the user at the heart of the process. It results in a better experience thereby producing better products.

With IOT, voice user interfaces, the blend of digital and physical experiences, and new devices entering the market daily, it is critical to realize a connected, holistic experience.

Miami is a beloved vacation destination, but I truly believe it is so much more. A creative and diverse culture like Miami’s is fertile ground for world-class design. This program will help nurture a new generation of product designers who will lead the charge in quality design in our ecosystem.

As a former resident of Miami, I worked with aspiring designers through community initiatives at University of Miami, IT Women, Honey Shine Inc., and Urgent Inc. I was overwhelmed and humbled by their interest in UX, it was palpable.

Since the beginning of my career I’ve worked with many of the world’s biggest brands, including Burger King, Instagram, IBM, the NBA, Chrysler, Coca-Cola, GM, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Carnival Cruise Lines.

It is after all these years, and diverse experiences that I am compelled to share and teach my expertise. I recall telling Johanna Mikkola, co-founder of Wyncode, it was time for me to foster a new generation of designers. Together with Wyncode that is what we will do.

It was clear, I had to partner with a school that was just as committed to quality in their programs as I was about design. I had to ensure the future UX designer would marry their skills with a methodology.

In the valley, large brands are anxious to blur the lines between physical and digital. They are running experiments and adopting Design Thinking, a human-centered methodology that reveals truths about how confident we are in a feature or product.

Product designers grasp the importance of being flexible, nimble, and are experts in team inertia and momentum. Most will hone their skills, but with a solid foundation, they can own end-to-end product development.

The Googles and Facebooks are looking for agility and iteration. Value over deliverables became my world and I am thrilled to help build an ecosystem rich with designers who practice true product development.

Curious to learn more? Join us at our UX/UI Design Workshop: Bridging The Physical & Digital World event December 7, 2018 7:00 - 9:00 PM. Classes start Jan. 22, 2018 Program details at wyncode.co or email weare@wyncode.co

Gessica Tortolano will be head instructor of  of UX/UI Immersive, an intensive 8-week program at Miami’s Wyncode Academy.

November 15, 2017

ITPalooza is back Dec. 7 and SFTA has big plans for it

Itpalooza

 

The South Florida Technology Alliance announced its 6th annual ITPalooza  will take place on Thursday December 7 at a new venue, The Greater Fort Lauderdale-Broward County Convention Center, located at 1950 Eisenhower Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale.

ITPalooza-Logo-White-500x500ITPalooza is an annual gathering of South Florida's technology professionals, CIOs and CTOs, user groups, educators and companies. This year’s event will feature over 120 exhibitors and more than 2,000 registrants, 50 speakers and tech meet-up and user groups from across South Florida are expected to attend the biggest and best ITPalooza ever.

“ITPalooza 2017 is a celebration of technologists in South Florida,” said Rick Sebaly, SFTA’s immediate past president and this year’s ITP event leader. 

This event Includes Educational Speaker Tracks, Keynotes, several panel discussions, Agile Group, Expo, charity toy drive, After Hours Tri-county vBeers Networking event and VIP After-Party. ITP will also feature a dedicated Management Track in conjunction with the CIO Council of South Florida focusing on the unique needs of CIOs and other top-level IT executives.  

IT User and Meet-up groups are invited at no charge provided they bring an unwrapped toy for Toys-For-Tots. They will be entitled to a display table and free admission for their members after 5:30.

ITP registrations start at 8 AM with the following schedule:

8:45 a.m. Opening Remarks by Tom Conophy, CIO, Autonation

9:00 – 7:00 P.M. Expo and Vendor Exhibits

9:00 a.m. Morning Keynote Address by Corey Williams

10:00 a.m. Panel: The Impact of Women in Tech

11:00 a.m. Panel: Entrepreneurship

12:00 p.m. CIO Council CIO and VIP luncheon featuring Kyle Leciejewski, VP, Dell EMC – Dell’s perspective on the industry

1 P.M. Afternoon Keynote

 Additional panel discussions from 2:00 to 4:00 P.M.

5:00 P.M. Awards Ceremony and Toys for Tots presentation

5:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. Tech Groups and Meet-Ups

5:30 P.M. – 8:30 P.M. Tri-county vBeers beers and networking

5:30 P.M. – 8:30 P.M. VIP Cocktail/Dinner Reception

Since its inception in 2012, ITPalooza has raised more than $193,000 in cash and toys   for various South Florida non-profits including Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ STEM Advisory Board, The Stockdale Foundation and US Marine’s Toys for Tots.   

Admission is $65 or they can bring two unwrapped toys - for the “Toys for Tots” charity and pay only $35.  VIP tickets are available for $250, providing participants access to all CIO and ITPalooza events with breakfast, lunch, dinner and entertainment included – plus entry into VIP Lounge.  Student admission to evening events only is $15, with the presentation of a valid student ID.

Admission to the after hour tech meet-ups and vBeers events are free – just bring a toy.

Online registration can be accessed at itpalooza.org/tickets.  VIP and Student tickets are also available for purchase. Information on sponsorship opportunities is also available on the site.

- Submitted by ITPalooza

 

November 13, 2017

Miami is heating up with startups. Babson GEM report sheds light on who they are.

GEM

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

If it seems like everyone you meet is an entrepreneur these days, there’s a reason for that.

Miami has one of the highest rates of new entrepreneurial activity in the country, nearly twice the national average, according to a 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report released Monday by Babson College.

While 12.6 percent of Americans were starting or running new businesses during the past two years, 22 percent in Miami were doing so, according to the GEM report. And they are likely to be older and more educated with a higher income than their counterparts in many other cities.

Miami has long depended on small businesses more than large corporations. For the past decade, it has been a hotbed for new business creation — a trend that has caught fire as tech-related startups have increased. In South Florida, as in other areas of the country, organizations and universities have been focused on accelerating entrepreneurship with new programs, mentorship, pitch opportunities and co-working spaces. Even Babson itself has launched an accelerator for women and graduate programs in Miami recently.

 

For the first time, the highly-watched study included a city-level analysis of entrepreneurship in Boston, Miami and Detroit to provide a window into how entrepreneurship thrives locally. “It’s important to identify and monitor a city’s needs and monitor progress relative to entrepreneurship, whether that means, for example, supporting women or youth entrepreneurs or assisting ventures that introduce innovations or create jobs,” said Donna Kelley, a Babson College professor and co-author of the report.

The American Dream is alive and well, according to the study. Nationally during the past two years, more than 25 million Americans were starting or running new businesses in the United States. More than half of Americans see good opportunities around them for starting a business. That’s 57 percent versus 41 percent globally — a sharp rise from the depths of the recession in 2009, in which just 28 percent saw good opportunities.

In Miami, 65 percent perceive good opportunities around them and more ventures have international aspirations than a lot of other areas.

However, the report isn’t all sunny. Miami entrepreneurs start businesses out of necessity and don’t last more than a year more often than the nation as a whole. Miami also trails in innovation.

[READ MORE: What’s the average tech salary? How many startups are sprouting? A by-the-numbers look at Miami]

Here are some of the GEM report’s national and local findings about Americans who are starting or running new businesses:

▪ It’s not all millennials in hoodies eating ramen noodles, and that’s not because of the weather. Those most likely to start or run a new business in Miami are in the 35-54 age group and in the highest income category, above $100,000. Miami entrepreneurs are also more likely to have some graduate school education than the nation as a whole.

▪ U.S. entrepreneurs are driven most by opportunity (88 percent). Those who started businesses out of necessity nationally dropped to 11 percent. However, in Miami, nearly one in five entrepreneurs — 19 percent — are driven by necessity rather than opportunity.

▪ Thirty-seven percent of all U.S. entrepreneurs are developing and delivering innovative products or services, the highest level on this indicator in 15 years. However, in Miami, that level is just 24 percent, compared to 46 percent in Boston and 43 percent in Detroit.

▪ Miamians are most likely to start business in professional services, followed by wholesale/retail and manufacturing/transportation, the study found.

▪ The gender gap is wider in Miami — 28 percent of males versus 16 percent of females are starting or running new businesses than in the nation as a whole. Still, the slight overall rise in U.S. new entrepreneurial activity is because more women entered entrepreneurship last year than the year before, while this level has remained the same for men.

▪ Compared to national averages, Miami and Boston have more than twice the proportion of entrepreneurs who plan to have more than 25 percent of their total sales go to international markets. And in Miami, more new businesses have international aspirations than established businesses.

▪ Miamians are bullish. They are more positive about their entrepreneurial capabilities and report a lower fear of failure than the nation as a whole. More expect to add employees, too.

Now in its 18th year, GEM is the largest single study of entrepreneurship in the world. The GEM U.S. team, based at Babson College in Massachusetts, is one of 65 national research teams that conducted an annual adult population survey in their economy in the summer of 2016.

The survey results tracked similar trends found in the Kauffman Foundation’s reports, which showed the Miami metro area as No. 1 in the country for new business creation. However, Kauffman’s reports also ranked Miami near the bottom of 40 metro areas for growth entrepreneurship.

Read more about the GEM report here.

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

November 10, 2017

Global Entrepreneurship Week kicks off Friday with Startup Weekend West Palm Beach; $50K up for grabs in VentureTech Showcase next week

 

Startup Weekend_preview

Palm Beach County has organized its entrepreneurial community for Global Entrepreneurship Week, an international event taking place from November 10 – 18.


GE WEEK PB_previewThe week’s activities commence on November 10, when Palm Beach Tech hosts Startup Weekend West Palm Beach, powered by TechStars and Google for Entrepreneurs. The 54-hour experiential and educational event is designed for aspiring entrepreneurs to learn how to create a company with the support of mentors. The companies will then pitch their ideas in front of a panel of top-notch investors and industry leaders.

“Events like these help foster the growth of our innovation economy,” said Joseph R. Russo, Executive Director of the Palm Beach Tech Association.

Global Entrepreneurship Week participants are competing for the chance to win $50,000 in prize money at the 2017 Florida VentureTech Showcase, hosted by the Florida Venture Forum on November 16 at FAU Tech Runway®. The showcase is a capital acceleration competition and business networking event with presentations by some of Florida’s most promising startups.

“Collaborative efforts like Global Entrepreneurship Week have a direct impact on our community and the entrepreneurs we serve,” said Rhys L. Williams, Managing Director of FAU Tech Runway. “Through broad support from Palm Beach County, as well as local leaders we are shaping a community of promising entrepreneurs and connecting them with the resources and capital they need to succeed.”

Junior Achievement is also participating through their Launch Lessons program, bringing local entrepreneurs to educate more than 2,000 high school students in Palm Beach County.

“Junior Achievement is excited to engage a diverse group of entrepreneurs sharing their launch lessons with young people in our community,” said Claudia Kirk Barto, President and CEO of Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast.

On November 15, The Palm Beach Tech Pitch Competition is featuring eight local startups competing for $12,500 in business services, in partnership with the Florida Angel Nexus and Florida Venture Forum.

Community & coworking spaces like Social House, Flamingo House, Palm Beach Tech Space and Elizabeth Ave Station are all hosting free events to engage with their communities. Urban Youth Impact is hosting a Pitch Night on November 14 and Creative Mornings Palm Beach is taking place November 17.

Global Entrepreneur Week centers around innovation, collaboration and education. To learn more, visit: www.EWeekPB.com

- Submitted by Palm Beach Tech

 

November 08, 2017

Powerful, a fast-growing Miami food & beverage startup, attracts $4 million in funding

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

CarlosPowerful, a Miami-based food and beverage startup offering all-natural, high-protein products for active lifestyles, has been on a growth tear the past year, doubling the number of U.S. stores the product is sold in. Now the company has raised $4 million in funding as it expands into additional product categories.

The Series B funding was led by River Hollow Partners, a lower mid-market private equity firm focused on consumer and retail brands in the natural products space. The company has also secured ABL financing through a partnership with Gerber Finance, a leading asset-based lending financial company with headquarters in New York City.

Carlos Ramirez launched Powerful (then called Powerful Yogurt) in March 2013 after years as a marketing and strategy consultant for global companies. He helped launch or expand other food products around the world, including Greek yogurt, and wondered why no one was branding the product for athletes. Although it has since expanded its focus, Powerful was the first company to market dairy products to the needs of active men, said Ramirez, a Venezuelan native who received his MBA from the University of California Berkeley.

 “The idea of a dairy product designed with active men in mind was a very controversial concept to many. It completely disrupted the dairy category and put us in the spotlight, but most importantly, it proved very successful,” said Ramirez.

 But women were big buyers too, more than half of sales, and now Powerful is a multi-category active lifestyles brand for both genders. Its  products are in 10,000 U.S. stores -- up from 5,000 less than a year ago -- and they include Walmart, Target, Kroger, Stop n’ Shop and Shoprite, as well as Amazon and the company’s website. On its own website, powerful.co, Powerful offers a subscription where customers can create a custom recurring product bundle at a discounted price.

Powerful Yogurt, Powerful Drinks and Powerful Oatmeal are part of the lineup now, all of which are high in protein and made with natural ingredients, and there's more to come, including new product lines and international expansion, Ramirez said.  “The capital provided gives us the additional resources we will use to reach our ambitious goals as we continue to expand the product offerings and increase our footprint in the U.S. and beyond.”

In early 2018, Powerful plans to add a smoothie to its lineup, in a convenient on-the-go pouch format. Each all-natural smoothie will serve up 22 grams of protein in flavors like banana, mixed berry and vanilla.  

River Hollow is Powerful’s first institutional investment partner. The new funding will further support product development, manufacturing, and sales and marketing.

“We partnered with Powerful because it is uniquely poised for success,” said Charlie Baynes-Reid of River Hollow Partners, noting Powerful's seasoned management team and clear brand vision and mission. “You typically see new companies come in and try to create their own niche specialty, but what Powerful has done really makes a significant impact through disruption in an already successful category, and that is something l saw as very compelling as a private equity partner.”

Last December, Powerful's Ramirez was the fifth Miami food and beverage entrepreneur selected to join the global network of Endeavor, a nonprofit that selects, mentors and accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs. In an Endeavor Miami study in 2015, Endeavor found that food and beverage is one of five areas that could sizzle for entrepreneurial activity in South Florida because the ingredients are already here: a foodie culture, expertise, a talent base and educational opportunities, as well as a strong healthy and green trend to ride upon.

READ MORE ABOUT POWERFUL HERE.

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

 

Powerful

November 07, 2017

Real estate software startup Gridics raises $1.6 million

Gridicsimage
 

Gridics, a Miami-based real estate software startup, announced it has raised $1.6 million in additional seed capital.  

The round was led by BH3, a real estate developer with projects in South Florida and New York City, and includes existing investor Dune Road Capital. It builds on the $1.1 million Gridics raised in April and brings its total funding to  $3.74 million.

The company will use this investment to accelerate development and sales of the Zonar.City platform to cities and real estate developers.

Gridics, short for grid analytics, was founded in 2015 to change the way cities and real estate developers interact with zoning codes.  By bringing 2D text to a visualized 3D interface, the company is streamlining an antiquated process. Miami developer Avra Jain is also an investor in the company. 

 From applications on its platform, users can visualize real estate data in order to make smarter investment and development decisions while streamlining inefficient processes in the real estate world, the company said. For example, the Zonar.City application, launched earlier this year, helps bridge the gap between the private sector development community of architects, developers and attorneys by automating development feasibility analysis and streamlining the development plan approval process.

 CEO Jason Doyle said Gridics is seeing strong early adoption of the application by city and county planning, zoning and economic development departments as well as developers, architects, commercial brokers and land use attorneys in the private sector.

 “In the coming months, we will be opening all five boroughs of New York City on the platform and expect to add several direct city contracts," Doyle said.

In April, Gridics announced a contract with the City of Miami to use Zonar to streamline the analysis and processing of development plan reviews.  

 "Using Zonar, we are able to identify new development opportunities, quickly run custom scenario analyses and view applicable variances and waivers.  That analysis used to take us days to complete and cost thousands of dollars but can now be handled in a few minutes with Zonar, " said BH3 Principal Daniel Lebensohn, in a news release.

 

November 06, 2017

Boca Raton drone software company has eye on Florida's public safety

Sfl-eagleeye-drone-photo-fl0044459140-20161107

On the left: Rex G. Ciavola Jr., co-founder and president of EagleEye Intelligence On the right: Scott H. Adams, co-founder and CEO of EagleEye. (EagleEye Intelligence / Courtesy)

 

By Marcia Heroux Pounds

Imagine a drone swooping in to identify a kidnapping suspect’s car on a road, potentially saving a child. Or identifying a shooter targeting a crowd, such as in the recent mass murder in Las Vegas. And after a storm like Hurricane Irma in Florida, documenting damage or even helping in search and rescue.

All of those and other applications are being pursued by EagleEye Intelligence, a two-year-old Boca Raton software company co-founded by long-time entrepreneur Scott Adams.

EagleEye’s drone security systems are catching the attention of public safety and law enforcement agencies, while also attracting investors.

READ THE SUN SENTINEL STORY HERE

November 05, 2017

Small business spotlight: A spoonful of EasyPeasie makes the vegetables go down

 

Easypeasie2

Small Business Spotlight: These sisters sought solutions to the age-old question: How do you get kids to eat their vegetables? Their solution: EasyPeasie Veggie Blends.

Company name: EasyPeasie

Headquarters: Hallandale Beach

Concept: EasyPeasie Veggie Blends is all-natural, mild-flavored, dried and ground vegetables that help picky eaters learn to love veggies.

Story: Like a lot of people, Dr. Jamelah Tucker, a pediatrician, and Dorielle Price, a mother of two and an engineer, have earnestly sought solutions to the age-old question: How do you get kids to eat their vegetables?

They are sisters who figured out how to warm kids up to vegetables by “veggie-hacking” every meal. Out of this necessity, EasyPeasie was born.

“In our family, we decided to give the kids exposures to veggie flavors as early and as often as possible, by drying and grinding lots of different vegetables and adding them to everything the kids were already eating,” Tucker said. “In doing this, we found an easy way to warm the palate and nose to lots of different vegetables. We call this vegetable palate priming.”

The veggie blends come in two blends: regular — carrots, peas and butternut squash, and green — carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach. EasyPeasie is adding a seasonal red blend featuring beets and other vegetables. The blends can be cooked into foods, shaken on top or used in shakes and smoothies.

The sisters — Tucker lives in South Florida; Price lives in the Orlando area — said their ultimate goal is to get kids to eat an adequate number and variety of whole vegetables, and EasyPeasie is a bridge to that goal. They have been hitting the farmer’s markets, which also provide a way to interact with customers, as well as selling the product online. They hope to continue ramping up sales and eventually get into more retail stores.

“It is easy to add to foods that the kids eat regularly and it doesn't change the taste of the food significantly. My 2- and 5-year-old never know when I add it,” said LeKecia Glover, a customer.

EasyPeasie currently can be found at the City of Parkland Farmer’s Market in South Florida, the Winter Garden Farmer’s Market in Central Florida, at the concierge pediatric practice Boca VIPediatrics in Boca Raton and at The Farmacy gourmet grocer in Central Florida. EasyPeasie Veggie Blends are also sold online at easypeasie.com and on Amazon.com.

Ashley Rudnick, president of VIPediatrics, said she discovered EasyPeasie at a farmer’s market and her 3-year-old daughter was the taste tester: “When she ate almost an entire serving of veggies hidden in some apple sauce, we were in awe. Then we learned that EasyPeasie was the handiwork of a fellow pediatrician, so it was a no-brainer to adopt this product for our office. There’s not a parent in the world who doesn’t want their child to eat more vegetables.”

Launched: January 2016

Website: www.easypeasie.com

Management team: Dr. Jamelah Tucker and Dorielle Price

Financing: EasyPeasie has been self-funded by investment from the owners, reinvestment of sales into the business, friends and family and crowdfunding.

Recent milestones: Chosen as one of 10 national finalists in the Small Business Association’s 2017 InnovateHER pitch competition. Began sales in Central Florida, through the gourmet grocery store The Farmacy, as well as being featured in the Launchpad program of Amazon.com. The small business is on track to increase sales by 250 percent over last year.

Biggest startup challenge: Getting exposure and reaching new customers.

Next step: “Our next step is updating our product packaging,” Tucker said. “We are seeking a marketing agency to focus-group test EasyPeasie to gather a larger amount of feedback on the product and packaging.”

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

November 04, 2017

Nuvola brings digital white-glove service to the hotel industry

SBDC-Success-Story_Juan-Carlos-Abello-NUVOLA-1
 

By Ana Acle-Menendez

Perhaps no other industry relies as heavily on customer service as the hotel industry.

So, imagine if there was a way for guests to communicate to staff directly and conveniently through the touch of a button on their mobile phone. And imagine if guests would be notified of happy hour specials while walking by the bar in real time, allowing hotels to gather behavioral data and provide better service.

Juan-Carlos-Abello-NUVOLA-2That communication platform was imagined and created. Now, it is offered by a guest service management software developed by Nuvola, a Miami-based company founded by Juan Carlos Abello, who worked as a manager at various hotels.

But while Abello developed a solution for hotels, he needed solutions of his own to grow his new startup business.

He heard about the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge, a contest for startup entrepreneurs, through Florida International University (FIU), his alma mater. While creating the video presentation for the contest, Abello then learned about the Florida SBDC at FIU — the small business development center at the College of Business, which provides no-cost consulting to entrepreneurs and small-business owners.

“My biggest obstacle was closing on my first customers,” said Abello, who earned an MBA from Emory University and a bachelor’s degree in international business from FIU. “In technology, if you don’t have references and you’re selling software that’s intangible, it’s a tough sales pitch. Closing on my first 20 to 30 customers was the biggest challenge.”

He specifically wanted guidance on finding an investor.  “In my particular case, I was looking to accelerate the growth of the company,” he said. “I was looking for funds and I was assigned to an advisor who had experience as an investor.”

For the next six months, he met with the expert consultant every two weeks on Saturdays, going over spreadsheets, sales pitches and the program to grow more capital.

It soon paid off.

“I was extremely satisfied because I was able to raise additional funds for the company,” Abello said. “I closed with two investors and now basically I’m living my dream.”

What started three years ago with business development and sales of $30,000 doubled every year. Now Nuvola is well over $1 million in sales this year, Abello said.

What’s more, his one-man team has now grown to 18 full-time employees.

“I would recommend the SBDC,” Abello said. “First, because they understand that you’re an entrepreneur — you don’t have a flexible schedule — and most of the time they were able to accommodate my needs.

“Second, I felt that every single member of the organization that I interacted with was professional, willing to assist and the advice they gave was definitely significant in terms of the objective that I had,” he continued.

“Lastly, it’s a free service,” Abello said. “They do understand that starting a business is not easy and you’re going to face a lot of obstacles. Most of the time they know what obstacles you’re going to face so you can anticipate them, which is great.”

Additionally, he said he made friends during the process and still keeps in touch with his advisor. He is also mentoring others so they can sell to their first 20 to 30 customers before going to investors.

By the way, in case you’re wondering, Abello and his team won first place in that Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge in the FIU Track category. That’s another feather in his cap that he can use for marketing purposes.

 

Ana Acle-Menendez wrote this article for Florida SBDC at FIU, which gave Starting Gate permission to post it.

 

READ MORE about Nuvola here. 

 

November 02, 2017

Blubeta and Healthsnap Solutions take part in MarketFit Acceleration Bootcamp in Silicon Valley

 

Marketfit

 

In partnership with Global Silicon Valley Labs (GSVlabs) and Google Developers Launchpad, MarketFit traveled to Silicon Valley with the team of co-founders from Healthsnap Solutions and Blubeta for its 2017 MarketFit Acceleration Bootcamp. For 5 days, they attended series of talks and 1-on-1 mentoring sessions in areas such as Lean Business Canvas, Product, tak

In total, the startups individually met over 20 local mentors, ranging from successful entrepreneurs, investors and senior level executives. The mentors spent approximately 1 hour with each startup, giving an outside look into their businesses and challenges and allowing for constructive dialogue and feedback. The Silicon Valley week concluded with a “mock” pitch competition in front of a jury of seven, including Venture Capitalists, entrepreneurs and angel investors from Silicon Valley. Yenvy Truong, CEO of Healthsnap Solutions carried the Miami pride by winning best pitch from the jury.

Back in Miami, the teams spent two additional days focusing on actionable milestones, fundraising strategy, and team structuring.

“We received a lot of feedback forcing us to look into what we have been doing so far and where do we go from here. Every startup should consider going through this program. MarketFit gave us an opportunity to reset and evaluate our position in the market. From this enriching experience, we were able to pivot and shift focus in order to scale,” stated Antonio Manueco, Co-Founder of Blubeta.

“The experience was amazing and the knowledge we brought back, we feel will trickle into the Miami system. After that opportunity in Silicon Valley, we feel as a company; we're able to take a big jump to hyper-growth,” Truong said.

“South Florida is a fast-growing startup ecosystem, and we are very excited to be part of this process, bridging the gap between Miami and Silicon Valley in partnership with GSVlabs, Google Launchpad and our team of mentors," said Roberto Machado from MarketFit.

MarketFit is currently receiving applications for the next Silicon Valley/Miami Bootcamp, which will take place late January 2018.

To learn more about the growth acceleration programs and how they are ideal for second stage startups, please visit https://marketfit.us/startup-bootcamp/.

- Submitted by HealthSnap