South Florida Tech HubSouth Florida Tech Hub

By Nikki Cabus

Broward-based CloudHesive announces recent acquisition of Dextr

Read Time 2 Minutes

CloudHesive, a Broward-based Amazon Web Services Premier Consulting partner and managed services provider, today announced the acquisition of Dextr, the industry’s most powerful customer service and performance dashboard for the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud contact center. This combination delivers a unique, easy-to-use, contact center solution backed by a committed Amazon Connect leader focused on happy customers and continued innovation.

Powered by Amazon Connect, Dextr combines a full-agent dashboard with a rich library of cloud services at an affordable price. Dextr deploys rapidly to complement and enhance the expanding capabilities of Amazon Connect, accelerating time-to-value and business impact. The powerful combination of Dextr and CloudHesive extends CloudHesive’s investment in the Amazon Connect contact center space and provides customers with world-class agent management, contact center operations, and reporting capabilities for their Amazon Connect deployments.

“We’re excited to bring the Dextr cloud platform into the CloudHesive portfolio,” says Jim Walker, CEO of CloudHesive. “We can offer a truly unparalleled customer contact experience platform for our customers combining Dextr with our expertise in consulting and managed services for Amazon Connect and our Customer Connect software-as-a-service platform.”

The addition of Dextr rounds out CloudHesive’s leadership in the cloud contact center space. CloudHesive is an AWS Premier Partner and AWS Managed Services partner that delivers comprehensive consulting and managed services to a large and growing base of public sector and commercial accounts worldwide. It serves the Amazon Connect ecosystem leveraging its Centricity Customer Connect software-as-a-service platform to deliver migration and integration projects, deploy contact centers for remote workforces, develop capacity-on-demand and disaster-recovery-as-a-service solutions, and implement and manage cloud contact center security operations.

“CloudHesive’s status as an AWS Premier partner, excellent reputation, extensive footprint across the US and LATAM regions, and their deep knowledge and expertise with Amazon Connect make them the perfect choice to take Dextr to the next level,” says Peter Buswell, founder of Dextr. “They’re a true leader and innovator in the cloud contact center space.”

Dextr, is available now via the AWS Marketplace, a curated digital catalog that makes it easy for public sector and commercial organizations to discover, procure, entitle, provision, and govern third-party applications.

Visit http://www.cloudhesive.com for more information.

By Nikki Cabus

Davie-based public safety startup, CERA, places 2nd at eMerge, but could be the most impactful pitch yet

Read Time 3 Minutes

300 seconds. That’s that amount of time is takes for an active shooter to cause mass casualty at your child’s school, in a mall, or at an event venue. Due to extremely outdated technology, first responders aren’t able to respond fast enough or communicate through the chaos during an incident.

100 startups were chosen out of 1000 applicants to pitch at eMerge Americas’ Startup Showcase this year. Only five were chosen as finalists to pitch in front of judges which included Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary and Broward-based CERA was one of them. Although the startup took home 2nd place, we think they have the most impactful eMerge pitch to date.

Edward McGovern, former Major of the Hallandale Beach Police Department and first responder to some of the most tragic events such as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018 and the Fort Lauderdale Airport shooting in 2017, has developed a technology that will save more lives. Now retired from the police department, Ed is the startup Founder & CEO of CERA.

Critical Event Response Applications, or CERA, is a public safety app that “creates a direct line of communication between law enforcement, emergency medical providers, and individuals on the ground.” CERA greatly assists in containing the scene, neutralizing the threat, and treating and evacuating the injured and in danger. Simply put, it eliminates the chaos and confusion during a critical event to be able to save more lives in a time when time is of the essence.

“CERA’s at the eMerge Americas Startup Showcase was amazing,” said McGovern. “Even though we didn’t take the top prize, watching us start with over 1000 applicants and make it to the final 5 was such an important validation of our company and our mission. We were so proud to be be on that stage, not just representing CERA, but also the Alan B Levan | NSU Broward Center of Innovation, whose help has been invaluable to us,” he continued. “As I walked on stage, I saw guest judges like Kevin “Mr Wonderful” O’Leary, Paul Judge, and Ryan Whittemore sitting under the CERA brand, along with Levan Center and South Florida Tech Hub logos, and thinking how amazing our region is for innovation. I’m more determined than ever.”

Watch McGovern’s pitch for CERA here.

Congratulations to all the companies who pitched that day including the top five finalists: Genially, from Spain, which helps users build interactive digital content, TicketRev, from Boca Raton, which is a reverse event ticket selling platform, CERA, from Davie, offering a group of public safety applications, Togal.AI, from Miami, which helps improve estimating in the construction industry, and MOVIA Robotics, from the UK, which offers robotics that help children on the autism spectrum.

For more information on CERA, visit https://www.ceraapp.com/

 

By Riley Kaminer

800+ developers gather in Davie for SoFlo DevCon 2022

Read Time 4 Minutes

On April 16th, South Florida Tech Hub hosted the 17th annual edition of one of the largest conferences for software developers, designers, engineers and tech professionals across the region. SoFlo Dev Con 2022 saw upwards of 1,000 attendees and more than 100 speakers descend upon Nova Southeastern University’s Carl DeSantis building in Davie.

Topics and workshops included Machine Learning, AI, VR/AR/MR, IoT, .NET, DevOps, MVC Framework, JavaScript, JQuery, SQL Server, Business Intelligence, Software Testing, Xamarin/Mobile Development, Azure/Cloud, Business/Career Development, and more. There were 17 tracks including web3, blockchain, AI, cloud, web development, leadership, and investment.

Thanks to Tech Hub’s community partners and sponsors, the event was completely free to attend.

The presenting sponsor for the event was Schonfeld, a preeminent global investment management firm. Recent Miami transplant Yael Mayfield, Head of Front Office at Schonfeld and co-head of the Miami office, gave SoFlo DevCon’s keynote presentation (video), discussing how to build a high frequency trading system. Mayfield provided a high-level overview of what HFTs are and how to go about building an HFT system. She explained the various trade offs of different operating system architectures for HFTs.

Schonfeld also offered a session moderated by tech recruiter Jordan DiCambio discussing fintech trends, including cloud computing, low latency trading systems, and real-time data. On the panel was an all-star lineup from Schonfeld: Rusty Conover (Head of Cloud Data Platform), Wes Maness (Architect on our Quantitative Trading Platform), and Drashti Trivedi (Senior Software Engineer on our reference data team).

“The event was great,” Radhika Arora, Schonfeld’s Head of Enterprise Technology Talent Acquisition, told South Florida Tech Hub. “There was such a variety of attendees, including vendors, agencies, lateral candidates, campus candidates and more.”

Arora explained that Schonfeld got involved in the event for two main reasons. First, to help develop a strong development community in South Florida. Second, to help attract and engage some of the best talent in South Florida – with the view for the firm’s Miami office to be a true HQ2. Schonfeld is looking for employees across a wide range of verticals: from cybersecurity to software engineering to QA. Learn more and apply by visiting their careers website.

Miami-based Streann Media, a video and audio platform to distribute, engage, and monetize content, was the t-shirt and streaming partner. Co-founder Gio Punzo presented on the topic, “The Future of Streaming is Interactive, NFT, Crypto,” highlighting the top trends for content creators and providers. 

During the talk, Punzo showcased the company’s newest innovation, Live2.Social, which is a multi-camera streaming app. “It’s time to say bye to Zoom and welcome Live2.Social created by Streann,” Punzo told South Florida Tech Hub.

Punzo relished the opportunity to share Streann’s story with the South Florida tech industry at SoFlo DevCon. He explained that, having raised funds from top VC firms and angel syndicates, he is passionate about giving back to SMBs. “Everyone, every SMB, needs to create more content – and our technologies can help. Let us show you how. Let us help the community grow with new innovative tech made in South Florida.”

Overall, Punzo called the event “spectacular,” highlighting the many tracks and high-quality speakers. “There was great energy. South Florida is booming and you can feel it. At the conference, I met people that moved to Miami from New York, and they said they moved because SoFlo is where it’s at!”

To finish off a full slate of tech talks, decentralized blockchain Algorand who also gave a talk during one of the tracks, sponsored a fun happy hour with food and drink in NSU’s Flight Deck with indoor gaming area and outdoor bar and seating – an excellent networking opportunity for all participants. 

To view more photos from the event, click here.

TOGETHER, we are #BuildingSoFlo!

By Nikki Cabus

FPL Pledges nearly $1 Million to Support Black Students in Tech with Degree Completion

Read Time 3 Minutes

Florida Power & Light (FPL) announced an $800,000 investment in scholarships for black students to facilitate the completion of baccalaureate degrees at Miami Dade College (MDC) in the technology field. The funds from FPL will be used to cover tuition, fees, books and transportation costs for eligible black students facing a financial need over the next 4 years. This support will allow students to focus on their education, accelerating completion and entry into the tech workforce in South Florida.

FPL has had a long standing relationship with MDC. “We recognize the value in the contemporary programs, degrees and curriculum that they have developed. In some cases, we’ve partnered with them to ensure that the students are getting skills that will enable them to be competitive in technology careers,” said Michael Fowler, VP of IT and Business Unit CIO for FPL and Co-Chair of the South Florida Tech Hub Board of Directors. “I’ve personally been impressed with the nimbleness of the college to stay ahead of the technology curve.”

“It is extremely satisfying to have partners such as FPL who are raising the bar of good corporate citizenship, investing in our students and, in turn, in our community,” said MDC President Madeline Pumariega. “We must be intentional and strategic in our efforts to bridge the opportunity divide. I am especially grateful with this initiative because it is in line with and expands many things we are already doing with our groundbreaking Rising Black Scholars Program, our MOSAIC Initiative, Data Science 4 All and others.”

Last year, NextEra Energy was again named to Forbes magazine’s list of “America’s Best Employers for Diversity. “We highly value diversity of thought, style, technical and functional abilities, and leadership. Our company identified specific actions our company could take to make transformational impact in race equity,” said Grace Kurian, Senior Director, Information Technology- Nuclear. “Our focus for Black Girls Code (BGC) falls in three main areas: 1) BGC alumni engagement to strengthen the pipeline of BGC alumni, 2) upscaling BGC curriculum for students 7-17 years old interested in robotics, coding, artificial intelligence, & data analysis, and 3) scholarship endowment funds to ensure current & future BGC students have scholarships to fund for college.”

According to research, low-income working college students are less likely than their higher-income peers to get good grades or obtain bachelor’s degrees. These working learners are disproportionately black. These grant funds from FPL will potentially enable students who work full-time or part-time to work fewer hours or to stop working to concentrate on their studies without the burden of financial distractions.

“At FPL, we believe in breaking down barriers to opportunity for underserved communities, and we are always looking for ways to help empower our next generation of leaders,” said Pamela Rauch, Vice President of External Affairs and Economic Development for FPL. “FPL has long supported Miami Dade College’s technology programs and students, and we are honored to be able to expand opportunities for eligible black students to help them build an even stronger foundation for in demand technology jobs.”

As part of the Black Students in Tech grant, the School of Engineering and Technology (EnTec) lead by Manny Perez, Dean of Engineering, Technology and Design, will lead the recruitment, selection and retention of 30 students per academic year on a pathway to baccalaureate degree programs such as in Information Systems Technology, Cybersecurity, or Data Analytics. Eligible students will begin qualifying for the grants this summer term. For more information and to apply to the scholarship visit here.

MDC and FPL will host an event with students accepted into the program this coming August and ahead of the fall term to provide an update on progress and celebrate student achievement.

 

By Riley Kaminer

Member Spotlight | Dedicated IT

Read Time 3 Minutes

Business: Providing trusted IT support and technology solutions, with a focus on the healthcare industry.

Established in its current form: 2016

HQ: Lake Park, FL

Employees: 90

Website: DedicatedIT.com

 

Gartner forecasts that worldwide IT spending will increase upwards of 5% this year, coming in at a projected total of $4.5 trillion. Healthcare providers in particular are expected to increase their spending by approximately the same amount, growing to $136 billion. 

Dedicated IT is far from your typical managed service provider. The Lake Park-based company focuses on serving healthcare providers, both locally and nationally. 

Dedicated IT is very active in South Florida, working with some of our high-profile medical practices such as MD Now Urgent Care, the Cleveland Clinic in Vero, and United Surgical Partners International. The company is also experiencing significant growth, having grown its revenue by 10x since 2016.

Chris Burns, Dedicated IT’s Managing Partner & CXO, broke down some of the trends that have led to the growth of the healthcare IT market.

For one, the pandemic has pushed healthcare providers to embrace digital technologies like telemedicine. Burns described these providers’ decisions to take go digital as akin to ripping off the proverbial band aid. “A lot of people who were not ready to make a move to a digital system or do what was required to make remote work possible were really forced to make those decisions.”

Burns explained how evolving expectations in a post-pandemic world required healthcare providers to rethink their business processes, such as allowing staff to work from home and enabling doctors to see patients remotely.

Another major trend Burns highlighted is cybersecurity. Ransomware alone is expected to cost businesses $20 billion globally, with the average breach costing $4.37 million according to IBM research.

Burns explained to South Florida Tech Hub that cybersecurity insurance, which has historically been one of the most popular ways to mitigate cybersecurity risk, is now a less viable option. “Cybersecurity insurance carriers are no longer writing policies anymore to cover near the amount that they used to. They require all kinds of new criteria and process changes – all of which has become a burden on the practice.”

Dedicated IT takes pride in helping its customers protect themselves and their data while they scale their digital transformation efforts. Their key differentiator? According to CEO Aaron Underhill, it’s their specialization that shines through: “We know them. We’re not just an IT company that can fix their issues. We understand their business and the problems they encounter.”

Underhill gave the example of their healthcare specialty. Because they have upwards of 30 orthopaedic clients, the Dedicated IT team knows exactly the software and hardware necessary to drive their business goals.

Burns added that Dedicated IT’s data-driven approach makes them stand out. “Our customers like to see benchmarking data that shows clients where they stand against their peers. It’s hard to argue against data when we can bring accuracy like that to the table.”

Are you a healthcare provider looking for help managing your IT systems? Learn more about Dedicated IT’s services on their website.

By Riley Kaminer

Member Spotlight | Dynatrace

Read Time 3 Minutes

Business: Global, publicly traded technology company. Provides a software intelligence platform that combines broad and deep observability and continuous runtime application security with advanced AIOps to deliver answers and intelligent automation from data.

Founded: 2005

HQ: Waltham, Massachusetts

Employees: Over 3,000

Website: Dynatrace.com

 

Dynatrace is a global technology company, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, that provides an all-in-one software intelligence platform. The company prides itself on providing a platform that combines broad and deep observability and continuous runtime application security with advanced AIOps to provide answers and intelligent automation from data at an enormous scale about the performance of its clients’ applications, their underlying infrastructure, and the experience of their end users.

As the adoption of cloud computing technologies continues its rapid growth trajectory, Dynatrace will play an increasingly important role in monitoring and optimizing application performance as well as developing security IT infrastructure.

The Dynatrace® Platform provides users with automatic and intelligent observability, cloud automation, continuous runtime application security, and digital experience and business analytics – within which we offer technologies such as Session Reply, Real User Monitoring, and Synthetic Monitoring.

A key feature of its platform is Davis, a causal AI engine that sits at the core of the Dynatrace® platform. Davis works by continuously and automatically processing high-fidelity logs, metrics, traces, and user data to provide precise answers. From there, Davis can then detect and report any problems like slowdown or error-rate increases, and prioritize these by business impact.

Nestor Zapata is a Partner Cloud Evangelist for Dynatrace, focusing particularly on LATAM Partners and Alliances. In an interview with South Florida Tech Hub, Zapata underscored Dynatrace’s capabilities for intelligent observability. This goes beyond traditional monitoring, he explained: “You observe everything, but you do it with some intelligence.”

“You have an app that went down, but what caused it to go down? What is it also going to affect? How many customers potentially could be affected or have been affected by this app going down?” Zapata said that Dynatrace’s system aims to answer these questions and more.

Zapata has a uniquely comprehensive perspective on Dynatrace, having worked with the company as a customer at a previous company for many years. His day-to-day is varied: one day he could be doing training certifications, another he could be delivering hands-on workshops.

One of the most exciting trends Zapata sees in the space right now is the automation of artificial intelligence. “The AI is really there,” he asserted. “I’ve been able to experience some of that AI at work within Dynatrace as a customer.”

For Zapata, the further development of AI tech can lead to more opportunities for tech workers. “Automate yourself out of your current job role and into the next one,” he said. 

As a native Miamian, Zapata is pleased with the strides the South Florida tech scene has made recently. “It’s near and dear to me, and I’m excited about South Florida Tech Hub’s work uniting our region.” He previously worked at other major South Florida tech organizations, including Citrix, Voyager, and Miami-Dade County.

Zapata underscored the value of coming together with fellow technologists to lift each other up: “Tech Hub is a mesh of great people, and great organizations that can share their insights in a tight-knit community.”

“I’m proud to be a member of South Florida Tech Hub,” he said.

 

Learn more about Dynatrace by visiting their website, Dynatrace.com.

By Riley Kaminer

Member Spotlight | Castle Group

Read Time 3 Minutes

Mission: Providing top-tier property management for the finest residential communities of Florida and Texas.

Founded: 1992

HQ: Plantation

Employees: 2,000+

Website: CastleGroup.com

 

For the last 30 years, the Castle Group has been at the forefront of property management. The Plantation-based company now manages over 400 homeowner associations. Over 300,000 people live in 150,000 homes located in communities managed by the Castle Group.

Over the years, founder and CEO James Donnelly has developed the Castle Group’s philosophy: “Hiring the best people, supporting them with the best systems, and marrying them with the best technology.”

Donnelly told South Florida Tech Hub that technology has long been at the core of the Castle Group’s business. “It’s people that run everything,” he explained. “But people are imperfect. So we believe that you need to have systems supporting them so when someone forgets to do something, an alarm goes off.”

The Castle Group previously designed custom solutions to fit its needs. Nowadays, Donnelly explained that third party systems are so advanced that it is no longer necessary to develop software in-house.

For Donnelly, there are four main drivers of tech in property management. First is workflow. “It’s about the extent to which we can enhance workflows with technology,” he noted. “We want to become more efficient, more economic, more effective.”

Second is auto-service. “Our audience really loves self-help,” he said, noting that residents appreciate the ability to manage their property through their smartphone.

Third: cybersecurity. “Now that we’ve gone online, we’ve become targets,” he said. “It’s been in every industry, including ours.” Donnelly, who sits on the board of Nova Southeastern University, highlighted the cybersecurity range at NSU’s Levan Center as a particularly important local initiative.

Finally, Donnelly underscored that a focus on tech can lead to a competitive edge. “With technology, we can work a bit better and win more market share.”

Donnelly is bullish on the growth of our market, and the Castle Group’s place in it. “750 people net move to Florida every day,” he said. “Three to a household means we need 250 more households every day. And the approximate size of a new community is 250 units. So we have to build 365 more residential properties every year just to house the immigration.”

When it comes to South Florida tech, Donnelly prefers to take a regional approach: “We’re going to win not as competitors but as partners.” 

“We can put ourselves on the tech map, and we need to because it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy,” he continued. “You can’t get talent if no one knows about it, and you can’t get businesses here if we don’t have talent here.”

Donnelly praised local universities for the work they are doing to develop a strong pipeline for tech talent. “All our major colleges have stepped up,” he said. “I’m really excited.”

As for the future of the Castle Group, Donnelly hopes to maintain a consistent, measured level of growth and continue to attract top talent. “Millennials and Gen Z will have on average 15 jobs in their lifetime. I challenge my younger teammates to stay at this company and get those 15 jobs. We’ll help to make it happen.”

By Riley Kaminer

Member Spotlight | Boca Raton Innovation Campus

Read Time 3 Minutes

Business: Provides office space and fosters a community among innovators in the South Florida tech ecosystem

Launched: Originally built in the 1960s, upgraded in 2005 and 2018

Location: Boca Raton

Size: 1.7 million square-foot campus situated on 123 acres; 36 tenants with a cumulative 6,000 employees

Website: WorkAtBRiC.com

Innovation rarely happens in isolation. Collaboration is key – bringing together people with different backgrounds, perspectives, and expertise to catalyze and crystalize the next big idea.

The Boca Raton Innovation Campus (BRiC) aims to be the nexus for collaboration in South Florida and beyond. The office park is known for its iconic modernist style, designed by world-renowned Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer. 

The facilities were originally built for IBM, and it was on this site in 1981 that the world’s first personal computer was invented. Now it houses a wide range of South Florida’s most innovative firms, from local healthtech success story Modernizing Medicine to photography pioneer Canon.

Giana Pacinelli, Marketing Director for CP Group, the landlord and property management team for BRiC, explained their goal of “taking BRiC’s history and bringing it to the future.” She said that CP Group aims to harness the campus’s storied past as a space for innovation while also providing the amenities that will impress even the most discerning tenants.

Pacinelli noted BRiC’s “Google-style” facilities, including a lush campus with seven miles of walking paths and amenities like a dining hall that converts into a 1,000-person capacity presentation hall, two coffee shops, and a recently-renovated fitness center. Soon, they plan to open an autonomous grab-and-go store that will enable workers to purchase staples like bread and produce through a completely contactless system.

Currently, BRiC is zoned strictly for commercial office use. However, Pacinelli explained that they are now working with the city to rezone the campus to make it a “true live-work-play ecosystem.” The vision is to create a 15-minute city that residents can walk around and access everything they need – from work and living spaces to medical facilities and restaurants.

“In order to do all of that, we need to rezone BRiC,” said Pacinelli, underscoring the property’s interest in attracting big businesses and international meetings.

CP Group has put together a campaign to connect with the community. By visiting WorkAtBRiC.com/Support, Boca Raton residents can sign a letter to show their support for BRiC’s plans. Through this link, neighbors can also schedule a tour of the campus.

While work for home became a daily reality for many South Floridians during the pandemic, Pacinelli said that CP Group is “bullish that people will return to the office.” She evidenced the recent uptick in employees returning to the office as a signal that trend of workers returning to the office will continue

“Work has successfully invaded our personal lives,” she explained, noting that heading to an office can help create much-needed barriers between work and personal lives. Many of BRiC’s tenants have refreshed their workspaces to include more spaces for collaboration. BRiC also has imminent plans to unveil a co-working space later this year.

By Riley Kaminer

Member Spotlight | GenoBank.io

Read Time 3 Minutes

Business: Blockchain-powered platform to help people keep their genomic data secure

Launched: 2018

HQs: Miami and Silicon Valley

Website: Genobank.io

 

When most people think of NFTs these days, an image of a melancholy monkey or a pixelated punk might be the first things that comes to mind. But one group of Miami-based entrepreneurs is working on leveraging this blockchain technology to empower users to maintain control of their genomic data.

GenoBank.io has developed a platform that tokenizes genomic data. By controlling their genomic sequence in a transparent way, users can decide who accesses this information, when they access it, and how. 

“We call this a consent token,” explained GenoBank.io’s co-founder and CEO, Daniel Uribe. “It gives permission to share your genomic data with someone for research purposes, and it’s revocable by the donor.” This falls in line with the latest privacy laws, including those in California and Europe.

“Consumers have the right to know what data they have, the right to edit their data, right to port their data, and the right for erasure,” Uribe told South Florida Tech Hub. Before GenoBank.io, Uribe worked as an IT cybersecurity expert for multinational firms including Oracle, Sun Microsystems and Ericsson. 

Diversity is a key part of GenoBank.io’s business model, asserted its COO, Sharon Holm. “We’re bringing equity to genetics,” she said. Holm highlighted the historical lack of transparency in the world of genomic research. For instance, the case of Henrietta Lacks – one of a diverse group of patients whose cancer cells were collected without her knowledge or consent. 

The result of examples like this, according to Holm: “the African American community over time and through history has been very hesitant to participate in clinical trials.”

“We believe that our platform will enable them to feel more secure: having their results and being able to give consent to then possibly participate in trials to help with furthering medical breakthroughs,” said Holm. “To find cures for the health issues that happen in their particular race.”

GenoBank.io protects ethical researchers, keeping them compliant with data privacy laws and are B2B and license their technology to researchers.

Uribe has been working in NFTs since 2017. “We’re the only ones working with NFTs and genomic info,” he said. “It makes sense because the human genome is non-fungible by nature.”

Being based in South Florida has presented GenoBank.io with a wide range of opportunities. They just finished the Endeavor Miami scaleup program. “It feels like we’ve become part of their family,” noted Holm. She and Uribe hope that the connection with Endeavor will prove advantageous when it comes to raising capital. 

“It was such a well organized program,” Holm said. “Very well thought through and executed wonderfully.” Now, GenoBank.io has its sights set on eMerge America’s CNB Startup Studio.

Moving forward, Uribe is excited about the prospect of using MiamiCoins, the City of Miami’s cryptocurrency, for public health. The theory is that through this blockchain, researchers could more easily track Covid-19 variants across the population. “This would be the first time that the MiamiCoin treasure would be used for a public health purpose,” Uribe said.

By Riley Kaminer

Member Spotlight | bundleIQ

Read Time 3 Minutes

Business: An AI assistant that provides valuable information from notes, emails, and docs so you can focus on working rather than searching.

Launched: 2018

HQ: West Palm Beach

Employees: 6

Website: BundleIQ.com

 

 

Are you drowning in docs? It seems like the pandemic has pushed digital workers into flurries of files and mountains of messages. But what if you need to find some specific information amongst all of this clutter? Command-F will only get you so far.

Enter West Palm Beach startup bundleIQ. Founded by Nicholas Mohnacky, who also wears a hat as Chairman of innovation hub 1909, bundleIQ is an AI-powered platform that provides users with the most valuable information from all their digital files and communications. The goal: to enable its users to spend more time working rather than searching. Mohnacky calls these searches “semantic.”

“It’s about making connections that go beyond a specific keyword and focusing on the essence of the information you’re trying to retrieve,” Mohnacky explained.

For instance, a researcher could upload a slew of government reports on a topic that they are investigating. Then, as they write, bundleIQ actively suggests content from those reports that is related to the topic at hand. This becomes particularly useful for users with a significant amount of digital assets.

“Our vision is to be a second brain that serves as an AI knowledge worker,” asserted Mohnacky. “It’s a companion that helps you make use of your information. Think of it as a Grammarly for knowledge tool.” While bundleIQ is helpful for anyone that deals with digital written content, the platform has gained particular notoriety ag academics and researchers.

Now, bundleIQ works across users’ Gmail accounts as well. “When you search your inbox, bundleIQ taps into your knowledge base and serves insights,” said Mohnacky. bundleIQ works in your web browser, as a Chrome plugin, and as an iPhone app.

There is a free plan for bundleIQ that gives users unlimited workspaces, bundles, and email support. For just under $200 a year, users get additional functionality such as being able to bulk upload PDFs and access to their AI-powered extension. For a further $100 annually, users are also given additional storage, a knowledge graph, and custom branding – perfect for its B2B clients.

The future of South Florida tech is bright

Having been active in the Palm Beach tech community for over a decade, Mohnacky is excited about the county’s role in the broader South Florida tech movement.

“West Palm Beach can be a hub between the two ends of the Brightline: Miami and Orlando,” he commented. “It’s great to be part of a community that’s concentrated on people that care about building technology in South Florida.”

Mohnacky noted that West Palm Beach benefits from “a lot of intellectual and financial capital,” as it is home to many of the world’s top executives and businesspeople. “Our market is really mature, and it has fertile soil for growth,” he said, underscoring that South Florida is an increasingly popular destination for innovators of all ages and abilities.Learn more about bundleIQ and check out the free trial by visiting their website.

By Riley Kaminer

Member Spotlight | Guaranteed Removals/Erase.com

Read Time 3 Minutes

Mission: To help businesses and individuals protect their online reputation

Launched: 2014

HQ: Miami and Ontario (Canada)

FTEs: 60

Website: Erase.com

 

According to research from Venture Forward, South Florida has one of the highest concentrations of microbusinesses in the US. For small businesses, developing a strong online presence is a particularly important part in gaining traction and standing out from the competition. Negative, inaccurate, and malicious online reviews can prove damaging to businesses of all shapes and sizes, but small businesses are particularly vulnerable.

The world is more digital than ever, and businesses need to stay on top of their digital footprint. Forums, review sites, and social media all have the potential to amplify outdated, fake, and negative information.

That’s where Guaranteed Removals/Erase.com comes in. Their team of experts knows how to navigate thorny issues around managing reputational issues. Their mission is to “combat the negative” both in terms of content removal as well as counterfeiting piracy, malicious doxxing, and revenge websites.

“We are at the forefront of what we do,” said Roque Rodon, Director of Marketing Technology at Erase.com. “No one can offer a service quite like we do.”

The exact techniques used by Erase.com are unique to each client’s specific situation, but Roque explained that their approach is a mix of utilizing legal resources, and industry knowledge to fight on their clients behalf for the removal of harmful content.

Vicki, Erase.com’s social media expert, told South Florida Tech Hub that her team “is a fusion of expert content creators, SEO specialists, and removal engineers that focus on protecting and improving our clients online image. Overall, we are building a positive online presence for a client that generally doesn’t have one.”

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that they have negatives to begin with,” she continued. “We do have clients that come to us that just want to have a good presence online in general.”

Clients for Guaranteed Removals and Erase.com run the gamut from individuals and small businesses to major corporations.

For people and companies looking to remove negative content online, Roque suggests getting in touch with Erase.com. “We offer services that businesses and individuals don’t have the time or resources to achieve,” he explained. Roque argued that it’s more efficient to engage Erase.com’s diverse team of experts: from lawyers and engineers to web developers and search engine optimizers.

The company, which was acquired last year by Miami-based entrepreneur David Centner, currently has 60 employees. Founded in Canada in 2014, Guaranteed Removals now has a rapidly-growing presence in South Florida.

Centner, who is Chairman of Erase.com, has been a vocal advocate for the growth of South Florida’s tech ecosystem. “During the pandemic, Miami has seen an unparalleled migration of technology, financial services, blockchain, and other industries relocating or opening new offices,” Centner said in a statement. “As a Miami native, I couldn’t be prouder that my hometown is experiencing so much positive momentum, and we intend to aggressively grow our Miami footprint.”

By Riley Kaminer

CAI Autism2Work Uplifts and Empowers Neurodiverse Talent

Read Time 3 Minutes

Increasing diversity in the workplace is a major topic for business leaders in South Florida and beyond. One important – but often overlooked – part of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives is making a workplace welcoming to neurodivergent employees. Up to 20% of Americans can be classified as neurodivergent: a term that includes developmental and neurological differences such as autism, OCD, ADHD, and dyslexia.

CAI, a leading business technology services firm headquartered in Allentown, PA, is committed to helping private and public organizations drive value, improve productivity, and enhance customer experience by realizing the benefits of neurodiversity. The company, which has a major footprint in South Florida and plays an active role in our local tech scene, runs a program called CAI Autism2Work. Their unique employment model is designed to bring the neurodiverse talent pool into the workforce. CAI manages not only the recruiting, selection, and training of team members, but also the cultural integration, on-the-job supervision, skill development, and ongoing performance management.

CAI’s Michael Park, Executive Vice President, leads CAI Autism2Work. He explained to South Florida Tech Hub that the program aims to empower neurodiverse talent to pave the way towards a successful career.

“The program is about taking individuals who are extremely talented and just unable to break into the job market on their own because their neurodiversity may prevent them from making it through a typical onboarding and recruiting process,” said Park.

CAI’s Job Readiness Training invites neurodivergent individuals to showcase their talents in a supportive environment by replacing the traditional interview with an assessment and extensive evaluation. Then, upon successful completion – candidates can become eligible for an offer of employment. Once in the workplace, team members receive guidance, mentorship, coaching, on-the-job training, and continuous professional development from a neurodiversity-certified team lead.

Park emphasized that this program is a great talent pipeline at a time when the labor market is tight. “Right now, we have more positions to fill than we have available candidates,” he said. “This is an untapped talent pool.”

CAI Autism2Work was founded in 2013. But Park said that the initiative has seen “substantial growth every year,” particularly in the last two years. In 2021 alone, they realized a 38% year-over-year increase in the number of neurodivergent individuals placed in employment opportunities

Jen Boyer, a South Florida-based advisory client executive at CAI, noted that loyalty among employees is waning in the era of the so-called ‘great resignation.’

“People in this program can be some of the most loyal employees that anyone would ever have,” said Boyer. “They’re happy, confident, in a good environment and are tremendously successful.”

Boyer has seen the power of this program firsthand. A family member of hers recently went through the job readiness training. Ultimately, she said that the family member was not quite ready to work with clients. “But just watching the team work with him on a regular basis, and seeing the confidence and exposure he got, makes me choke up.”

She continued: “It was pretty amazing. He never had anything like that before.”

Boyer praised South Florida Tech Hub’s DEI efforts, spearheaded by CEO Nikki Cabus: “The efforts she’s making on expanding diversity in all of our South Florida tech communities is remarkable.”

Learn more about CAI’s neurodiversity efforts by visiting their website.

By Alan Shimel

Ask Not What South Florida Tech Hub Can Do For You

Read Time 4 Minutes

It has been great to see the great progress that South Florida Tech Hub has been making over these last few months. The joining of Tech Lauderdale (SFTA) and Palm Beach Tech (Tech Hub) promise to finally realize the potential that our local community holds.

Here at Techstrong Group we think it is important to be good community members. Towards that end we have tried to support South Florida Tech Hub and other community players like Boca Code whenever we can. We don’t have any sponsors based down here. This isn’t a big area for our community members. But nevertheless, we participate. It really was our pleasure to be a presenting sponsor of their ‘One Brand | One Voice’ Gala event at Signature Grand recently celebrating the unification between both organization. 

For those of you who did not attend there was a genuine excitement in the air that finally it is all coming together for the local tech scene here in South Florida. In my short speech at the Gala, I spoke about the elements needed to form a successful startup community that my friend Brad Feld has outlined in his “Startup Communities” series of books.  It really does seem like we have all the elements to make this happen for all of us.

But there is one thing I forgot to mention in the excitement of that evening. And that is selflessness.  To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, “ask not what South Florida Tech Hub can do for you. Ask what you can do for South Florida tech hub.”

What do I mean by that? Let me explain. Let’s be honest, for most of you reading this making South Florida Tech Hub and the community it serves successful will result in you and/or your business benefitting.  For all the altruistic sentiment expressed, we all have our own reasons for wanting this community to thrive. More customers, more money, more investments, more jobs, more, more, more.  But hey there is nothing wrong with that. As Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street says, “greed is good, greed is what made America great.”

But a community is a delicate thing. You can’t just take and take some more. A lesson I have learned at Techstrong where our audience is made up of techies (developers, DevOps teams, cyber and cloud native folks) is that you can’t be too pushy, to salesy, too one way.  You need to do things for the common good.  You have to realize that the rising tide lifts all the boats.

That means you do things without an immediate payback. Sometimes the benefit to you is a dotted line, not a solid line. You need to just let that karma wheel spin and hope it comes back to you. 

I am reminded of when I was much younger and for many businesspeople joining the rotary or the chamber of commerce or even the knights of Columbus, the Elks and all those kinds of clubs were in style.  You went to those organizations and you were immediately the prey for the lawyers, accountants and even funeral directors that were already members.  Same thing applies here.  New members shouldn’t feel like they have to run an obstacle course of existing members reaching out to offer their services.  How about just meeting new people and welcoming them into the community. Get to know them, don’t try to sell them something or use them for your own gain. 

Several people at the Gala the other night asked me “why do you think we haven’t been more successful building a community here up to this point?”  There is more than one reason for this. But one of them for sure is that we need more people who are doing this for the right reasons and the right way.

From what I have seen from Nikki Cabus, Tech Hub’s newly appointed CEO, and team lately and the broader audience the other evening, we have a good core of people who are doing this right.  We need more.

I would ask each of you reading this join the team and lets do this right

 

By Riley Kaminer

Member Spotlight | Boca Code

Read Time 3 Minutes

Mission: To teach the next generation of software engineers and supply South Florida’s tech companies with top talent

Launched: 2020

Instructors: 7

Website: BocaCode.com

 

Todd Albert has been coding practically since he started reading. “I’ve been coding since I was seven years old, when my dad first brought home a computer,” he told South Florida Tech Hub. “There was nothing to do on it except write code!” 

A young Albert would devour computer magazines and eventually take part in high school coding competitions. He ended up pursuing a career as a climate scientist, which enabled him to travel the world and work with major organizations including NASA and NOAA.

All the while, however, coding was still a major part of Albert’s life: “I loved running my own programs and writing code.” After successfully completing a PhD, he re-entered the tech world full-time by teaching coding. 

Albert’s passion for coding led him to eventually work as the lead developer for a few South Florida tech companies, including his own agency. While in these positions, Albert began to realize that there was a lack of talent in our area. 

“So I decided to combine my teaching background and my coding background to create a code school, Boca Code” said Albert. “Our goal is to be the best code school that there is so that people come to us first for talent, and our students are in the highest demand.”

Boca Code’s courses stand apart from the crowd because, according to Albert, instead of starting students out on “the easy stuff” like HTML and CSS, at Boca Code they “jump right into the fundamentals: algorithms and data structures.”

“We get the students writing actual code on day one, and teach things from a high level architectural level perspective,” explained Albert. He said that this approach trains students to “think and code like a senior engineer right off the bat.”

Boca Code’s main offering is a full-time, 10-week intensive software engineering course. “With this course, students become a top software engineer in 10 weeks,” said Albert. The code school also has a handful of courses covering topics such as data analytics and python, user experience design, and game development.

Despite just launching last year, Boca Code already has a series of success stories. For example, one recent high school graduate got his first-ever job after taking Boca Code’s 10-week course. A 33 year old immigrant mother who had never coded decided to switch careers, got a scholarship to Boca Code’s software engineering course, and landed a job making $70,000 a year. And a Pizza Hut night manager was able to supercharge his college computer science degree and land a life-changing job after a stint at Boca Code.

Why Boca? Albert says it’s a quiet powerhouse. “While Microsoft, Apple, and Google were getting started in Silicon Valley, IBM was building the first personal computer here in Boca,” he acknowledged. Nowadays, Albert underscored that Boca has a thriving ecosystem of more than 400 startups and even a handful of unicorns: “Miami is always getting a lot of attention, but the tech scene in Boca is chugging away.”

Interested in leveling up your career? Check out Boca Code’s offerings by visiting their website.

By Riley Kaminer

Member Spotlight | Techstrong Group

Read Time 3 Minutes

Business: The go-to source for unbiased information, insights and connections for IT professionals looking to excel personally and professionally.

HQ: Boca Raton

Employees: 40

Website: TechStrongGroup.com

The tech world is changing fast, and there is no shortage of information online that purports to keep you abreast of it all. But what can you trust? How do you know that you’re getting the most up-to-date, unbiased info out there? 

Whether you’re a CxO, IT professional, cybersecurity expert, or any other role in the tech industry, you might benefit from some of the Techstrong Group’s resources.

The Boca Raton-based omnichannel content company is empowering people and companies to come together and learn about what’s happening in the worlds of digital transformation, cybersecurity, the cloud, and DevOps.

Techstrong has a handful of business units, including a media arm that runs online communities including DevOps.com, Security Boulevard, Container Journal, and TechstrongTV. They also have a focus on professional associations, bringing tech leaders, consultants, and vendors together to share their knowledge and learn from each other.

Through their Techstrong Live! division, the team will be hosting more in-person, virtual, and hybrid events over the coming months. The company anticipates hosting roadshows and conferences in some of the biggest cities in the US.

One of the most high-profile events they are planning is a Digital CxO conference, which will aim to bring together upwards of 100 C-level executives together for learning and networking in the second quarter of next year.

At the helm of Techstrong is Alan Shimel. This serial entrepreneur has seen his fair share of tech fads over his decades in the industry, and he has a keen ability to identify what trends are here to stay.

“I’m always excited about technology,” Shimel told South Florida Tech Hub. “That’s why I love doing what I do.”

Of course, one of the biggest trends on the minds of technologists today is the so-called ‘Web3’ movement. Shimel is not a fan of the moniker: “it’s just what’s next,” he said.

“I was there for Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. Is crypto real? Right? And blockchain? Yes.”

For Shimel, a lot of the Web3 trends can be traced back to the move towards the cloud. “Covid also accelerated digital transformation,” he acknowledged. 

Having lived in South Florida for the better part of two decades, Shimel is bullish on the local tech ecosystem. He underscored the lack of innovation and tech talent early on: “When I first came down here, it was a desert.” But Shimel asserted that “this began to change a couple of years ago, thanks to some local initiatives.” 

He highlighted South Florida Tech Hub as a particularly beneficial organization, since it aims to unite technologists from the entire region. “Traditionally, what’s held South Florida back is that every 10 miles is a new territory of someone who controls that local scene, whether it’s an organization or a university or company.” Shimel said that bringing the tech community together on a regional basis will help compete with other innovation hotspots he’s experienced, such as Austin and Boulder.

The Techstrong Group is hiring! Learn more about joining this rapidly-growing team by visiting TechstrongGroup.com.

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Ask Not What South Florida Tech Hub Can Do For You
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