South Florida Tech HubSouth Florida Tech Hub

By Nikki Cabus

Global Ventures at Florida Atlantic™ Welcomes Four New Recruits Into Second-Stage Incubator

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Global Ventures at Florida Atlantic™ is excited to announce the addition of four new company recruits. 

A leading international soft landing incubator based at the Research Park at Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton, Florida, Global Ventures provides support and resources to post-startup, or second-stage companies, that have established themselves in their industry and are ready to scale up to the next level of growth. They seek to assist technology-based companies with an interest in developing links to FAU that have achieved approximately $1 million in annual sales and employ at least six (6) people, as well as graduates of FAU Tech Runway®.

The new arrivals are:

  • Fenway Group, led by CEO Martin Santora. The Fenway Group crafts customized solutions that empower businesses to take charge of their digital transformation journey, giving students real world experiences as they go through their educational careers.
  • InfraSite, led by CEO Vitaliy Pereverzev, is revolutionizing the digital infrastructure landscape with innovative solutions that seamlessly integrate 5G, data centers and edge computing facilities into urban environments. Its innovative Smart Vault solution allows for the safe and sustainable placement of digital infrastructure practically anywhere.
  • Salus Water, led by president Marcelo Costa, is a company specialized in residential water filtration and purification systems. With a strong presence in the market, the company is recognized for offering cutting-edge technology and providing a comprehensive solution to ensure the quality of the water you and your family consume daily.
  • Signalic, LLC, led by founder & CEO Arash Andalib, is a biomedical tech venture dedicated to personalized pain management solutions using data-driven approaches, to reduce the number of individuals suffering pain or addicted to opioids.

The new recruits, who are poised to make a significant impact in their respective industries, were screened through Global Ventures’ thorough application process and were selected based on their innovative approaches, proven records, interest and ability to partner with Florida Atlantic University, as well as their potential for growth. The group includes companies from a variety of industries, including software technology, healthcare, and smart cities infrastructure. These entrepreneurs will have access to a range of resources, including mentorship, networking opportunities, and funding guidance as well as facilitated introductions to specialized Florida Atlantic faculty and students, to help them scale their businesses to become multi-million-dollar enterprises.

“We are thrilled to welcome these talented individuals and companies to our second-stage incubator program at the Research Park at Florida Atlantic,” said Ryan Lilly, Global Ventures Program Manager.

“Our goal is to provide a supportive and collaborative environment for these promising companies to thrive and succeed. We believe that their innovative approaches and track records hold significant potential for South Florida’s economic growth and make a significant impact in the business world. We are excited to be a part of their journey.”

A South Florida Tech Hub member, Fenway Group has been traveling back and forth from their headquarters in Texas for the past few years in an effort to learn about the South Florida community, forge local relationships and support regional tech talent efforts. Their move to open a South Florida office is a huge step for the company and an important resource for the South Florida tech community.

Fenway Group help companies tackle their most ambitious projects and build new capabilities. Analyze, architect, build and co-create. Their emphasis on delivering solutions entails serving clients with a purpose and fostering novel ideas and innovation. One of those deliver approaches is their FenwayPipeline™ for technology services integrated with a talent acquisition strategy where companies can incorporate next-generation technologists whose skills are specifically tailored to relevant technology stacks and environments.

The international soft landing, second-stage incubator program has a proven track record of success, with several of its alumni going on to long term partnerships at Florida Atlantic and retaining significant presences in the Research Park at FAU. With the addition of these new recruits, Global Ventures is confident that the program will continue to foster the growth and success of second stage businesses in South Florida. The incubator is committed to supporting and nurturing these entrepreneurs as they work towards building successful and sustainable businesses.

“Global Ventures and the Research Park at FAU are proud to welcome these new recruits to our second-stage incubator program and we look forward to facilitating their continued growth. The program is a testament to the thriving tech entrepreneurial ecosystem in South Florida and our commitment of the Research Park at FAU to support and foster the growth of innovative businesses,” stated Andrew Duffell, president of the Research Park at FAU.

Global Ventures at Florida Atlantic™ will host its annual open house on March 20th at 5:30 PM for the community to meet its entrepreneurs and learn more about their growing companies.

For more information about the Global Ventures at Florida Atlantic™ international second-stage incubator program, please visit www.ResearchParkFAU.com/Global-Ventures. Rare vacancies from 100 sq. ft. – 1,000 sq. ft. are on offer as a result of recent successful graduations.

By Nikki Cabus

Growth Accelerator Fund Competition – Seaworthy Collective among 40 national winners to receive $50k

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The SBA announced Seaworthy Collective as a Stage One winner for the national 2023 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.

Seaworthy Collective is one of forty organizations who will receive a $50,000 cash prize to build strategic partnerships that will support the launch, growth, and scale of STEM/R&D-focused small businesses across the country.

Seaworthy Collective (501c3) is a Miami-based BlueTech (ocean innovation) entrepreneur support organization and community. Their mission is to enable access and inclusion in innovation for ocean and climate impact. Seaworthy Collective envisions oceans of opportunity without barriers, where everyone can contribute to solutions making positive change for our blue planet. The nonprofit empowers Sea Change Makers – supporting early-stage and aspiring entrepreneurs across diverse backgrounds and impact areas globally – who drive innovation for 71% of the planet (our ocean) to regenerate 100% of the planet.

“SBA’s Catalyze winners join SBA’s extensive network of support organizations who build thriving startup ecosystems to ensure the next generation of science and technology-based innovations develop into thriving businesses,” said Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “At a time when the Biden-Harris Administration is investing in American R&D, manufacturing and future growth industries, our Catalyst partners will help ensure entrepreneurs from all backgrounds can leverage opportunities. We know these investments will advance American competitiveness and help us build an economy that works for everyone.”

Seaworthy Collective’s award-winning model will amplify the impact and success of Growth Accelerator Partnerships and will work to foster and facilitate a thriving national ecosystem that advances equitable investment in innovative high growth small businesses. This year’s Competition has brought together organizations, entities, groups, and individuals beyond geographic boundaries to support innovators and innovation needed to confront the challenges of today.   

“This investment from the U.S. Small Business Administration reinforces Seaworthy Collective’s vision for accessible and inclusive ecosystem development enabling greater participation in the blue economy both locally in South Florida as well as nationally, ” stated Seaworthy Collective Founder & CEO, Daniel Kleinman.

“Winning the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition doubles down on the federal government’s recognition and support of Seaworthy’s work breaking down barriers for current and aspiring founders from diverse backgrounds in BlueTech and ClimateTech. With the SBA’s support, we’re excited to grow our ecosystem partnerships; intentionally expanding our reach to further mobilize the untapped talent, ideas, and potential of many more “Sea Change Makers” taking the entrepreneurial leap to pursue their passions for ocean and climate impact.” 

Since its launch in 2014, the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition has awarded 387 prizes totaling over $19 million to 284 unique winners across 52 states and U.S. territories. This year’s competition introduced a multi-stage approach with Stage One focused on catalyzing an ecosystem around a particular theme.  Stage One applicants represented 45 U.S. states and territories, with 70 percent as first-time applicants to the Competition.

This year’s 40 Stage One prize winners come from 30 states, including D.C. and Puerto Rico. Sixty-five percent of winners are first time applicants and 50 percent of the winning organizations specifically support rural entrepreneurs. This year’s competition focused on four theme areas with 25 percent of Stage One winners focused on National Security & Global Competitiveness, 27.5 percent on Domestic Manufacturing & Production, 10 percent on Climate & Renewable Energy, and 37.5 percent on Underserved Communities. Geographically, 17.5 percent of winners aim serve at the local/sub-state region, 42.5 percent statewide, 20 percent regionally (multiple states), and 20 percent nationwide.

Winners of Stage One “Catalyze” winners were selected through a multi-tier review panel process with experts in entrepreneurship, business, innovation, and strategic planning both inside and out of the federal government. Applications and pitch videos were reviewed by expert judges submitted by the finalists.   

Seaworthy Collective will now compete for an additional $50,000 to $150,000 later this summer. From inequity and climate change, to supporting national defense and community-driven economic prosperity, the real opportunity is now to build up innovation ecosystems and Seaworthy Collective is eager to make an impact.   

Stage Two cash prizes will support the “Growth Accelerator Partnerships” to further develop strong innovation ecosystems to fast-track building and scaling of STEM/R&D-focused small businesses. Organizations who were not selected in Stage One, as well as diverse local, regional, and national entities from any sector or location are eligible to connect with Stage One winners to develop partnerships in a bid for Stage Two prizes.   

SBA will host a Pitch Sessions to support networking with Stage One winners and Seaworthy Collective will take part on June 1st, 2023 at 2:00 PM EST. For organizations interested in networking to join a potential “Growth Accelerator Partnership”, sign up for one or more of the virtual Partner Pitch Sessions at http://bit.ly/2023GAFCPartnerPitch. The Partner Pitch Sessions are free and open to the public.

By Nikki Cabus

Watson Institute is launching a fully-funded Venture Accelerator program for next-generation entrepreneurs

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The Watson Institute is launching a fully-funded Venture Accelerator program for next-generation entrepreneurs with the skills, resources, and experience to scale the impactful ventures they are building. 

Fellows will learn advanced skills in entrepreneurship and leadership, have the opportunity to earn seed funding (up to $6,000), garner experience, and build a global network, as they lay the foundation to empower many more individuals and transform their communities. This program is offered with virtual and in-person components. 

Watson Institute is a place where next generation entrepreneurs and leaders can find their community, discover their calling, and accelerate their careers. They provide the tools, network, mindset, and courage for the next generation to solve the toughest challenges facing the world, launch successful careers, and lead impactful lives.

Watson Institute has locations in Boulder, Colorado, and at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida and runs accelerators for leading corporations including Ford Motor Company Fund and Western Union Foundation. They are now building partnerships with innovative corporations and institutions of higher education in the US and globally.

With over 400 scholars and alumni representing almost 70 countries, they have raised over $175 million, created over 1,500 part or full-time jobs, and impacted over 5 million people around the world through initiatives they help lead. Watson Institute Alumni have been selected to Y Combinator, the Echoing Green Fellowship, and six have been named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 lists. Alumni continue their education at Harvard University, Princeton University, and Oxford Saïd’s Business School.

The Watson Institute students “major in their mission” as they obtain a Bachelor of Science in Social Impact and Entrepreneurship from Lynn University. They intern at leading corporations and nonprofits while developing the skills to lead successful careers or even launch their own ventures.

The Watson Institute Venture Accelerator is a 16-week program designed for impact-driven entrepreneurs seeking to elevate their ventures with access to a global network, training designed to strengthen skills, and mentorship with seasoned professionals, venture capitalists, and executives. The program will kick off with an in-person Immersive in Boulder, Colorado from July 20th – July 28th. The remaining 14 weeks is virtual and provides award-winning training, committed mentorship, and a powerful community of peers for next-generation entrepreneurs to advance their impact-focused ventures and lives. The time commitment for the 14 weeks is approximately 6–8 hours per week. This program is designed to complement the entrepreneurs’ existing venture work, allowing them to implement learnings in real-time.

Eligible participants will be entrepreneurs leading an early-stage social impact venture with demonstrated impact metrics and traction, those able to commit to the 16-week program including the in-person Immersive in Boulder, Colorado and can be from any geographical location with a preference to applicants from the USA, Brazil, China, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania.

Learn more and apply here.

By Nikki Cabus

BCEx and Tech Hub celebrate Black Founders at exclusive annual brunch

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The Broward College Entrepreneurship Experience, or “BCEx,” and South Florida Tech Hub collaborated to host the 2nd Annual Black Founders Brunch in an effort to bring together black entrepreneurs across the region to support stronger relationships in the back startup community.

The exclusive event was held on Saturday, February 25th at the Beach House in Pompano Beach with approximately 35 startup founders from across all three South Florida counties in attendance.

The guest speaker of the morning was BCEx Faculty Coordinator and Associate Dean (AD) of the Institute of Public Safety at Broward College, Rudy Jean-Bart. He is also the college’s Chair of the Advisory Council for the Advancement of Diversity, Equity, (ACADEI) and Inclusion. The Advisory Council for the Advancement of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ACADEI) oversees the College’s focus across seven areas— accountability, benchmark best practices, cultural competence, communication and discussion, training and education, policy/procedure/practice, and community outreach.

A former African American history professor, Jean-Bart, was exposed to the meaning of activism at a very young age. He has always been at the forefront of issues such as racial equity and social justice, participating as a keynote speaker and panelist in many events. Jean-Bart spoke to the founders on the topic of ‘Generational Trauma to Generational Wealth.’

Jean-Bart closed his speech out by saying, “It is important that people believe in the power and the ability of Black founders.”

This quote resonated with attendees and spoke to the importance of supporting, celebrating, and elevating minority founders as we continue to grow the tech ecosystem in South Florida. As an ecosystem, we must be intentional about inclusion of our founders from all corners of the region ensuring inclusion and overall innovation for the region.

According to a recent Tech Crunch article, “In total, U.S. Black founders raised an estimated $2.254 billion out of the $215.9 billion in U.S. venture capital allocated last year. That’s about 1%, a slight drop from the 1.3% raised in 2021.” It seems like no matter the efforts of organizations across the country working to diversify funding and across all marginalized groups of founders, that black founders continually remain around the 1% mark for funding. This percentage has stayed stagnant even though the overall VC numbers continue to rise.

Assistant Director of BCEx, Quinella (Queen) Davis, told South Florida Tech Hub that these events are crucial to ensuring strong connections in the black founder community, but also making sure they have connections to industry organizations such as Tech Hub and are able to see themselves in other successful entrepreneurs and leaders such as keynote speaker, Jean-Bart.

“I’d like to give a special thank you to Rudy Jean-Bart for delivering an impactful message, sharing valuable information about generational wealth, and helping our founders discover ways to think differently about the businesses we develop to have an everlasting presence in the tech ecosystem,” stated Davis.

BCEx helps Broward College students, faculty, and staff cultivate their entrepreneurial mindset and turn their ideas into reality by launching high-quality businesses at little-to-no cost. Started in 2018, BCEx began assisting participants innovate, create, and prepare for the future of work through mentorship, coaching, funding, and training.

Participants in BCEx receive support through six main strategies: Campus Accelerators and Events at Broward College, Student Learning at Broward College, the Innovation Hub at Broward College, LaunchBC – the BCEx business accelerator, the J. David Armstrong, Jr. Student Venture Fund, and Partnership Opportunities with Broward College.

The next Ideation Phase cohort is a student-community friendly introduction to the entrepreneurial mindset, customer discovery and business model canvas. Students, faculty, staff and community will develop or refine your business idea by focusing on your customer segment and value proposition while finding your WHY. This 4-6 week virtual program will prepare you for the next phase while helping you articulate a well-developed idea.

To learn more about the next cohort that begins March 21st, visit https://forms.gle/ToscjC3CfTDT6M1k7

By Nikki Cabus

Inaugural Venture Appreciation Night honors South Florida startup ecosystem

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Tech Hub’s inaugural ‘Venture Appreciate Night’🚀 was a celebration of all the people who make up our startup community in South Florida!

Founders, funders and friends in the region came together to enjoy a three-course dinner, drinks, great networking and recognition of some of our ecosystem’s players.

For more than the past two decades, South Florida has been on the top of the charts as one of the country’s top places for entrepreneurship activity, but lacked in the funding that followed. That’s beginning to change.

In Q4 of last year, the overall deal flow across the United States including angel and seed, early stage VC, and late-stage VC was the lowest of 2022, according to Q4 2022 PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor. PitchBook’s reports states that “the four consecutive quarters of declining deal counts could foreshadow a continued slide in 2023.” But what does it mean when the South Florida region is defying the odds?

Despite the downturn nationally, the Miami Metro region (Miami, Broward Palm Beach) has climbed to one of the top ten venture capital regions in the country. While other major tech hub’s numbers are sinking, South Florida is consistently on the rise and continued to rise in Q4.

  1. Bay Area | 2022 deal count: 3,263 and 2022 deal value: $75.4B
  2. New York | 2022 deal count: 2,323 and 2022 deal value: $31.4B
  3. Los Angeles | 2022 deal count: 1,311 and 2022 deal value: $23.3B
  4. Boston | 2022 deal count: 1,016 and 2022 deal value: $21.4B
  5. Philadelphia | 2022 deal count: 554 and 2022 deal value: $5.6B
  6. Seattle | 2022 deal count: 479 and 2022 deal value: $7.8B
  7. Washington D.C. | 2022 deal count: 443 and 2022 deal value: $4.9B
  8. Miami | 2022 deal count: 423 and 2022 deal value: $5.5B
  9. Austin | 2022 deal count: 416 and 2022 deal value: $4.9B
  10. Chicago | 2022 deal count: 384 and 2022 deal value: $10.2B

This type of progress doesn’t happen overnight. There are thousands of people supporting and helping build our entrepreneurial and startup ecosystem in South Florida. We decided to honor just a few of these founders, funders, and mentors at this year’s inaugural ‘Venture Appreciation Night.’

Here are our honorees:

  • Claudia Duran | Managing Director @ Endeavor Miami
  • Chris Ochner | Co-Founder & Chair @ Modern Trials and CEO @ MindFigure Consulting
  • Darie Dorlus | Founder & CEO @ Synchronized Technologies and Startup Mentor
  • David Hartmann | Founder & CEO @ The SilverLogic and Mentor @ FAU Tech Runway
  • Dr. Kevin Cox | Senior Instructor & Assoc. Director of Adams Center for Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurs Xchange Lead Instructor @ FAU, and Associate @ Glades Capital
  • Giovanni Punzo | Founder & CEO @ Streann Media
  • Roxette Irvine | Managing Director @ The LAB Miami, Director of Web3 Global @ Founder Institute, Partner @ 305 Works
  • Steven Edwards | Founder & CEO, Premier Virtual
  • Tahl Milburn | Gentleman Technologist. Thoughtful Investor. Executive Advisor. Tech Hub Ambassador.
  • Todd Albert | Founder & CEO @ Boca Code and Startup Mentor

Tech Hub would like to give a big shoutout to Streann Media for being the presenting sponsor and Gio Punzo for giving a very insightful keynote about his founder journey. From being laughed at, told he was wrong, learning to believe in himself and now building a multi-million dollar business that help other businesses scale.

“We are thrilled to be recognized by South Florida Tech Hub as being an integral part of the start-up ecosystem in South Florida,” said Gio Punzo, CEO of Streann Media.

“We have gone from a start-up to becoming a global company, creating jobs around the world with our technologies that are touching millions of people. The content economy is going through a huge transformation and we are leading the change. We are truly blessed to be where we are.”

Check out some of the event photos below. Thank you to all who came out to celebrate with us!

 

Global Ventures at Florida Atlantic™ Welcomes Four New Recruits Into Second-Stage Incubator
Growth Accelerator Fund Competition – Seaworthy Collective among 40 national winners to receive $50k
Watson Institute is launching a fully-funded Venture Accelerator program for next-generation entrepreneurs
BCEx and Tech Hub celebrate Black Founders at exclusive annual brunch
Inaugural Venture Appreciation Night honors South Florida startup ecosystem