South Florida Tech HubSouth Florida Tech Hub

By Nikki Cabus

Team Llamaa wins Tech Hub’s “Hack for Humanity” community hackathon 2023

Read Time 4 Minutes

The 2023 Tech Hub Hackathon aimed to “Hack for Humanity” building solutions for problems faced by two of South Florida’s local nonprofits, American Cancer Society and Habitat for Humanity Broward. 

A Hackathon is an overnight event where participants form teams, vet ideas, create a project, then present their work to an expert panel of judges. This year, teams were asked to solve a wide range of problems, including streamlining donations, coordinating pickups, improving data management for Habitat for Humanity Broward, and promoting American Cancer Society’s “Get Screened” campaign to individuals and corporations, with a focus on HR benefit integration and process monitoring.

This year’s first place winning team created a solution in support of Habitat for Humanity Broward – Team LLAMAA!

According to the Habitat for Humanity Broward website, Broward is one of the nation’s most cost burdened housing markets, making homeownership out of reach for 94% of families. Habitat for Humanity Broward is on a mission to change that.

Founded in 1976, Habitat for Humanity of Broward brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. Habitat Broward offers a “hand up” not a “hand out” to empower families who are willing to work hard to improve their family’s lives through affordable home ownership.

Together, Team LLAMAA which is an acronym for the first letters of each team members name; Leon, Lia, Ashley, Maria, Ashley, Aimee, created a software solution to aid the non-profit Habitat for Humanity of Broward which aimed to streamline the potential home owner application through digitization enabling tracking in a more convenient way for the employees, hard-skill volunteers and potential home owners.

“There is nothing like being in the presence of bright minds, tirelessly and enthusiastically working to increase the reach and impact for organizations like Habitat for Humanity of Broward and American Cancer Society who are tackling community and societal challenges,” said Nathan VanDeman, Habitat for Humanity Broward’s VP of Housing Development.

“I made many new friends, saw numerous great concepts and we’re excited to work over the coming weeks with the teams and organizers to see which can be developed and put to use.”

The Hackathon was held at the CITY Furniture headquarters in Tamarac where guests had the opportunity to tour the CITY facilities, meet with leadership and the technical team, and learn about the expansive and fast-growing tech department at CITY, all while enjoy the first-ever hackathon in CITY’s history working with two of their closest nonprofit partners.

With 16 teams presenting, over 100 hackers, and over 50 volunteers, coaches, and judges, there were many innovative ideas and projects created that could support both nonprofits.

Our judges panel included Mick Feller, Sr. Principal Software Engineer @ ODP Corp, Giovanni Punzo, Founder & CEO @ Streann Media, Michelle Bakels, Program Director @ G2i, Christy Poe, former Sr. VP of IT @ Garden of Life, Nathan VanDeman, Habitat for Humanity Broward’s VP of Housing Development, and Stephanie Watts, American Cancer Society’s Senior Director, Corporate Relations.

Thank you to all our major sponsors for the event. We would not have been able to make it happen without the support of CITY Furniture, The ODP Corporation (Office Depot), Florida Power & Light (FPL), OZ Digital, Streann Media, TechStrong Group, and Adam & Joe’s.

We also had the support of student sponsors this year from Cox Science center & Aquarium, CareerSource Palm Beach County, FAU’s College of Engineering & Computer Science, and the Tech Hub Foundation.


The top three projects chosen by our esteemed panel of judges were as follows:


  • Nonprofit: Habitat for Humanity Broward
  • Solution: On-boarding platform to support administrators in managing housing applications and their progress
  • Team Members: Ashley N Dennis, Asiangel Moua, Leon Kipkoech, Aimee Gonzalez-Cameron, Maria Bruno, Ashley Clayden Moss
  • See Presentation
  • See Github


  • Nonprofit: American Cancer Society
  • Solution: Custom Campaign Portal for “Get Screened” Campaign
  • Team Members: Shashank Mishra, Prakash Raghothamachar, Jasmine Kloub, Ryan Young
  • See Presentation
  • See Github


  • Nonprofit: Habitat for Humanity Broward
  • Solution: Donation quality inspection and intake process optimization
  • Team Members: Pinak Upadhyay, Angel Diaz, Daniel Muthama, Rabea Abdelwahab, Alexander Aranda, Adrian Perdomo
  • See Presentation
  • See Github

Click here to view ALL TEAM PROJECTS and here for PHOTOS FROM EVENT. 📸


Stay tuned for updates on project implementations. . .

By Nikki Cabus

CITY Furniture announces equity stake in Palm Beach County-based PeakActivity

Read Time 3 Minutes

Broward-based CITY Furniture, a family-owned American furniture and mattress retailer, fine upholstery manufacturer, and one of America’s Top 20 furniture retailers, announced it has recently taken an equity stake in PeakActivity, a digital acceleration and technology services company based in Palm Beach county that enables progress for businesses at every point of their digital journey through modernization, optimization, innovation, and engineering services.

As long-time partners, CITY’s equity stake, which represents a minority position, is a win-win for both parties. For CITY, this investment solidifies their position as a pioneer in Home Tech, integrating technology into everything they do. PeakActivity will use this investment to accelerate their overall growth and fund further innovation in the home furnishings category.

With shared goals and shared financial outcomes, the partnership between the companies will be strengthened to a level they have not had previously and is a testament to the quality of the work they have done together over the past five years.

“CITY is working hard to build a world class organization that is best in class in technology. The future of the home industry and all industries hinge on technology and innovation,” said Andrew Koenig, CEO of CITY. “Our partnership with PeakActivity is more important now than it has ever been. We are convinced that taking a position in PeakActivity will accelerate our technological advantages in the market and result in a better customer and associate experience overall.”

CITY Furniture operates over twenty-two showrooms from Miami through Vero Beach, and in Southwest and Central Florida, as well as fourteen Ashley Home Store showrooms as the brand’s Southeast and Southwest Florida licensee. The company is one of the country’s top furniture retailers and continuing to grow.

As technology becomes more and more fundamental to everyday business and everyday living, CITY looks to embrace it and actively learn about the opportunities that tech provides businesses. CITY looks to be a driving force in taking the home furnishing world from “old school” to “industry cool” by investing in their long-time tech partner, PeakActivity.

As part of its investment, CITY looks forward to their ability to share knowledge, ideas, and strategies, while leveraging both companies skilled tech teams to work on some of the best home projects in the industry. Given their long-standing client-agency relationship, the companies are already working on several projects together in the areas of ecommerce, AR Design, CITY Moves, and more, that will continue to grow and expand as their relationship advances in the months and years to come.

“CITY has been one of our longest standing and best clients, driving us to innovate, to think, and work both faster and better,” said Manish B. Hirapara, CEO of PeakActivity.

“With this investment, our relationship becomes even more significant and is unlike that of any other client relationship we have. I expect that we continue to grow together and thrive together in the future. We are stronger than we’ve ever been before now as true partners.”

PeakActivity is a digital strategy and implementation company, partnering with businesses to accelerate their growth through eCommerce, Digital Marketing, and Technology solutions. By leveraging its unique methodology of Dream, Deliver, Elevate, PeakActivity simultaneously focuses on short-term wins with a constant eye towards longer-term innovation and business growth.

This relationship with PeakActivity just further reinforces CITY’s long-time commitment to being tech forward for both their internal stakeholders and external stakeholders. For CITY, seamless technology integration is just as important to a customer looking to furnish their living room in Miami, as it is to a warehouse worker in Orlando and a corporate employee in Tampa. Over the years, the company has enjoyed significant success building out their own tech department, making all of areas of the company better, faster, easier, and safer, while building out teams for e-commerce, data analytics and cybersecurity.

With tech at the forefront of CITY’s business strategy from the start, this relationship is an investment in the success of CITY’s tech-focused future and a step towards achieving their long-term goals.

By Riley Kaminer

CITY Furniture Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Read Time 3 Minutes

Tamarac-based furniture retailer and Tech Hub South Florida member CITY Furniture is celebrating its 50th year of operations.

Founded as Waterbed City in 1971, CITY Furniture has always prided itself on providing consumers with high quality furniture at the best price. The company now has more than 30 locations across Florida, in addition to a robust e-commerce business.

“Working with my late brother and now my son and son in law, along with over 2,500 dedicated City Furniture associates, many of whom are like family to me, for so many years has been a joy and an honor,” co-founder and CEO Keith Koenig told Tech Hub South Florida.

He continued: “What we have accomplished, starting from a little waterbed store to now having beautiful furniture stores across Florida has been a true blessing.”

Andrew Koenig, Keith’s son and President of CITY Furniture, echoed his father’s sentiments, saying that he is “proud of [their] humble beginnings” that ultimately led CITY Furniture to become “Florida’s number one furniture retailer.”

“I look forward to celebrating our amazing past and history, especially with all of our veterans who have worked with us for 20, 30, and 40 years,” Andrew said. The company has planned in-person celebrations for early 2022.

What might be the origin of CITY’s continued success in this competitive industry? On top of CITY’s focus on customers, it also prioritizes creating a positive environment for associates. “We want to be the number one employer of choice,” said Andrew. “We pride ourselves in taking care of our customers and associates.”

The company is also very active in the community. It has pledged to donate 5% of its annual profits to a diverse range of impactful local organizations including Covenant House Florida, the American Heart Association, and Junior Achievement of South Florida. 

This emphasis on community stretches beyond our borders. CITY Furniture’s 2040 Green Promise underscores the company’s commitment to become carbon neutral within the next two decades. 

Andrew also noted CITY Furniture’s focus on technology. “We were tech forward from the start,” he said, noting that his late uncle, co-founder Kevin Charles Koenig, purchased an early computer from IBM.

“We’ve seen major success building our own tech department,” Andrew said. “They’ve done amazing work, making all of our jobs better, faster, easier, and safer. You’re going to continue to see us invest in this awesome, very diverse group of people.”

Crediting CITY’s tech team as helping them pivot during the pandemic, Andrew noted that the team has grown more than 50% over the last couple of years in all areas – from e-commerce to data analytics and cybersecurity.

Despite decades of successes, CITY Furniture is not resting on its laurels. Andrew explained that the team is laser-focused on what the next half a century has in store for the company and has set an ambitious goal: “We want to become the number one home furnishing retailer in the US.”

To learn more about CITY Furniture, visit their website. Interested in joining the CITY Furniture team? Check out the open positions on their careers page.

By Riley Kaminer

Member Spotlight | CITY Furniture

Read Time 4 Minutes

Business: Florida-based furniture retailer with 20 showrooms across the state and an e-commerce platform.

Launched: 1971

HQ: Tamarac

Employees: 2,500+


Selling furniture might not immediately come to mind as the most technologically innovative business. But Andrew Koenig, President of CITY Furniture, sees things differently: “My mindset is for CITY Furniture to become a tech company that sells furniture, not a furniture company that has tech.”

Koenig’s bias towards innovation has served CITY well during the pandemic, when most brick-and-mortar businesses scrambled to go digital. Not CITY. They had already armed their associates with transactable iPads, enabling the company’s salespeople to work virtually as soon as in-person businesses were mandated to close. 

CITY had an e-commerce platform before the pandemic, but Koenig said they “doubled down” on their online offerings in a matter of days. They started offering free shipping with no minimums. As soon as they were legally allowed to reenter the showrooms, CITY set up virtual store appointments for customers. This involved two socially-distant salespeople who could chat with customers via an online video feed and show them products in real time.

“We were prepared, and we responded quickly,” Koenig reflected. Even though CITY’s sales took a hit last Spring, the company was able to bounce back, ultimately turning a profit for the year.

Despite the difficulties brought on by the pandemic, Koenig said that CITY “still lived our values and cultures.” The company did not have any layoffs and was able to provide two weeks of paid sick leave to employees. CITY maintained their employee profit-sharing pledge, while also continuing to donate 5% of profits to charities.

Out of the pandemic came growth for CITY. To respond to an increase in business, Koenig hired around 500 new employees in the fourth quarter of 2020. CITY also plans to build a Miami warehouse and enlarge their Tampa warehouse.

Koenig’s unique perspective on running CITY extends past his penchant for technical innovation. Much of his leadership philosophy stems from the time he spent in Asia after college.

“I learned about elements of buddhism: the idea of the collective, the whole. That really resonated with me.” He describes employees as his family and treats them as such. His email signature urges employees to prioritize their work-life balance: “please do not respond to my emails during non-work hours.”

Koenig admits that this emphasis on work-life balance was not always the norm at CITY. “We used to over-work people – that’s just the way it was. But now we’ll terminate leaders if they overwork their people.” Initiatives like this have led to what Koenig describes as “record levels of employee satisfaction.”

Emphasizing work-life balance is not just the right thing to do: it’s backed by empirical evidence. Koenig studied Toyota’s ‘lean’ manufacturing process, which sets out best practices for time management. This philosophy is all about maximizing efficiency and productivity, and, as Koenig described, employees need to understand that “life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.” He explained: “Sometimes you have to sprint for a period of time, but you can’t sprint forever without becoming a rude, frustrated person. I’d rather go out of business than overwork our people.”

CITY took another page from Toyota’s book, implementing their ‘kanban’ approach to project management. The company urges employees of all levels to give their input on how to make their processes more efficient. Koenig claims to receive an average of two suggestions per year from each associate. “I take this wisdom of the crowds very seriously,” he said of this suggestion system.

Koenig has a positive outlook on the state of our local economy. “South Florida is one of the best places to be in the country, maybe even the world,” Koenig asserted. He highlighted the region’s diversity and population growth as factors that look to make the “next two or three years very exciting.” And CITY Furniture will not just sit on the sidelines of this growth; rather, Koenig looks forward to being an active participant.

Team Llamaa wins Tech Hub’s “Hack for Humanity” community hackathon 2023
CITY Furniture announces equity stake in Palm Beach County-based PeakActivity
CITY Furniture Celebrates 50th Anniversary
Member Spotlight | CITY Furniture