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By Nikki Cabus

An entrepreneurs journey; ShipMonk Founder names new CEO

Read Time 4 Minutes

Just last week, the Founder of ShipMonk, Jan Bednar, announced the company will have a new CEO – Josh McCarter.


Here’s a little about Jan Bednar’s entrepreneurial journey. 


At only 17 years old, Jan Bednar moved to the United States from the Czech Republic to attend Florida Atlantic University and pursue his dream of being an entrepreneur. While at university, his friends back home would ask Jan to purchase American products that were either too expensive or not available in the Czech Republic and ship it to them. Many merchants in the United States also refused to ship to the Czech Republic or their payment method was unaccepted. They would order online, have the products shipped to Jan and then Jan would turn around and ship to them. Jan began to realize the real demand for American products and decided to start a business doing the same thing he already was for family and friends back home.

In 2014 while studying in FAU’s College of Business, Jan entered the FAU Business Plan Competition (now FAU Business Pitch) with his new business idea BedaBox, a DHL partner offering heavily discounted shipping between Europe and the USA that forwards packages to international clients. Out of 250 participants and multiple rounds of judging, BedaBox won!

The pitch competition is hosted by FAU’s Adams Center for Entrepreneurship and encourages FAU students, faculty, staff and recent graduates to pitch their game-changing idea for a chance to fund their new ventures. Along with prize money, teams compete for legal and business services, preferred access into the FAU Tech Runway Venture Program and the opportunity to present their business pitch to local angel, venture capital groups and more.

The following month, Jan was nominated to represent FAU in the state-wide collegiate Business Plan Competition with the Florida Venture Forum. Jan won first place beating other students and business plans from universities from all around Florida.

Winning the competitions, earned Jan over $30k and a spot in the FAU Tech Runway®, a South Florida public-private partnership that serves as a hub to accelerate technology development and incubate startup companies. Tech Runway’s companies can access mentoring, introductions to early-stage capital, grants and seed funding. In addition, they are provided with the tools to become successful entrepreneurs, including a rigorous boot camp, access to business and technology events, and connections to a thriving regional innovation network. BedaBox was included in Venture Class 1 at Tech Runway.

Jan graduated from the College of Business with a major in Management Information Systems in 2014 and in 2016 he transformed BedaBox into ShipMonk. Jan realized that there was a huge opportunity for technology-driven fulfillment services for the small and medium-sized ecommerce companies. Fulfillment takes a lot of time and takes companies away from focusing on growing their business. There were no competitors in the space with user-friendly technology that would support a great customer experience. That’s how the ShipMonk we know now was born.

According to Jan in an FAU interview, he founded ShipMonk to “change the way eCommerce companies manage their supply chain and ship orders to their customers through a game-changing supply chain software, automation and exceptional fulfillment service. ShipMonk is a technology company that solves ecommerce companies’ biggest problem — fulfillment.”

In late 2015, ShipMonk moved to a 23,000 square foot facility in Pompano Beach. They quickly outgrew this space. By late 2016, ShipMonk moved to a massive 90,000 square foot facility in Deerfield Beach. Additionally, Jan knew that ShipMonk could best serve its customers by operating facilities on both coasts and so the California location was opened.

Now, their South Florida headquarters in Fort Lauderdale is 220k square feet and the entire office is built out of storage containers. It has a full bar, gym, trampoline, game room and is pet friendly. ShipMonk now spans across almost twenty facilities across the United States, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom and the Czech Republic. The company’s total funding now exceeds $365 million. They are continuing to expand their footprint, roll out new technology and take over the industry.

In a recent social media post, Jan announced that after an intense 18-month search, he will be stepping down from CEO and named Josh McCarter as his replacement.

“When I started ShipMonk from my apartment in 2016, I never imagined we would come this far. We started from zero, without any venture funding, to a global presence with over 18 warehouses worldwide spanning some 4,000,000 square feet. Our team has grown to over 2,000 exceptional employees. Together, we have shipped over 100 million orders to customers worldwide, helping thousands of businesses achieve their growth goals. Despite the skeptics, we’ve outperformed traditional and venture-backed fulfillment companies, maintaining profitability while scaling to hundreds of millions of revenue per year,” wrote Jan.

“Most importantly, I was able to share this journey with people I love, admire and deeply care about. Nothing makes me happier and more fulfilled (no pun intended) than remembering the special moments we’ve all shared on this journey.”

To learn more about ShipMonk, visit


By Nikki Cabus

Ft. Lauderdale’s FIT:MATCH honored as high impact tech startup in the international The Lead 100 List 2023

Read Time 5 Minutes

The Leading 100 List 2023, the highly anticipated international annual research list recognizing innovative tech start-ups driving the future of brand-to-consumer has been announced and the local Ft. Lauderdale-based FIT:MATCH has made the list.

FIT:MATCH is a ‘Digital Twin Matching Platform’ for B2B apparel brands enabling them to match their customers with the best-fitting products. The company’s patented algorithms derive a shopper’s 3D body shape, or “digital twin,’ using augmented reality and LIDAR-powered devices, to make personalized product recommendations in hard to fit categories. FIT:MATCH is designed to eliminate brands’ and consumers’ questions about fit in order to drive conversion and loyalty, while reducing returns.

The Leading 100 List, produced by The Lead, recognizes high impact technology start-ups that are transforming the direct-to-consumer business model and driving business value for brands as well as retailers. These young companies are venture capital funded and predominantly in their seed or series A round of financing. The Leading 100 companies are solving business problems, powering growth, and helping brands deliver on customer expectations through innovative, accessible, and powerful technology solutions. All companies were vetted and selected using a rigorous methodology which measured Innovation, Business Impact, Commercialization & Customers, Teams & Experience, Competition, Media Buzz, and Investor Value Creation. Company data was collected via a combination of CEO interviews, company nomination data, and publicly available market data.

FIT:MATCH, the digital twin platform, recently partnered with disruptor brand Savage X Fenty, in collaboration with Intel to launch the next generation of its award-winning, patented body shape technology. The product, dubbed Fit Xperience, gives shoppers the opportunity to get scanned in an in-store fitting room using Intel’s RealSense technology and the Intel Distribution of OpenVINO toolkit.

Within seconds, customers are matched with the best-fitting Savage X styles based on their exact body shape. This first-of-its-kind experience is available exclusively at Savage X Fenty retail stores, debuted at its new Lenox Square Mall location in Atlanta, Georgia in February.

This new experience weaves together augmented reality, computer vision and artificial intelligence, creating a re-imagined in-store fitting room experience. Shoppers who take part in Fit Xperience step into the fitting room where Intel RealSense depth sensors create an anonymized avatar based on their exact body shape. The technology then compares the shopper’s body to the database of digital twins (bodies that have been scanned previously), and – with an AI assist from Intel OpenVINO – recommends the best-fitting products to the shopper. By using depth sensors, and not cameras, to generate a mapping of a shoppers’ shape, FIT:MATCH has ensured the entire experience is both safe and private, with no videos and pictures taken or stored. The process is also extremely fast — it takes less than 30 seconds from beginning to end — saving time, both for the shoppers and the store associates.

Savage X Fenty closed a strategic investment in FIT:MATCH last year to accelerate expansion of the AR-powered technology, which solves the fit challenge that has long plagued brands and consumers by utilizing body shape data rather than just standard measurements.

This is the type of “high impact technology” that The Lead is looking for in their startups honored in The Lead 100 List 2023.

“Capitalizing on the learnings from the initial Fit Xperience rollout, we wanted to take the entire experience to the next level. This new product leverages Intel’s RealSense technology, as well as OpenVINO software to deliver a powerful, fast, and immersive shopping experience,” said Haniff Brown, Founder and CEO of FIT:MATCH. “We truly believe this is the most frictionless in-store fitting experience on the market.”

Companies from across the value chain all around the world — including marketing, ecommerce, customer experience, stores, data, AI, last mile, checkouts and payments, sustainability, merchandising, and Web3 — were nominated & considered. All companies were vetted and selected using a rigorous methodology which measures Innovation, Business Impact, Commercialization & Customers, Teams and Experience, Competition, Media Buzz, and Investor Value Creation. The selection committee, led by The Lead’s Chief Content Officer, Sonal Gandhi, conducted the analysis and final selection.

“The pace of change in the fashion, beauty and consumer industries has become dizzyingly fast, even for the industry leaders,” says Gandhi. “The companies selected for The Leading 100 list represent some of the best examples of how technology innovation is helping address the needs of this rapidly evolving business environment. Some are helping brands get the best out of the latest advances in powerful technologies such as AI, while others are creating solutions to optimize efficiency and productivity across the value chain.”

The Leading 100 List of 2023 is presented in partnership with RILA, NYFTL, XRC Ventures, Plug & Play, The Robin Report, and SUBTA. The Leading 100 Selection Committee includes: Pano Anthos, Founder & Managing Director, XRC Ventures; Jackie Trebilcock, Managing Director, New York Fashion Tech Lab; Nicholas Ahrens, Senior Vice President of Strategy, Innovation & Content, RILA; Nick Reasner, Director, Innovation & Customer Experience, Simon Property Group; Chip Korn, Partner & Co-chair, Emerging Company & Venture Capital Practice Group, Foley Hoag; Ken Pilot, Founder, Ken Pilot Ventures; Will Decker, Head of Brand & Retail, Plug & Play Tech Center; Christine Russo, Principal, RCC Agency; Tom Barbaro, Co-Founder, Cogent; Juan Mejia, Managing Director, BrightTower; Ian McGarrigle, Chairman, World Retail Congress; and Robin Lewis, Founder & CEO, The Robin Report.

“At XRC Ventures, we are excited about new technologies that empower brands and retailers to innovate,” says XRC Ventures Founder & Managing Director, Pano Anthos. “The Leading 100 List includes startups that are doing just that by developing and leveraging new approaches in AI applications, spatial intelligence, supply chain redesign, sustainably-focused methods, and more. I look forward to seeing these startups help lead our industry into the future.”

The Leading 100 will be honored at The Lead Innovation Summit on July 12th & 13th, The Lead’s flagship event where the entire fashion, beauty, home, CPG, food, beverage, health, wellness, and retail innovation community will converge to engage the future of the direct-to-consumer business model. The annual event will bring together executives from enterprise brands and retailers, challenger DTC brands, innovative unicorns, technology start-ups, enterprise technology, investors, dealmakers, analysts, and stakeholders that comprise The Lead’s network.



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An entrepreneurs journey; ShipMonk Founder names new CEO
Ft. Lauderdale’s FIT:MATCH honored as high impact tech startup in the international The Lead 100 List 2023