South Florida Tech HubSouth Florida Tech Hub

By Nikki Cabus

Florida veteran entrepreneurs take home over $17K in winnings at 2024 ‘Battle of the Pitches’

Read Time 3 Minutes

During the Veterans Florida Expo three South Florida veteran entrepreneur program alumni were awarded with cash prizes totaling $17,500 as a part of their annual “Battle of the Pitches” competition. 

Veterans Florida is a non-profit created by the State of Florida to help military veterans transition to civilian life and to promote Florida’s status as the nation’s most veteran-friendly state. The organization provides powerful tools for veterans to take advantage of the benefits of living and working in the Sunshine State.

Veterans Florida is on a mission to attract and retain veterans and their families by connecting them to employment, training, and educational opportunities, strengthen Florida businesses by educating them on the value and skillsets veterans bring to the workforce, providing training resources for their veteran hires, and enhance the entrepreneurial skills of Florida Veterans.

On June 7th and 8th 2024 in Tampa, Veterans Florida held their 2-day expo concentrated on finding veterans opportunities for work and supporting those who have or aspire to start their own businesses. Day 1 primarily focused on connecting veterans to resource organizations and leaders in the community who are experts in multiple areas from franchising to marketing to bootstrapping and more. Day 2 featured the career fair and the highly anticipated Battle of the Pitches where winners receive cash prizes to support their entrepreneuiral endeavors.

The free 2-day event featured employer exhibitors from industries such as aviation and aerospace, cleantech, defense and homeland security, financial and professional services, information technology, life sciences, logistics and distribution, manufacturing, agriculture, commercial construction, education, government.

The “Battle of the Pitches” competition had 12 finalists from Veterans Entrepreneurship programs from all around the state. We are extremely proud to announce that this year’s winners all came from the South Florida regional programs.. This year’s winners are:

  • 1st Place | Jonathan Borgwing – Vig Solutions (Palm Beach) – $10K
  • 2nd Place | Tom Pappas – Broken Veteran 3D (Broward) – $5K
  • 3rd Place | Alberto Porro – Priority Objective Consulting (Miami-Dade) – $2.5K

First place winner, Jonathan Borgwing, Founder & CEO of Vig Solutions, took home the grand prize of $10,000. Jonathan completed the Florida Atlantic University Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program which is run by Dr. Kevin Cox, Director of FAU’s Adams Center for Entrepreneurship, and Jennifer Granger, Program Manager, Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program within Florida Atlantic’s College of Business.

Named in recognition of Florida Atlantic University graduate and serial entrepreneur Scott H. Adams, the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship brings students, faculty and the community together to fuel the innovation needed to create new venture opportunities in the ever-changing global marketplace. The mission of the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship is to create and educate entrepreneurial leaders who find sustainable solutions to economic and social problems.

Vig Solutions is a Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (DVOSB) with a mission to change the way organizations train. Through training, competency, value, and capability, Vig is an end-to-end solutions for all your training and development needs, with flexible options that are customized to right-size your challenges. The company builds expertly crafted learning solutions that lead to measurable outcomes for clients and their learners. Vig uses innovative technologies such as eLearning and virtual reality.

To learn more about Veterans Florida, please visit www.veteransflorida.org

By Nikki Cabus

Florida Atlantic’s Tech Runway announced its 13th cohort companies

Read Time 3 Minutes

FAU Tech Runway® recently accepted 13 companies to participate in the 13th cohort of its Venture Program.

The Venture Program provides the most promising startups and talented entrepreneurs in South Florida with an opportunity to join a year-long program that offers resources from FAU’s Innovation and Business Development pipeline, entrepreneurial instruction, structured team-based mentoring, networking, marketing and capital-raising assistance, co-working space, events, intern support and other vital programs.

Companies accepted into the Venture Program must have strategic alignment with FAU’s research focus areas, including drone technologies; educational technologies; environmental science; marine science; ocean engineering; neuroscience; healthy aging; big data analytics; artificial intelligence; machine learning; cyber security; sensing; and smart systems.

The 13 companies in Venture Class 13 are:

  • Alumni Direct, LLC removes the noise from other networking platforms by bringing members into one centralized location. Alumni Direct makes it easy to network and connect in communities dedicated to a university, sport, Greek organization or business.
  • BiDR TV LLC represents a groundbreaking venture in the realm of e-commerce, seamlessly merging online and traditional retail experiences to redefine the consumer shopping journey with a laser focus on enhancing user satisfaction, safety and engagement.
  • BookMark’d is an AI college assistance platform that helps college students on campus find affordable college materials, academic advising for navigating course selection, and access to receive 24/7 AI tutoring for their exact course code.
  • ByeUni LLC is a website and app that is a cross between LinkedIn and crowdfunding. It allows college students and college-bound students to post and communicate with followers and to collect money/donations from them.
  • Digiagee is a digital agency via a smartphone that enables users to reach the right people with the right message in five minutes. It is custom ad alchemy and is AI/ML powered.
  • GrowFrom Inc. is the world’s first free platform for personal growth and development. On GrowFrom users can store goals and get useful tools to help stay focused on them throughout the week.
  • Hello Sunshine LLC: Take on Trades is building the new generation of trade workers through a new method of engaging trade companies with the young people who will comprise its future workforce.
  • Neurodiverse Educational Testing (N.E.T.) offers advanced AI-driven assessments for neurodiversity, facilitating early diagnosis and tailored support for children. N.E.T. enhances 504 education plans, empowering families and educators to address the unique needs of neurodiverse students.
  • Property Vue Media, LLC provides site documentation and management solutions using digital twin technology for the construction and utility sectors.
  • SDB_Automate provides software services that revolutionize ocean depth determination and navigation using satellite images and AI technology to enhance safety in navigation, support sustainable fishing practices, and improve water tourism.
  • Shorts IQ, Inc. is a short videos machine that customizes storytelling templates from performing videos based on brand and necessities.
  • Stone Pine Marketing and Productions LLC is a marketing agency with an in-house video production team. It tailors services specifically for the needs of nonprofits and offers discounted, affordable rates for these organizations.
  • Vektor Freight LLC is a logistics company that provides airline-like speed at the cost of ground transport. Through its network of relay points, combined with AI, it achieves “continuous flow trucking” that cuts truckload delivery times up to 50 percent.

Venture Class 13 participants join a robust community of fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, instructors and top-level support professionals.

FAU Tech Runway® is a public-private partnership formed to incubate and accelerate early-stage technology-based companies, under the purview of FAU’s Division of Research . Applications for the next cycle of the Venture Program are now currently being accepted.

For more information on FAU Tech Runway®, visit techrunway.fau.edu.

By Nikki Cabus

Two New Vibrant Miami Co-working Spaces Open in Downtown and Wynwood

Read Time 3 Minutes

Mindspace, a global boutique flexible workspace provider, is excited to announce its official launch in Miami.

Mindspace was founded in 2014 and doubled its locations in the United States in the past year alone. The expansion into the thriving South Florida market with two locations, in Downtown Miami and at The Gateway in Wynwood, marks a significant milestone for the company as it continues to grow its presence in the United States. The brand new workspaces are located at 100 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132 and 2916 N. Miami Avenue, Miami, FL 33127.

Situated inside the beautiful 100 Biscayne building, in the heart of Miami’s rapidly growing Central Business District, Mindspace Downtown Miami offers unobstructed views of Biscayne Bay and the Downtown Miami skyline. This prime location has great connections to local transportation networks, including the Metromover light rail and major highways.

Spanning 31,000 square feet over three floors filled with timeless design and playful art, Mindspace Downtown Miami offers more than 400 workstations, with options of smaller and larger suites, individual hot desks and customizable enterprise solutions.

Located at the intersection of the iconic Wynwood and Midtown Miami neighborhoods, Mindspace Wynwood comprises private offices, large suites with one-on-one privacy booths, boutique meeting rooms and member lounge areas designed according to the highest standard.

In addition, Mindspace Wynwood offers shared access to the outdoor and penthouse rooftop terraces. Every site is staffed by a local team of community managers dedicated to addressing the unique needs of every single member and facilitating connections between different companies. The Wynwood location will soon have access to an on-site gym, restaurant, and bar.

Mindspace is a global provider of high-end flexible workspace, designed to serve the growing needs of the world’s leading small to medium-sized businesses and enterprises, and operates in more than 45 locations comprising 20 cities and 7 countries across Europe and the US. With a proven track record of fitting Fortune 500 companies with fully serviced, all-inclusive, and bespoke working environments, Mindspace provides a vast selection of tailorable space via large dedicated workspaces, team suites, and private offices.

With a focus on design and hospitality, Mindspace  caters a premium environment for individuals and companies to thrive in. Its latest Miami locations, which are situated in the heart of the city, offer state-of-the-art amenities and a vibrant community to enhance productivity and collaboration.

“Mindspace is thrilled to infuse Miami’s dynamic energy into our unique workspaces, establishing a vibrant presence in the heart of this thriving business hub,” said Dan Zakai, CEO and Co Founder of Mindspace.

“Expanding to two distinct locations within the same city underscores the immense potential we see in Miami. Our mission is to craft an unparalleled workplace experience, empowering businesses to flourish and individuals to unlock their full potential.”

As the demand for flexible workspaces continues to rise, Mindspace is committed to meeting the needs of professionals and seeking a dynamic and innovative workplace. Miami’s entrepreneurial spirit and diverse business landscape make it an ideal location for Mindspace’s expansion. The company aims to provide a supportive and inspiring work environment for startups, freelancers, and established businesses, fostering creativity and networking opportunities.

Mindspace is committed to offering its members the most effective, adaptable solutions for their business needs. This flexible approach avoids excess waste and overcapacity and provides a low-risk, low-commitment opportunity for future growth. With its arrival in Miami, Mindspace adds another major city to its expanding portfolio of global locations. The company already operates in more than 20 major world cities across Europe and the US.

Sign up now and get 1 month free!

By Nikki Cabus

Endeavor celebrates a decade of impact across Miami’s entrepreneurial ecosystem

Read Time 4 Minutes

On October 11th, Endeavor Miami rang in their 10th anniversary with sunset celebration at Joia Beach in Parrot Jungle Miami.

The event was a celebration of impact, “empowering entrepreneurs to dream bigger, scale faster, and pay it forward,” as the Endeavor team would say.

Endeavor, a global organization that supports high-impact entrepreneurs in 40+ countries.

In 2013, Endeavor expanded from Latin America into the United States with their first office in the country based in Miami. The expansion was funded by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation who approved a $2M grant in 2012. South Florida has always been a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity and boasted a great work-life balance, yet struggled to support scaling startups. Endeavor Miami was on a mission to change that.

The event drew an impressive crowd of local leaders including two distinguished guests, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniela Levine Cava and City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who both addressed the crowd and congratulated Endeavor Miami and the team for their accomplishments over the past decade. Other attendees in attendance included Ernest Bachrach, Chairman of the Board, Lucas Chaya del Pino, Head of Dell for Startups, Matt Haggman, Founding Board Member and other leaders such as Melissa Medina, Johnna Mikkola, Erick Gavin, and our very own Tech Hub CEO Nikki Cabus. It was a great night for all!

“Endeavor Entrepreneurs generated $800 million in revenue and created nearly 5,000 jobs in 2022! That, my friends, IS IMPACT!” exclaimed Duran.

“Our journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. It’s about people coming together, like our Board Members, mentors, partners, and team members, who understand the potential of entrepreneurs to change the world. All of them make our work possible. And, of course, the show’s true stars, our incredible entrepreneurs, ” shared Claudia Duran, Endeavor Miami’s Managing Director.

Since launching in Miami in 2013, Endeavor has built and supported a portfolio of more than 25 companies led by over 40 entrepreneurs who have created over 5,000 employment positions throughout Florida as they scaled and hired talent. This momentum has brought in more than $800M in annual revenues in 2022. That’s huge!

According to a January 2022 Endeavor article, “As of 2022, 123 companies have completed our cohort initiatives and have gone on to employ over 1,500 individuals and generated $131M in annual revenues.” We can’t wait to see what those stats look like as we close out 2023.

Duran joined Endeavor Miami in 2019, where her determination, leadership experience, and thorough understanding of the entrepreneurial mindset have led the office to new heights of success. Endeavor Miami has recently launched Endeavor ScaleUp and EndeavorLAB. Both programs are exclusively for companies based in Florida, as we believe in the power of economic transformation by our local companies and we want to help write their stories.

Endeavor ScaleUp is a cohort-based initiative that equips high-growth founders in Florida with the network and resources to gain clarity on their path to scale. Endeavor selects up to 10 companies following its global selection criteria for high-impact entrepreneurs. They become your support system and community during and long after Endeavor ScaleUp is over.

EndeavorLAB is a cohort-based initiative to support underrepresented founders in Florida in building a foundation for scale. Current and past cohorts include a Latinx Founders, Women Funders and Black Founders cohorts sponsored and supported by VensureHR, Venture Miami, Dell for Startups and FPL Be PowerFL.

This year was the first time Endeavor Miami partnered with a city outside of Miami-Dade county in an effort to regionalize their efforts. The pilot program  was conducted with The City of Boca Raton through a two-month accelerated growth program where Boca-based founders took advantage of Endeavor Miami’s community of founders and experts, while gaining insights on how they can scale their business.

Congratulations to Endeavor Miami – we’re looking forward to the next 10 years!

To learn more about Endeavor Miami, visit https://endeavormiami.org/

By Nikki Cabus

Florida Venture Forum and South Florida Tech Hub partner for a Venture Capital Mid-Year Review

Read Time 4 Minutes

Florida Venture Forum and South Florida Tech Hub partnered to host the Venture Mid-Year Review in downtown Ft. Lauderdale at the beautiful The Main Las Olas bringing together startup founders, investors, and entrepreneurs from Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Boca Raton and across the state.

As VC funding to startups is on a steady decline across the country, the state of Florida is certainly not immune. The fundraising environment isn’t getting easier for technology startups.

According to the Q2 2023 Pitchbook-NVCA Venture Monitor Report, startups in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties secured just under $400 million from venture capital investors over 79 deals during the second quarter. Compared to the same period in 2022, that’s a major decline from the $1.2 billion that investors directed to local companies.

Although fundraising is difficult in the current market, there are still opportunities for companies that are able to execute on their plans. Many hugely successful startups were born during a down market. This was the consistent message from the event’s expert panel of investors who discussed the state of raising capital in South Florida and if it’s time to be cautious or a great time to invest.

Panelist and entrepreneur turned venture capitalist, Mark Volcheck, told South Florida Tech Hub that “2023 seems like a great time to invest in startups! So, I’m puzzled by all the VC firms that are pulling back and waiting on the sidelines. What are they waiting for?” Mark is also a Founding Partner at Las Olas Venture Capital based in Ft. Lauderdale.

“2023 has been a very dynamic year, with the market environment changing rapidly.  Provisioning an update mid year on the state of the VC industry was very timely when many entrepreneurs are wondering what direction the market is moving. There were many key takeaways from the panel,” said Mark.

He continued, “First off, valuations and revenue multiples have come down dramatically in most sectors over the past 18 months.  However, funding is still available for companies that are growing and solving real problems.  The bar is higher than it has been in a long time, but many of the best companies are started in tough times!”

The other panelists included Tim Cartwright, Partner of Fifth Avenue Family Office in Tampa, Kathy Chiu, Founding Managing Partner of Deep Work Capital in Orlando,  and David Zinn, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Ocean Azul Partners in Miami. 

The panelists agreed that the decline in fundraising is due to a number of factors, including interest rates, the lack of IPOs, and the general economic uncertainty. However, they also stressed that there are still investors who are willing to write checks, but it’s important to be realistic about the challenges you face and align your expectations with investors.

Kathy Chiu emphasized the importance of finishing what you start and of focusing on achievable milestones. She also warned against trying to do too much at once and suggested that startups should focus on the areas where they have a competitive advantage.

Nate Vasel, Partner at Las Olas Venture Capital, shared similar advice in an interview with South Florida Tech Hub stating that “Founders should focus on getting to breakeven, improving their operating margins, and extending their runways.

“They should also be realistic about the challenges they face and align their expectations with investors.”

The panel discussion was a valuable opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn from experienced investors about the current state of fundraising and how to position their companies for success. The panelists’ advice is clear and concise and provided valuable insights for startups that are looking to raise money in the current environment.

Here are the takeaways from the panel discussion:

  • The fundraising landscape is challenging, but there are still opportunities for companies that are able to execute on their plans.
  • Investors are looking for companies that have a clear path to profitability and that are able to demonstrate traction.
  • It is important to be realistic about the challenges you face and to align your expectations with investors.
  • Focus on finishing what you start and on achieving achievable milestones.
  • Don’t try to do too much at once.
  • Focus on the areas where you have a competitive advantage.

Pat Schneider, VP of Florida Venture Forum said, “The willingness of the VC panelists to share their knowledge and insight; coupled with the engagement level of the audience was the best part of the event. Plus, taking guests out to walk on the glass sky deck of The Main, while gauging their level of courage, was fun and a good ice breaker!”

By Nikki Cabus

9 South Florida & Treasure Coast companies honored at GrowFL Awards 2023

Read Time 4 Minutes

GrowFL recently awarded the 50 companies selected as 12th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Honorees and 9 of them came from South Florida and the Treasure Coast region!

The awards program – now in its twelfth year – honors impressive second-stage companies from throughout the state for developing valuable products and services, creating quality jobs, enriching communities, and broadening new industries throughout Florida. The 12th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch awards celebration is brought to you by Nperspective CFO & Strategic Services, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation. 

Companies to Watch was developed by the Edward Lowe Foundation as a unique way to recognize and honor second-stage companies that demonstrate high performance in the marketplace with innovative strategies and processes. In addition to evaluating past growth and projected success, applicant companies are judged according to their special strengths and impact in their markets, communities, and within the state – thus deeming them worth watching. 

66 finalists were announced last year, and the 50 honorees were selected after a final round of judging by a panel comprised of past honorees, economic development leaders and corporate partners of GrowFL. Companies were judged on a number of criteria including growth in number of employees; impact of the business in the job market; increase in sales and/or unit volume; current and past financial reports; innovativeness of the product or service; response to adversity; and contributions to aid community-oriented projects. 

“GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch was designed to celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship and to shine a spotlight on the most deserving companies,” said Jennifer Taylor, president, and CEO of GrowFL. “This year’s honoree span 21 different counties, represent 22 different industries and 50% of them are woman, veteran, or minority owned. This diverse group of honorees can only mean one thing – Florida is the place where entrepreneurs thrive!” 

Since the first awards celebration in 2011, GrowFL has honored 550 companies from throughout Florida with this prestigious award. With this year’s honorees, GrowFL has now recognized 600 companies throughout the state that are making a positive impact on the economy and the communities in which they live. Many of the past honorees have now grown their companies to stage 3 and stage 4 businesses employing more than 500. 

“These are some of the most vibrant and dedicated entrepreneurs in our state. They are the champions that keep our communities strong by stimulating the economy, keeping the workforce employed, and giving back in ways that will change the course of our state for years to come. Like all the classes before them, this class of GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch honorees truly embody success and I know they’re only getting started,” said Dr. Tom O’Neal, GrowFL founder. 

To qualify for the award, companies must be headquartered in Florida and have between 6 and 150 and revenue between $750,000 and $100 million. From 2018 through 2021, these companies generated $1 billion in revenue and added 881 employees, reflecting a 96% increase in revenue and a 104% increase in jobs for the four-year period. That translates into a 24% average annual revenue growth and a 26% average annual growth in employees. 

These companies projected continued growth in 2022, with a 40% revenue increase and a 20% growth in employees compared to 2021. If their projections hold, these companies will have generated $1.5 billion in revenue and added 1,233 employees over the last five years — a 174% increase in revenue and 146% increase in jobs since 2018. 

Below is the list of the 12th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Honorees from South Florida & Treasure Coast:

  • 2TON Agency | Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services  (Palm Beach)
  • Affinity Management Services | Management Consulting Services (Miami-Dade)
  • Bug Bite Thing | Retail Trade (St. Lucie)
  • Casabianca Home | Wholesale Trade (Miami-Dade)
  • Earth And Sugar LLC | Wholesale Trade (Palm Beach)
  • FloSpine LLC | Scientific Research and Development (Palm Beach)
  • Misfits Gaming Group | Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation (Palm Beach)
  • Pharma Natural Inc. | Manufacturing (Miami-Dade)
  • Sloane Staffing | workforce staffing (Palm Beach)

One of those companies, Sloane Staffing, specializes in filling Marketing Technology, Digital Marketing, SaaS Sales, and Technology positions. The were founded in Palm Beach County in 2018. From 2018 – 2021, the company saw a 91% increase in revenue and 300% increase in employee growth.

When asked what’s his advice for entrepreneurs, Founder & President, Max Spanier, told GrowFL “Take the leap. It’s going to be scary. It’s going to be tough. You’re going to be anxious. You’ll probably get anxiety even if you’ve never had anxiety. But, if you have a good idea, why not give it a try? Otherwise, you might go through your whole life wondering what if. Failing at something is way better than never doing something.”

To read Sloane Staffing’s full interview with GrowFL, click here

 

 

 

By Nikki Cabus

Inaugural Venture Appreciation Night honors South Florida startup ecosystem

Read Time 3 Minutes

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!

 

By Nikki Cabus

BCEx celebrates their inaugural 2022 Showcase and honors community partners

Read Time 4 Minutes

Broward College Entrepreneurial Experience (BCEx) helps program participants achieve their dreams. Those dreams were celebrated at the inaugural BCEx 2022 Showcase in Coconut Creek on November 17th – just in time for Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Due to the pandemic and primarily virtual programming, the BCEx Showcase was the first in person event for current and past cohorts in 2 years.  The launch of the first cohort was summer 2020.

The celebration was the culmination of another successful year at BCEx and awarding community leaders, volunteers and supporters of the program’s mission. The program has been supported by fiserv and Bank United.

BCEx is Broward College’s lean launchpad startup and small business accelerator. Different from most accelerators, participants are majority female and many are minorities coming from underrepresented communities in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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.

BCEx doesn’t just support entrepreneurs, but empowers participants from students to faculty and community members through business and the cultivation of a lifelong entrepreneurial mindset. The mindset is key to the success of the program. The event featured a panel titled “Intrapreneurship in the Workplace” where four Broward College staff members (all women) shared how BCEx programs helped them take their careers to the next level. Panelists included Deborah Pinnock DebTalk LLC, Carole Hargrett, PhD, CEO of CDH Florida Groupo, Julan Samuels, PhD, CEO of IRISAJ Self-Care Hub, and Mitzi Fulwood, Broward College, Director of the iSTEM Center.

The following community supporters including our very own Tech Hub CEO, Nikki Cabus, received recognition and physical plaques for their support of the program:

  • BCEx Champion of the Year 2022: Fiserv / Shane Caldwell, BankUnited/Katrina Wright, Amazon/ Angelica Santibanez, Florida Panthers/Rob Stevenson, South Florida Tech Hub/Nikki Cabus
  • BCEx Advocate of the Year 2022: Dr. Mildred Coyne
  • BCEx Trailblazer of the Year 2022: Terry Bentley/ Mike O’Donnell
  • BCEx Academic Innovator of the Year 2022: Dr. Jamonica Rolle/Dr. Paul Moore
  • BCEx Faculty Coordinator of the year 2022: Joshua Kimber, Rudy Jean Bart, Trish Joyce, Andrea Apa

“I’m passionate about uplifting, empowering, and encouraging others; so, it was an honor to take part in BCEx’s Showcase, which was all about that! It was inspiring to be in a room with others who were empowered and equipped by this Broward College initiative to bring their business ideas to life, or/and improve their businesses if it already existed,” stated Deborah Pinnock, Broward College staff member and BCEx program alum.

“I am also grateful to BCEx for the opportunity I got to be part of a panel with passionate, powerful and authentic women, sharing on a topic that was substantive: entrepreneurship vs intrapreneurship. If you replace intrapreneur and entrepreneur with courageous, creative, problem solvers, it’s easy to understand why the right mindset is vital.

Imran Siddiqui, Associate Vice President of Broward College’s Employment Solutions division and BCEx, believes that the entrepreneurial mindset can change lives.

In his role he supports Senior Vice President, Mildred Coyne in building a revolutionary approach to higher-ed job placement with a goal of effectively transforming Broward College into a high-level job placement agency. He also oversees all entrepreneurship activity related to BCEx, the Broward College Innovation Hub and the J. David Armstrong Student Venture Fund.

BCEx has hosted notable events such as a a fireside chat with Chris Bosh, NBA legend and author of “Letters to a Young Athlete” and recently selected as the inaugural site for the Perkins V Entrepreneurship Education and Training Grant (EET). They have also received high-impact grants to help 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 helps participants innovate, create, and prepare for the future of work through mentorship, coaching, funding, and training.

Learn more about the upcoming 12-week FREE-of-charge BCEx Lean Launchpad Accelerator coming Feb 2023. BCEx is accepting applicants for Cohort 6 this Spring and those that want to turn their start-up into reality while building your business foundation. Students, faculty, staff, and the community are encouraged to participate. There are only 20 SPOTS so act now and don’t miss out!

By Nikki Cabus

Deerfield-based BrandStar Studios calls entrepreneurs for the Billion Dollar Showdown

Read Time 3 Minutes

BRANDSTAR STUDIOS, a division of BRANDSTAR, is pleased to announce a strategic joint-venture with nationally acclaimed RONINFILM, to form BrandStar Film. Roninfilm CEO, Peter Hyoguchi and President, Joan Webb have relocated from the West Coast to join BrandStar Film at their South Florida hub.

BrandStar Film is the next generation of film production, located at BrandStar Studios, South Florida’s leading Production Hub. The 43,000s q ft facility is home to a 13’ x 100’ plus LED video wall with three 27’ x 9’ ft LED ceilings features one of the few 1.9mm pixel pitch LED Volume stages in the country – integrating 3D Unreal Engine environments, and modular sets for both hybrid/virtual events and productions.

Constantly aware of the industry’s rapid evolution, this multi-million-dollar studio allows BrandStar Film to provide the newest, most cutting-edge technologies in the world of production, including Virtual Production, extended reality, augmented reality, and mixed-reality capabilities, all in real-time. The studio’s virtual capabilities are endless.

“We can basically put anyone, anywhere, in real-time,” said Mark Alfieri, CEO of BrandStar Film. “The combination of equipment and technology makes us a true next-generation studio. We are comparable to the most sophisticated movie studios in California and having Peter and Joan partner with BrandStar Film, offers the highest level of creativity and expertise in the business.”

Already recognized as South Florida’s largest production studio, the upgrade also includes implementation of the state-of-the-art, Unreal Engine software, the world’s most opened and advanced real-time 3D creation tool, which virtually renders the most complex of sets, allowing real-time shooting, while exponentially reducing editing and post-production work.

“Having the ability to see the real-time rendering of visual effects eliminates the need to wait until post-production and exponentially cuts costs. BrandStar Film is already ahead of the curve, with its multi-million-dollar LED Volume and Unreal Engine technology. As a filmmaker, there’s no better place to be. Our LED soundstage is twice the resolution of the Mandalorian. Its HDR and 12K resolution is the highest quality virtual production facility in America.”

Peter Hyoguchi’s career began when he won a George Lucas youth film festival, at the age of fifteen, for his short sci-fi called, The Future’s Future. At eighteen, he directed his first feature film; an adaptation of the play No Exit and has been making films ever since. Peter wrote and directed First, Last and Deposit, winning Best Feature at both New York and San Francisco Independent Film Festivals and distributed on many platforms including Netflix and IFC. Hyoguchi has directed four feature films, hundreds of shorts, TV pilots, documentaries, music videos and commercials. He is the founder and CEO of Roninfilm, which specializes in Virtual  Production.

Joan Webb brings extensive experience in business development, VC backing, representation and marketing. Her former clients include such notable figures as James Cameron, Oliver Stone, Doug Trumbull, Tim Burton, Coen Brothers, companies such as: IMAX, Pixar, Sony, DreamWorks, MGM, Disney and feature films: Shrek I, II & III; Toy Story; Lion King; and The Amazing Spider-Man.

BrandStar Film is now casting for a brand new show called ‘Billion Dollar Showdown and calling all entrepreneurs in South Florida to apply!

Calling aspiring entrepreneurs from all stages of the game! We are casting for a brand-new television series. Do you have what it takes to run a billion-dollar company? Whether it is street smarts, or executive intellect, we are looking for the next tycoon. Apply to compete in the upcoming series premiere of Billion Dollar Showdown and you’ll be one step closer to the biggest prize in TV history!

Florida veteran entrepreneurs take home over $17K in winnings at 2024 ‘Battle of the Pitches’
Florida Atlantic’s Tech Runway announced its 13th cohort companies
Two New Vibrant Miami Co-working Spaces Open in Downtown and Wynwood
Endeavor celebrates a decade of impact across Miami’s entrepreneurial ecosystem
Florida Venture Forum and South Florida Tech Hub partner for a Venture Capital Mid-Year Review
9 South Florida & Treasure Coast companies honored at GrowFL Awards 2023
Inaugural Venture Appreciation Night honors South Florida startup ecosystem
BCEx celebrates their inaugural 2022 Showcase and honors community partners
Deerfield-based BrandStar Studios calls entrepreneurs for the Billion Dollar Showdown