South Florida Tech HubSouth Florida Tech Hub

By Riley Kaminer

Entrepreneurs and investors come together at sold-out Pitch and Pour event in Coral Gables

Read Time 4 Minutes

It was an evening of innovation, entrepreneurship, and networking at South Florida Tech Hub’s Pitch and Pour event on August 25th in Coral Gables.

Hosted by angel investor Tahl Milburn, the Investment Sub-Committee Chair of Tech Hub’s Startup Committee, at Merrick Manor, upwards of 55 people from the South Florida tech scene came to meet each other and discuss the opportunities present in our rapidly-growing ecosystem.

“It is a pleasure to have you all here, as we gather in one of the world’s most exciting tech ecosystems,” Milburn said in his opening remarks.

Startup founders were at the core of the event. These eight entrepreneurs had the opportunity to pitch their company to some of South Florida’s top investors. They each had three minutes to showcase their startup, followed by three minutes of questions, before moving onto the next investor. Community members were able to listen in on pitches as they were happening. All the while, there were ample networking opportunities, facilitating connections between startups and key local stakeholders.

 

Meet the featured startups!

Startups presenting at the Pitch and Pour event represented a cross-section of South Florida’s innovation economy – from media to upskilling, and everything in between. 

Modern Trials – Leveraging electronic medical record data from a broad network of healthcare organizations to match patients in need of advanced treatment options with appropriate clinical trial opportunities.

Streann Media – SaaS platform that enables content providers to build their own distribution platforms. Read more about Streann Media in our member spotlight.

Roomaters – A startup that aims to make it easier to find roommates. Now building a communications platform focused on student housing.

Boca Code – A Boca Raton-based coding school, aiming to help connect budding technologists with some of South Florida’s most exciting tech firms.

Guiltless To Go – An app that provides the delivery of food for people with specific dietary needs.

Best Candidate – An election candidate search engine and campaign media manager.

Parkquility – Taking the headache out of parking by enabling consumers to reserve parking spots in advance. 

Brain A.C.T.I.V.E. – Empowering businesses to improve their employees’ mental fitness.

 

A resounding success, and more to come

Mike Maniscalco, EVP of Technology at Applied Blockchain and Chair of Tech Hub’s Startup Founders Peer Group, underscored the importance of events like the Pitch and Pour for South Florida’s rapidly-expanding tech ecosystem.

“It was an incredibly successful first event,” Maniscalco told South Florida Tech Hub. “We need to do more. It was clear from the amount of attendees that the appetite is huge. We should keep having more of these events, as people continue to be willing to come.”

This event is what the Startup Founders Peer Group is all about: bringing founders and entrepreneurs together to connect, share, and learn from each other in a safe setting. They typically meet once a month to share our successes, needs and resources. Through the work of the Startup Committee, participants attend events such as pitch clinics, contests, and investor connection events. They also hear from guest speakers and take part in summits and expos.

Serial entrepreneur and RaiseLink chief executive Chris Houghtaling was one of the experts hearing pitches at the event. Houghtaling said that he had been to similar events in other tech ecosystems internationally, but nothing quite like it in South Florida.

“Not only did it help startups improve their pitches, but it also allowed for ample networking in a relaxed and fun atmosphere,” commented Houghtaling.

 

Developing South Florida’s tech ecosystem

South Florida Tech Hub is the only tech ecosystem development organization active throughout our region, including Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin counties. Through its events, committees, and advocacy, Tech Hub is at the forefront of developing South Florida as a cutting-edge, inclusive hotspot for innovation.

As South Florida rises to prominence on a global stage, events like Pitch and Pour are critical to bring together innovators from the entire region – uplifting all parties while also fostering a strong sense of community.

Tech Hub’s Startup Committee proudly supports and connects dozens of startup organizations and stakeholders in South Florida. It unites the following resources and leaders together to achieve common goals: Startup Accelerators & Incubators, Entrepreneur Support Organizations, Community-oriented Coworking Spaces, Venture Capital & Angel Investors, Economic Development & Government Partners, Corporate & University Innovation Programs and more.

Click here to view more photos from the Pitch & Pour startup event. 📸

 

Are you interested in getting involved in Tech Hub’s activities in South Florida? Come out and show your supPOURt! Visit TechHubSouthFlorida.org or email team@techhubsouthflorida.org for more information. 

By Riley Kaminer

800+ developers gather in Davie for SoFlo DevCon 2022

Read Time 4 Minutes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To view more photos from the event, click here.

TOGETHER, we are #BuildingSoFlo!

By Riley Kaminer

Member Spotlight | Streann

Read Time 3 Minutes

Business: SaaS platform that enables content providers to build their own distribution platforms

Launched: 2016

HQ: Miami

Employees: 48

Website: Streann.com

 

Miami tech veteran Gio Punzo is passionate about building the next generation of digital tools for content creators. 

Punzo is the CEO and Co-Founder of Streann Media, which develops an SaaS platform that enables users to “build their own Netflix, Spotify, or HQ in less than 24 hours.”

Streann calls their service “Smart OTT” (Over-the-Top), meaning that users can access content from providers through white-labeled web and mobile apps. Content providers have various options to charge for their content, including pay-per-view, recurring subscriptions, and AVOD (advertising-supported video on demand).

In a media ecosystem where digital accessibility reigns supreme, Streann’s products are in high demand. “Now everybody is becoming a content platform,” Punzo explained, noting the wide range of organizations they work with, from television stations to comedians to event organizers. 

Today’s media landscape stands in stark contrast to the pre-digital prevalence of television and radio broadcasters. According to Punzo, this growth of digital, decentralized content distribution has been favorable for Streann’s bottom line: “Everything doubled during Covid.”

Streann expects that this growth will propel them into a $10 million Series B round of funding. Punzo said that Streann has enlisted the help of Boca Raton-based Noble Capital Markets to scour the market for investors who are interested in a front-row seat to their disruption of the media space.

With this Series B funding, the top priority for Punzo and team will be to continue developing their more than 150 tools. This includes a tool that enables content providers to set up their own social content platform. In Punzo’s own words, this helps Streann’s clients “become more like TikTok and less like Quibi.” 

Streann also hopes to further develop its split-screen feature that displays advertisements right beside content. This allows users to watch their programming without having to pause. Companies are a fan of the feature because it increases the likelihood of users catching a glimpse of their advertisements, unlike the skippable advertisements that are common on other platforms.

Streann plans to expand its team in order to make this product development happen. “We’re hoping to hire for everything from web designers to front end developers,” said Punzo.

While his team is global, Punzo is proud of his Miami roots and hopes to source much of their talent from the South Florida community.

“I’ve been getting messages on LinkedIn from people who are planning to move to Miami, so I see a new pool of talent that’s moving in,” Punzo said. 

Since the pandemic and recent growth of the Miami tech ecosystem, Punzo finds it “easier to convince people to move to Miami.” He says that this Series B funding will allow Streann “to be more aggressive with bringing talent to Miami,” thereby contributing to an increase in the quality of the overall talent pool.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Miami to grow,” Punzo said. “I feel there’s a movement.”

But seasoned entrepreneur Punzo cautions fellow founders in Miami not to get swept up in the hype: “You’ve got to keep your focus, appreciate the noise, and see if you can ride [the growth].”

Entrepreneurs and investors come together at sold-out Pitch and Pour event in Coral Gables
800+ developers gather in Davie for SoFlo DevCon 2022
Member Spotlight | Streann