South Florida Tech HubSouth Florida Tech Hub

By Jason Steinfeld

Kubernetes celebrates significant milestone with 10th birthday bash in Boca Raton

Read Time 4 Minutes

Kubernetes, an open-source container orchestration system, celebrated its 10th anniversary and South Florida Tech Hub and the Cloud Native South Florida meetup group hosted the “KuberTENes Birthday Bash.”

The Cloud Native South Florida group is an official Cloud Native Community Foundation (CNCF) group all about open source technologies that are in the Cloud Native landscape. CNCF is the vendor-neutral hub of cloud native computing, dedicated to making cloud native ubiquitous. People of all skill levels are welcome to join the monthly meetup group and open, inclusive and respectful is the way they roll.

Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration system for automating software deployment, scaling, and management. Originally designed by Google, the project is now maintained by a worldwide community of contributors. Trademark is held by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. and it was in June 2014 that Kubernetes was first announced. A year later, in July 2015, version 1.0 was released, marking a significant step in the journey of this community-driven project.

Cloud-native technologies enable organizations to build and run scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments such as public, private, and hybrid clouds. Containers, service meshes, microservices, immutable infrastructure, and declarative APIs exemplify this approach.

On June 6th, the “birthday bash” rightfully took place in Boca Raton at the home of Cloud Native Now. Cloud Native Now’s mission is to cover all aspects of cloud-native technology—philosophy, tools, business impact, best practices and more. The site is the largest collection of original content related solely to cloud-native technologies on the web and one of the top results for cloud-native-related search terms.  Cloud Native Now is operated by Techstrong Group (formerly MediaOps), the people behind DevOps.comSecurity Boulevard and Techstrong.TV and many other educational and content-driven sites.

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation, a key player in the cloud-native technology landscape, lent its support to the event. Sponsors such as Cuemby and Defense Unicorn ensured all guests had a wide variety of lite bites and desserts to enjoy. The agenda included speakers, the opportunity to connect with various South Florida tech community members, and cake. Lots of Kubernetes-blue cake! The support of the sponsors is a testament to the widespread recognition and support for Kubernetes in the technology community.

South Florida Tech Hub member company, Cloud Native South Florida chapter lead, Cuemby, was also the event sponsor. Cuemby’s leadership team and co-founders, Angel Ramirez, CEO, Hitomi Mizugaki, Chief Product Officer, and Cristher Castro, COO, were all in attendance. The team welcomed the guests, the guest speakers for the night, and helped lead the group in a happy birthday sing and cake-eating for Kubernetes. Their excitment and love for the technology was felt by everyone in the room.

Cuemby is an industry and vendor-agnostic company dedicated to enabling small and midsize enterprises with cumbersome legacy systems to become more agile, scalable, and competitive. Since their founding in 2015, our team of experts has performed over 100 technology due diligence processes for mergers and acquisitions. As a Kubernetes Certified Service Provider and an official Kubernetes Training Partner, Cuemby specialize in simplifying Cloud and Kubernetes for SMBs, ensuring your cloud operations are streamlined and optimized for success.

Guest speakers included Hitomi Mizugaki, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Cuemby, who shared her expertise and experiences in the cloud-native space. Casey Wylie, a software engineer at Defense Unicorns, presented an engaging talk on Kubernetes admission controllers, shedding light on this crucial aspect of container orchestration. Joshua Stein, an expert in DevOps architecture and development, covered a broad range of topics including Infrastructure as Code, Configuration Management, CI/CD Pipelines, Log Aggregation, Monitoring, Alerting, and Container Orchestration. His presentation provided valuable insights into the complexities and innovations driving the DevOps field.

The event also facilitated meaningful connections among South Florida’s tech professionals, offering a glimpse into the vibrant tech industry in the region. Casey Wylie, reflecting on the event’s success, expressed his admiration for the community’s enthusiasm and participation. “I want everyone’s eyes here because the more eyes you get, the more people are going to critique, and the more people are going to make it better,” Casey said, underscoring the importance of community engagement in driving technological advancements.

In conclusion, the Kubernetes celebration was more than just an event; it was a recognition of the collaborative spirit that fuels the open-source movement. As Kubernetes continues to evolve, its success story remains a powerful testament to the power of community-driven innovation and the limitless possibilities of cloud-native technologies.

📷 Check out all the fun photos (Thank you, John Sohn) from there event HERE. To learn more about the Cloud Native South Florida group, visit www.community.cncf.io/south-florida

 

By Nikki Cabus

Guest Blog: Digital Transformation South Florida Style at TECHpalooza

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I was privileged to be invited to participate on a panel for the CIO Breakfast as part of the recent TECHpalooza event here in South Florida (Ft. Lauderdale to be exact). The panel was entitled, “The Future of the AI Revolution.”

I must admit I had modest hopes for the discussion taking place at the ungodly hour of 7am, but I was pleasantly surprised – not only with the sophistication and maturity of the state of digital transformation at the companies represented on the panel, but equally so by the companies represented in the audience.

Having lived in South Florida for almost 22 years now, I have come to accept that this isn’t Silicon Valley, Boston, Austin or any of the other hot tech markets. However, due to Covid, digital nomads and the hard work of local organizations like Tech Hub South Florida, that isn’t the case anymore.

There is a vibrant tech scene stretching from Miami, past Ft. Lauderdale and all the way up to Northern Palm Beach County – and even beyond.

Besides myself, on the panel was Michael Fowler, who is a VP and business unit CIO at Florida Power and Light (FPL), Sam Jaddi, SVP and CIO at ADT, Caroline Roche, VP and Senior Partner IBM’s Transformation Services, and Chad Simpson, the CIO for City Furniture. The panel was moderated by Colby Brannan and Lee Buchness, senior partners at Culture Partners.

Also not able to join us, and missed, were John Machado, the CTO of UKG and Tamecka Mckay, CIO of the City of Ft. Lauderdale. The audience had an equally impressive roster of well-known brands, as well as a good mix of consultants, smaller companies and startups.  All attendees were pre-approved and had to be a CIO or of the equivalent level to attend.

Though the discussion centered primarily around how the attendees were using AI or planned on using AI in their organizations, I was struck by the state-of-the-art technology that was being used almost universally across the board. These companies were almost all hybrid cloud users, shifting more and more of their infrastructure to the cloud.

To a person, they all were deep into DevOps and Cloud Native. Because several of them were in highly regulated industries, security and compliance processes were also very sophisticated. The level of digitization of these businesses was remarkable. ADT, for instance, is looking at how the smart home of the future will function and how they can be the hub of that. FPL is extremely forward thinking in communication with their customers via an app and being able to monitor their grid using every technology within their reach. Even City Furniture is digital first, with supply, shopping and delivery services all highly automated and digital.

We tend to think of our local companies, as just that – local. But hearing how they have transformed in the last few years and what their plans are to harness AI and other technologies to become the providers of tomorrow was extremely uplifting. The panel ran for near 90 minutes, as the standing room only audience would not let us off the stage.

Many members of the audience shared their own transformation stories with us. One interesting fact shared was that near 75% of the audience was already using gen AI in their business. Near 100% were well ahead on their digital transformation journeys. Another surprise for me was that their budgets for these initiatives were full speed ahead. I deal so much with tech tool vendors and venture backed companies that I have become used to hearing about budget cuts and delays on projects; but these participants whose companies are not generally thought of as “tech companies” were full speed ahead on their transformations.

We should remember that in the tech world. There is a big economy out there of companies doing exciting things around transformation. More than that, they are really jazzed about what else is coming down the pike and what that can mean as they seek to transform the very fabric of our day-to-day lives – not just in South Florida, but in the entire US and the world beyond that.

Shout out to the South Florida Tech Hub folks for putting on an amazing event.

 

Posted with permission from TechStrong Group and Digital CXO. Visit their website here.

By Nikki Cabus

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

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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:

1ST PLACE, $2,500 PRIZE: TEAM LLAMAA

  • 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

2ND PLACE, $1,500 PRIZE: PIXEL POETS

  • 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

3RD PLACE, $1,000 PRIZE: ASK ME LATER

  • 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 Adam Elitzur

Techstrong Group Launches Techstrong.ai to Document the AI Revolution

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Techstrong Group, the power source for people and technology, has unveiled its latest venture, Techstrong.ai.

Techstrong.ai is Techstrong Group’s community to discuss AI – all the time. Techstrong.ai covers how AI is disrupting multiple industry verticals, such as tech, media, finance, manufacturing, transportation and health. The community is creating content such as news, analysis, case studies and learning opportunities, in different form factors, such as written articles, podcasts, videos and interactive events.

TechStrong.ai is a part of the TechStrong Group company and larger portfolio. A Boca Raton-headquartered omniversal media company, TechStrong covers the IT industry and practices that are reshaping the world of technology. Techstrong Group accelerates understanding of technologies that drive business. With a broad set of IT-related communities and offerings, Techstrong Group is the only media company serving the needs of IT leaders and practitioners with news, research, analysis, events, education, certifications and professional development. The company’s focus is digital transformation, DevOps, cybersecurity, cloud and cloud-native. Techstrong Group business units include: Techstrong Media, Techstrong Associations, Techstrong Research, Techstrong Learning and Techstrong Live!. For technology providers, Techstrong business units offer many ways to reach IT professionals and tell their stories.

This addition to their portfolio of companies aims to document the forward march of AI as it rapidly disrupts one vertical market after another and become a destination site and community dedicated to the creation and distribution of AI-related content. Techstrong.ai will be covering many verticals in a variety of mediums, including current issues and concerns, use-cases within industries, research, news and Q&As.

 

Why Techstrong.ai now?

AI is not a new concept. By the late 1980s, AI made the leap from science fiction to science fact, and since the 2000s, many dollars have been spent and many hours of brain power expended to try to understand, apply and advance AI for real-world use cases.

“For many folks, though, AI really got real with the release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The large language model (LLM) generative AI with a chatbot front-end has ignited a firestorm of attention worldwide. VC money is pouring in and everyone is trying to “AI enable” their applications; at the same time, there’s a vocal backlash from thought leaders trying to stop–or at least slow down– its further development until we can properly assess the risks and try to put some mitigating measures in place,” Alan wrote in a recent blog.

Alan Shimel has years of experience in venture-backed tech startups, especially in the cybersecurity field. He started his journey in tech with the onset of the commercial internet in the mid-90s and started and sold a company during that period. After writing and speaking about tech topics for years, Shimel launched MediaOps, the predecessor of Techstrong Group, in 2013. MediaOps grew from being a single-person blog, to a blog with multiple authors, and an online community.

Shimel pointed out his realization that AI is not just another technology trend, but a civilization changer that deserves its own platform, so he created TechStrong.ai. “If AI is going to change civilization, we can’t afford to just cover it as a side topic in our other channels. It has to have its own place,” Shimel said.

But for better or worse, the AI genie is out of the bottle.

 

TechStrong’s view on the future of AI.

“Every once in a while a tech innovation comes along that transcends technology and tears through the very fabric of civilization. We believe that AI is that kind of technology–perhaps the biggest thing since the internet itself. AI will disrupt one vertical market after another,” said Alan Shimel, Founder & CEO at Techstrong Group. “That is what Techstrong.ai is all about. We intend to document the forward march of AI as it disrupts so many models in existence today.”

Shimel expressed his conviction that AI is going to have a profound impact on humanity. “I’m not here to scare anyone that AI is going to take your job away,” Shimel remarked. “AI is not going to make fewer jobs. It’ll make more jobs. They’ll just be different jobs. And that’s part of what our mission is: to show these different jobs. How you not only survive but thrive in an AI world. We think AI’s impact is going to be like a seismic wave that works its way through civilization. What does it mean for young people? What does it mean for careers?” he said.

“All the various forms of AI are transforming how businesses around the world operate,” said Mike Vizard, Chief Content Officer at Techstrong Group. “With the launch of Techstrong.ai we are committing to not only providing strategic insights into where to apply AI, but also demystifying a set of technologies that at their core are based on familiar data science techniques and principles.”

Techstrong Group’s mission is to report the news and create content for technology professionals looking for fresh insights and new skills. Techstrong Group’s portfolio of companies includes DevOps.com, Security Boulevard, Cloud Native Now, Digital CxO and Techstrong TV. 

Mike says that TechStrong.ai welcomes your support and participation, whether as a contributor, community member or any other way you want to participate. If you would like to be involved, please contact us at info@techstrong.ai.

“We don’t make the news,” Shimel stated. “We report the news. So as this continues to unfold, we’ll keep on top of it.”

By Nikki Cabus

Techstrong supports diversity in tech; the next Engineer The Change scholarship recipient announced

Read Time 5 Minutes

Techstrong Group has teamed up with Boca Code once again to award another ‘Engineer the Change’ scholarship to help foster diversity in South Florida tech talent pool and empower individuals from underserved communities to develop the skills needed to succeed in the industry.

The scholarship is awarded twice per year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Winners receive $10,000 each to put toward Boca Code’s Software Engineering Course. The 10-week intensive coding bootcamp combines theory and hands-on, project-based learning that prepares the students for a career in software engineering. Boca Code offers adults comprehensive training in software development using real projects for real companies to best prepare you for and help place you in a career in the tech industry.

Our Engineer The Change scholarship recipient for the Spring 2023 cohort is . . . Camila Sandoval!

Camila was born in Colombia, South America in a small town where tragedy struck her family early on. With the support of her grandmother who taught her English and her mother who instilled strong values and a love for mathematics, Camila was driven to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering where she took two programming classes that ignited her interest in coding. She then realized she wanted to dedicate her career to developing medical software. With few opportunities in Colombia in this field, she moved to South Florida, a state known for healthcare and innovation.

Moving to the United States presented several challenges, including a lack of connections, her degree not being recognized, and having to prioritize finding a job to cover my basic needs over prioritizing her education. She continued self-taught online bootcamps where she discovered Boca Code and the “Engineer the Change” scholarship opportunity. She knew this was her next step.

Camila has a great desire to help others and much of that stems from her own personal experiences. She believes these opportunities should be available to everyone no matter there background or circumstances.

Upon winning, Camila told South Florida Tech Hub, “As an immigrant, winning the Engineer the Change Scholarship means more than just having the financial support to achieve my goals. It also provides me with the opportunity to join an industry that transforms the world. I am grateful for the chance to contribute my unique perspective and inspire others who may be facing similar challenges.”

Congratulations, Camila, we are all rooting for you!

The Engineer the Change scholarships combine two goals that are core to Techstrong Group:

  1. Doing their part to make South Florida a world-class hub for the tech industry and
  2. Providing opportunities for individuals from underrepresented communities to acquire the skills they need for a successful career in tech.

Techstrong Group is a media company and the power source for people and technology accelerating understanding of technologies that drive business by serving the needs of IT leaders and practitioners with news, research, analysis, events, education, certifications and professional development. Their focus is digital transformation, DevOps, cybersecurity, cloud and cloud-native under brands such as Techstrong Media, Techstrong Associations, Techstrong Research, Techstrong Learning and Techstrong Live!

“We are proud to continue our partnership with Boca Code to support and empower talented individuals who are seeking opportunities for growth and have demonstrated a deep commitment to pursuing a career in IT,” said Alan Shimel, founder and CEO at Techstrong Group. The scholarship will be awarded to the most deserving student whose application shows a genuine interest in technology and demonstrates the potential to be a future leader.”

Research shows a staggering lack of diversity in STEM fields, most noticeably within computer and engineering positions. It is a glaring workforce disparity that requires both recognition and responsibility from those at the highest levels in the tech world to create a more diverse and equitable workforce.

To be eligible, applicants must be over the age of 18 and be part of an underrepresented community (i.e. women, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans or other minority groups). To be considered, applicants will are required to submit an essay (minimum of 500 words in length) detailing how they can serve as a role model to other disadvantaged individuals hoping to acquire the skills to become successful tech workers and what type of career in the tech industry they are hoping to pursue.

While the idea is to help the South Florida tech community, applicants can apply from anywhere as long as their essay explains why they are coming to South Florida to launch their tech career.

Boca Code CEO Todd Albert told South Florida Tech Hub that ‘The scholarship has a huge impact because we have been able to help students that would otherwise not have been able to afford to attend. We’ve given 8 students the opportunity to change their lives and have a better future for them and their families.”

“Techstrong is an amazing partner and shares our passion for making the tech community even more diverse,” he continued.

“It is important to us that we seize every opportunity to help foster diversity and inclusivity within the tech industry, and the Engineer the Change scholarship is a great start to empowering disadvantaged minorities within the South Florida community to grow their technical skill set.”

Unlike other code schools where students work on dummy projects, Boca Code partners with real companies to give our students real life resume-worthy projects to work on that not only build their portfolio, but give them meaningful experiences. Their curriculum is designed by professional educators and senior developers.

Additionally, scholarship winners are featured in the ‘Engineering the Change’ video series, produced by Techstrong Group, which follows the recipients on their journey to become software engineers. From the highs to the lows, you can get a view into what these software engineering students are facing.

Additional Resources

By Riley Kaminer

Engineer the Change scholarship expands access to South Florida tech jobs while expanding our regional talent pool 

Read Time 3 Minutes

A lack of top tech talent is one of the major barriers to the growth of South Florida’s innovation ecosystem. Our research suggests that Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade have 6.5 times the number of new software engineering positions available this year than there are engineers to fill them. This is significantly higher than global figures, which sit at around 2x.

Boca Code is working to fill this talent gap by equipping ambitious South Floridians with the skills they need to excel in a software engineering role.

To support Boca Code’s mission, Boca-based tech media conglomerate Techstrong Group has announced that it will take part in the Fall 2022 Engineer the Change scholarship. Two students will receive $10,000 each to put towards Boca Code’s Software Engineering Course, a 10-week, full-time bootcamp. By the end of the program, students will be prepared for a career in software engineering. 

For Techstrong Group, these scholarships combine two goals. One: help make South Florida a world-class tech hub. Two: provide opportunities for people from underrepresented communities to gain the skills they need to find success in the tech industry.

“We are pleased to partner with Boca Code to give talented individuals a chance to pursue their dreams and launch, or advance, their career in IT,” commented Alan Shimel, founder and CEO at Techstrong Group. “The scholarship will be awarded to the most deserving student who is passionate about technology and demonstrates the potential to be a future leader.”

“We appreciate our partnership with Techstrong Group,” said Boca Code CEO Todd Albert. “It is important to us that we seize every opportunity to help foster diversity and inclusivity within the tech industry.”

“The Engineer the Change scholarship is a great start to empowering disadvantaged minorities within the South Florida community to grow their technical skill set,” Albert continued.

This scholarship has already led to some major success stories. For instance, last year’s scholarship went to Alina Maliuk, a first-generation immigrant from Ukraine. Maliuk now works as a software engineer at West Palm Beach-based fintech SMArtX Advisory Solutions.

“Boca Code’s workshop in web development was energizing and furthered the learning I had already  started on my own. Through that initial course, the Boca Code team inspired me to go even further. I  am ready to move onto my next chapter and I would like that to be a career in software engineering,” said Maliuk. 

“Thanks to the Engineer the Change scholarship, I now have this amazing opportunity to accelerate my tech career,” Maliuk continued. “I will give back by showing other female immigrants of the Russian speaking community in Florida that if you can dream it and work hard to achieve it, you can make it happen.”

Albert told South Florida Tech Hub that Boca Code has seen rapid growth since being founded in 2020. “Every cohort this year has been full,” he said. They are also looking to add some new classes to create even more opportunities for students. 

Interested in applying for the Engineer the Change Scholarship? Visit Techstrong’s website, or learn more about other scholarship opportunities by visiting Boca Code’s website.

Follow along by watching Techstrong’s reality show about this year’s Engineer the Change scholarship. Episode 1 is available now.

READ MORE ON SOUTH FLORIDA TECH HUB:

By Nikki Cabus

394 Florida companies make the 2022 Inc. 5000 list; South Florida strong with 171

Read Time 3 Minutes

The popular Inc. 5000 list of Fastest Growing Private Companies across the United States is out for 2022 — and the state of Florida is looking pretty strong.

From healthcare to education to marketing and construction, Florida’s top companies represented a multitude of industries. Over a 3-year span from 2018 – 2021, Florida companies had a 239% median growth, $18.8 billion in total revenue, and 36, 540 jobs added.

Two Florida companies made the overall Top 10 List: HighKey at #5 and Homethreads at #8. HighKey is a food & beverage company based in Orlando with 41,585% growth and Homethreads is a retail company based in Boca Raton with 25,851% growth.

This year, Inc. 5000 also listed the Top 10 diverse leaders of 2022 and Florida had two honorable mentions: HighKey once again and Zimba & PLUS ULTRA, a consumer products company based out of Boca Raton. Zimba & PLUS ULTRA was also listed in the Top Women Leaders category.

Through a 3-year period of uncertainty and change, these companies have shown a resiliency and level of innovation like no other. Of the 394 Florida-based companies, 61 were newly founded and an impressive 85 were repeat honorees.

Below are the Top 10 Florida-based companies, South Florida-based companies, and how they compare on a national level.

 

TOP 10 Fastest Growing Companies in FLORIDA:

  • #5 – HighKey (Orlando) – Food & Beverage – 41,585% growth
  • #8 – Homethreads (Boca Raton) – Retail – 25,851% growth
  • #35 – Zimba & PLUS ULTRA (Boca Raton) – Consumer Products – 9,349% growth
  • #47 – The Snow Agency (Miami) – Advertising & Marketing – 6,953% growth
  • #48 – OneRail (Orlando) – Software – 6,879% growth
  • #50 – KITRUM (Clearwater) – IT Services – 6,799% growth
  • #58 – AMA Consulting Group (Winter Park) – Government & Services – 6,218% growth
  • #59 – 365 LOGISTICS (Ft. Lauderdale) – Logistics & Transportation – 6,093% growth
  • #67 – Poseidon Management of Florida Get Staffed Up (Miami) – Human Resources – 5,807% growth
  • #68 – Octillion (Boynton Beach) – Media – 5,793% growth

 

Top 10 Fastest Growing Companies in SOUTH FLORIDA (Miami Metro Region):

  • #8 – Homethreads (Boca Raton) – Retail – 25,851% growth
  • #35 – Zimba & PLUS ULTRA (Boca Raton) – Consumer Products – 9,349% growth
  • #47 – The Snow Agency (Miami) – Advertising & Marketing – 6,953% growth
  • #59 – 365 LOGISTICS (Ft. Lauderdale) – Logistics & Transportation – 6,093% growth
  • #67 – Poseidon Management of Florida Get Staffed Up (Miami) – Human Resources – 5,807% growth
  • #68 – Octillion (Boynton Beach) – Media – 5,793% growth
  • #99 – HCM Unlocked (Boca Raton) – Human Resources – 4,385% growth
  • #100 – Performance Golf (Ft. Lauderdale) – Sports -4,323% growth
  • #122 – Stylecraft (Boca Raton) – Manufacturing – 3,733% growth
  • #139 – Air Pros (Hollywood) – Consumer Services – 3,392% growth

 

Interesting Stats:

  • Of the overall 394 Florida-based companies, almost 45% were from South Florida with 171 represented.
  • Of the Top 10 Florida-based companies, 60% were based in South Florida.
  • Of the Top 10 South Florida based companies, 20% were from Miami-Dade county, 30% from Broward county, and 50% from Palm Beach county.

 

Here’s a shoutout to some of our South Florida Tech Hub members who made the 2022 list:

  • #618 – ShipMonk (Ft. Lauderdale) – Logistics & Transportation – 1,025% growth (5 year repeat)
  • #697 – Sloane Staffing (Palm Beach Gardens) – Business Products & Services – 897% growth
  • #886 – Salesmsg (Delray Beach) – Software – 718% growth
  • #998 – PlanHub (West Palm Beach) – Construction – 654% growth (2 year repeat)
  • #1306 – Social Mobile (Hollywood) – Business Products & Services – 498% growth
  • #1740 – CloudHesive (Ft. Lauderdale) – Business Products & Services – 353% growth (4 year repeat)
  • #2016 – Gravity IT Resources (Ft. Lauderdale) – Human Resources – 299% growth (4 year repeat)
  • #2345 – PeakActivity (Boynton Beach) – Business Products & Services – 250% growth (3 year repeat)
  • #2359 – TechStrong Group (Boca Raton) – Media – 248% growth (3 year repeat)
  • #2990 – Dedicated IT (Lake Park) – IT Services – 181% growth (3 year repeat)
  • #3301 – The SilverLogic (Boca Raton) – Software – 180% growth (3 year repeat)
  • #3917 – Digital Resource (West Palm Beach) – Advertising & Marketing – 125% growth (5 year repeat)
  • #4435 – ModMed (Boca Raton) – IT Services – 100% growth (7 year repeat honoree!!)

 

To learn more about the 2022 Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies, visit https://www.inc.com/inc5000/2022

By Riley Kaminer

Techstrong Group’s Alan Shimel on the state of South Florida tech

Read Time 3 Minutes

Alan Shimel, founder and CEO of the Techstrong Group, has seen his fair share of economic ups and downs in the more than three decades he’s been involved in the tech world. “I’ve been through the boom and bust cycles,” he told South Florida Tech Hub. “There’s no doubt that what we’re going through now is some sort of recession or correction. The market has changed in the last couple of months.”

How long this volatility lasts is difficult to predict, asserted Shimel. “It could be another two, three months. It could be a year or more.”

He believes that profitable companies with cash in their coffers will have no issue making it to the other side of this period of uncertainty. “You’re going to see a shakeout,” he explained. “A lot of the companies that raised money during 2021 but don’t have sound business models and business plans are going to have a hard time.”

But it’s not all doom and gloom for Shimel. “Economic downturns are also the best time to start new companies. It’s like fresh growth in the forest. And so I’m excited to see what new companies can come out of these times.”

No matter the direction in which the economy is trending, we can trust the TechStrong group’s wide range of media entities to keep us up-to-date on it all.

The Boca Raton-based omnichannel content company is empowering people and companies to come together and learn about what’s happening in the worlds of digital transformation, cybersecurity, the cloud, and DevOps.

Under the Techstrong Group’s umbrella are media brands such as DevOps.com, Security Boulevard, Container Journal, and TechstrongTV. The company also works to bring tech leaders, consultants, and vendors together to share their knowledge and learn from each other. This includes through their Techstrong Live! division, which hosts in-person, virtual, and hybrid events.

Shimel continues to be bullish about South Florida’s tech ecosystem, contending that our region has reached a critical mass of tech entrepreneurs and innovators. “It’s like a snowball rolling down a hill: once it’s of a certain size, nothing can stop it.” 

He praised the work of South Florida Tech Hub and other local organizations that have been promoting our ecosystem on national and international levels. However, he hinted at some growing pains facing our region: “The reality is that it’s not less expensive here anymore, and it’s getting more and more crowded.”

That said, Shimel highlighted the Boca Raton/Delray Beach area in particular as a bright light in South Florida’s innovation ecosystem. “We have all the things you need to build a strong community,” he said. That includes universities with top talent, ambitious entrepreneurs, a government friendly to tech, and investors with capital. Boca ticks all the boxes.

“Boca has always been very entrepreneurial, even going back to the IBM days,” underscored Shimel. And the best may be yet to come.

 

Learn more about the Techstrong Group

Business: The go-to source for unbiased information, insights and connections for IT professionals looking to excel personally and professionally

HQ: Boca Raton

Employees: More than 40

Website: TechStrongGroup.com

By Nikki Cabus

Industry leaders and researchers brought together for the FAU Data Science Conference

Read Time 3 Minutes

Back in person for the first time since the pandemic, the Florida Atlantic University Data-Driven Science & AI Conference brought together industry leaders, students, and researchers from multiple industries. This is the fourth conference for the Schmidt College of Science and the first year the conference attracted support from the National Science Foundation!

“The conference was reshaped this year to meet the growth of the Schmidt College of Science as well as the dynamic tech, data and AI community we work with in South Florida,” said William Kalies, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Conference Chair. “The funding provided by the NSF enabled us to conduct this conference again and provide opportunities for our local industry to interact with our researchers and students to spark future collaborations, internship and career opportunities.”

Throughout the day-long event, participants had the opportunity to attend two panel discussions, six themed minisymposium sessions, ranging from the use of AI in chemistry and molecular medicine to the urban applications of data science, enjoy a student research poster competition, learn about opportunities in the community through Tech Hub South Florida, and had multiple opportunities for learning and networking.

Twenty-six students from FAU High School and FAU’s undergraduate and graduate programs exhibited their research at the conference. Three students, Kayla Ahlness, Dawn Raja Somu, and Deepika Regmi, earned recognition for their studies from faculty judges.

The conference included two sponsored panel sessions by South Florida Tech Hub, including the Health Tech panel that discussed, “Digital Transformation and Data-Driven Insight in Healthcare” with leaders in healthcare technology. This panel had a packed room of students, researchers and faculty interested in hearing about “Where We Are and Where We’re Going” in healthtech.

Meggie Soliman, Director of Strategic Innovations at DSS, Inc. opened up the conversation with a presentation and followed by moderating the discussion with panelists, Pete Martinez, CEO of Sivotech Bioinformatics and former IBM executive, Yenvy Truong, Founder of LSM Group, and  Christopher Kunney, Chief of Strategy & Business Development at DSS, Inc.

The Tech Career & Internship Experiences panel discussion paired recent FAU alumni with their mentors to discuss how they secured an internship and their current full-time industry positions. They also answered students’ questions and shared advice.

Panelists included Rich Viens, Chief Financial Officer at PeakActivity and former intern Valeria Tineo, now the Incoming Account Executive of Organizational Business Development at Cleveland Cavaliers, and Lakshamana Sankarakuttalam, Senior Manager IT, Enterprise Intelligence at Office Depot alongside recent FAU Alum and current Master’s student,  Jose Delgado, Software Developer at Office Depot.

The conference featured mini sessions highlighting everything from “The Impact of AI in Financial Market Investment Strategies” to “Topological Data Analysis Algorithms in Robot Motion Planning.” The final keynote talk of the day was Daniel Uribe, MBA, Co-Founder & CEO, GenoBank.io, and active Tech Hub member. His talk was titled “BioNFTs: Enabling Decentralized Consented Genomics in the Metaverse” discussing the biodata provenance journey with an ethical risk analysis of who benefits, who is at risk, and who decides on the biological assets (biosamples + biodata) and the introduction of Biological Non-Fungible Tokens or BioNFTs that resolve in a public blockchain.

This year marked the return to an in-person event for the first time since 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last conference was held virtually in 2020. The last conference was successfully supported by the local Boca Raton company, TechStrong Group and Media Ops, which ensured it could be attended virtually. We are already looking forward to 2023!

Student Kerry-Ann Bartley shares how the M.S. in Data Science and Analytics program in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science provides training in analytic tools, preparing students with transferrable real world skills.

By Alan Shimel

Ask Not What South Florida Tech Hub Can Do For You

Read Time 4 Minutes

It has been great to see the great progress that South Florida Tech Hub has been making over these last few months. The joining of Tech Lauderdale (SFTA) and Palm Beach Tech (Tech Hub) promise to finally realize the potential that our local community holds.

Here at Techstrong Group we think it is important to be good community members. Towards that end we have tried to support South Florida Tech Hub and other community players like Boca Code whenever we can. We don’t have any sponsors based down here. This isn’t a big area for our community members. But nevertheless, we participate. It really was our pleasure to be a presenting sponsor of their ‘One Brand | One Voice’ Gala event at Signature Grand recently celebrating the unification between both organization. 

For those of you who did not attend there was a genuine excitement in the air that finally it is all coming together for the local tech scene here in South Florida. In my short speech at the Gala, I spoke about the elements needed to form a successful startup community that my friend Brad Feld has outlined in his “Startup Communities” series of books.  It really does seem like we have all the elements to make this happen for all of us.

But there is one thing I forgot to mention in the excitement of that evening. And that is selflessness.  To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, “ask not what South Florida Tech Hub can do for you. Ask what you can do for South Florida tech hub.”

What do I mean by that? Let me explain. Let’s be honest, for most of you reading this making South Florida Tech Hub and the community it serves successful will result in you and/or your business benefitting.  For all the altruistic sentiment expressed, we all have our own reasons for wanting this community to thrive. More customers, more money, more investments, more jobs, more, more, more.  But hey there is nothing wrong with that. As Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street says, “greed is good, greed is what made America great.”

But a community is a delicate thing. You can’t just take and take some more. A lesson I have learned at Techstrong where our audience is made up of techies (developers, DevOps teams, cyber and cloud native folks) is that you can’t be too pushy, to salesy, too one way.  You need to do things for the common good.  You have to realize that the rising tide lifts all the boats.

That means you do things without an immediate payback. Sometimes the benefit to you is a dotted line, not a solid line. You need to just let that karma wheel spin and hope it comes back to you. 

I am reminded of when I was much younger and for many businesspeople joining the rotary or the chamber of commerce or even the knights of Columbus, the Elks and all those kinds of clubs were in style.  You went to those organizations and you were immediately the prey for the lawyers, accountants and even funeral directors that were already members.  Same thing applies here.  New members shouldn’t feel like they have to run an obstacle course of existing members reaching out to offer their services.  How about just meeting new people and welcoming them into the community. Get to know them, don’t try to sell them something or use them for your own gain. 

Several people at the Gala the other night asked me “why do you think we haven’t been more successful building a community here up to this point?”  There is more than one reason for this. But one of them for sure is that we need more people who are doing this for the right reasons and the right way.

From what I have seen from Nikki Cabus, Tech Hub’s newly appointed CEO, and team lately and the broader audience the other evening, we have a good core of people who are doing this right.  We need more.

I would ask each of you reading this join the team and lets do this right

 

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Ask Not What South Florida Tech Hub Can Do For You