South Florida Tech HubSouth Florida Tech Hub

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

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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

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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

 

Engineer the Change scholarship expands access to South Florida tech jobs while expanding our regional talent pool 
394 Florida companies make the 2022 Inc. 5000 list; South Florida strong with 171
Techstrong Group’s Alan Shimel on the state of South Florida tech
Industry leaders and researchers brought together for the FAU Data Science Conference
Ask Not What South Florida Tech Hub Can Do For You