We attended the 2nd annual Gold Coast Venture Capital Association (GCVCA) Expo on February 24, alongside 600+ fellow patrons. The rooms were packed wall to wall with enthusiastic entrepreneurs, investors, and other related parties all anticipating meeting the carefully curated exhibitors and listening to the two illuminating speaker panels.
We are trying to merge education, games, and an ancient mnemonic technique to create socially inviting, game-based learning that you can remember.
– – Anabelle Paulino
Anabelle Paulino , manager of Mymemoree, established a goal to “come to your individual mind soon” using a platform that propels education by “gamifying” experiences. It motivates users while using memory techniques that naturally drive the human brain to remember and retain rather than merely memorize.
I have the view that we’re here on Earth to do big things. It’s kind of a waste not to, right?
– – Nico Berardi
Nico Berardi is the Managing Director of Accelerated Growth Partners (AGP), a network of angel investors looking to provide capital to disruptive tech entrepreneurs in the Miami area. Since its launch just a few months ago in July of 2014, AGP has facilitated investments of over $750,000 into five companies.
One of our early customers used our iPad based timeclock to clock staff in and out for work. Some staff, when working offsite at a hotel, would give the hotel’s front desk agent their iPad, $500, and a request to “punch them in” at 9am and then out at 6pm. In effect, this staff was getting paid to do nothing while never leaving the hotel.
I was asked “how can you solve this problem?,” to which I replied “Facial Recognition?”
– – Brian Brackeen
Brian Brackeen founded Kairos in 2012, here in Miami. It’s evolved from their TimeClock service to providing an advanced facial recognition API for its users’ apps and services. Kairos is now one of the largest facial recognition firms in the world processing over 700,000 faces per month. Brian is one of the pioneers of Miami’s entrepreneurial scene, leading the way for other aspiring CEO’s.
“I’ve always been a person who liked to do something that makes a measurable difference and is of lasting importance. Anything that I’m doing that’s not getting me that kind of high doesn’t resonate with me.”
– – Travis Montaque
“No matter what happens, every day is an 11,” says Travis Montaque of his experience launching Splyst(pronounced like ‘spliced’), a socialesque platform that allows users to share and receive personalized, relevant information.
As soon as somebody says ‘there’s a problem,’ a little bell should go off in your head and say ‘opportunity!’ And that’s what happened. We saw an opportunity in verification for accredited investors, and so we created Accredify.
– – Adrian Alvarez
The whole concept of innovating in education, allowing people to change career paths very quickly, learn new skills that let them immediately monetize and contribute to the economy, and adding the skill sets that you need as a business person… we thought ‘Hey this could be a cool combination.
– – Johanna and Juha Mikkola
Juha and Johanna Mikkola launched Wyncode, Miami’s first immersive coding bootcamp, at The Lab earlier this year. “Partners in all respects through and through,” the Mikkolas left a successful business and corporate career when they moved from Toronto to take part in Miami’s entrepreneurial revolution.
“We try to integrate technology with being a good Miamian. Code for Miami assembles volunteer developers, designers, and citizens for regular meetups. We work with counties and non profits to build amazing things.
One of our most recent projects was TextMyBusMIA. It’s a text messaging wrapper that we’ve built around Miami Dade transit data. Folks that don’t have an Android or iPhone can actually text with a bus stop ID to receive information of when the next bus is coming.
We’re trying to help build the Miami developer eco system while motivating each other to be good citizens.”
– – Ernie Hsiung
Ernie Hsiung and Rebekah Monson launched Code for Miami, a local civic hacking brigade affiliated with Code for America. Ernie is a San Francisco native and has worked in Silicon Valley for approximately 9 years at various firms including Yahoo! and Ning. He relocated to Miami approximately 3 years ago and has made great strides to helping advance Miami developers.
“We need to work on Miami pride. There are all these successful and well known companies here that no one knows started in Miami, like Burger King. There are also successful startups like CareCloud and Open English. Only nobody knows they started or are headquartered here.”
– – Brian Breslin & Peter Martinez
Brian Breslin and Peter Martinez, both Miami natives, operate Refresh Miami, a platform that enables entrepreneurs and technologists to network, learn, receive mentorship and get exposure to a like-minded community of peers and investors.
LG, Cartier, MasterCard, Riot Games, and Celebrity Cruises are some of our top tier clients – we never would have imagined we’d be working with these huge names and over 148,000 Users when we started in 2012.
VC’s congratulate how much we’ve done and then ask if we’d be willing to move to NY, SF, or Menlo Park. We would strongly prefer to stay in Miami. After all, the global e-learning market grows at almost 4X the US market and Miami is becoming an international hub.
– – Michael McCord
Michael McCord, Michael Laas, and Bill McCord founded Learner Nation in 2012. The idea was born in 2011 when Michael McCord was preparing for exams in graduate school. He studied the traditional way, but had a difficult time remembering the subject matter. He then started to create multiple learning tools to supplement his own lessons in an effort to increase his retention of the material.