News Column

Launch Pad Tech Announces First Class of Startups

Dec 11, 2012

Nancy Dahlberg

tech entrepreneurs

Launch Pad Tech on Monday announced its first class of startups for its downtown Miami accelerator.

The 10 startups selected for the three-month Launch Pad Tech Accelerator program, which begins Jan. 23, had to be operating in one of three areas of strength in Miami-Dade's economy -- tourism/hospitality, healthcare or creative IT (art, music, fashion, film). Through the financial support of Miami-Dade County and the Miami Downtown Development Authority, each of the startups in the accelerator will receive free office space for a year, an intense, structured program for three months and then mentoring the rest of the year. Each team will also receive a $25,000 grant.

In all, 133 companies applied for the accelerator program from all over the world, said Launch Pad Tech founder Susan Amat. About 45 percent of the applicants came from outside the country. Of the 10 selected, five are international.

"I was incredibly impressed by the number, the diversity and the caliber of the applicants. It was a very tough decision," said Terremark founder Manny Medina, one of the five judges who determined the final choices. "These are exciting times for the technology industry down here."

Ivan Rapin-Smith, program director of Launch Pad Tech, said that while companies are not required to stay in Miami after the program is over, the accelerator did look for companies that expressed "a true emotional commitment" to do so. "It's up to us and the community to make them fall in love with Miami and want to build and grow their companies here," he said.

Here is the first class of Launch Pad Tech's accelerator:

--Hair Construction Club: This Miami startup provides online education for hair stylists through high quality multimedia content and an innovative content distribution platform. Team: Cory Hoffart and Magdalene Palfi.

--RawApps: This Miami startup lets small businesses create demo videos by providing online production tools and a marketplace for templates and content. RawApps won The Miami Herald's Business Plan Challenge in 2011. Team: Antonio Otalvaro, George Estrella and Michael Diaz.

--Kimetric: This Argentine company helps fashion retailers increase their sales by tracking and analyzing in-store customer behaviour with an innovative application of Microsoft Kinect technology. Team: Alejandro Muther and Florencia Muther.

--Poolami: This Argentine startup's peer-to-peer car sharing network mixes social profiles, community ratings and smartphones to connect drivers to passengers. Team: Charlie Deane, Ezequiel Purificato and Matias Bullrich.

--BoatYard.com: On this peer-to-peer boat rental site, boat owners and renters use social tools and peer reviews to evaluate prospects. A proprietary suite of insurance products ensures protection. Team: Nathan Heber and David Polinsky.

--EveryPost: This startup from Argentina lets users create and share multimedia content on their mobile device. Team: Fernando Cuscuela and Leandro Armas.

--NightPro: The Miami startup has a cloud-based application that allows nightlife venues, event organizers and promoters to manage guest lists, reservations, table availability, promoters/staff member performance, payouts and data collection. Team: Juan Bermudez, Francisco Quintero and Otto Othman.

--Mobile Health Solutions: Nearly 30 percent of prescriptions are never picked up at the pharmacy, causing many hospitalizations and deaths. The European startup's mobile app aims to simplify the way patients purchase medications. Team: Luis Angel.

--SWOL: This Miami startup is creating a social community designed to unite and engage global soccer fans through original content and celebrity access. Team: Adam Davis and Danny Karbassiyoon.

--The Social Radio: This startup from Argentina lets you listen to tweets and posts while playing your favorite music in the background, and the service is available on iPhone, Android and on the web. Team: Roberto Gluck, Alejandra Negrete and Demian Renzulli.

Community program

Launch Pad Tech also announced its 25 selections for its Community Program, which attracted 90 applications. These companies did not have to be in the three industry areas that the accelerator companies did. Each of the companies will get low-cost office space in the same space as the accelerator companies as well as mentoring and can participate in the programming.

It's all about creating entrepreneurial density, said Rapin-Smith. "This is all part of the goal: To put these companies [that are] in different stages of their life cycles together in the same place so they can spar with each other and grow as a community."

Of the 25 companies chosen for the Community Program, all but Tabber are from South Florida. They are:

--AdMobilize: The company's ad network changes the rules and roles of advertising; where now, consumers get paid to represent the brands they love.

--Tabber: This Brazilian startup seeks to revolutionize the way people interact with bars, restaurants and stores by allowing them to place orders and pay the tab directly on their own smartphones, without having to go through a sales person.

--Vikingo Games: This company digital pop-up books for education and entertainment.

--Sportnity: The Web 2.0 Internet platform digitizes sport leagues, clubs, teams, athletes, referees, agents and fans into virtual communities that enhance the overall sports experience.

--CrewHu: This online recognition platform will allow customers to create, execute and track contests and other recognition programs.

--Sponsorist: This startup's platform makes it easy for anyone to sponsor events, nonprofits, schools, sports teams and more.

--Munchkin Fun: A Miami kids calendar and class directory that aims to answer an old question: What's fun today?

--Intellocorp: A cloud-enabled software company providing a platform for fuel optimization and business control for commercial vessels.

--Gemster: This startup aggregates and organizes a massive database of local events from Facebook to help people decide where they should be heading out to have a great time.

--Breast Cancer Partner: An eHealth portal for breast cancer survivors that provides evidence-based education, tools and resources.

--Zia Ella: This is an e-commerce and mobile platform that will allow shoppers to learn about what to look for in their beauty products, what to stay away from and will enable easy and fast online shopping.

--Indira: This company is a personalized fashion and decor brand that designs and sells bridesmaid dresses and wedding details for the discerning bride.

--SynTravel: SynTravel specializes in Group SoLoMo (Social Local Mobile) technology that uniquely melds consumers and enterprises together with their Social CRM Software.

--Gozump: This startup makes it easy for anyone, anywhere to buy a home. It's like a social turbo tax for home buying.

--FlySocially: This social travel application helps travelers find fun things to do at the airport, like connecting with fellow travelers and finding instant dining and shopping deals.

--Flomio: This startup enables new conversations between people, merchants, and brands through NFC and RFID technologies.

--SpendLO: This Web-based platform enables consumers to "name their own price" on services from pre-qualified local providers.

--YourListen: This social audio content platform allows users to upload, listen, search share, download, comment and store any audio file for free.

--FlyBy: This application enables people to discover new places, new people and save money while traveling.

-- Seeshow: A photosharing site specifically designed for kids leverages the amount of time children spend on the Internet with an entertaining way for families to create and share their stories.

--Interactive Healthcare Solutions: A company that integrates consumer-based technology (such as remote monitoring, text messaging and gaming principles) into healthcare with a focus on improving quality of life.

--DoYouRemember: The Internet's first social site based upon nostalgia is the Facebook for our yesterdays.

--TrainingMD: This is an exercise physiology mobile application designed to provide healthcare professionals with a platform for improving patient wellness and health.

--ToddlerTV: This mobile app provides safe and independent video content discovery for toddlers.

--ZipTip: This startup provides a mobile payments platform for tips and gratuities.



Source: (c)2012 The Miami Herald. Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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