By: Jane Schreier Jones
“As engineers, we tend to think if we build it, they will come,” says Jason Dettbarn, founder and CEO of Addigy. “But the business world doesn’t work like that. We needed help and that’s what took us to StartUP FIU (Florida International University).”
Dettbarn had been having mild success with Addigy, a company he founded in 2014, offering cloud-based IT management platform specifically for managing apple Mac Computers. While more than 80 vendors provide this service for PCs, few companies offer the service on the Mac side, a segment of the marketplace that Dettbarn predicts will grow tremendously as more Mac-devoted millennials enter the workforce.
“We need investors to help take Addigy to the next step,” Dettbarn said. “Capital won’t be used for investigating the market or testing a product. We’re already up and selling. We need capital for marketing and advertising to really get the word out about what Addigy offers Mac users.”
Like many inventors, Dettbarn had limited knowledge about how to approach and obtain investors. “My customers are technical people and I can talk to them all day,” he says with a chuckle. “But investors are an entirely different group.”
Dettbarn, who holds bachelor’s (2001) and master’s (2002) degrees from FIU, turned to his alma mater’s new venture: StartUP FIU, a collaborative, entrepreneurship hub to help FIU students, faculty, alumni and early-stage startup entrepreneurs from the Miami community create and grow their businesses.
He became a member of Cohort 1 of The Empower Accelerator program, StartUP FIU’s comprehensive, 14-week program to develop scalable traditional and social entrepreneurship ventures. Under the direction of Director Kate Sackman, the program provides coaches, skills training, advisors, access to speakers, and cutting-edge work space. Cohort 1 concluded in December 2016, and a second cohort began their session in February of this year.
“We’re here for the South Florida community, including students and faculty at FIU,” says Emily Gresham, co-founder of StartUP FIU. “Companies or individuals selected for each cohort bear no costs for our services, including The Empower Accelerator program. Entrepreneurs retain 100 percent of the equity in their venture.”
Dettbarn likes the passion and excitement he felt as a member of the first cohort at StartUP FIU. “Just like entrepreneurs themselves, StartUP FIU is new and out to prove themselves,” he points out. “The people at StartUP FIU are more motivated than other incubator programs.”
By: Ariel Zirulnick
Hey! Breaking news! Miami has some affordability issues.
Okay, not actually breaking news. But #notfakenews either.
Miami Dade County’s poverty rate is 19.8 percent – way higher than the national average. Sixty-one percent of renters spend more than a third of their income on housing. The experts call that being “cost-burdened.” Miami is the third most expensive housing market in the U.S. Only the top 5 percent of earners are gaining in prosperity. The rest of us are struggling more and more to afford the same. The divide has been dubbed the “prosperity gap.”
You’ve probably seen these numbers before. There’s a headline every week about how damn expensive it is to live in Miami, that even people with well-paying professional jobs are paycheck to paycheck; that no millennial is ever going to be able to afford to buy a house here; that our booming real estate and tech industries belie a hollow center.
But what does that mean?
It means that we have a large number of neighbors who are financially precarious. A major medical expense or an unexpected job loss could wipe them out in a month. The number of people in this situation is bigger than anyone realizes.
At The New Tropic, we want to make this city a better place to call home, someplace where people can afford to #livelikeyoulivehere. So does Citi’s Community Development team. So we’re teaming up to explain all this a little better, and start talking solutions through the Prosperity Project. There are some out there we haven’t heard about, and others coming down the pipe. Smart people are asking tough questions and grappling with grim realities to bring us much-needed fixes.
We talked to a few of them in the video above: Miami-Dade County Commissioners Jean Monestime and Daniella Levine-Cava, who have led this conversation in local government; Gretchen Beesing, the CEO of Catalyst Miami, one of our leading anti-poverty organizations; and Emily Gresham, an assistant vice president in FIU’s office of innovation and economic development who has a passion for connecting under-resourced communities to opportunity.
Local is more important than ever. So is getting to know your neighbors. It’s a rocky time right now. Addressing that starts in our backyard, with listening to each other.
So, we want to start by hearing your stories. How do you make it month to month? What would happen if you had to go to the emergency room? If you had a car accident and had to pay your $500 deductible to get it fixed? Could you do it? Would you have to go without something else to do it?
If that’s cool with you, we’d like to ask you a couple questions.
We’re looking forward to having this conversation with you in the coming months. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thoughts.
Editor’s note: The poverty rate was updated after publication.
By: Nancy Dahlberg
StartUP FIU is launching its second cohort of its 14-week accelerator, Empower, this month. The cohort includes entrepreneurs from 17 businesses or concepts in a variety of industries, including music, fashion, shipping, health, and education. It also includes a number of social entrepreneurs. The free program accepted entrepreneurs from the idea stage to revenue-producing companies; it includes community members as well as FIU students and alumni. Read more about the program here: Multi-campus StartUP FIU gets ready for takeoff
Who’s in Cohort 2 of StartUP FIU? Find the list below:
Founder: Stephen Sullivan
Audio EP provides music students interactive exercises to develop various music related skills essential to music production and songwriting in today’s digital age. It also connects students with music instructors through the online platform for coaching services.
Founder: Jorge Arias
BECOS produces handbags, book bags, wallets and others, with recycled materials in order to create conscience within our customers. The recycled materials are from cement bags and food sacks for animals, and these bags are put together by employees with disabilities. In addition to that, 15% of annual profit will support children that have been displaced by violence.
Founder: Carolina Hoyos
BENBO is a new interactive, simple and easy to use business networking app, where we try to simplify the user’s interaction when sharing business cards. BENBO lets you: Create and customize your very own business card, uniquely designed, in just a few seconds.
Founder: David Villegas
Boatrax facilitates the logging experience for boat owners with a mobile app that allows them to organize their logs and share them with local service providers to purchase right-on-time services using our marketplace platform.
Founder: Francine Gervazio
Cargo42 is a marketplace for trucking committed to reducing idle time and capacity. We seek to provide shippers (local businesses) a more competitive rate and simplify the shipping process, while carriers (local trucking companies) enjoy an additional revenue stream and maximize the trucks productivity.
Clutch Couture Bags
Founder: Jordan Johnson
Clutch Couture Bags provides a luxury handbag rental service that serves US customers via an online store. We provide a service that allows fellow fashion-lovers to experience the luxury of carrying some of the world’s most sought-after handbags, while paying a fraction of the price on a monthly basis.
Founder: Charles Sims
Retail Incubator space developed with reused shipping containers located in (Liberty City) Miami, FL. The hope is that a sustainable model can be created and deployed in similar communities throughout the U.S.
Extreme Weather Experience
Founder: Erik Salna
Extreme Weather Experience is a one-of-a-kind concept to develop an immersive, experiential, interactive, hands-on weather education theme park attraction with entertainment, retail, restaurants, a weather forecast center and a media broadcast center.
Founder: Francine Delarosa
Give Wink is a full-service boutique that provides added value services such as full space planning and design, nursery set up and reveals, customization and personalization of many products, gift registries and educational classes/events
Founder: Andrew Ritch
GlanceHouse allows businesses and organizations to automate the backup and archiving of video surveillance data to the Cloud. Users can store that data from 30 days to an indefinite amount of time.
Founder: Cristina Rodriguez
Mind&Melody has designed a proprietary music curriculum with three goals: to deliver live musical performances; teach music theory concepts in a simple, fun and artistic way; play sheet music and create original composition through our color-coding system. Our program is highly individualized to reach and engage different levels of dementia and musical ability.
Founder: Gudmundur Traustason
SkillCourt is an athletic training system consisting of pads built with LED lights for cue targets. The goal of the illuminated targets is to be hit with an object like a soccer ball through a timed sequence. Inside each pad are sensors that provide feedback for detailed performance which reports performance information to the SkillCourt app.
Founder: Christian Gutierrez
Stealth Simulation by Boorpus™ LLC was born out of the need to increase the fidelity of standardized patient physical examination. We focus on technology-driven innovative solutions aimed to improve medical simulation while maintaining the highest degree of realism of virtual patient encounters.
Founder: Carlos Raul Garcia
Viera Academy provides a playground e-learning platform that specializes in Standardized Tests, as well as world level Mental Math and Memory courses, developed by Guinness World Record holders.
Founder: Dorothy Peck
WeWomen is aiming to solve the lack of feminine hygienic pads in refugee camps. Their solution is using banana leaves from banana trees to produce hypoallergenic and environmentally friendly menstrual pads. Providing women with a product that will allow them to work, go to school and be productive members in society
Founder: Sergio Klarreich
Worcket is a millennials-ready phone app and a cloud service that enterprises use to recruit University and College students or professionals for employment opportunities, in the US first and then worldwide. It leverages disruptive technologies like Video Profiles, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence. We are a truly innovative Seattle based start-up, that is part of the Microsoft BizSpark incubation initiative. Our first production release will be ready in mid-December.
No Name Company
Founder: Megan Twomey
The idea presented here is for a novel class of Nitric Oxide (NO) probes that are based on unique metal photoluminescent complexes that directly react with NO to provide highly sensitive and cost-effective detection. This novel class of probes would benefit the scientific and medical communities by advancing the understanding of NO’s biological roles and subsequent pathological conditions that arise from NO dysfunction.