On Friday, July 17, weVENTURE and Collegiate Pathways hosted Tech Sassy’preneurs Camp at Canvs, a co-working space centered in Downtown Orlando. The two organizations dedicated the camp to guiding young girls interested in STEM fields to envision their tech ideas become reality.
“I was tired of going to conferences and being the only one; I wanted to create makers not consumers,” Laine Powell said.
Powell is the Founder and Executive Director of Collegiate Pathways, Inc., a college prep program that works with students to improve their standardized testing skills and provide scholarship and career opportunities.
It is through Collegiate Pathways that the Tech Sassy Girlz were born, a program that exposes 6th through 12th grade girls to the STEM field.
At the Tech Sassy’ preneurs Camp, the Tech Sassy Girlz had the opportunity to be mentored by women currently working within the STEM field. Divided into 5 small groups, the girls developed business ideas supported by a pitch.
The professionals guided the girls through their brainstorming, forcing them to think outside the box and approach any possible issues, conflicts and outcomes that may come when starting up a business.
“I not only want the girls to be able to learn from the workshop, but also to know that there are a variety of different paths they can take within the field, it doesn’t have to be that nerdy professor-like path, it can be a mixture of both science and business,” mentor Melissa Kuchma said.
Kuchma is the founder of Revolution Medicine, a DNA analysis service that provides clients a chance to see how they will react to certain medications.
Other mentors at the event include Angela Alban, President and CEO of SIMETRI, Inc., Tomeka Bell, President of Validity Solutions, Jovanna Nelson, Co-Founder and Event Manager of Good2Go Event Management, Inc. and Suneera Madhani, CEO and Founder of Fattmerchant.
The Tech Sassy’preneurs Camp also included a pitch competition judged by the mentors. Pitches ranged from a scholarship matching app to a bug repellent.
The prize for the best pitch went to #onfleek, an online fashion service. Mentored by Alban, the girls received a $15 gift card each and the chance to enter Bright House Networks’ Bright Ideas in STEM competition.
“I am happy Bright House is investing so much effort into our growth,” winner Naia Butler-Craig said.
This isn’t the first opportunity Bright House gave Butler-Craig. She has also received a Future Leaders scholarship from the network which she will use to study aerospace engineering at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
weVENTURE Director, Shea Glenny, was also delighted by the community outreach.
“I was so gratified to see so much community collaboration: weVENTURE, Tech Sassy Girlz, Canvs, Orlando Tech Association, our rockstar mentors, Move2Create, and media outlets. That was the most rewarding part of the event for me personally. We win biggest when we all synergize our work together,” Glenny said.
It is through this extensive community support that Orlando can continue to inspire and motivate the youth to reach their highest potential.
By: Monique Mahabir
If you have Bright House as your cable provider, you can now learn about all things blogging at your leisure.
It was announced last week that the Orlando-based online blogging show, Blog Talk TV, will now be available exclusively on Bright House Networks on-demand channel 999 for viewers. Previously only broadcasted by Cox Communications in the Virginia area, the shows expansion has now opened doors in the Central Florida market among others across the state and country.
Blog Talk TV features the biggest names in social media, many of whom live in Orlando. Past guests have included the likes of Lou Mongello, a blogger whose Disney podcast reaches over one million downloads a month, and Jeanette Johnson, one of the country’s top fashion bloggers. Also featured have been names in the tech community, such as David Glass of Orlando iX.
Blog Talk TV is produced by Concrete Lion Pictures and Gotta Get Blogging, the company behind the Florida Blogger & Social Media Conference (FLBlogCon). FLBlogCon is and hosted by Gotta Get Blogging CEO and Starter Studio graduate Bess Auer, and Ben Reed of the “Orlando Water Hole.” Regular segments have also included Josh Murdock from ProfessorJosh.com.
The show’s first season wrapped in February after 20 episodes. Now that episodes are available on demand, season 2 is currently in the works. The new season will focus on bloggers outside of Orlando and big names in blogging around the country, including Pintrest user, Kim Vij, who holds 1.5 million followers, as well as sports bloggers from the University of Florida.
In addition to its Central Florida network availability, Blog Talk will now be available in the Bakersfield, Birmingham, Detroit, Indianapolis and Tampa Bay markets.
A second blogging show, also produced by Concrete Lion Pictures, is Florida Swim Network, which has just been picked up by Bright House Sports Network.
The TV network has ordered 20 episodes of the blog-to-TV show, slated to be called “On Deck with Florida Swim Network.” It is co-hosted by Joe Auer, Van Buskirk, Kaitlin Frehling, as well as major swim names including Sid Cassidy, former FSU and then University of Miami coach and the force behind making Open Water Swimming an official Olympic event, and Elizabeth Beisel.
“On Deck with Florida Swim Network” will focus on highlighting Florida athletes, coaches, training and athletes vying to participate in the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janero, Brazil. Filming has already started on the new series at several locations, including International Drive’s YMCA, and plans to debut later this month.
“Blog Talk TV is an exciting development and offers just another great opportunity for our amazing tech community to showcase their expertise,” said Mayor Teresa Jacobs. “I’m thrilled about ‘Blog Talk TV’, and encourage all Orange County residents and business owners to tune in and start blogging!”
At the meeting, OrlandoiX was awarded $20,000, after it was recently announced that OrlandoiX would be downsizing and moving the festival out of Downtown Orlando to the Orange County Convention Center.
FireSpring Fund asked for $100,00 to help boost seed stage investment efforts within the Central Florida tech community, however the Orange County Commissioners have earmark the funding request for a later budget review. The County Commissioners will revisit the proposal in August or September while the Commissioners research other funds and how other local governments participate.
FireSpring Fund is a partnership between Rollins College, the University of Central Florida, Canvs and the City of Orlando.
On Thursday July 16, Orlando Tech Meetup is back featuring five new companies with innovations to help make your life easier, view products in 3D, and pump up your marketing skills. You don’t want to miss this months Tech Meetup. OTA’s Tech Meetups brings out the best startups and technology companies to demo their latest work. If you’re interested in learning more about the Orlando’s startup community and want to connect with local developers, designs, entrepreneurs, and investors, be sure to RSVP.
Check out the list of the five technology companies that will be demoing this Thursday and be sure to attend the Orlando Tech Meetup.
Ever thought of what things would look like in 3D, but in your fingertips? Augment is an augmented reality mobile application that allows businesses to simulate their 3D models in the real world, with real size and in real time. Augment allows its customers to create amazing interactive experiences that empower sales and marketing teams. If you’re looking to take your sales pitches to the next level or wanting to see innovative technology through the app, check out Augment.
If you’re not a fan of crowdfunding options like GoFundMe or Kickstarter, try 6PHP. 6PHP.com is a donation-based crowdfunding platform that eliminates the need for a large social network to successfully raise funds. It’s crowdfunding made easy without the hassle of pushing your initiatives through social media.
The 21st century is going paperless, so how must you conduct business with contracted work? iCheckContractors verifies Florida contractor’s professional license, workers’ comp insurance, and corporate standing using government data in real time. This eliminates problems with paper documents that can be forged and expire.
If you find organizing your personal and health information a pain, then My One Resource has your answer. My One Resource is designed to help you not only organize your life documents information, but also to understand how that information is used. Whether you’re getting faster treatment by having your medical history on hand or avoiding unnecessary – and costly – services by having detailed maintenance records at your fingertips, managing life’s complexities has never been this simple.
Effin Amazing Tools is a suite of Google Chrome extensions that makes the life of any marketer easier. If you’re looking to step up your marketing game, check out Effin’s Email Link Generator. It includes a UTM Builder that allows you to track your content across the web and simplify the process of asking for introductions, referrals, and feedback in three easy steps.
Want to have your ideas heard in front of 3,000+ designers, entrepreneurs and investors or to be apart of the Southeast’s largest tech and startup meetup? Apply today to demo at our next meetup in August.
Last week, local financial startup Fattmerchant closed a venture capital deal for $750,000 that will help improve its processing service, create new jobs in Downtown Orlando and allow the company to reach more merchants.
The subscription based company, which offers a flat rate credit card processing was funded by early stage venture firm venVelo and private investors.
“With the wealth of talent on our board and strong partners like Enterprise Florida and Rollins College, venVelo continues to grow its portfolio and work to contribute to the success of these exciting companies,” Allen H. Kupets, COO of venVelo said.
Fattmerchant is planning to expand its 10 person staff and add eight more employees before the end of the year. In addition to raising funding, Fattmerchant will be creating a board of directors. Currently, CEO of Ruth’s Hospitality Group Craig Miller and founder of Code School Gregg Pollack serve on its board of advisors.
Fattmerchant recently won the Venture Capital Competition at Rollins College this past March. Among the young startup’s accomplishments is their successful competition of Starter Studio’s three-month accelerator program which helped better their business model, business pitch and target audience.
This week, Orlando Tech Association announced companies for its June 18 Tech Meetup. Orlando Tech Meetup will feature four new companies that include startups serving the music, travel and auto industries, each with its own distinctive app and service. OTA’s Meetups bring out the best startups and technical companies to demonstrate their latest work. For those interested in learning more about the startup community and to connect with local entrepreneurs, be sure to RSVP.
JOOX is the world’s first rewards-based music stock exchange. It has a fan-funding system that allows fans to support their favorite artists with the rewards they receive, completely done on its free app. JOOX offers premium data and analytics as well as additional services to artists to help them further monetize their data.
Need a last minute flight with a good deal? FlightFishing offers the best Internet’s flight deals in one place. Choose to receive information by email, text or twitter, and FlightFishing will have information that is already filtered to accommodate the user’s preferences.
If you are a talented musican interested in breaking into the music industry, consider brand development. Bandbasher is a local startup that provides members with a simple, intuitive environment for artistic development and collaboration.
Veehic is a consumer based used car marketplace with enhanced features to target a growing segment of the auto buying marketplace. Veehic drives to give “a better way to sell used vehicles.”
Interested in demoing at next month’s meetup? Let us know in an email at email@example.com
When your child is sick the last place you want to be is in a waiting room. Around other sick people. Waiting.
Almost a century ago, people avoided this by having the doctor come to them. Orlando founder Matt McBride looks to bring back the good ol’ days with Mend Family, an app that sends doctors to your home for house visits.
Mend works much like Uber and other on-demand services where users enter their location into the app and then choose a doctor from specialties such as family, internal medicine or pediatrics. The family describes their symptoms and needs, and Mend sends out the doctor for a house call. Families can review doctors by satisfaction ratings, and the app lets the patient know exactly when the doctor will arrive, similar to Uber. Mend offers services like checkups, vaccinations and even mobile x-rays, and accepts insurance from 45 major payers.
Mcbride McBride thought up the idea from the numerous doctor wellness visits he his wife would make for his their two children. Taking your child to a waiting room full of sick people can be a challenge for any parent.
“I think a lot of parents struggle with those visits, but what alternative is there,” said McBride. “Being in tech, I saw what Uber was doing with their fleet, and I thought wouldn’t it be cool if that was a fleet of doctors. And that’s how Mend started.”
In the 1930’s physician house calls were standard practice with almost 40 percent of patient/physician interactions happening in the home. Though studies have shown that house call visits are effective in reducing readmissions by almost 25 percent, the practice has since gone down to about 1 percent of interactions, mainly due to lack of support by insurance carriers. But as technology has shrunken and improved the tools available in a doctor’s black bag and demand for health care services rises, insurance companies have begun to return to the house call model to reduce costs and provide more effective services.
“I saw what Uber was doing with their fleet, and I thought wouldn’t it be cool if that was a fleet of doctors.”
Mend beta-launched on June 8th and already has 100 downloads and seen 30 patients. The service is currently only available in Baldwin Park and Winter Park but plans to expand throughout Orlando later this year. Mend also offers telemedicine anywhere in Florida.
According to IBIS World, the primary care market is a $246 billion dollar industry growing 4.4 percent annually. In Orange and Seminole counties the market is $628 million with about 5 million patient visits annually.
Prior to Mend, McBride co-founded Fast Forward Academy in 2010 an edtech site that offers online training to tax and accounting professionals. In five years McBride and his cofounder grew the site into an industry leader with more than 150,000 users.
“We did really well at Fast Forward, and I learned a ton about creating a great customer experience which will be a key differentiation of Mend from competitors,” said McBride. “I don’t want to put all our ideas out there yet, but we plan to rethink and reimagine what the entire doctor visit experience can be very soon.”
For Alexandra Gramatikas, a night of wine tasting and a simple observation lead to the creation of custom button cover company ALTR. Using a specially repurposed UV inkjet printer ALTR can transform anything from everyday oxford shirts to a pair of sandals with an easy slide over custom button.
However, it is Gramatikas’ success since the launch of ALTR, including winning the Joust Business Plan Competition, SCORE Pitch Fest, and being named an NAWBO Emerging Business finalist, that has completely taken the start up community by storm. Adding to a list of accomplishments, Alex has received a patent for her custom button covers and secured a partnership with custom retailer Zazzle.com.
The beginning phases of a startup can be some of the most challenging times, but they can also provide valuable lessons. Here are a few lessons learned from Alex on the launch and growth of ALTR.
“It is literally the one thing that I tell people. Half of the stuff I’ve learned is because I’ve asked someone. I didn’t know what fulfillment and what e-commerce to do at first. But, I would just email people or large companies that were in our industry and just have a conversation.”
Marketing matters for Startups.
“Unless you’re Taylor Swift promoting a new product, you can’t bet on social media. You must have a well thought out, concise marketing strategy. Before spending money, go out and do customer validation, so when you do spend money on Facebook, ads, or, in our case, bloggers, it’s going to the market that will actually buy your product. “
You can be in tech without the software.
“ALTR is not immediately thought of as a tech company. Tech is generally more synonymous with mobile applications, online platforms (software) and gadgets (hardware). However, we’ve integrated both hardware and software into our daily operations. We’ve re-purposed existing hardware (UV Ink Jet Printer) to customize our Button Covers (API Integration for Zazzle and our website). We hope to improve upon our software by creating a seamless customization platform for our customers.”
Hear more of Alex’s story and lessons learned tonight at the 2nd Startup Grind Orlando.
On June 6, developers, marketers, designers and more gathered at Canvs to make a difference in Orlando for the National Day of Civic Hacking.
This year’s hackathon was organized by Code for Orlando and hosted by Canvs. The hackathon itself is held in over 100 cities with the idea of open data in mind. This year, over 40 attendees contributed to the event locally.
“For Code for Orlando, I think it’s important that we are able to show the city that we have a willing and able body of people who want to contribute back to the city in a tangible way,” Andrew Kozlik, Director of Technology for Echo Interaction Group said.
In its strong efforts, the hackathon will not only help Orlando civically, but will also help Orlando grow to become more tech friendly. The open-door policy allows for its participants of all backgrounds to come together, work together and create new solutions together. By adopting the open data policy, it mirrors Code for Orlando’s efforts and has benefits to help the city grow.
“I grew up in Orlando so I wanted to find a way to give back to the city that treated me well. Code for Orlando is proving a good way to do that. The nice thing about Code for Orlando is that it gives you an opportunity to directly impact your local environment,” Kozlik said.
The projects started at this year’s hackathon are listed below.
On Saturday, May 16th, Ricardo Williams, host of Nerd Nite Orlando, participated in the Hendo demonstration at the Future is Here Festival in the Ronald Reagan Building (Washington DC) and becomes one of the first people to ride a real life Hoverboard.
Hendo founders, Jill and Greg Henderson introduce the device.
Information below courtesy of the Hendo Hover website (About Us):
“Right up front, we’ll admit that our plans are big—and our dreams, bigger. Because we’re developing something that is truly, manifestly . . . revolutionary. Seeing things from an outsider’s perspective, and thinking differently in general, is a definitional aspect of Arx Pax and its Hendo hovering technologies. Which brings us to our founder, Greg Henderson, what he saw and what he sees. Greg envisioned a way to employ an unexploited technology in ways others had not. He labelled this epiphany: Magnetic Field Architecture™ (MFA). Then he trademarked and patented the hell out of the idea. At an altruistic level, MFA has the ability to change the way we think about the way communities are designed and built—from family homes to hospital rooms and more. In other words, build structures in such a way that, with the flip of a switch, they can literally be lifted out of harm’s way, so that the potential ravages of earthquakes and floods will no longer hold sway over the inhabitants and occupants.
That briefly sums up our vision for what MFA can do. It’s a big dream, we know. And it’s long term. But we believe in its possibility . . . and its promise.”