8+ things to know in #MiamiTech: News from Shrimp Society, Turntable LIVE, Papa, GET Cities, Muck Rack, Venture Miami & more

Hope you all are enjoying Miami Tech Month. It’s in full swing with dozens of conferences, speaker events, happy hours and parties on the calendar, and continues this week with the  The Miami Tech Summit, featuring Jeb Bush, Keith Rabois  and other leaders from government and tech on April 19, in the run up to eMerge Americas April 20-21 featuring a keynote by Tom Brady and the Startup Showcase finale. Then Miami Tech Week kicks off with Founders Fund’s signature event, Atomic’s Builders Summit and more. For hiring companies and tech job seekers, the Venture Miami Tech Hiring Fair returns to Miami Dade College April 26, with a first-ever Tech Talent Summit on April 25. Who needs sleep?

In the meantime, here are 8+ things to know in #MiamiTech, plus scholarship, accelerator and contest opportunities where time to apply may be ticking away.


Shrimp Society, Venture Miami partner to offer Build in Miami Startup Program

 Venture Miami  and The Shrimp Society have partnered up to launch the Built in Miami Startup Program, a year-long initiative designed to support early-stage entrepreneurs in Miami.

The Built in Miami Startup Program, free for participants, will feature three tracts for entrepreneurs at each stage of their startup journey: the Zero to One Sprint program, the Builders Summer Series, and the Miami Startup Accelerator.  Argent Strategies, a Miami-based startup consulting and advisory firm, will serve as the educational facilitator.

“We’ve been at the ground floor of the entrepreneur community in Miami for the past two years, listening, asking questions, and understanding what our entrepreneurs need. The Build in Miami Startup Program is the answer to that question. With this program, we are excited to provide early-stage entrepreneurs the support they need at each stage of their startup journeys,” said Shrimp Society founder Chris Daniels in the announcement. The Shrimp Society, founded in 2021, is a community and accelerator for early-stage entrepreneurs.

The Zero to One Startup Sprint is an in-person actionable course that takes budding entrepreneurs from idea to prototype in six weeks, Daniels said. This program, which runs May 8-June 16, features two high-impact in person sessions per week. Applications for the Zero to One Startup Sprint are now open and can be accessed via builtmiami.com 

The Builders Summer, June 18-Aug. 4,  is a six-week series of focused co-working and purposeful collaboration opportunities taking a startup from prototype to MVP, ending with a demo day.  The Miami Startup Accelerator will follow with a traction-focused program for pre-seed Miami startups to get users, customers, and revenue through an eight-week guided process. Registration for both these programs will open 8 weeks before the start of the programs.

Find out more at builtmiami.com. 


Turntable LIVE buys competitor

Turntable LIVE, a Miami-based social music platform, acquired JQBX, a New York City-based competitor. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition comes on the heels of Turntable LIVE’s $7.s million fundraise last month.

Led by creator and CEO Joseph Perla, Turntable LIVE allows music fans, coworkers, and other communities to gather, DJ together, and interact in a playful virtual setting. The two companies first came together to allow Turntable LIVE’s builders to experiment with new features. JQBX’s fans connected with these features to such an extent, Turntable LIVE decided to purchase the company. The brand, domain, and JQBX community will continue as a community with special features on www.JQBX.fm

Turntable LIVE and JQBX allow users to select and customize an avatar and a stage, then follow a link to their friends’ dancefloor or browse themed rooms according to their tastes and interests. Once on the dancefloor, they can connect their music service of choice and jump up into the virtual DJ booth to start spinning tracks. Or they can bop on the dancefloor and vote up their favorite tunes. Features include chats, both text and voice.


A double helping of startup rankings

The Miami-area ranks No. 4 in an analysis of U.S. startups hubs, according to financial platform Stripe. The region came in behind the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City and Los Angeles and ahead of Austin, Texas, for its striking number of breakout startups, defined as new companies “with unusually rapid revenue ramps.” The number of breakout companies in Miami were up 89% in 2021-2022 compared to 2016-2017. The report did not name any of the local breakout ventures by name, but the data show that a rising number of fast-growing startups are forming outside of longtime hubs. Read more in the South Florida Business Journal here. 

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported this week that the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro was the fastest growing metro area in the country for venture activity from the start of 2020 through 2022, by both percentage growth of VC dollars and deals, based on Pitchbook data. The Post found that the Miami metro area grew 278% in dollars and 81% in deals during that three-year period, beating out other high-growth tech hubs like Chicago, Austin and New York. During the same period, Silicon Valley grew just 19% (dollars) and 10% (deals). Read more here.


Papa expands its Social Care Navigation

Papa, the curated platform of companionship and support for older adults and families, announced this week the expansion of its Social Care Navigation offering following a limited rollout last year. The service provides health plans with expert, hands-on support, in collaboration with care management teams and Papa Pals, to go further in uncovering and resolving barriers to members’ whole health. Today, more than a quarter of Papa’s health plan clients use Social Care Navigation to address deeper social and clinical needs among their members.

Since its founding in 2017, Papa has provided more than 2 million hours of social support and companionship to members across the country. Papa’s vetted companions, called Papa Pals, help adults. get to an appointment, shop for groceries  or with other lifestyle and companionship needs. “Leveraging the Papa platform, our national network of Pals, paired with our social care navigators can gather unparalleled insights and understand members’ whole health needs. This powerful combination enables us to close the loop and drive real health outcomes,” said Papa Founder and CEO Andrew Parker.


GET Cities releases report on equity in tech

GET Cities has released a new report titled “Technologist Retention at the Intersections” in partnership with Datakind that focuses on issues of race, gender and intersectionality with regard to retention and experience in the tech industry. The report, based on a survey of tech workers in the Chicago metro area, highlights why people across various or multiple racial and gender identities stay in their roles, job hop, or leave the tech industry. 

Through this research, GET Cities discovered that retention rates are different across all combinations of identities, and that Black women in particular have the lowest retention rates. The report also found that technologists in the surveyed groups who are parents were more satisfied with their compensation than those who were not parents – though there wasn’t any indication they were paid more. And across the board, retention rates did not correlate directly with an overall satisfaction in their roles. Check out the report here.


Muck Rack launches AI tool for PR pros

Muck Rack, the Miami-based public relations management  platform, announced the beta launch of PressPal.ai, a new AI-powered tool that surfaces relevant journalists based off press release keywords generated by its integrated press release creator. PressPal.ai is informed by Muck Rack’s world-class Media Database, which integrates hundreds of millions of data points with the most up-to-date information on journalists and media outlets across digital, broadcast, print, podcasts, newsletters and social media.

Designed to boost PR team efficiency and save time, PressPal.ai quickly drafts a press release based on a brief description and surfaces a list of journalists to target based on the press release content, which can help improve pitch targeting and increase the potential for more press coverage. Access to PressPal.ai is free to all Muck Rack customers. Any PR professional can try it by signing up for a free account at muckrack.com/presspalai.

 “We believe generative AI is a powerful tool that should be part of any PR professional’s toolkit, but it’s only one element of an effective communications plan. We encourage our users to continue to be responsible when using AI in their releases and be thoughtful when pitching journalists,” said Gregory Galant, cofounder and CEO of Muck Rack.


Tech logistics company TransLoop opens office, hiring 40

A Chicago startup that utilizes artificial intelligence to provide logistics services opened a new office in downtown Fort Lauderdale and intends to hire 40 people in South Florida this year. TransLoop, one of the fastest growing private companies in the in the Midwest according to Inc. magazine, recently moved into a 3,179-square-foot office in the 101 Centre at 101 N.E. Third Ave. Its Fort Lauderdale branch was previously in a 1,000-square-foot space in the Bank of America Plaza at Las Olas City Centre at 401 E. Las Olas Blvd. Read more in the South Florida Business Journal here.


Opportunity knocks

  • The Venture Miami Scholarship Fund provides tuition support to provide gap funding for at-need City of Miami residents who have been accepted into STEM or defined-demand occupation programs at participating colleges and universities, including Florida International University, Florida Memorial University, Miami Dade College, and the University of Miami. How to apply: Students who meet the program requirements and are interested in applying to the Venture Miami scholarship are encourage to complete this survey to begin the application process.
  • Application deadline today:  FAU Tech Runway’s Venture Program is a year-long program for startups that offers resources from FAU’s Innovation and Business Development pipeline, entrepreneurial instruction, structured team-based mentoring, networking, marketing and capital-raising assistance, co-working space, events, intern support, and other vital programs. To apply, go here. Applications close April 16.
  • Endeavor Miami is accepting applications for the next cohort of EndeavorLAB, an program that offers training and mentorship to underrepresented startup founders in Florida. The upcoming cohort is for women entrepreneurs who run startups that generate between $50,000 and $500,000 in annual revenue. Because of the City of Miami’s support, there is no cost to the participants.  Apply by May 21
  • Black Ambition has opened applications for the third annual Black Ambition Prize competition. The grand prize winner will receive $1 million, and at least 15 additional teams will receive prize awards of $15,000 to $250,000. Founded by Pharrell Williams and run by Miami’s Felecia Hatcher, Black Ambition has awarded funding and resources to 65 prize winners — totaling $6 million. Learn more and apply here. The deadline is May 8. 
  • Techstars Miami Powered by J.P. Morgan focuses on accelerating founders’ efforts in finding product-market fit, fundraising, and recruiting. The accelerator is accepting applications for its in-person Miami accelerator program beginning Sept. 11 and ending with a Demo Day on Dec. 7. Apply here by June 7.


Got news? Email Nancy Dahlberg at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @ndahlberg

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Nancy Dahlberg