CIC Miami strengthens relations with Chile to promote entrepreneurial exchange, innovation, and collaboration

As we at CIC Miami prepared to open last year, we worked to identify key areas of strategic and programmatic focus to guide our efforts. We fundamentally believe that our success is defined by the value we add to the entrepreneurial communities we expand to, and a large part of that value lies in identifying the unique gaps in that specific city and doing our part - mindfully, collaboratively, inclusively, excitedly - to address them.

In Miami, one such gap lay in contributing to make South Florida a more effective isthmus between Latin America and North America - a promise our city is perfectly positioned to keep, but only if we work to create tangible and bidirectional bridges between us and the region’s main innovation hubs.

In this context, Chile was a natural ally. Distinguished as one of the most robust and stable innovation engines in the continent, Chile’s startup scene has been praised as “magical” by Bloomberg News. The Chilean tech ecosystem has aggressively expanded during the last six years, primarily through various incentives spearheaded by the Chilean government through the National Development Corporation (CORFO for its acronym in Spanish). In fact, Chile was highlighted by Gust as the Nº1 country in Latam in terms of public investment.

As such, we are thrilled to announce the four inaugural agreements CIC Miami has signed with Chilean partners. These organizations represent various perspectives, stakeholders, and approaches, but stand united in their desire to foment their local ecosystem and help connect it to the U.S. via Miami. CIC Miami will be a key partner to the incubators/accelerators which receive CORFO’s Scaleup/Expansion funding, aimed at  supporting startups to increase their revenues, receive more funding, and internationalize. CORFO is also incentivizing venture capital  investment via a tax benefit for international investors that invest in a public fund based in Chile (dividend distributions and capital gains on the sale of quotas from the this fund are subject to a 10% withholding tax, instead of a tax rate of 35%).

As CIC Miami, we have been fortunate to find not just willing, but experienced and seasoned partners to sign agreements with as we set out to map out new directions from collaboration and bidirectional engagement. It is our hope that these relationships will allow entrepreneurs and innovators in Chile and Miami to access valuable information about each respective market, provide strategic connections with clients, peers, investment capital, talent, et al. Ultimately, we believe this is the first step in promoting new investment and business opportunities in both markets and look forward to working together.

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Start-up Chile - This well-known –government sponsored– public accelerator awards selected startups with up to $45,000 in non-equity funding, along with a four or six-month residency in Santiago. For their role in boosting and enlivening Chile’s economy, Fast Company named Start-Up Chile the most innovative company in Latin America in 2017.

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Chilean Association of Venture Capital -  The ACVC seeks to promote the venture capital industry in Chile by communicating the positive role of VC industry in the Chilean economy and promoting the Chilean industry to local and international entrepreneurs and investors, government, press/media and civil society. Currently composed of 12 member entities, ACVC seeks to increase capital deployments to $100 million/year, focused mainly in Pre-Series A or Series A rounds of $500.000 to $3 million.

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Endeavor Chile - Endeavor Chile seeks, selects and delivers strategic support to entrepreneurs who have the potential to become high-impact entrepreneurs. Endeavor's goal is to catalyze economic and social development through the impulse to entrepreneurship in the countries where it operates.

Endeavor helps entrepreneurs achieve the economic sustainability of their companies, generate growth and employment, become role models and foster an entrepreneurial culture that motivates more people to think big.

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Fundación Chile -  is a private non-profit organization that fosters innovation and its partners are the State of Chile and BHP-Billiton-Minera Escondida, one of the largest mining companies in the world. FCh develops local and international networks, delivering high impact solutions in areas such as sustainability, human capital development, education, aquaculture, entrepreneurship and foods.

 

Interested in learning more? Email us at space@miami.cic.us

Medellin and Miami are strengthening relations to promote innovation and bilateral cooperation

Medellin and Miami are strengthening relations to promote innovation and bilateral cooperation

A Memorandum of Understanding signed between Medellin's Ruta N and the Cambridge Innovation Center Miami (CIC Miami) will create a connection between the companies located in The Sun City and the capital of Antioquia to exchange experiences, practices, resources and knowledge and to facilitate the expansion and growth of entrepreneurship linked to both institutions.

Babson College plans to launch Miami campus within CIC Miami

Babson College plans to launch Miami campus within CIC Miami

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Babson College plans to announce Monday that it is expanding to Miami, where it will begin offering some of its top-ranked graduate programs in the fall of 2018.

Babson’s newest hub, which will be located at the Cambridge Innovation Center at 1951 NW 7th Ave., will build on its base of 1,300 area alumni, the institution’s fourth largest alumni group, and a growing relationship in Miami’s entrepreneurship community. Miami will be Babson’s third location outside its main campus in Wellesley, Mass. It also has campuses in Boston and San Francisco."

"How CIC Miami dominated Miami’s startup ecosystem in less than a year"

"How CIC Miami dominated Miami’s startup ecosystem in less than a year"

"As with any good metropolis, Miami’s startup success is scattered across a couple key neighborhoods, like Wynwood, Brickell, and Lincoln Road. But a focal point has emerged inside a single building on the border of Overtown and Allapattah.

In less than a year, Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) Miami, located in the old UM Life Science & Technology Park building off I-95, has grown into a launch pad for some of the city’s most promising startups."

CIC Client Brickell Energy and Carnival debut EV charging stations at Cruise Line’s corporate offices

CIC Client Brickell Energy and Carnival debut EV charging stations at Cruise Line’s corporate offices

Brickell Energy celebrated with Carnival on June 8 as they introduced innovative new electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations at the cruise line’s corporate office in Doral.

REVITALIZING MAKING PANEL: RECAPPING THE BUZZ

Product designers from four Boston-area startups recently met up at Fab@CIC to talk about the role prototyping plays in their process. Up front on the panel were Mariya Sitnova from Emulate (organs on chips), Josh Forman from Confer Health (at-home diagnostic kits), Nick Lancaster from Ecovent (room by room temperature control), and Jason Ray of Paperless Parts (“Kayak for manufacturers”).

The panelists represented startups with sophisticated technologies, all of which are pushing our expectations of what’s possible in our physical world, and thus have a case to build each time they put their product in front of a new audience. Emulate and Confer Health build vessels for cells and chemicals to be handled and analyzed by regular consumers. Ecovent produces add-ons for your house’s intimidating HVAC system that actually look good in your living room. Paperless Parts is building a platform that would allow each of these companies, and any other product designer, to quickly and transparently determine options and pricing for manufacturing. For companies like these, getting from novel idea to compelling product while using time and money efficiently greatly increases the odds of success.

Compared to software’s instantaneous updates and fixes, hardware’s longer product cycles can make or break a company. Where a physical product is involved, size, fit, and feel can matter as much for its success as its function. When do you decide to step away from continuous reiteration based on tester feedback and pull the trigger on a first production run? The panelists agreed that it’s essential to figure out the manufacturing options early on and design for those realities. Still, Ecovent and Emulate had started their prototyping on cardboard. It turns out that prototyping even at this basic level mitigates some of the risks of product development down the line.

So, what do the panelists think about when they think about prototyping? 3D printing is often top-of-mind for at least some part of the prototyping process. Fab@CIC staff can confirm this – we’ve seen members 3D print to check the size and fit of components, or printing an entire customer-facing prototype. 3D printing is really useful for making the digital-to-physical leap for your design. However, it can take several hours to print even a small piece, and false starts due to temperature and leveling details are common (making a successful print all the more satisfying ;). If you need to make more than a few identical items, it’s probably not the best method. For that, 3D printed molds could be the way to go – yes, let 3D printing kill your 3D prints!

At this point in the technology’s development arc, Jason, of Paperless Parts, thinks 3D printing delivers the most value when it allows for component integration, meaning that a product can be built with fewer pieces that have to connect perfectly. 3D printing is also becoming powerful solution for product maintenance and replacing broken components – imagine trying to find a replacement for the cracked dial on your vintage radio that isn’t sold anymore. Consumer product companies are already developing digital inventories so that customers can print out the file for a replacement piece instead of manufacturing and storing parts ahead of timed.

While 3D printing is currently inefficient for producing many units of the same item, it has high potential for things that need customization, such as perfectly fitted sunglasses or a prosthetic arm (if you’re interested in applications for medical devices, come to the 3D printing seminar on June 7!). The space industry is an example of where these strengths are at a premium. As the technology matures, we may soon arrive at a time when 3D printing will be the fastest way to build large things on Earth, too, such as houses, with the extrusion of concrete happening more precisely, quickly, and safely from a print head.

In the future, could every office or home have a 3D printer, allowing people to print customized versions of what they need instead of going to the store or ordering from Amazon? This kind of hype reached a peak a few years ago, but the panelists recognize that we’re a few structural pieces away from a 3D printing economy. Even though plastic and resin 3D printers are getting cheaper by the day and the variety of materials is increasing (think concrete, metal, ceramics, and cells!), the quality of 3D printed items doesn’t yet match what we, as consumers, are used to. And yet, the biggest barrier to “3D printing for all” might be familiarity with design software. Even the the relatively simple and free programs, such as Fusion360 from Autodesk, take some investment in time to learn. As our distinguished panel noted, complexity is neither free nor easy. This is a challenge to our education system, and one that Fab@CIC’s partner, Fab Foundation, is rising to meet by setting up fablabs around the world.

The Revitalizing Making panel provided a glimpse into the future of how things will be made. 3D printing is currently just one method for prototyping, but the advances underway for this technology, and the changing societal structures that would permit its widespread use, could bring forth a revolution of things. The very first question this panel answered was “Why do you make?” The answers included “it’s what humans do” and “to become more comfortable and expend less energy” and “the surprises in discovering are addicting”. Imagine what we as a species could make if more of us had more input at various points of a product’s development, from conceptualization, to testing, production, maintenance, and recycling.

Fab@CIC will host more riveting conversations like this one. Stay tuned, and check out the events calendar to sign up for the next one or for our next 3D printing training!

CIC Alum Spotlight: Daniel Faggella

For the first time, we’re not featuring a current member or client as a part of our CIC Spotlight series. We focus today on one of our alums! Daniel Faggella started one of his many ventures, Science of Skill, many years ago in C3 at CIC Cambridge, and was profiled in Forbes Magazine this past month for having successfully grown and sold that business. We sat down to ask him about what he’s been up to and to share a bit about his early days with CIC.

CIC alumnus Daniel Faggella


You’re a CIC alumnus but you just sold the project you were working on while at C3. Tell us about it!
“Science of Skill was built explicitly in order to fund my larger venture in artificial intelligence, which today is TechEmergence.com. My life purpose since the age of 24 has been to influence or encourage a global conversation around AI and neurotechnology policy and innovation, and the beginning of that mission is to build a business that informs business and government leaders about the applications and implications of AI, which is what TechEmergence does today. I knew when I moved to Silicon Valley I’d have two options:

  • Show up with little money and immediately give away a huge amount of equity for a small amount of cash, or
  • Make a substantial sum of money with a more immediately lucrative business (such as subscription eCommerce) and use those funds to carry the growth of my bigger venture

I decided to go with the latter option, and Science of Skill (my eCommerce business) was focused on selling martial arts and self-protection gear and instructional courses – via an online subscription – to tens of thousands of customers per year. At CIC we had barely hit $45,000 per month in revenues, but at the time of sale (two years after leaving CIC) we were doing well over $200k/mo in sales. Because of the systems I’d put in at the state, and my hands-off approach to management, the business was sold with 90% cash down, and with very little time commitment from me (the previous owner) – so I now have the time and resources to pursue what I care most about. Explaining the impact of AI on society and our species is a bit far-out for a business blog of this kind, but my last TEDx talk was on this topic and this might be a good start.”


How’d you hear about CIC back in the day?
“Google and Quora. I heard it was the single greatest density of startups in Boston, and that it was by MIT’s campus. That was enough to let me know that I should start my company there.”


You mentioned that a good part of your success was due to your time with us. How so?
“At CIC I was able to meet people with experience working in bigger businesses, and they brought ideas about (a) business processes, (b) project management software, and (c) analytics – and these ideas helped organize our erratic activities into a more organized effort. I met a fellow named Vlad Antohi at CIC who worked with us for 3-4 months, and who helped bring his experience from bigger software businesses into our business processes. That’s one example of the kind of outside influence we had in CIC. We met a data scientist (Mike Shewmake) at CIC who helped us assess our email marketing campaigns to determine the best subject lines and keywords that drive the best results. We met many other great folks at CIC who helped us mold the business for the better.”


What was your favorite thing about CIC? It’s okay to say avocados.
“…How did… you know… I was going to say ‘avocados’? I also miss the cheddar Sun Chips. In all seriousness the best part for me was being around other smart people working on exciting projects. I met some people there who I am good friends with to this day, and I may never have met such an eclectic crowd if I was at a regular ‘co-working’ space.”


What have been your biggest milestones? And, your biggest ‘learning opportunities?’
“Our biggest milestones were: (a) Breaking $2MM in annual sales, (b) Getting my time [as owner] to under 20 hours per week, (c) Getting a sales price of over $1MM.

Biggest learning opportunities were: (a) Learning the hard way that brokers, banks, and buyers will all want and need completely clean, clear, organized financial records, and a seller [like myself] should know his books inside and out. Eight months into the business I definitely did NOT – I was focused only on sales – but for the last three years of running the company we were able to have extremely clean financials that helped us make smarter business decisions and double the business year-over-year for three years straight.”


What advice can you offer entrepreneurial millennials?
“Nothing specific to millennials, but in today’s day and age it’s so much easier to get started in a business with limited upfront investment.

The articles that might be MOST helpful for other entrepreneurs would be from Business Insider and TechEmergence. The Business Insider one focuses on how we got the company started and profitable, and the second article talks about the details around selling a company and preparing for an exit, which was a BIG learning curve for me and I hope is really useful for other entrepreneurs at the CIC.”

It's Hip to Be Fab

Alan Fein, COO of CIC, welcomes the community to Fab@CIC.

Alan Fein, COO of CIC, welcomes the community to Fab@CIC.

Thirty years ago, the great musical innovator Huey Lewis loudly proclaimed that it was hip to be square. Lewis (and the News, of course) invented music that took audiences from 1985 to 1955, and brought them right back. This year, CIC looks toward the future and proclaims a new revolution in hipness. It’s hip to be FAB!

You’re probably asking yourself why I capitalized Fab. Fab Labs – ‘Fab’ being short for ‘fabrication’ – have popped up all across the world over the last few years. In essence, they’re community spaces designed to enable digital fabrication. They’re meant to enable makers and innovators to quickly and efficiently produce goods, prototypes, and models. In the spirit of DIY, you could potentially prototype the flux capacitor for your very own DeLorean time machine within a few minutes.

CIC has Doc’s spirit of creativity; we partnered with the Fab Foundation and the wonderful staff at Render Coffee to make this spirit come to life. We figured that a café and a makerspace would be the ultimate combination of community building. Imagine the great ideas that people come up with over coffee followed by the ability to instantly make prototypes within that same space! So, we set out to do exactly that. It was a journey that took quite a long time, many revisions, and finally launched in early May.

Fab@CIC Grand Opening attendee 3D prints on an Ultimaker.

Fab@CIC Grand Opening attendee 3D prints on an Ultimaker.

Capping off our Arts Week celebration was the best and most fitting way to welcome Fab@CIC to the Boston community. Over 450 people RSVPed and we’d reckon to say it was one of the fabbest events in recent memory. We even had the opportunity to showcase a few very cutting-edge virtual reality platforms and local robotics developers, MassRobotics and Franklin Robotics.

Fab@CIC will permanently feature 3D printers, laser cutters, large format printers, and will also be open to non-CIC members starting at $75 per month. There is a special early-bird deal, too! If you’re new to the world of Fab, rest assured we welcome all levels of dreamers and makers.

If you’re still on the fence after my encouragement, visit Fab Fourth Fridays on the fourth Friday of every month at 5pm in Render Coffee. These are celebrations of everything Fab and will offer the opportunity to network with local makers. Moreover, Fab Fourth Fridays feature demos of the very crafts made in-house. You have nothing to lose and a whole Fab side of you to gain. Be there, or be square! I know Huey said it was hip to be square, but it’s no longer 1987. It’s hip to be Fab!

NEW STARTUP INSTITUTE PERKS FOR CIC MEMBERS

In addition to pretty sweet office space, CIC members have access to more avocados and orange juice than they know what to do with. However, we’ve come to know that CIC’s biggest asset is the broad network of innovators and creators that call CIC their home.

In an effort to enhance our community of innovators and help each other out with a bit of professional development, we are ecstatic to announce a new benefit to CIC members! Startup Institute has partnered up with CIC to provide all CIC members reduced rates to their training programs, access to private student profiles, and invitations to networking events. We’re very pleased that Startup Institute has chosen CIC Boston as their current home. They were even kind enough to participate in one of our client spotlights last year!

Startup Institute has had incredible success placing alums throughout the Boston area, a few of them even securing jobs with CIC companies. One even landed a role at CIC itself! We reached out to them to glean a bit of insight into how they’ve been able to apply their Startup Institute skills to their new careers.

Dan William, a technical associate for Techstars Boston (based out of CIC), enrolled at Startup Institute due to the “quality of the education and courses” at the behest of a dear peer. Dan mentioned that “it certainly helped that [the staff] were not just awesome people, but that we also saw eye-to-eye on the important issues.” He was connected to TechStars via another Startup Institute alum, and has found that the “enthusiastic chaos” of working for his new company has been made easier by his ability to “understand how a startup needs to run” and how to diagnose issues within larger projects.

On the other hand, Amelia Wellers worked in art management for a few years before realizing she wanted to make a career switch into a more exciting, flexible, and innovative industry. When she joined CIC, there was  no sort of formal – or informal, for that matter – marketing team. Amelia, now a Marketing Lead at CIC, shared, “Startup Institute provided me with the baseline knowledge and skills to begin leading auxiliary marketing teams of talented and passionate CIC staffers, and to eventually advocate for my current marketing role.”

Dan and Amelia participated in the full-time Startup Institute program, though Startup Institute has since built out  a wide selection of part-time, weekend and nighttime programs. If you’re worried about having to give up your day job for the sake of developing your professional skills, worry not!  You can most definitely have the best of both worlds. Check out the CIC/Startup Institute member benefits page for you program guide!

Investors in Rotterdam Open Their Doors for 100+ Cycling Startups

Investors in Rotterdam Open Their Doors for 100+ Cycling Startups

by Melissa Ablett

Rotterdam is bursting with energy and new innovation initiatives. These include the first port accelerator program called Port XL, the Cambridge Innovation Center which opened in September to help scale ups, the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, and Blue City.  Rotterdam has plenty to offer startups, both in the city and in its port.

Traditional Trucking Meets the ‘Sharing Economy’ with Miami Tech Startup Cargo42

Traditional Trucking Meets the ‘Sharing Economy’ with Miami Tech Startup Cargo42

Startup Spotlight: Through a simple-to-use app, Cargo42 provides companies an option to ship locally for a lower rate with trucks that have empty space in them. At the same time, trucking companies enjoy an additional revenue stream and maximize the trucks’ productivity. 

The Power of Networking

The Power of Networking

by Lois Dickhoff

At CIC, we value the impact that a good conversation between two talented people can have. So much so, that six years ago we founded a non-profit organization (the Venture Cafe Foundation) to devote an entire afternoon every Thursday to the power of networking. People gather, share ideas and learn under the umbrella of Venture Cafe’s weekly gatherings.

It made me wonder: How powerful is networking? Which factors combined lead to a powerful exchange of information between people?