Happy Valentine’s Day Orlando Entrepreneurs

By: Christina Fleming

Hey Orlando, we know being an Entrepreneur is no easy feat, and it can get be expensive to start your own business. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to break the bank here in Orlando. Here are some fun ideas to spend your February for cheap. Personally, we love going to the planitarium to gaze at the stars, or to support all the small local businesses at the Orlando Farmer’s Market. Whatever you decide to do tag us on IG & Facebook #OrlandoEntrepreneurs.


Happy Valentine’s Day #OrlandoEntrepreneurs


Click Here for article! 

National Association of Marketing Technology Launched by Local Founder

By: David Brim

Hey Orlando Entrepreneurs and Marketers. Local entrepreneur Dan McGaw of Effin Amazing and his team just launched the National Association of Marketing Technology (NAMT.com) here in Orlando.


This is a non-profit dedicated to supporting marketers, companies and software vendors with education and certification to keep their marketing technology safe, secure and operationally excellent!

They will be holding three national events in Orlando this year and are looking for volunteers who want to help make Orlando the hub of America for Marketing Technology.

If you’d like to learn more click here! 


Orlando’s Fattmerchant Featured by Forbes as a Fintech 50 Newcomer

By: Christina Fleming

Suneera Madhandi, co-founder and CEO of payments startup Fattmerchant appeared in Forbes Magazine for Fintech 50 2020: The Newcomers. Fattmerchant is an Orlando-based company that bundles vendor transactions for processing credit cards transactions in-stores and online. She recently scaled their company reaching 100+ employees! Suneera is an incredible role model for all Orlando Entrepreneurs, and she has a lasting impact within our community. We are looking forward to watching Fattmerchant grow!


Read Full Article Here: Fintech 50 2020: The Newcomers

8 Success & Life Lessons You Can Learn From Harris Rosen

By: David Brim

Earlier today I had the privilege to listen to Harris Rosen share his story and business lessons  at the Startup Studio Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

Harris Rosen has had a truly abundant, inspiring and impactful career. He shared that he currently has 8 hotels, 7000 rooms, and not a penny of debt. More importantly, he has a profit for a purpose mindset. He has committed himself to using the profits and success he has achieved to improving the lives of his employees, the local community and world. To date he has directly contributed $55M+ to charitable causes.

Here are the top 8 business lessons that I’ve learned from Harris Rosen.


1. Sometimes failures put you in a better position for success

I found the backstory that Harris shared to be very inspiring. He grew up poor in Manhattan. After graduating from Cornell University he had ambitions of working at Disney and volunteered (worked without pay) as Whinny the Poo just to get into the door. He was eventually hired, but was told that he would never become a Disney Executive and was fired. He was depressed and disappointed. At this difficult time, he saw an opportunity. There was an Oil Embargo and consequently hotels were depressed and many were going under. He decided that it was a great time to buy a hotel.


2. Take risks to accomplish your dream

Harris found a bankrupt hotel on iDrive. He purchased the hotel for $20,000 cash and assumed a $2M+ mortgage. The $20,000 was nearly all he had to his name. Despite his family warning him to stay out of debt, Harris invested nearly all the cash that he saved and assumed a multi-million dollar mortgage. The mortgage took him roughly 15 years to pay off, but the investment paid off and gave Harris a great foundation for future success. It is important to note that Harris indicated that today in the position he is in his philosophy on debt has changed. If he cannot purchase or develop a new hotel or project with cash then he doesn’t do it.  Nevertheless, his startup story required some bold risks. These risks are often an essential part of  reaching great levels of success. Harris has demonstrated that and it is wonderful to see the levels of success he has reached since that first investment many years ago.


3. Work harder than humanly possible

Rosen is an extremely hard worker. He advised the audience to work harder than humanly possible to accomplish your dream. He indicated that he never took a day off in 16 years. He also lived in the hotel and would often be found picking up cigarette butts on the property, which many owners would never be found doing.


4. Love what you do

In order to keep you motivated and working hard, especially in the challenging times, it is essential to love what you do. Harris shared this suggestion numerous times. Love what you do and it will show.


5. Don’t give up.

When Harris hit tough times early on after acquiring his first hotel he dug deep and wouldn’t give up. He hitch hiked to NY because he couldn’t afford a ticket. He cut deals with travel bookers to write the room rate they wanted to pay and indicated that his hotel would honor it for 2 years. These rates averaged $7-7.25 per night, but increased business and introduced people and potential partners with influence of the quality of his hotel.


6. You know when you’re doing something wrong. Don’t do it.

Harris Rosen is a man of integrity. Some business people sacrifice their morals to achieve success. Harris is not one of those people. He advised the audience to be honest and try to keep silly things to a minimum. He said “You know when you’re doing something wrong. Don’t do it.”


7. Treat others how you want to be treated

Harris indicated that he doesn’t have employees, he has family members. His hired staff becomes family and the culture of care and love that Harris built shows. He provides his staff the best healthcare in the world. He shared that the only healthcare expense that his team would ever pay is $750/year. He shared a story of an employee that had a pre-mature baby. After being in NICU the baby racked up a hospital bill of over $1M. The employee paid the first $750 and Harris paid off the $1M balance over the course of three years. He also pays the college tuition for employees after they have worked at his properties for a few years. He cares about his team and goes the extra mile for them. Consequently they go the extra mile for him.


8. When you become successful don’t sit on your toosh.

Harris explained that wealthy and successful people have certain responsibilities. Making a true difference in the world and our local communities is up to the private sector. Not the government. He mentioned that when you become successful, don’t sit on your toosh. Do good things. God will appreciate it. Harris has done immense good throughout his career. He recently asked his accountant to calculate the charitable giving that he has done over his career – it amounted to over $55M. Recently his investment in Tangelo Park has led to graduation rates skyrocketing and crime decreasing. Harris created a system for free-day care for Tangelo Park families. He also covers the tuition to Florida public Universities (including room and board) for all Tangelo Park seniors. Harris also developed the Rosen School of Hospitality Management at UCF. This hospitality program is the second best in the country behind Rosen’s alma mater Cornell (by a very slim margin).What amazing, generous and meaningful gifts he is providing! Harris has committed to spreading this spirit to other wealthy people across America. He indicated that they can change America one under-privileged community at a time.

Harris Rosen is an extremely inspiring man and a fantastic human being. In a world where many say that the rich should pay their fair share, Harris is a shining example of the good that good people that amass wealth can do in the world and their local community.


Originally posted on David Brim’s blog Filled to the Brim

Celebrating ONE year for ViewStub, A Local Tech Startup

By: Kim Johnson


I had the chance to sit down and talk to Spencer Elliott, co-founder of Viewstub, for some insight on the success he’s seen as an entrepreneur. Spencer is a native to Orlando, attending UCF and continuing to call it home as he married and had his first child. 


About a year ago, Spencer linked arms with fellow co-founder, Patrick VanDusen while working at Starter Studio, one of the incubator programs in Central Florida.  From there, it has been an accelerated growth model. The two went through Starter Studio ideation and seed accelerator programs, Catalyst Venture Scale up, I-corps and are currently in UCF incubator. 


Viewstub has filled a need in the market place, merging in-person and online events in one platform. Viewstub allows the user to utilize their portal for online ticketing, streaming and marketing their events, increasing the reach and profit from events. As one customer put it, “… being able to bring great content all over the world, anytime, anywhere, at their convenience.”


Viewstub is changing the landscape of the event industry and allowing people to monetize their online and in-person content in one platform. They are raising a seed fund of at least $500k to capture 6% of the roughly $30M SOM by EOY 2020, capturing $2.2M of gross event ticket revenues. To date, they have already raised $100k in Central FL resources. The company continues to grow each day, and has brought on 10 employees. 


Viewstub has taken advantage of the diverse network of resources in Central FL to help entrepreneurs start and succeed. They developed the technology and marketed it in a way that has helped raise money to fuel their growth. Throughout their journey, they’ve met and partnered with mentors to help them navigate the various stages of their business.  


Viewstub is seen throughout the country, continuing to grow their reach and customer database. They will be hosting pop-up events, to help educate others on the power of their tools. Viewstub will host their signature event, EventNext later this year to showcase the evolution of technology in the event industry. Make sure you follow them on social and attend one of their upcoming workshops. 


Link to their workshop next week:



Link to their conference later this year:



7 Different Ways to Celebrate Orlando Entrepreneurs this Holiday Season

By: Christina Fleming


It’s that time of year, and we are prepping for the Holidays. We know you’re excited to celebrate and we want to help! Why not celebrate the season while celebrating your local entrepreneurs too? Orlando is booming with products and services that will “knock those Christmas socks” right off your friends and families.


  1. Personally, I love to snack, but we are all afraid of the Holiday aftermath. So, why not offer a delicious healthy snack topped off with O’Dang Hummus Dressings! They’re Non-GMO, no high fructose corn syrup, plant-based, totally vegan, gluten-free, low sugar deliciousness! O’DANG Hummus dressings are known for offering the BEST of both worlds: better-for-you ingredients with outstanding flavor! These dressings are made with chickpeas as their main ingredient, and they’re only 25-45 calories per serving! So, don’t feel guilty when you pour a little extra on your favorite holiday snacks.
  2. The Holidays can be hectic, but we have a simple solution for that–BEER. Get your family and yourself a quick growler from your favorite local brewery! One of ours is the veteran-owned, Tactical Brewing, in Baldwin Park. Beer makes everyone happy, and this brewery has some incredible beers for you to share with your family while supporting our vets! Their selection varies from a snickerdoodle inspired white stout, “Thirsty, Why Not,” to their “Forlorn Hope” American IPA. Give the gift of beer, and you’ll be the new family favorite.


  1. You know those Christmas socks I was talking about before? Well, Rock ‘Em Socks offers more than just your Christmas patterns. They have all kinds of designs that range from sports teams and delicious foods, to your favorite superheroes. These are the perfect gift for the sneaker-heads in your life who need to add some groove to their sock-game. Rock ‘Em Socks started at the University of Central Florida (UCF) making socks for UCF’s basketball team, and the idea sky-rocketed from there. [GO KNIGHTS!]

  1. Cactus, air plants and succulents, OH MY. What better way is there to spread some holiday love than with plants! Porch Therapy, located at East End Market in Orlando offers workshops, botanical designs and a variety of plants. Not only do these botanical creations add some fresh greenery to the room, but they also help clean the air supply. These plants make great gifts for your friends, family members and co-workers with a green thumb and a passion for décor.

  1. Traveling for the Holidays? You might want to get yourself a gift first! Sole Premise makes traveling with all your favorite belongings easy. These are the perfect gift for that friend who likes to bring everything but the kitchen sink with them on a trip. (You know who you are). All of their bags have individualized compartments to ensure no bending or folding of your items as well as your shoes. Plus, they have all kinds of shapes and designs suitable for everyone in the family.


  1. Now this one’s for the handyman/woman in your life. Woodwork can be fun and empowering, but it can also be dangerous and time-consuming. MICROJIG offers several different wood working tools to make woodworking injuries a thing of the past. “These woodworking tools are designated to let creativity guide your work, not your limitations. They allow you to achieve incredible precision easily, and safely, which makes woodworking more enjoyable.” This is the gift that keeps on giving. You get her the woodworking tools, and she makes you that new bookshelf you’ve been wanting. Win-win.


  1. You won’t be throwing this tea into any Harbors, but instead dumping it into everyone’s stockings! Yaupon Tea is a locally grown tea that is USDA certified organic. Not only is this tea good, but it’s good for you! You won’t want to miss out on offering these uniquely delicious, healthy teas for your friends and family. My personal favorite is the Seminole Chai! P.S. gift tip hack: make a creative all-Orlando gift basket! Blend it with a variety of Yaupon Teas and some locally sourced honey from Winter Park Honey. This will be the sweetest gift you’ve given all year.

Orlando is flourishing in every facet of life. There are innovative entrepreneurs coming up with solutions and products every day to make our lives more enjoyable. By supporting these small businesses, you are supporting your community! Now that’s some real holiday magic.

Startup Weekend Orlando 2019

By: Christina Fleming

Orlando hosts its annual Startup Weekend at co-working space CREDO Conduit from Nov. 22-24. Startup weekend is sponsored by Techstars, promoting the ability to start building your future in 54 hours. The event offers a space for entrepreneurs to get together, find a team, develop a prototype and receive feedback validating their ideas. This event welcome all industries, and hosts many speakers who act as experienced entrepreneurs and mentors within the Orlando community.

In the past, Orlando teams have won the Global Startup Battle across 150 cities and 15,000 participants in 2017 & 2018. Orlando wants to see another year of prodigious success from our innovative and creative entrepreneurial ecosystem.

To get your ticket for Startup Weekend Orlando, click here. 

To read more on this weekend check out this article from the Orlando Business Journal. 

Qualified Opportunity Fund Launches in Central Florida

By: Christina Fleming

Orlando Opportunity Fund announced their official kickoff this past Monday, November 18, 2019. Orlando Opportunity Fund is a qualified opportunity fund focused on investing in commercial real estate and technology startups in opportunity zones within the Central Florida area. Their leadership team consists of John Cooper, President of Startup Investments; Donna Mackenzie, Chief Financial & Chief Operating Officer; David Brim, Chief Strategy Officer; Vince Wolle, President of Real Estate investments.

“We recognized that Opportunity Zones have the potential to catalyze inclusive economic growth by leveraging these tax incentives. Our fund differentiates itself by focusing on both commercial real estate and tech startups with the goal of providing investors the returns they would expect from real estate investments and the potential upside that startups can bring to their portfolio,” says Donna Mackenzie.

Check out this article on Orlando Opportunity Fund featured in the Orlando Business Journal, Opportunity Zone Fund Launches for Local Investors 

StarterStudio Executive Director Donna Mackenzie Hands Off Leadership to Lilian Myers

By: David Brim

“After four and a half years as StarterStudio’s executive director, Donna Mackenzie is handing off the organization’s leadership to Lilian Myers, a long-time StarterStudio supporter, board member, and entrepreneur, who will serve as interim executive director. Mackenzie and Myers have already been working closely together to ensure a seamless transition. A member of StarterStudio’s board for the last four years, Myers has led its marketing committee and was one of the first contributors to its seed fund.” Source: www.starterstudio.org

Donna Mackenzie, thanks for all the great work you’ve done at StarterStudio to support our local entrepreneurs these last 4.5+ years! We look forward to seeing the impact you continue to make through your new venture and as a StarterStudio board member.

Congrats on the new role Lilian Myers! We couldn’t have thought of a more perfect person to step in and further the great work being done by StarterStudio.

Demo Day Recap: StarterStudio

By: Kim Johnson

Recap by Kim Johnson

Thank you to the organizers, sponsors, and community for putting together such a powerful event on Monday night. For me, as a new addition to the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Orlando, this was such an eye-opening experience. Not only were there innovative ideas being presented, but the room was filled with inspiration and support from this community.

Demo Day is a platform created for local entrepreneurs in the accelerator programs at StarterStudio. With only three minutes to pitch, each company has the opportunity to explain their business and ask for funding, advisors, or other resources needed to fuel its next step. 18 startups, in both ideation and seed stages, presented last night as they concluded their program. These tech-enabled startups ranged from Kidflix, a kid-friendly educational app, to Rentivity – a way to revolutionizing the leasing process for consumers. A huge shout out to all the companies who spent countless hours working through the program, on their business models and preparing for their presentations.
Check out the startups below!

Everyone who gave a pitch and participated in Demo Day joined together on stage to share a moment of community.


11th Idea – Stage Cohort

  • Kidflix
  • She Plays
  • The Financial Literacy App
  • The Lion Lead
  • ALFI Solutions
  • Visit
  • Pick App Sports
  • Reviox
  • Fan Retreat
  • NatureShutz

4th Seed – Stage Cohort

  • 360Converge
  • Carnooba
  • GoGo Power Juice
  • Forward.Online
  • Viewstub
  • Hycarb
  • Bacarai
  • Rentivity


Natasha Kanji– founder of KidFlix offers her pitch at Demo Day 2019.

StarterStudio is a pioneering hub for innovative and tech-enabled entrepreneurs that empowers and provides resources for entrepreneurs, creatives, and innovators to begin, grow, and flourish in Florida. Through community education programs, accelerators, funding, and collaborative workspaces, StarterStudio fosters a community—serving as a platform for the ideas of the future. This program has given Central Florida a strong platform to help support high-tech and tech-enabled companies start and scale. Central Florida is quickly becoming a national tech hub. With the University of Central Florida at the forefront of innovation, Neo City bringing in World renown high-tech leaders, and Lake Nona Medical City accelerating research in healthcare, Orlando will have the infrastructure to be positioned as a leader in this generation of innovation.

Ashley Hart — Founder & CEO of She Plays providing her pitch at Demo Day 2019.

It is not uncommon for a business startup to feel alone; they feel they have to figure it all out on their own, but that’s far from the truth. Organizations such as StarterStudio are filling that gap and encouraging startups to continue taking chances. Get out and see everything this community has to offer. It’s one thing to have an idea, but to have the resources, network, and funding to support continued growth is another. Take advantage of this network of resources and plug into StarterStudio if you haven’t done so already – you may just be the next Fattmerchant of Orlando! Congratulations to all who participated in Demo Day!

Listen to our podcast interview, Stage Not Age: Interview with Lilian Myers, to learn more about Starter Studio’s previous board member, and new Executive Director.


#InnovateOrlando #OrlandoEntrepreneurs #StarterStudio #DemoDay #CityofOrlando

Celebrating 100 Employees and Continued Growth: Fattmerchant

By: Christina Fleming

Fattmerchant, Orlando’s fastest-growing payment technology company, celebrates reaching 100 employees. They’ve come a long way since they launched in 2014 where CEO and Founder, Suneera Madhani, was one of only two members on her staff.

Fattmerchant got started when Madhani decided that merchants deserve better. She said, “This company was created because we believe that any business, no matter how large or small, should be able to afford to accept credit cards. We are dedicated to making that happen.” She wanted to offer a straightforward pricing model that has a flat monthly rate with no additional charges. With Madhani’s strategic leadership skills, Fattmerchant has reached record high numbers since its existence; attaining triple-digit growth year after year, scaling operations in multiple cities across the United States, raising $10M in venture capital. She revolutionized the payment landscape, which was unheard of in the credit card processing industry thus far.

It wasn’t an uncommon phenomenon for merchants to be hit with hidden fees and long-term contracts, but Madhani said no more. Fattmerchant charges a flat rate fee from Visa and Mastercard, and then offers monthly subscriptions options. The customer can choose which of the three-monthly subscriptions’ suites their needs best–helping them to save approximately 40 % on their monthly processing bills.

Madhani focused execution, passion, and unwavering determination into this company and her employees which has been well-integrated into the company’s mission and product.

To learn more about Madhani and her journey as an Orlando Entrepreneur launching Fattmerchant check out our podcast Most Influential Woman in Payments – Interview with Suneera Madhani.

Synapse Orlando Event Recap

By: David Brim

A message from David Brim:

I want to give props to everyone that came together to make the Synapse Orlando event a great success. Thank you Sheena Carlisle Fowler, Vanessa Zablabla, Tim Giuliani and everyone at the Orlando Economic Partnership for all your hard work in planning and promoting. Thank you Synapse Florida team and volunteers. I really enjoyed all the sessions I attended and participating on the Building on Opportunity Panel. It was wonderful to get so many of our entrepreneurial & innovation leaders together in one place. Catching up with old friends and making new ones was also a big plus.

(Carol Ann Dykes logue and Rob Penepinto speaking at #SynapseOrlando)

During my panel I mentioned that “Orlando is a place where dreamers can dream and innovators can innovate to create the world of tomorrow.”

(David speaking at #SynapseOrlando on Opportunity Zones & Entrepreneurship)

Let’s continue to lean into our spirit of innovation, work together and build on this momentum to advance our Orlando Entrepreneurs, their companies and our local economy. Orlando, our future is bright!




Negotiating the Deal: Interview with Scott Vachon

By: Josh Wilson

Negotiating the Deal: Interview with Scott Vachon

00:00 / 00:55:41

With more than 16 years of experience in office furniture, we help our customers save money with new and used blended solutions. In our 50.000 square feet showroom, you will find hundreds of cubicles, chairs, desks, filing cabinets, office suites, and accessories ready to go.

Whether you are outfitting a single office or redoing your corporate headquarters, we can help you design and set up your office with a great look and proper design. Now you can allow maximum productivity and employee participation to become a reality at your workplace. 

We also offer Green Credits, a way of stopping office furniture from ending up in the landfill, helping the environment by reducing potential greenhouse gases and helping the economy as well. There are a lot of companies that would benefit from getting access to used office furniture rather than going out and buying new.  We will assess the value of your used furniture and give you green credits for it which you can spend on purchases with us. You’ll be able to restock your office with our high quality refurbished items. 

Scott Vachon LinkedIn



Office Liquidation






Capital Office Furniture 






Office Furniture Outlet 





The Photo Studio of Your Dreams: Interview with Jeanette and Joshua Johnson

By: Josh Wilson

The Photo Studio of Your Dreams: Interview with Jeanette and Joshua Johnson

00:00 / 00:42:49
Joshua and Jeanette Johnson are the founders of Wall Crawl, a photo studio concept in downtown Orlando. Joshua is a lifelong entrepreneur whose past projects include work on Sunrail, Rethink Homelessness, the National Entrepreneur Center, Instagram accounts @lakeeola and @orlandokingcobra, and professor of Entrepreneurial Marketing at UCF. Jeanette is the founder of J’s Everyday Fashion (@jseverydayfashion), one of the first-ever budget fashion blogs. Founded in 2010, it was named a top 10 fashion blog in the U.S. by traffic in 2013 with more than 15 million page views per year. Jeanette is also an author, regularly appears on TV, and is the co-founder of ethical clothing line Eden & Ivy.
After getting married in 2015, they teamed up to travel the world and create content for J’s Everyday Fashion full-time. Always on the lookout for great photo ops, they dreamed up Wall Crawl, a photo studio with 20+ walls that change seasonally and on-staff Instagram husbands that help you capture the perfect shot. It opened in downtown Orlando in August 2019.

Photo Credit @doorlandonorth

But first, let me take a Selfie, at Wall Crawl Orlando

By: Christina Fleming

It’s time to re-vamp your Instagram with some photo [worthy] shots! Orlando welcomes Wall Crawl, a new photo studio on Church Street. Offering more than 20 creative backdrops, Wall Crawl gives you the opportunity to snap the impeccably unique picture. There’s plenty of space for you to take selfies, portraits, photos and more! Don’t worry if you forget your props, they have a variety for you to play with as you walk around this imaginative photoset.

Owners, Jeanette and Joshua Johnson, wanted to make this a space inspiring for everyone and for any occasion. This spot isn’t only for your favorite Instagram influencers, it can be used for holiday portraits, business professional headshots (with some flare), creative date nights, bachelorette parties, you name it. The owners plan to keep the backdrops always changing with new art from local Orlando artists.

The idea for Wall Crawl began when Fashion Blogger Jeanette Johnson collaborated with her husband and photographer, Joshua Johnson. In her interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Jeanette says, “About a year and a half ago, Joshua came up with the idea to open a photography studio. I asked to have some space in the back to create some funny backdrops for my blog. And it literally just snowballed from there.” The couple has been planning for the studio perennially, always excited to see their visions come to life.

So how does it work? Well, the admission for the general public costs $25 per person. This includes 45 minutes to wander around and become inspired. Wall Crawl has Instagram “Husbands” available to help you get the perfect angels and curate the unique ideas you’ve conjured up. The pictures they help you capture can be purchased for $5 at the end of your experience. Nevertheless, it is definitely encouraged for you to snap selfies and even bring your own photographer.

The owners expressed they want this to be more than simply Instagram. They want to help inspire creativity in the community and offer resources for Orange County schools to teach students photography, editing, and blog writing. They also offer the studio as a private venue for people to host their own events. If you want to hear more about their vision, tune into our Podcast coming soon featuring Jeanette and Joshua.

For more information on Wall Crawl, stay tuned for our upcoming Podcast with Jeanette and Joshua Johnson. Pre-purchased tickets are required for admission, so please visit their website, wallcrawl.com for up-to-date time slots and ticket information.


Wall Crawl is at 1016 Church St. in Orlando.




The $400k Tweet: Interview with Founders Justin and Jordan

By: Josh Wilson

The $400k Tweet: Interview with Founders Justin and Jordan

00:00 / 00:48:57

Justin Mitchell and Jordan Walker have been partners in some exciting tech-based endeavors such as their app development company, SoFriendly, and their latest project, YAC.  Justin and Jordan share their experiences developing YAC such as receiving an investment offer of $400,000 through Twitter and gaining investors without yet having a pitch deck ready to show.  YAC, short for the common phrase “Yelling Across Cubicles”, is an application which makes it far more efficient for remote teams to communicate.

Justin Mitchell’s bio:

Having started working in startups at only 16, I now have extensive experience in the entire product development lifecycle. At 19 I co-founded and launched my first startup and 2 years later helped it IPO on the NASDAQ. 27 patents, an acquisition and multiple funded projects later, I bounce between design, engineering and even marketing for clients such as Margaritaville, Marriott, Hilton, and Google, through my design agency, SoFriendly. I’m now working on a new startup focused on asynchronous voice communication, called YAC and recently closed a pre-seed round there.

Jordan Walker’s bio:

Over the course of my career, I’ve worked with exciting new, startups all the way up to giants such as Hilton, Margaritaville, and Marriott. While doing so, I’ve built teams from the ground up and managed 250+ person teams while keeping efficiency at the top of the priority list. My experience in product design and running businesses has not only helped other startups but has helped me scale and raise for my own startup, YAC, as well. Majority of my work can be found at sofriendly.com. My latest startup, YAC, is a venture-backed asynchronous voice communication platform. We can be found at www.yac.chat and would love to hear what you think!



YAC website: https://www.yac.chat

YAC Twitter: https://twitter.com/yacchat

Justin Mitchell LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/itsthisjustin/

Jordan Walker LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jordanlwalkerrr/

SoFriendly website: https://www.sofriendly.com

SoFriendly Twitter: https://twitter.com/sofriendly

Self-Driving Cars and Trucks are One-Step Closer with Luminar’s $100M Funding Increase

By: Christina Fleming

The laser lidar sensors for self-driving vehicles are expected to hit the road in 2022, just about two years from now. Luminar, in Orlando, FL raised an additional $100M. Now, they plan to market a new affordable sensing and perception platform for automated passenger vehicles as well as commercial trucks. This will enable the drivers to see their surroundings more accurately.

CEO Austin Russell, the 24-year-old optics prodigy founded the  Orlando-based company three years ago. His intention is for the new Iris platform to combine the latest-generation laser sensor from Luminar with the software. This makes it possible to install the platform into a vehicle as a plug and play upgrade. It can be integrated into the vehicles roof or healights, as well as the front grille. Russell plans to sell the Iris package to cars and trucks that have high levels of self-driving capabilities for less than $1000.

Lidar can quickly generate 3D point cloud maps. This bounces a laser beam off a vehicles surroundings, allowing it to work in unification with computer vision from highly technical cameras and radars. By doing do, the Iris package enables the vehicle to realize potential road hazards.

Toyota Research Institute, Audi, Volvo and Volkswagen have partnered with Luminar to support the technology. Luminar has over 30 different partners that have signed contracts, which includes 12 of the top 15 global automakers.

Luminar has numerous investors, including G2VP, Moore Stragetic Ventures, LLC, Nick Woodman, The Westly Group, 1517 Fund / Peter Thiel, Canvas Ventures, Corning Inc, Cornes, and Volvo Cars Tech Fund.

Dial a Doctor: Interview with Mark D. Gebhardt

By: Josh Wilson

Dial a Doctor: Interview with Mark D. Gebhardt

00:00 / 00:42:52

Mark Gebhardt is a thirty-plus year veteran of the financial services industry. A true industry entrepreneur with broad-based experience in healthcare, marketing, product development, technology and distribution with responsibilities for the conception, planning and implementation of all marketing activities.  Mark has also authored numerous articles for industry trade publications on sales, marketing, agency building and development and is also recognized as an industry resource for National Underwriter magazine.

Community Doctors was launched in 2018, founded on the belief that there was a way to provide direct access to basic healthcare on an affordable basis without sacrificing quality. They were right. As the cost of medical insurance continues to soar, millions of people are unable to afford coverage or their deductible is so high, these consumers don’t seek care. Yet the need for basic medical care from doctors, professional services and medications is as important as ever. Visit the Community Doctors website for complete details; they look forward to being of service.

Here’s how to connect:



https://twitter.com/CommunityDocs @CommunityDocs

Take a Reset: Interview with Charlie Lewis

By: Josh Wilson

Take a Reset: Interview with Charlie Lewis

00:00 / 00:52:34

Charlie Lewis is the founder and CEO of BlueWave Resource Partners and by hobby, a seed investor in the local tech community. His company BlueWave works with venture capital and private equity backed companies that are in high growth to assist with recruiting and talent acquisition. He is also an organizer and community leader for Orlando Tech and Beer which is a network of like-minded individuals focused on connecting and collaborating in order to inspire the growth of our tech communities.

Charlie has been in Orlando’s technology talent acquisition scene for 13 years and has worked with small to enterprise scale companies across central Florida. Over the years he has seen the changes in the technology talent pool, hiring trends and the impact that sourcing technology and social media has had on recruiting. Charlie has first-hand insight on the competitive landscape of attracting talent and the resource shortages that face our local tech community.  To learn more about Bluewave Resource Partners, visit https://bluewaverp.com.


Company email: info@bluewaverp.com

Company phone: (407) 986-5777

Company Instagram @bluewaverp

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/charleslewisiii/


The Hand You’re Dealt: Interview with Melody Montgomery

By: Josh Wilson

The Hand You’re Dealt: Interview with Melody Montgomery

00:00 / 00:57:18

Coming from a ‘nonlinear’ career path, Melody found herself wanting to find purpose with her work, while balancing a stable family and life schedule.  Finding Two Maids & A Mop, founded by Ron Holt in 2003, gave Melody the perfect way to fulfill her entrepreneurial spirit, spend time with her family, and also help families in need of help with keeping their lives in order.  Two Maids & A Mop offers cleaning services on a subscription-based model utilizing different package levels, while also partnering with nonprofits like Cleaning For A Reason, which provides free housecleaning for cancer patients.


Melody decided to pursue her dream of becoming a business owner after her teenage daughter recited her very own teachings of “We don’t just do the easy things.”  With this endeavor, Melody was also given the challenge of persevering through her recent diagnosis of breast cancer. She recalls her continuing efforts of maintaining optimism and learning to accept her own faults, which lead to her success as a leader.  Melody believes that everything happens for a reason, and even though sometimes she thinks she was ‘dealt a bad hand’, she continually makes the effort to not define herself by her diagnosis. With this perspective shift on life, she holds firm in the belief that we all have a choice when it comes to how we spend our time and seeks to empower those who are stuck thinking they cannot pursue their dreams.


Two Maids & A Mop has been featured in media such as Entrepreneur Magazine, Better Homes & Garden, Success Magazine, CNN Money, Yahoo News, and even CNBC.  Based out of Birmingham, Alabama, this brand now we serve 60 markets across the country, following the notion that doing the right thing will keep them competitive in the service-based industry.  To learn more about Two Maids & A Mop Oviedo, visit https://twomaidsoviedo.com/about_us/.


Company email: oviedo@ineedamaid.com

Seminole Country: www.twomaidsoviedo.com

Orange county: www.twomaidsorlando.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/melodymontgomery/

Company phone: (407) 603-8001


Printing Ideas: Interview with Andy Tran

By: Josh Wilson

Printing Ideas: Interview with Andy Tran

00:00 / 00:50:03

Andy Tran is the founder and CEO of Millebot Inc., a modular digital-manufacturing platform. He describes himself as being a keen observer, utilizing his skillset to provide unconventional solutions to contemporary challenges.  His team converts ISO shipping containers into mobile digital-manufacturing systems. The machine has the potential to disrupt the manufacturing and production workflows for any industry that uses prototyping, modular design or requires on-demand components. The massive 3D printing machine has the ability to print in recycled materials, plastics, polymers, metals, and cement.  Andy believes that Millebot is the ultimate tool to give both himself and others the ability to create more opportunities and solve even more challenges. Millebot’s standardization proves itself in regard to scalability – its abilities range from the creation of body panels for aircraft to housing for traditional consumer products.

Headquartered in Winter Park, Millebot has cemented their roots in Central Florida, where companies like Disney and Lockheed Martin, and universities such as the University of Central Florida, Valencia College and Seminole State College, provide a wide talent pool for innovative partnerships.  To learn more about Millebot Inc., visit https://www.millebot.com.

Andy Tran Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andyttran/

Andy Tran Twitter: https://twitter.com/moderninventor

Millebot Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/millebot/

Millebot specs: https://www.millebot.com/machines

Millebot website: https://www.millebot.com/home

Technology You Ingest: Interview with Harry Travis

By: Josh Wilson

Technology You Ingest: Interview with Harry Travis

00:00 / 00:49:30

Harry J. Travis is an accomplished senior executive with over 25 years experience in all aspects of pharmaceutical distribution channel management. He has held senior leadership positions with Baxter Healthcare, Cardinal Health, Accredo/Medco and Aetna. At Aetna, he held the position of vice president of the Aetna Specialty Pharmacy, and Mail Order Pharmacy. This multi-billion dollar business is ranked in the top-five specialty pharmacies in the US. Additionally, Mr. Travis led the development of the first-ever large-scale cross-corporate central fill operation dedicated to specialty pharmaceuticals.

Mr. Travis is a sought after national speaker on trends in specialty pharmacy and medication adherence and a former board member for sPCMA. He holds a BS in pharmacy from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Pharmacy, and an MBA from The Darden School at the University of Virginia.

etectRx™ is a privately held digital health company seeking to advance patient medication adherence and improve medication ingestion tracking technology. etectRx’s flagship product, the ID-Cap System, is an ingestible event marker that is comprised of a gelatin capsule containing a wireless ingestible sensor, which transmits signals to a wearable reader and then to a smartphone-based app and secure cloud-based server to enable reliable tracking of ingestion events.

etectRx submitted a premarket notification (510(k)) application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its ID-Cap System as an ingestible event marker in late 2018 and anticipates FDA clearance for marketing in 2019. The ID-Cap System is currently only available for investigational use in IRB-approved clinical studies. To learn more about etectRx, visit https://etectrx.com/.

– Harry Travis Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hjtravis/

– etectRx Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/etect-inc-/

– etectRx website: https://etectrx.com/
– etectRx Twitter: https://twitter.com/etectRx

How To Spot Trends: Interview with Matt Certo

By: Josh Wilson

How To Spot Trends: Interview with Matt Certo

00:00 / 00:57:30

Matt Certo serves as CEO & Principal of Findsome & Winmore, an Orlando, Florida-based digital marketing agency. Originally called WebSolvers, the company’s first client was his alma mater, Rollins College. Matt built the college’s first website out of his dorm room in 1995 at the age of 19.

Since then, Matt has grown the company into a fully-integrated digital marketing agency with experienced professionals, a diverse client base, and an ever-increasing suite of services. Apart from the growth of the company, Certo’s work in the industry has been extensive: he co-authored a book in 2001 (Digital Dimensioning: Finding the ebusiness in your Business). He is also the author of Formulaic: How Thriving Companies Market From the Core and Found: Connecting with Customers in the Digital Age. Matt was asked by The White House to speak at a domestic economic forum with President George W. Bush in 2002 and spoke at The White House in 2016 concerning President Barack Obama’s Computer Science for All initiative.

He is a frequent guest speaker on topics on marketing, Web strategy and search engine optimization, an area for which he has also served as a testifying expert witness. His clients have included the likes of Arnold Palmer Enterprises, National Retail Properties, Darden Restaurants, Newman’s Own Organics, Fiserv and McGraw-Hill. He is a frequent guest speaker to various marketing, advertising and public relations trade associations and has been widely quoted in publications including Inc. Magazine, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, The San Diego Union Tribune, The Boston Globe and The Orlando Sentinel.

An active community participant, Matt has served as Board Chairman of a number of non-profit organizations including Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida, Nemours Florida Board of Managers, Elevate Orlando, and The First Tee of Central Florida, an organization which he founded. He has also served for over a decade on the Board of the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation as well as Chairman of its endowment committee. He has been recognized by the Orlando Business Journal as one of its Most Influential Men to Watch and its 40 Under 40 list 3 times.

At Findsome & Winmore, we never stop exploring. We are marketers, creatives and strategists. We build brands and we build relationships. We pursue ideas and tactics to solve problems in unique ways. No matter what we do, our pursuit is the same: To FIND and WIN new customers for our clients. We do that by helping them to connect, gain exposure, present the right image, create foot traffic and attract attention.


Being A Kid-Preneur: Interview with Lillie Wilson

By: Josh Wilson

Being A Kid-Preneur: Interview with Lillie Wilson

00:00 / 00:15:28

Lillie is an author, sales consultant, student, and philanthropist.  She is 6 years old and now that she graduated kindergarten she is going to work and helping dad with his business.

Some of the questions she answers during the interview:

  • How do you write a book?
  • How do you stay organized?
  • Do you have enough toys?
  • What do you do when you are sad?
  • How do you make money?
  • Why do you give to people in need?

Business is my Worship: Interview with Ryan Smith

By: Josh Wilson

Business is my Worship: Interview with Ryan Smith

00:00 / 00:57:14

Ryan Smith serves as a Principal of Elevation Capital Group, bringing more than 15 years of extensive business experience in market evaluation, property analysis, management systems, due diligence and finance.

Elevation Capital Group, and its affiliates, (“Elevation”) have grown into a well-respected leader in the alternative real estate investment space. Elevation focuses exclusively on cycle-resilient real estate strategies and niche property types, including manufactured housing communities and self-storage. Elevation, through its affiliates, has acquired properties worth more than $475 million and has an interest in over 175 assets across more than 30 states.

A seasoned and engaging public speaker, Ryan has spoken to audiences ranging from 20 to more than 10,000, sharing the stage with names such as Steve Forbes, Kristen Armstrong, Rudy Giuliani, Colin Powell, Sarah Palin, Ben Stein and other notable industry leaders.

Ryan graduated from the University of Tampa with a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science.
A highly recruited athlete, Ryan was drafted as a high school senior by the Baltimore Orioles, and again in college by the Anaheim Angels, but ultimately made the decision to pursue an entrepreneurial business career.