Diversity is one of the factors consistently mentioned when discussing what makes Miami a great ecosystem for entrepreneurs. Foreign born individuals account for about 15 percent of the US population, but they start more than 25 percent of new businesses in America.
Immigrant businesses are 60 percent more likely to export than native-owned companies, and more than 2.5 times as likely to rely on exports for a large part of their sales, according to the Partnership for a New American Economy. Exports are responsible for about half of the country's economic growth in recent years. This column highlights some of these companies and its founders with different backgrounds.
Cube Care Company is a full-service manufacturer and supplier of decorative products for healthcare and commercial interiors, with a client roster that includes some of the largest healthcare facilities in the nation. With a team of designers, engineers and installers, Cube Care manages the entire curtain lifecycle for customers, bridging the gaps between curtain maintenance, to manufacturing, to installation – the only company in the U.S. will all these capabilities in-house. This unique all-in-one approach gives customers confidence that they’re receiving the highest quality decorative products, tailored with precision to their needs, with service that exceeds the highest expectations. They currently serve over 90 percent of the market in South Florida, proof that their commitment to deliver the best with personal guidance is the winning combination. At her own admittance, company’s young founder with Colombian background, Susana Robledo, is a perfectionist. She wants to be the best and she had invested heavily in the business by not taking a paycheck from the company for the first 10 years.
Today the company’s revenue tops $6 million. Working smart & hard runs in the family. Susana’s father passed away when she was young and her mom worked 3 jobs and wore two hats in the family to raise her. Today, Susana says her mother is still the main driver behind her desire to succeed. During the recession, the company discovered that when their customers didn’t have the funds necessary to purchase from them, so she decided to invest heavily in creating a maintenance program for their products allowing the customers to also remanufacture, alter and maintain what they had in existence without having to make a capital investment. It was a win win situation for both Cube Care and the customers. “We can help our customers make the right product selection, manufacture, install, launder, alter, recycle. Every one of our staff members are carefully selected to insure they fit our culture, they are know they are part of something special and they are proud and passionate about their role. Furthermore, we invest in educating our clients and it pays off, we are here for the long term with them and we want to be their source of guidance and expertise when it comes to our products, we see them as our partners,” Susana Robledo, Founder & CEO.
Good World Games is a pioneer of gaming for good allowing players to make an impact in the real world while playing our games in the virtual world. The company develops fun mobile games that support nonprofit causes and co-markets its growing game arcade with partners reaching tens of millions of users, including messaging apps, global brands, travel venues, celebrities and athletes. The partners include Give To Colombia, Debut.careers, Crowdrise, University of Miami, amongst many others. The unique model boasts zero user acquisition costs, increased user acquisition, retention, and enhanced distribution via our partners.
Since its launch in 2011, Good World Games has evolved. In addition to developing its own games, it has become a distribution platform for third party games. So far Good World Games has developed ten of its own games, partnered with over a dozen nonprofits and three distribution channels. The founder, originally from Toronto, Canada is Gregory Sukornyk, a serial entrepreneur whose passion is to make a positive impact on the world through his companies. On lessons learned:“You think you have seen it all, until you haven't. You should never underestimate the importance of a strong, unified team. Our team is the single, most important part of the company.”
Tudor Ice is the world’s oldest start-up indeed. Its founder, originally from Dominican Republic, Nestor Villalobos had traveled all over the world and run into a common concern international travelers share: ice in their drinks, often made from water that is unsafe for consumption. That is what gave rise to Nestor’s idea to develop a new generation of ice that will solve these issues. They raised $1.2 million to develop the concept and its finished product: has a long shelf life (1 year), melts 60 percent slower than traditional ice, is made from distilled water so it doesn’t effect the drink’s taste and - most importantly is 100 percent safe to consume. When coming up with the name for his new business, Nestor researched the history of ice and found out that Frederick Tudor was the pioneer behind selling ice in early 1800s. Frederick eventually became one of America’s first post-revolutionary millionaires. However, it took him 20 years, bankruptcies and going to jail for unpaid debts before he became known as the Ice King. The company that Frederick built sadly didn’t innovate and slowly went away. Interestingly, Nestor was able to track down and partner with Tudor’s direct descenders. They are now actively working on the company’s rebirth.
The company is well poised to disrupt the aging bagged ice industry with premium, slow melting ice that makes beverages safer and more enjoyable. The official sales will start in the second part of the year. Pre-orders are now being accepted from some of the the leaders in the hospitality and entertainment industries.
4. Yellow Pepper 3
YellowPepper is Latin America’s premier pioneer in Mobile banking and Payments. The company’s mobile apps are intuitive, feature-packed and rewarding. Serge Elkiner, Co-Founder & CEO is originally from Brussels who had moved to London at the age of seventeen. He had studied and lived in different cities, countries and continents. Perhaps that is one of the reasons for the great diversity in YellowPepper’s team. The team grew organically, it is over 65 people strong, young men and women based on its average age, representing individuals from all over the world. Their passion for mobile revolution is responsible for the great success they have been having and the ambitious goals they are set to meet by this year’s end: to increase its ever-growing community in mobile banking from 6 to10 million active users, to reach one million users for their payment app that was launched in October of 2015 and to triple its merchant base. The biggest challenge has been to continue driving changes in consumer and merchant behaviour, but as we all know more and more people are starting to trust and get comfortable using mobile for their everyday needs. On advice most frequently given to the budding entrepreneurs: “Think twice before you start - it is going to be a difficult ride. Once you start - don't despair. Have Fun!”
Factivate born in November 2014 is driven by its vision: Ordinary, busy, business folks create their own business intelligence (B.I.) platforms to make their lives easier; all while making their organizations more competitive. Juan Porras, Factivate’s Guatemalan born Founder and CEO believes that “Anyone who has ever had to rely on a spreadsheet report knows how much of a time sink it is to build it and how it is the biggest bottleneck to their business productivity.”
While the company is in private beta they have paying customers, ranging from entrepreneurs to government organizations.Factivate was designed to keep up with how a business operates within a spreadsheet ecosystem and acknowledges the benefits of real time information and just-in-time reactions. The cloud-based platform enables users to import their data into an intuitive, familiar spreadsheet-like interface to conduct robust data analysis. In sharp contrast to the complex and expensive B.I. tools on the market today, Factivate is so easy to use that if you know how to use Excel then you know 95% of what you need to know to use Factivate and pull your cloud-based data into a familiar interface for analysis and manipulation.
Current Beta pricing starts at $50 per user. Additionally, Factivate is converting their client’s old, stagnant spreadsheet reports to a connected, automated spreadsheet systems at no additional cost. This offering has already attracted a large number of customers who have mentioned that this type of consulting work could sometimes cost them tens of thousands of dollars.
Today, the company announced that they will be releasing their new automated spreadsheet templates connected to Google Analytics, Stripe, and Facebook which will replace the time consuming processes of exporting data from an external source, formatting etc. with just 2 easy clicks and takes a few minutes to execute. When released, marketers, entrepreneurs, advertisers, and even finance organizations will be able to save hundreds of hours, reduce spreadsheet errors, and improve their data analysis decisions within a matter of seconds.