By Nancy Dahlberg
NewME brought its first PopUp Accelerator to Miami this week, and together with the Knight Foundation and LAB Miami, gave 65 South Florida participants a two-night pitch workshop, a one-on-one mentoring session with some of its Silicon Valley experts and the opportunity to present their pitches at Demo Night.
On Wednesday evening, 38 startup teams pitched to a roomful of people packed in on the risers of The Light Box Theater in Wynwood, and competed for tens of thousands in prizes. On the intimate stage, the teams made their two-minute pitches, each one accompanied by a pitch deck of 8 to 10 slides.
"Can't you feel the energy? This is super exciting," said Matt Haggman, program director of the Knight Foundation's Miami office, which has made entrepreneurship one of its focuses. "What's going on here clearly shows there is something happening here and we look forward to contributing to it further."
After the pitches, which were judges by two investors and Angela Benton, founder of NewME, Benton announced the winners:
First place: Sew Love, pitched by Sabrina Scandar. Sewlove.co, founded by sisters Sabrina and Silvia Scandar, is a platform for crowdsourcing fashion design. They won a prize package worth $45,000 in goods and services to help them build their startup, plus they were accepted into NewME's 2013 Accelerator class.
Second place: Gozump, pitched by Charleston Malkemus. Gozump is a platform to help people buy homes, which will begin by targeting the military market. "We are Marines on a mission to change the way real estate works forever." Gozump won $23,000 in goods and services.
Third place, Indira, pitched by Carrie Ann Mantha: Indira is a fashion tech platform that creates personalized personalized fashion and decor for weddings. It has a factory up and running in Little Haiti and is launching next month. Indira won $7,000 in goods and services, including co-working space at LAB Miami.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.