Palm Beach Tech AssociationPalm Beach Tech Association

By Stephanie Buzano

Apply to Tech.Co’s Startup of the Year Competition!

 

Attention startups! Tech.Co is accepting application for their 5th annual Startup of the Year Competition. This annual event attracts tech leaders, influencers and investors to early-stage startup companies.  Deadline is May 31st, 2017! Apply now!

 

What is Tech.Co’s Startup of the Year Program?

Each year, thousands of startups vie for a chance to compete at the annual Startup of the Year competition hosted at the Innovate! and Celebrate conference. Produced in partnership with Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the producers of CES, the 3-day event will happen in San Francisco in October 2017. Startups selected to participate will have the opportunity to win the title of Startup of the Year, as well as prizes, potential investment, and more.

 

What makes this competition different?

Tech.Co’s Startup of the Year program encourages women and minority founders to apply and connects them to a vast network of resources looking to help such entrepreneurs thrive. We strive to have startups from all 50 states represented at our competition as well, and recognize local ecosystems that the mainstream media often overlooks.  

Application Deadline: May 31, 2017-  CLICK HERE TO APPLY NOW!

 

What types of startups are eligible to participate in the competition?

Tech.Co seeks the most innovative early-stage companies out there from a variety of verticals.

Startup Qualifications:

  • Startups must have less than $4 MM USD in funding
  • Startups must be less than 4 years old
  • Startups must have a live, operating product or service
  • Startups must be INNOVATIVE!

By Adam Ross

Connecting Dots: Helping People Find Jobs, Helping Jobs find People

Connecting Dots: Helping People Find Jobs, Helping Jobs find People

Part of membership within The Palm Beach Tech Association is community advocacy; helping connect the technology dots throughout Palm Beach County.

Everyday at Palm Beach Tech we help great companies and awesome people who are working hard to build our tech industry. It’s our honor to build this community and we sure love doing it.

In part, we strive to help talented people find talented companies, and talented companies find talented people. These are not unique situations in the very least, but here are a few examples:

VX IT

“Joe Russo was kind enough to introduce us to a gentlemen named Adrian who had been interning at a local hospital without pay. He moved to Florida from Cuba about 3 years prior and had previously done IT there.

We were able to bring him on as a paid intern and he is doing great! Our businesses live and die on great relationships, and Joe bringing Adrian to us not only helps VXIT in a time of need, but Adrian is now in a better spot with a paid internship instead of a non-paid internship.”

– Paul Veddar, Managing Partner VXIT

 

MyTaskit

“We are pretty selective of the people that join MyTaskit – they go through multiple interviews before even becoming a final candidate.

Joe Russo and the Palm Beach Tech Association introduced a candidate to us for a Senior UX/UI position. One of the best candidates we have hired this year and flew through our process with flying colors.”

-Kevin Hutchinson, Co-Founder & CEO of MyTaskit

 

What’s More

It is Palm Beach Tech’s mission to cultivate a community centered around the technology industry. Along with our Career Board, we take extra steps to find good fits for companies and people.

By Daniel Lofaso

How to Raise $382,658 on Kickstarter: Kate Reddy with DreamScreen

Recently I was lucky enough to interview Kate Reddy from DreamScreen, a local Boca Raton startup that recently spoke at one of our Meetups. Reddy shined some light on her success with Kickstarter, the popular crowdfunding website.

  1. Please tell us about your product, DreamScreen, and why you choose Kickstarter to launch it?

DreamScreen is smart LED backlighting for home theater. DreamScreen works with any HDMI TV and enhances the size of the TV, softens the image and even makes watching TV easier on your eyes. Other products in the past had to be connected through computers and had a delay in responsiveness. This was a solution in that space, as it offers a responsive rate of 60 f/s for any TV, movie or video game.  We chose Kickstarter because it has a large technology community and is full of tech early adopters.

  1. How did you get so savvy at Kickstarter?

It’s like any other marketing launch, it’s about understanding consumer behavior and knowing your target customer. This was my first venture into the platform, but I have previous experience managing digital marketing campaigns so I used that knowledge to create a buzz.

  1. You raised $382,658 dollars for your startup through Kickstarter, yet you only asked for $25,000. What’s the secret to your success?

Yes! It is a numbers game. Put a very conservative goal on Kickstarter. You want the project to fund in the first 24-48 hours of your launch. It impresses people, and gives you the availability to say you were 1,500% funded, and so forth.

Kickstarter is its own animal, most of the backers of our campaign were backers of other projects. If you meet goals quickly Kickstarter can give you better exposure on their homepage or through other internal features on the site. When people write articles about you and mention that you have sailed past your goals it makes people more likely to take notice.

If you post a really large goal and you don’t meet that mark, you won’t get a dollar. It’s kind of a gamble, so you really want to put an amount you know you can reach.

  1. What kind of startup product/service is Kickstarter right for?

Technology products are probably the best category. I’ve seen success in many other avenues though, including games, theater and arts, new food and beverage ideas, etc.; I don’t think it’s necessarily about the category, but more the quality of the product.

  1. How long would you suggest a company push a funding round on Kickstarter?

Kickstarter recommends 30-40 days, and that is ample time.

  1. How important is showing a budget for one’s company and what should this include or not include?

I didn’t do that and I think it’s more important to show a viable product. The backers are taking a gamble on you, convince them it is real, it is happening. We spent a great deal of time creating visuals, a great video, and helping to inform potential backers of all the specifics of our product. Showcasing that you know your stuff can often be a trust-earning aspect of a campaign that negates the need to show line-by-line what you intend to do with money you may earn.

  1. How can a company actively market their Kickstarter campaign? Is it ever too early to drum up pre-launch buzz?

I choose to do a soft launch and sent it to promoters – other people in tech, my immediate network, technology writers and editors, etc. I sent it out to editors and YouTubers so the general public knew it was real and that if they backed the project, they were going to receive a DreamScreen. This resulted in some good press which we later used to showcase as social proof on our Kickstarter page. It added another trust element to backers because they could see that tech magazines and blogs had already featured us.

The takeaway is that people who do a soft launch (pre-Kickstarter) probably have more success than those who are making their first impression on Kickstarter. It goes back to the trust element; if tech writers like the product why wouldn’t a consumer?

Other advice: We also spent a lot of time writing a good press release and translating it into as many languages as possible. I even closed-captioned it in English, because I found that deaf people were interested in the visual effects of DreamScreen. I had the video translated into five languages because Kickstarter is such an international community and I didn’t want to exclude anyone.  Next time I launch something I’m going to push it out to 10 languages or more.

  1. How can companies come up with good stories that will help to sell themselves as well as their products?

We wanted the product to be the face of the company, not us as founders. A lot of people wanted us to put ourselves on our video we created. We went to conferences and people suggested putting ourselves in our video and we decided against it.

That said, my DreamScreen profile is my husband and I and we linked our Facebook page to show we are real people. Other than that, we showed pictures of the team on the campaign page to show that we were a viable company. We remained product-focused and tried to keep the spotlight away from us and onto our product, and it worked out well for us.

  1. What kind of stretch goals do you suggest?

We got so much feedback from the backers that we based our goals on what backers were asking for. For example, some people wanted a Windows app, others wanted integration with a Smart Watch, some wanted new Ambient Scenes and others wanted us to integrate DreamScreen with their home lighting, so we added those to the campaign as Stretch Goals, and are currently developing those add-ons.

The backers loved it when we listened to them and did as they requested. Let the backers tell you how to improve your product and you win their loyalty and get free consumer perspective.

  1. What are good Kickstarter resources that you like?

Kicktraq.com is good resource to see where you are trending and gives you a lot of analytics on your campaign [that Kickstarter doesn’t]. We went there almost every day to see how our campaign was doing.

Other vital things to these campaigns are strong targeting of:

  • Facebook ad campaigns
  • Behavioral targeting ads
  • PPC
  • Paid Search
  • Digital Banner Ads with retargeting

 

  1. What other preparation did you do before launching?

We had all our developer work already done, we had our app built, and we encouraged people to download it. A lot of Kickstarter products don’t deliver so whatever you can do to alleviate those concerns the better off you’ll be.

The more information you can put on the page the better. My campaign page has tons of specs, timelines, photos, and a desire to inundate the user with as much info as possible.

  1. Any other advice?

One piece of advice I’d give is to not to launch your crowdfunding project on Indiegogo. Kickstarter has a higher level of legitimacy because you actually have to have a tangible product or service and a working prototype, whereas with Indiegogo you just have to have an idea, so it is a much bigger gamble to the consumer. People want to back a product that is ready to go and have the assurance their money is being well spent.

By Adam Ross

Looking Past Stereotypes: The real story of doing business in Palm Beach County.

Looking Past Stereotypes: The real story of doing business in Palm Beach County

Forget The Stereotype

The Palm Beaches have been undergoing a massive rebirth in recent years, ditching it’s retiree saturated stereotype for that of a tech and cultural center in South Florida. As a business owner who moved his business here 5 years ago, I am happy to report that this is not the Palm Beach that you (or I) thought it was.

I am always hosting out of town clients to see it for themselves and it takes as little as one day to turn impressions around.

Resources, Connections and Support

Something I find most unique about this area is that for a small city, the sense of community is big. Having lived in cities like San Francisco and New York, there is less organization within the business community because, frankly, they don’t require it, it’s everywhere. Palm Beach businesses have a desire to get involved, and in turn, build a stronger sense of community. Since moving to West Palm Beach, I have attended more conferences, Meet-Ups and events in than I did in NYC and my network of business associates is stronger for it.

Come for the Weather, Stay for The Lifestyle

It’s a common misconception that Florida’s only draw is it’s sunny skies, and while Palm Beach county certainly has it in spades, there is so much more:

  • Free Money – Did you know that Florida residents pay no state income tax? How about that for a sales pitch? Move to Florida, enjoy beautiful weather, and save thousands of dollars on your personal taxes.
  • Live Music – West Palm Beach has an annual 5 day music festival called SunFest that draws massive crowds from all over the world. Add in the new Okeechobee Festival and Tortuga down the road and you have a vibrant selection of music to see.
  • Baseball, Art and Entertainment – We are the East Coast epicenter for baseball Spring training, have 3 fine art museums, host Broadway shows at the Kravis Center, and are the go-to destination for International polo matches.
  • Beaches – South Florida beaches are some of the nicest in the country and have year round water temperatures that make swimming in December delightful. They are all public (unlike the private beaches of California) and a perfect escape from your busy business schedule.
  • Easy Lifestyle – Ditch your parka, South Florida rarely sees temperatures drop below 50 degrees making warm jackets, boots, scarves, hats and all your other winter gear a waste of space. Our year round temperatures are by far the nicest you will find.
  • Miami, The Gulf,  Key West and Disney – West Palm Beach is a perfect jumping off point for accessing all that Florida has to offer. Looking for some of the best nightlife in the world, Miami is just a ‘Flo-Rida album’ drive down 95. Feel like giving Mickey Mouse a hug, you can be there before you say Mousekatootle. Or how about dining al fresco while enjoying some fresh gulf seafood, it is less than a gas tank away.

On The Horizon

With opinions changing fast, South Florida is seeing a boom in it’s technology environment and commercial development. Startups are appreciating the sense of community, businesses are moving their headquarters to enjoy the perks of the area and schools are building programs to fulfill the need of tech minded students.

If there ever was a time to get on the bandwagon, this is it. Palm Beach County is in full bloom and only getting better.

 
Apply to Tech.Co’s Startup of the Year Competition!
Connecting Dots: Helping People Find Jobs, Helping Jobs find People
How to Raise $382,658 on Kickstarter: Kate Reddy with DreamScreen
Looking Past Stereotypes: The real story of doing business in Palm Beach County.