Startups Pitch Visions of the Future at IDEA Showcase

By Greg Tavarez February 16, 2024

Another chapter of ITEXPO 2024 was coming to a close. But not before the IDEA Showcase, which is a chance for startups to present their pitches to a group a judges. Nikki Cabus spoke at the start of the showcase. She is the CEO of South Florida Tech Hub.

South Florida Tech Hub unites software, engineering, digital and IT companies across Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. It fosters industry growth by attracting businesses and supporting startups. Collaboration is key: Tech Hub partners with educational institutions, government agencies, and business groups to achieve its goals.

Membership offers benefits like networking opportunities, talent access and industry insights. Tech Hub strives to make South Florida a thriving tech hub, attracting investment and creating long-term economic impact.

“We are connectors of the ecosystem,” said Cabus. “We work a bit of everyone. What everyone has in common is that we are tech and have entrepreneurship.”

She then went on to introduce the judges. The judges are Claudia Duran, managing director, Endeavor Miami; Tahl Milburn, gentleman technologist, thoughtful investor, executive adviser, startup mentor, Seedfunders; Ariana Pareja, entrepreneur, investor, startup mentor, board adviser, The Pareja Family Foundation; Yoni Rubin, entrepreneur, investor, startup mentor, business adviser, MRGN; Akshay Sharma (News - Alert), chief technology evangelist,, cybersecurity adviser, Lionfish Tech Advisors; and Ron Tarro (News - Alert), CEO, tech exec, investor and advisor for emerging technology companies, New World Angels.

Before the pitches started, Eric Vaughan, CEO of IgniteTech and GFI Software, gave a keynote presentation. IgniteTech and GFI Software were the sponsors of the IDEA Showcase as well as a Diamond sponsor of Generative AI Expo.

He discussed how generative AI technology is changing our lives. However, humans have always been fearful of AI. That fear has been prevalent in various movies for the past half-century. Think about that.

“We have always been fearful of AI; every change always brings fear,” said Vaughan. “But I have absolute fate in us.”

He then continued to discuss the five tectonic technology shifts: internet, the rise of personal computers, the web and internet adoption, the iPhone (News - Alert) and generative AI adoption.

So why is this important?

ChatGPT introduced in Oct. 2022 achieved 5 million users in five days. This is dramatic when compared to others.

Where Vaughan went with this is to the point that stuck out the most.

“We need to be GenAI first,” said Vaughan. “It is a culture shift. Everybody has to be in the same boat going at the same direction at the same time, or it will kill you company in the long run.”

Now, for the pitches.

First up was Rauf Tailony, CEO, of FUSIONATION. FUSIONATION is 3D-printing the next generation of real estate. They build futuristic housing using advanced 3D printing technology. To accomplish this, they take the robot on-site and start to build the home by concrete. Doing the home building this way reduces costs by 40% when compared to the traditional way of building homes.

Next was Reese Tuttle, founder, president and chief technology officer, Compliology, a data compliance company. Compliology does more than help with compliance – they go beyond safety awareness training and simulated phishing attacks, based on real-world events.  The company helps businesses with data management, real-world simulations, generating reports and policies and safety awareness training.

Third was Steve Harkey, CMO, Wisp Energy. Wisp Energy creates clean, green, free energy to power the future. They have reduced the cost of maintenance to increase wind power. For example, the benefits of the patented Wisp Energy Dual Axis (News - Alert) Wind Turbine include 30%-plus more efficient at generating energy, 30% lower implementation costs, substantially less noise, and helps prevent over a million bird deaths every year.

Up next, Rob Sims, CTO and founder, Defender by Alchemi. Defender is the strategic data resiliency platform for file-based content. Defender solutions provide organizations with robust data security, seamless access control and quick recovery capabilities. Their suite enhances data resiliency, safeguards against insider threats and ensures compliance, while boosting business continuity. With Defender, businesses gain the confidence to protect their data, maintain integrity and respond faster to any challenge.

The next pitch was from Rick Blalock, co-founder, OneStudy. OneStudy is on a mission to make human research better and more accessible. OneStudy is a SAAS application that conducts conversational interviews with context and find insights in these interviews, at scale. With OneStudy, import interview data into the synthesis engine to identify quantitative trends and opportunities for subsequent research.

David Thrower, CEO, acting CTO ,Cerebros AutoML Platform, presented the final pitch. Cerebros is an open-source company that allows anyone to build custom predictive AI powered minimum viable apps and proofs of concept quickly and easily on a no-code, no operations AI platform. With Cerebros, use machine learning to solve a wide range of problems, regardless of whether you have access to "big data" or not. Train to the same accuracy on less training data and smaller scale hardware.

The judge’s winner, announced by Cabus, is Wisp Energy, which also won the audience vote. Because this is the first time to happen, the runner-up Defender was also recognized.

What a fantastic way to end another fantastic show. Now, to look forward to the 2025 show.

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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