When your child is sick the last place you want to be is in a waiting room. Around other sick people. Waiting.

Almost a century ago, people avoided this by having the doctor come to them. Orlando founder Matt McBride looks to bring back the good ol’ days with Mend Family, an app that sends doctors to your home for house visits.

Mend works much like Uber and other on-demand services where users enter their location into the app and then choose a doctor from specialties such as family, internal medicine or pediatrics. The family describes their symptoms and needs, and Mend sends out the doctor for a house call. Families can review doctors by satisfaction ratings, and the app lets the patient know exactly when the doctor will arrive, similar to Uber. Mend offers services like checkups, vaccinations and even mobile x-rays, and accepts insurance from 45 major payers.

Mcbride McBride thought up the idea from the numerous doctor wellness visits he his wife would make for his their two children. Taking your child to a waiting room full of sick people can be a challenge for any parent.

“I think a lot of parents struggle with those visits, but what alternative is there,” said McBride. “Being in tech, I saw what Uber was doing with their fleet, and I thought wouldn’t it be cool if that was a fleet of doctors. And that’s how Mend started.”

In the 1930’s physician house calls were standard practice with almost 40 percent of patient/physician interactions happening in the home. Though studies have shown that house call visits are effective in reducing readmissions by almost 25 percent, the practice has since gone down to about 1 percent of interactions, mainly due to lack of support by insurance carriers. But as technology has shrunken and improved the tools available in a doctor’s black bag and demand for health care services rises, insurance companies have begun to return to the house call model to reduce costs and provide more effective services.

“I saw what Uber was doing with their fleet, and I thought wouldn’t it be cool if that was a fleet of doctors.”

Mend beta-launched on June 8th and already has 100 downloads and seen 30 patients. The service is currently only available in Baldwin Park and Winter Park but plans to expand throughout Orlando later this year. Mend also offers telemedicine anywhere in Florida.

According to IBIS World, the primary care market is a $246 billion dollar industry growing 4.4 percent annually. In Orange and Seminole counties the market is $628 million with about 5 million patient visits annually.

Prior to Mend, McBride co-founded Fast Forward Academy in 2010 an edtech site that offers online training to tax and accounting professionals. In five years McBride and his cofounder grew the site into an industry leader with more than 150,000 users.

“We did really well at Fast Forward, and I learned a ton about creating a great customer experience which will be a key differentiation of Mend from competitors,” said McBride. “I don’t want to put all our ideas out there yet, but we plan to rethink and reimagine what the entire doctor visit experience can be very soon.”

You can learn more about Mend at www.mendfamily.com and the app is currently available on both the iPhone and Android for download.

$tartup Hour Producer Gives 3 Tips to Get on Air

Orlando startups can make a national pitch tomorrow when reality show “The $tartup Hour©” visits Canvs.

$tartup Hour producer Jonathan Block chose Orlando as one of eight cities nationally after an impromptu meeting with local 1 Million Cups Orlando co-founder Ron Ben Zeev at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City.

“Thank God for Ron,” says Block. “Orlando wasn’t even on my radar, but he was so passionate and I was surprised to learn all that’s going on there. After more research, we chose Orlando as one of cities on our tour.”

The show just finished filming entries at SxSW in Austin and will hear pitches in Orlando, Kansas City, Boston, Pittsburgh, New York City, San Francisco and Sacramento. A judges panel will review the recording sessions and select show finalists to pitch on-air nationally.

Block and crew will be filming startup pitches tomorrow at Canvs, the Orlando Co Working Space, from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. If interested, go to thestartuphour.com/entrepreneurs to register your startup to pitch, and producers will be accepting walk ups as well. The pitches will be 4 minutes in length and will not include any slides or visuals.

During Block’s nationwide tour, the former music exec has seen more than 500 pitches. Here are his tips for getting yours on air:

Solve an Important Problem
“Make sure the world needs your app, and use statistics, customer testimonials or a personal story to convey that, make it connect. Then talk about your vision and intertwine features and trends into your long term plan that show why you’ll succeed.”

Don’t Bore Us, Get Us to the Chorus
“That’s an old music business saying. Basically get to the meat, you have just four minutes to pitch, don’t spend the first three setting up the premise. In the first minute, get to the point, why is your startup important. Then use the rest of your time to convince us why we should invest in you.”

People Invest in the Person, not the Business
“In music, it’s obvious you need to have exceptional style, but I also need to feel I can work with you, you are the product. So bring out your passion, your charisma, your confidence and your acumen, so I feel you have a good handle and will make good decisions. You don’t need PowerPoint slides for that to come across.”

To register to pitch, stop by Canvs tomorrow between 9 A.M. and 4 P.M. or click here to register

Reality TV Show The $tartup Hour to Film at Canvs Tomorrow

This article was reported by Diane Court, Founder @ Paris Foot Walks

Move over Shark Tank. A new business pitch reality show is coming to town.


The $tartup Hour© has chosen Orlando as one of eight cities for filming the show’s featured inventors and entrepreneurs who will pitch a nationwide audience for funding and customers.

After launching production in Austin March 13-15 during the South by Southwest Interactive festival, The $tartup Hour will head to Kansas City, Boston, Pittsburgh, and New York City before setting up to record founders’ pitches at Orlando’s downtown coworking space, Canvs on March 26 then moving on to wrap up in San Francisco and Sacramento.

In selecting pitch cities the team sought to include a draw from a broad cross-section of U.S. entrepreneurial culture. Executive Producer, Jonathan Blocksays his interest in Orlando was piqued while speaking with local startup mentor and community organizer, Ron Ben-Zeev at a meeting in Kansas City sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation. Ultimately, Orlando’s close-knit, vibrant startup community was the reason the city made the list. After the March recording sessions, a panel of judges will review them to select the show’s finalists and on-air contestants.

In May when the 11-episode show debuts in six television markets and on the web everywhere, viewers will not only engage with featured companies during show episodes but also to follow their course afterwards. Current regulations allow only registered accredited investors to make equity crowdinvestments. Proprietary technology called TextinvestingTM will enable those qualified to fund a company using their cell phones while they watch. Investor or not, all viewers will have opportunities to vote their views during the show and have access to additional content including projections and valuations as well as interviews and press coverage.

From concept to realization the producers promise much more than a Shark Tank redux. As much or more than the interactive technology is a difference in vision.

“We’re open to application from startups in all business verticals,” said Block. “But we’re not about one-hit wonders. We’re looking for leaders who are solving important problems, for companies where an infusion will take them to the next level. What we really want to do is create jobs – the more sustainable the better.”

Business owners interested in having their startup featured on the show are encouraged to apply by completing a simple form provided on the website and submitting a video that answers the same questions about the business, their goals, how much money they want to raise, how the funds will be used and why the business will be successful.

As every founder knows, there is plenty of drama in the reality of entrepreneurship. The $tartup Hour intends to capture that energy and with it the audience’s attention. Viewers are entertained and educated as they see the process, jump in and take action.

This is reality TV on a mission. According to the 2015 Kauffman Foundation report, 40,000 fewer startups were launched per month in 2013 than in 1996.

“Per month,” Block repeated emphatically as he cites the report. “We’d like to change that.”

Founder Source Launches Campaign to Pass Florida Equity Crowdfunding Bill

On Monday Orlando startup Founder Source launched a GoFundMe campaignto raise awareness and capital for a bill to bring equity crowd funding to Florida.

The bill, sponsored by Florida House Rep. David Santiago of District 27, is named HB 275 and was unanimously approved this morning by the Florida House Banking and Insurance Committee, moving it a significant step closer to becoming law

HB 275 would allow any Florida resident to invest a portion of their annual income in a Florida startup through an approved equity crowdfunding platform. To date 15 states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Alabama have passed a similar bill, leading to platforms like Michigan Funders and CraftFund, which allow instate residents to invest in local startups. The Florida crowdfunding bill was crafted using SEC comments on similar bills and best practices from existing state bills.

Echo Interaction CEO and Orlando Tech President Carlos Carbonell, along with Matthew Huggins, General Counsel for PowerDMS and Jonathan Kilman, partner at Foley & Lardner, recently created Founder Source as a platform to connect interested Florida investors with local startups and businesses seeking investment. The trio launched the GoFundMe campaign to raise awareness and educate both entrepreneurs and potential investors.

Click here to learn more about the Equity Crowdfunding Bill and GoFundMe Campaign.

“This bill would create more opportunities for Florida startups to raise money and grow their company here, keeping talented entrepreneurs in state and creating jobs,” said Carbonell. “It also opens a significant door to funding, especially if you’re at the earliest stages or are an experienced entrepreneur but don’t have the network to reach high net worth angel investors or venture capitalists.”

A study on Venture Backed startup demographics by CB Insights, a venture capital research firm working with Bain Capital, Deloitte and Microsoft, found that only 8 percent of venture backed startups are founded by women and less than 1 percent by African American or Hispanic founders.

Florida ranks 7th in the country for total venture capital investment with 45 deals for $863 million, according to a MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and the National Venture Capital Association. But the numbers are a bit tilted as a majority of that total was from one company, a $592 million investment in Magic Leap Inc of Dania Beach. Without the Magic Leap deal, Florida would have ranked 17th behind New Jersey, North Carolina and Maryland.

The engagement from an equity crowdfunding backer versus a kickstarter backer would be unique, said Alex Gramatikas, founder of ALTR, which makes custom clothing buttons. ALTR ran a successful kickstarter campaign in August 2014 to bolster production.

“But after the campaign, the customer doesn’t really have an incentive to keep promoting your product,” said Gramatikas. “If they’re personally vested, it’s like building a huge sales force across the state. They have an incentive to promote you not only because they find your service or product valuable, but also because they could get a return on investment.”

Trobo, a STEM education and storytelling robot, which raised $61,060 on Kickstarter, effectively launching the company, says the bill is an interesting option for startups.

“It depends on the company, what stage you’re at, and if want strategic investors like we do,” said Trobo co-founder Jeremy Scheinberg. “The biggest reason we did Kickstarter was to validate Trobo, but those campaigns take a lot of work to be successful, so if you’re raising $500,000, is it more efficient to get that from five investment groups or to appeal to a thousand small investors? It depends. But I am happy the option might exist.”

If you’re an experienced founder who has led a successful Kickstarter and has paying customers, but hasn’t been able to find the right Florida investor, the bill could be a game changer.

“It’s incredible,” said Eric B. Delisle, ICLOAK® Stik founder, who raised $100,603 on Kickstarter for a portable tool that allows users to surf the web anonymously.

Delisle has raised more than $3 million across two companies, one of which was acquired. Although ICLOAK has paying customers and has sold more than 2,400 units, they still have trouble raising money at home, which has driven Delisle to travel to New York, Boston and Chicago to find investment that would allow ICLOAK’s growth to meet its high demand.

“And that takes valuable time, so if this bill was passed and I could create a local campaign, it would be worth my time and effort,” said Delisle. “The fact is we’re primed for growth and I’m ready to hire at least two dozen people now if I had the funds, but my hands are tied because of the current rules. Once you’ve exhausted friends and family, you’re stuck. This bill could change that.”

The GoFundMe campaign has raised $3,500 in the past day by 21 backers. To learn more about the Equity Crowdfunding Bill and the Education Campaign, click here

OrlandoiX Raises Additional $100,000 from City of Orlando

OrlandoiX, the digital media and entertainment technology festival planned for October, received a major boost last week: an additional $100,000 from the City of Orlando’s Downtown Development Board, bringing total funding to $800,000 in cash and in-kind contributions. The funding was unanimously approved at the Downtown Development Board meeting on February 25.

The $100,000 investment was the largest special events funding amount in the history of Orlando as OiX lines up with several key Project DTO initiatives to bring a signature design and tech festival to Orlando’s downtown. The 5-day digital festival looks to draw 50,000 creative technologists, entrepreneurs and visitors to Orlando, creating an economic impact of $34.7 million according to a study by Rollins College.

“Recommendations from the Project DTO task force stated that there is incredible opportunity for Downtown to flourish if we continue to support technology, entrepreneurship, special events and concerts,” said Thomas Chatmon, Executive Director of the City of Orlando’s Downtown Development Board. “OrlandoiX accomplishes all of the above by showcasing our urban core and world-class community venues to more than 50,000 digital innovators who have traveled from around the globe to see how Orlando is leading the world in entertainment technology.”

Last month OiX announced major partnerships with EA Tiburon, Full Sail University, IZEA, Highwinds, OUC, Purple Rock Scissors, Riptide Software, Foley & Lardner, Orange County Government and the Orange County Convention Center.

Along with EA Tiburon, OiX plans to turn the 875,000-foot Amway Center into a gaming arena featuring prize tournaments, workshops and world premiers from top gaming studios. More than 200 events are planned for the festival, including entertainment technology workshops, a digital expo and speaker series, startup summit and nightly entertainment throughout major Orlando venues such as the Dr. Phillips for the Performing Arts Center, Church Street and the Orange County Convention Center.

“It’s exciting, we couldn’t have done OiX three years ago, Dr. Phillips didn’t exist, the Amway Center didn’t exist, the Church Street Exchange was empty,” says OiX founder David Glass. “We have world class venues, and OiX will bring an entirely new audience to our city, digital artists and creative technologists from the southeast and around the world, showcasing everything amazing Orlando has to offer.”

OiX runs from October 2-6, and tickets go on sale on April 2nd, ranging from $35 for standalone events like the gaming arena to $700 for the entire conference and workshop series. OiX will also host a kickoff party on April 2nd at the Church Street Exchange.

For more info and to register for the kickoff, go to www.orlandoix.com.

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