Everybody loves their cars — except when they have to buy, sell or service them, RedCap founder and CEO David Zwick says. His startup has a solution for that.
RedCap, based in Fort Lauderdale, brings car sales and service to the consumer. It has developed software that enables automotive dealers to offer their customers “out of store” experiences, which allows a customer to service and purchase vehicles without leaving their home or office. “We take all of the pain out of buying and servicing a car,” Zwick said.
In its pilot tests, RedCap (redcapvalet.com) found that the software improves customer satisfaction, increases revenue by 18 percent and reduces loaner expense by almost 50 percent. “The message is clear that dealers and manufacturers have to change the way they do business,” he said.
Now five years into RedCap (the company also offers a successful on-demand driver service for consumers), Zwick says the growth-stage company is at an inflection point. Nationwide, its software solution for auto businesses is in 50 to 60 locations around the country, but plans are to be in close to 1,000 stores next summer. South Florida customers include Warren Henry dealerships, Ferrari-Maserati in Fort Lauderdale, The Esserman Group in Miami, and several area AutoNation stores.
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Miami Beach-based Videoo offers software-as-a-service technology built for brands and publishers to better engage audiences through social video, said co-founder and CEO Barry Stamos. Videoo automatically pulls content from Vine, Twitter and Instagram for all-in-one playlists that reorder in real-time as audiences watch, vote, upload and share. Early adopters include A+E Networks, The Huffington Post, Mitu Networks, Bob Marley and Fusion (a joint venture between ABC, Disney and Univision).
Videoo (videoopro.com) signed two new clients this month, and has about eight new commitments from TV networks and major publishers to use Videoo in pilots, Stamos said. For example, Videoo is helping Fusion figure out how to be more creative with user-generated video and advance its methods of storytelling. It is also planning pilots with the History Channel for more social TV early next year.
Videoo also recently added Spanish and Portuguese to its platform and will be launching in Latin America soon, beginning with NBCUniversal Live from E! Latino.
These two startups took home the big checks at the Emerging Technologies & Business Showcase last week, when 24 startups from around the state presented their startups to a roomful of investors and business people. The event was hosted by Enterprise Development Corp. of South Florida, Florida Venture Forum and Space Florida at the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables. Selected by a panel of investor judges, RedCap won in the growth stage category, taking home $100,000, and Videoo topped the early stage category, winning $50,000.
The 24 finalists were selected from about 150 submissions, said Rob Strandberg, president of EDC. EDC has been running the event for several years, but this year the event was greatly expanded with Space Florida’s sponsorship. Along with the opportunity to pitch on stage and network with investors in the exhibit area, offering the winners a meaningful prize that will help take their companies to the next level and attract additional investment was important, Strandberg said. Companies received pitch coaching from the EDC, which runs startup incubators and mentors startups.
The 24 companies represented all areas from the state and included medical device companies from Gainesville, a drone startup and a solar energy company from Jacksonville, ed-tech companies from Naples and a predictive analytics startup from St. Petersburg. Other South Florida companies that presented at the showcase were BDEX, ClassWallet, EGLA Communications, Neocis, SettleitSoft, 71 Pounds, SirenMD and Symptify.
“Events like the Emerging Technologies & Business Showcase promote the growth of Florida-based, high-tech businesses, but also highlight the growing capital formation community in the state and showcase that we have the quality innovation-based businesses as well as the experienced management teams to execute bringing them to market,” Space Florida president Frank DiBello said. “The quality of the presentations was truly outstanding.”
Zwick said he plans to use the winnings to help hire four additional software engineers and expand RedCap’s customer service team as it ramps up more pilot programs. Similarly, Videoo also plans to put the money into growth. Both companies said they made important connections at the event. “I was humbled and inspired by so many of the other incredible entrepreneurs who were selected to participate” Stamos said. “We all talked about how we could get together and help each other.”
South Florida startups have more opportunites to pitch coming up. Startups and early stage companies can apply for the Startup Showcase exhibition and competition at eMerge Americas April 18-19; learn more at emergeamericas.org/startups. The Florida Venture Forum is also taking applications to pitch at the Florida Venture Capital Conference in January; www.flventure.org.
Nancy Dahlberg; 305-376-3595; @ndahlberg