What do you do when you’ve already founded two of the most successful tech companies South Florida has ever produced ?
Start a third one, and aim for a global takeover.
Albert Santalo, the son of Cuban immigrants, is the founder of Avisena, a medical software company that was launched with help from executives from Silicon Valley megafirm Oracle; it was eventually sold in 2015 for an undisclosed amount.
In 2009, Santalo founded CareCloud, which has drawn more than $100 million in investments. He stepped down as CEO in 2015.
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But his newest project is the one closest to his heart, he says. An engineer by training, Santalo has turned his passion for software development into a platform that he hopes will gain worldwide popularity.
It’s called 8base, and it’s designed to easily and cheaply link customers with software developers worldwide. It uses blockchain technology, the much-hyped system that provides increased security by storing information elements separately instead of in a single, centralized virtual location.
Programs on 8base’s platform will be aimed at professionals in countries who often lack access to software for accounting or data analytics that most American workers already have at their fingertips. In addition to 8base’s office in the WeWork space in Coral Gables, it has a satellite unit in St. Petersburg, Russia.
“In the rest of the world, there’s a huge amount of manual processes that still occur, where they can’t implement a technology solution,” Santalo said. Market intelligence firm IDC estimates the market opportunity at $2 trillion over the next five years.
Santalo said customers can use 8base in multiple languages and currencies.
Already, his company has covered startup costs without the need for outside investment. It already employs 16 people.
Because the platform is designed around the blockchain, anyone can contribute. Some users may interact with one another through the use of digital tokens, that, similar to bitcoin, can be earned by developers to build up their reputation within the 8base ecosystem.
Santalo remains faithful to Miami — but says that the ecosystem still hasn’t reached its potential.
“I see a lot of narrow projects that aren’t necessarily backable by venture capital,” he said. “They don’t provide great exit potential for angel investors.”
But Santalo’s career arch provides a strong example for any Miami founder.
“There’s a playbook — but it’s written by Silicon Valley,” he said. “A big part of what helped me get those companies off the ground and scale them was having one foot in Silicon Valley, while keeping one squarely in Miami.”