What makes a great startup? Innovative solutions. Disruptive technologies. The ability to pivot and adapt quickly. Mission-driven culture. There are many characteristics that the best startups share – and the Sunshine State seems to set the perfect stage for these ingredients to come together.

According to the 2017 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity, Florida was named the top 3 state for highest startup activity with 98.7 startups per 1,000 employer businesses (down from ranking #2 on their 2016 list).

Even more impressive, when focusing in on top metropolitan areas for startup activity, the Miami area ranks as #1 in the United States. In other wins for the great state of Florida, Tampa ranks #18 on the list, Orlando ranks #22, and Jacksonville comes in at a respectable #30. Florida also ranks #1 in the U.S. for the fastest growth rate of women-owned firms between 2007 and 2018.

Clearly, Florida harbors a wealth of innovators and action-takers. Read on to learn about some of the best Florida startups positioning themselves as pioneers in their industry.

Reimagining spatial computing: Magic Leap

According to Business Insider, spatial computing creator Magic Leap was the best-funded startup in Florida as of July 2018. Their flagship product Magic Leap One is a virtual reality (VR) headset that allows natural light waves to blend with “softly layered synthetic lightfields”. They describe the result as creating “unbelievably believable experiences”.

In one application of their proprietary spatial computing solutions, Magic Leap partnered with Brainlab to redefine how surgeons and clinicians could visualize and access medical imaging data. With the goal of transforming the art and science of patient care, Magic Leap and Brainlab are creating a multi-dimensional virtual world that integrates with real-world clinical workflows. They believe their operating system will help drive precision in patient care as well as a better overall patient care experience.

Magic Leap stated, “The first release will enable planning and simulation of interventional procedures in an office setting, which will be expanded upon quickly to include a next-generation mix of virtual and physical worlds for the operating room, radiotherapy treatment room, intensive care unit, and radiology suite.”

Reimagining order fulfillment: ShipMonk

ShipMonk is a startup helping other startups focus on building their brand and achieving next-level growth. Their proprietary fulfillment software has created a streamlined solution for large and small business owners to outsource their inventory management, order fulfillment, shipping, and returns management in one easy-to-use platform.

What originally began as a mail forwarding company helping customers outside of the U.S. get their hands on American products, ShipMonk has turned into a full-service inventory management and fulfillment partner. After winning 1st place in both the FAU Business Plan Competition (2014) and the Florida Venture Forum Collegiate Competition (2014), CEO Jan Bednar propelled his business even further by being one of the first five companies to go through the Tech Runway accelerator program.

Bednar was able to save his first clients over 80% on overhead costs while eliminating their operational challenges, and ShipMonk was born! They now help ecommerce companies, wholesalers, subscription box brands, small businesses, and product-based startups including notable Shark Tank alumni BetterBack and Beard King.

With multichannel order fulfillment services, ShipMonk makes it easier than ever for ecommerce companies to integrate new sales channels and skyrocket their order volume without worrying about whether their warehouse operations can keep up with fluctuating demand.

Reimagining fashion: Graupel

If every piece of clothing you owned was literally made for you, how would that change your experience of getting dressed each day? It could save you time picking out clothes, make you more confident when you get dressed, and make shopping feel joyful instead of dreadful. That’s exactly what Graupel aims to do with their fashion-focused solution.

Combining AR with fashion, Graupel is on a mission to use augmented reality technology for good: “You’re one of a kind. So, shouldn’t your clothes be uniquely you? We leverage technology to create personally-fitted apparel so that each woman can look and feel her best. We make women feel uniquely beautiful in their own body. Using innovative 3D technology, we bring you a personal fit, custom styles and a new experience.”

Using Graupel’s 3D fitting rooms, shoppers use body scan technology to have their personal body measurements recorded in seconds. This data is uploaded to their app, so shoppers can buy made-to-order clothing from a catalog of products. Because their clothes are specifically designed in the shopper’s unique dimensions, the clothes fit like a glove. Imagine the joy a shopper experiences when everything fits perfectly for their unique shape and size. Making clothing to order is also extremely eco-friendly as it prevents unsold clothes from ending up in landfills.

Reimagining air travel: Whooshfly

This Tampa-based startup connecting travelers, pilots, and plane operators to create an easy solution that suits each customers’ needs. Pilots and plane operators list their availability for flights and set their bid amounts, then travelers use the app to connect with otherwise unused planes.

Customers avoid airports and benefit from reduced rates, and plan operators avoid wasted resources. Their app also lets you easily split payments with friends. With Whooshfly deals, you can fly private without spending an insane ticket price.

Reimagining business cards: SavvyCards

Rethinking the business card, SavvyCard has created a solution that is eco-friendly, easy to use, and has the bonus of ensuring your contact information is always up-to-date. More than just a digital business card, it doubles as an interactive lead generation system. SavvyCard’s team designs the card for a one-time fee, then the card can be shared with new contacts in moments (without the need for an app download).

Here’s an example of a SavvyCard:

Once the SavvyCard is sent, it captures the contact information of everyone who receives it – even if it was shared as a referral by someone else.

Their card analytics will also show the top referrers who are sharing your SavvyCard with others. You can then add new people to your contact list and follow up with them. Now that’s how to make your business cards do all the heavy lifting for you.

Reimagining light: LumaStream

LumaStream, a low-voltage lighting fixture manufacturer, has their sights set on the ‘exponential’ growth opportunity for LED lighting fixtures and design services in the consumer electronics space. You may recall hearing about how the switch from incandescent light bulbs to LED bulbs reshaped the light bulb industry. If you didn’t hear about it, you’ve probably noticed the change in light bulb products on the shelves of your local retailers.

That same potential for industry transformation now lies in the new technological advancements:  The ability to create home lighting fixtures to be low voltage instead of line voltage. LumaStream created a solution that addressed the issues that line voltage electric had created for low-voltage LEDs. This included inconsistent color, poor dimming capability, lack of energy efficiency, and premature failure. If your LED bulbs kept dying quicker than you expected, this could be why.

With LumaStream, builders and homeowners can reduce building costs by having a single contractor responsible for installing home entertainment, security, networking, and lighting fixtures using low-voltage wiring.

CEO Eric Higgs shared, “The market has created a perfect storm of opportunity due to poor fixtures, lots of heat output, and the need for heavy infrastructure wiring.” LumaStream is has positioned themselves at the head of this industry turning point. Developing dozens of new and distinct lighting fixtures that offer a variety of color outputs and lumen outputs as well as a variety of price points, they are targeting a wide range of niche markets.

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