Innovation Hub USA

Think Big for Kids – Helping Underprivileged Teens Discover Their Potential

Think big for kids team
Think Big for Kids Logo

THINK BIG FOR KIDS – ON A MISSION TO HELP UNDERPRIVILEGED TEENS DISCOVER UNTAPPED POTENTIAL

Think big for kids team
Think Big for Kids was formally announced as the premier teen program of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay during a press conference on June 6, 2018. Pictured left to right: representatives from the Dover Boys & Girls Club; Jeff Priede, owner of JDP Electric, Tony DiBenedetto, founder; Ann Shaler, senior vice president, Enterprise Business & Community Engagement, Bank of America; and Chris Letsos, president and CEO, Boys & Girls Club of Tampa Bay.

In a nutshell, Think Big for Kids is a program that aims to help 2,000 Tampa Bay youths become workforce-ready by 2022. Tech entrepreneur, Tony DiBenedetto, brings his proven mantra of “thinking big” to a venture with a mission to help underprivileged youths unlock their full potential and become the next generation of local talent in high demand.

THE BIG IDEA

Think Big for Kids introduces teens from low-income households to a wide variety of career opportunities and assists them in achieving post-graduation goals for employment. The program engages Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay students from sixth to 12th grade through the completion of on-the-job training, trade school certification, or a two-year or four-year degree, depending on their chosen career track.

The idea behind Think Big for Kids came to DiBenedetto after visiting teens at several Boys & Girls Clubs and observing a general lack of career awareness and preparation for life after high school. At one club, he met with 80 high school students and only three raised a hand when he asked if they had plans for post-graduation education. DiBenedetto, whose own childhood was marked by poverty and upheaval, felt compelled to put his time and resources behind formalizing a program to help at-risk kids.

“Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay have a 98% high school graduation rate, but they can’t do it all. I realized our community wasn’t doing enough to help disadvantaged teens prepare for the future,” said DiBenedetto. “At the same time, I consistently heard from CEOs that finding great talent continues to be one of their biggest challenges. Think Big for Kids is a convergence of two major needs in our community, with the potential to make a tremendous humanitarian and economic impact.”

Think big for kids students
Jeff Preide, owner of JDP Electric, introduces Boys & Girls Clubs students to the concept of electrical contracting by helping them build their own lamps.

THE BIG GOAL: 2,000 BY 2022

Think Big for Kids partners with area businesses representing high-growth industries to offer field trips, career showcases, mentorship, internships, scholarships and ultimately job offers. From electrical contracting and nursing, to cyber security and technical design, partner companies provide a long-term commitment that will see the teens through the program, with an eye toward building their respective job pipelines with known talent they have already invested in.

Volunteers and partner companies begin working with Think Big kids in middle school, when statistics show they are at greatest risk for peer pressure and lagging behind academically. By keeping them engaged in their early teens at the Boys & Girls Clubs, Think Big for Kids has a platform to introduce different careers, industries and companies across the area, identify general interests and begin to shape individualized career tracks. The focus is on educational preparedness, whether that means going to trade school or navigating college admissions.

“We work with kids who are often overlooked, under-challenged and would otherwise wind up in low-wage jobs with very little chance of career advancement,” said DiBenedetto. “This program doesn’t just focus on the ‘A’ students. We help all kids find a path to success that fits their passion, regardless of their grades or background. Our goal is to prepare 2,000 teens served through Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay for the workforce by 2022.”

Tony DiBenedetto
Tony.Dibenedetto@outlook.com

PROVEIT – the World’s First Mobile Arcade

Proveit Founders and Cash Truck

PROVEIT

PROVEIT is the world’s first mobile arcade where players compete for cash in their favorite casual games.

Proveit Founders and Cash Truck

Welcome to the New Vegas!

The company launched in November 2016 as a trivia-focused iOS app and was called “one of the most exciting mobile games ever played” by TechCrunch. PROVEIT has now evolved into a competitive arcade for the mobile generation, with dozens of game styles and competition formats. Whether you like trivia, puzzles or arcade games, PROVEIT has a game for you!

How It All Started

The company was founded when Prem Thomas asked Nathan Lehoux “Why can’t we play Jeopardy for money on our phones like Fantasy Sports?” Nathan liked the idea of monetizing a game of skill like trivia, and the team quickly got to work developing the first version of PROVEIT, with a seed investment from the founder of a successful poker website. The duo quickly realized that offering a pay-to-play game involved a very complex regulatory environment, but after 18 months, they had secured legal, regulatory, app store and advertising approvals.

proveit $25k Winner Group Shot
Proveit Prem Thomas and Nathan Lehoux

PROVEIT is now approved for gameplay in 34 states and counting.

Prior to launching, Prem and Nathan raised $2.0 million from Florida attorney, John Morgan, who made the perfect strategic investor, given his legal background, network and appetite for high-risk verticals. Since then, the team has grown to over 10 members, most of which are mobile developers.

PROVEIT at SXSW

The team ran its first major tournament at South by Southwest in 2018, complete with $30,000 in prizes, a PROVEIT-branded armored truck and a street time that took over Austin.

No Ads Ever

Unlike traditional ad-supported mobile games, PROVEIT generates revenue on every gameplay, resulting in a much stickier and more valuable user base.

proveit - TechCrunch Quote
proveit Homescreen
Proveit Winner

PROVEIT’s thousands of users deposit cash to enter head-to-head or multiplayer challenges against friends and random opponents. Entry into each game ranges from $0.50 to $10.00 and winners take a cash prize, less a fee to PROVEIT. The company donates a portion of its revenue to charities that focus on education, literacy and underprivileged students.

Let’s Collaborate

Think you can help out or you have a passion for mobile games? Hit us up at whatup@playproveit.com or visit our website at www.playproveit.com.

Proveit Logo

(919) 452 7317
whatup@playproveit.com
instagram | facebook
www.playproveit.com

Tampa Bay Innovation Center – Accelerating Entrepreneurial Success

THE TAMPA BAY INNOVATION CENTER
THE TAMPA BAY INNOVATION CENTER - TElmore Headshot

The Tampa Bay

INNOVATION

Center

THE TAMPA BAY INNOVATION CENTER IS AN INCUBATOR WITH THE MISSION TO ACCELERATE ENTREPRENEURIAL SUCCESS. DESIGNED FOR REAL OUTCOMES, THE INNOVATION CENTER SUPPLIES RESOURCES THAT TECH STARTUPS NEED TO SURVIVE AND SUCCEED.

THE TAMPA BAY INNOVATION CENTER - tech talk

The Innovation Center provides tech innovators/entrepreneurs dedicated coaching, specialized mentoring, access to capital and much more all in a professional office environment.

15 years of Accelerating High-Tech Enterprises

In our 15th year of operation, we take pride in reaching an important milestone by serving as a valuable resource for innovators and entrepreneurs. Our ever-growing list of graduates is a testament to our ability to nurture successful high-tech entrepreneurial ventures in West Central Florida.

When we launched the Innovation Center in 2003, the concept of an incubator as a vital part of regional economic development was not yet top-of-the-mind for most people. It surely wasn’t as trendy as it is today to coach, mentor and support startups. We were pioneers in understanding how important it is to assist and nurture entrepreneurs.

Building on Our Success

After only four years at our newest location in downtown St. Petersburg, we had outgrown our facility. In mid-2018, we more than tripled our size and expanded our footprint to 20,000 SF in a new downtown location. We continue to assist emerging and entrepreneurial companies in the technology and manufacturing sectors by providing a unique mind-to-market model for working with entrepreneurs from concept through exit strategy, dedicated coaching, mentoring services, shared equipment, conference and office space, educational workshops and access to funders. Clients can access services either onsite or virtually

THE TAMPA BAY INNOVATION CENTER

Much of our success can be attributed to an outstanding staff with experience in launching and growing tech companies, as well as a group
of professionals who volunteer their time to serve as board members, as mentors to our clients or as presenters at one of our events. We are fortunate to count numerous well-respected individuals from funding and venture capital organizations, defense program offices, law offices, accounting firms and many more for community support. Together they make a significant contribution in helping us foster innovation and growth in the high-tech economy in the St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay marketplace.

Today we continue to improve our program by incorporating the best features and practices of the most successful programs throughout the country. By continuing to focus on the individual entrepreneur, we can address specific needs with specific skill-sets, helping to move the young startup more quickly to revenue and success.

A Catalyst for Spurring the Entrepreneurial and Innovation Eco-system

We are very pleased to report that we’ve been laying the groundwork for a purpose-built Innovation Center – a technology hub in St. Petersburg’s Innovation District and Pinellas County. With emphasis on life and marine sciences, the new facility will provide tomorrow’s technology business leaders access to the resources, services, networking and mentors they need while also fulfilling our vision of creating high-tech high-wage jobs within the region. The Innovation Center will serve as a focal point where startups, entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors can work in a collaborative environment bringing forth new innovations with a shared vision.

THE TAMPA BAY INNOVATION CENTER - startup xchange 2018

Tampa Bay Innovation Center
501 1st Avenue N., Suite 901
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
www.tbinnovates.com

B2 Communications – Customized Public Relations Program

B2 Communications Kyle and Missy
B2 communications logo

B2 COMMUNICATIONS TAKES A STRATEGIC APPROACH TO ITS WORK, EXECUTING A CUSTOMIZED PUBLIC RELATIONS PROGRAM FOR EACH CLIENT.

B2 Communications Kyle and Missy
Missy Hurley and Kyle Parks co-founded the firm in 2010 after recognizing a need in the market for strategic communications.

B2’s success is based on clients staying with the firm for the long term. And that success is reflected in the firm’s growth: Since B2’s founding in 2010, the firm has become one of Tampa Bay’s top PR agencies.

Some of the strategies that we use to amplify organizations’ stories include:

• Messaging strategy: Strong messaging sets the foundation for all communications from the organization.

• Media coaching: Training clients to shine at interviews, speaking engagements or networking events.

• Media relations: News media coverage positions an organization and its executives as thought leaders and provides third-party credibility.

• Content development: Concise and powerful content delivered through websites, blogs, newsletters, and other channels that reach targeted audiences.

• Social media: Strategies for using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and others to connect with target audiences.

Crisis communications: Reputation management counsel when it matters the most – when the organization is preparing for or managing a crisis situation.

B2 communications - Kyle at ULI Florida 2016 Summit
Kyle Parks is an expert in crisis communications. He presented on the topic at Urban Land Institute (ULI) Florida’s Summit in 2016.
B2 communications Synapse Innovation Summit 2018
Missy Hurley and Alana Siceloff worked with Synapse on marketing for the 2018 Innovation Summit, which had more than 3,500 in attendance.

Our clients are working on a local, regional and national scale. Our communications strategies on behalf of Sunstar Paramedics, Colliers International, SPCA Tampa Bay and Ybor City Development Corp. have won awards from national industry groups and statewide PR associations.

B2’s often tapped for its PR expertise and local knowledge by its counterparts in PRConsultants Group, a network of leading public relations firms in the nation’s top 50 markets. Our work is bold enough to have a national impact, but our team is small and nimble enough to retain our local touch.

One way our team stays current on the local landscape is through The Tampa Bay 100. B2’s talented team produces the bi-weekly digital publication, which includes 100-word stories about local businesses and nonprofits, events, breweries, restaurants and history. The Tampa Bay 100 has more than 18,000 subscribers.

B2 communications - CFTB with High Risk Hope
B2 works with clients like the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay to raise visibility and awareness through media relations. Wilma Norton (right), vice president of marketing and communications for the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, and Bailey Nicholas (center), executive director of High Risk Hope, were interviewed about their organizations’ impact on the community by “Positively Tampa Bay” host Lissette Campos (left).
B2 communications Bowtie Ball 2017
B2 supports organizations that are making an impact, like the Poynter Institute. The B2 team attended Poynter’s Bowtie Ball, which honored PBS NewsHour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff, in 2017.

Find out what strategic public relations can do for your business.

Phone: (727) 895-5030
Email: info@b2communications.com

twitter | facebook | linkedin | instagram

www.B2communications.com
www.TheTampaBay100.com

Alakai Defense Systems – our Mission is to protect the Soldier

Alakai Defense Systems, Inc., headquartered in Tampa Bay Florida
Alakai Defense Systems logo
Alakai Defense Systems, Inc., headquartered in Tampa Bay Florida

ELEVATOR PITCH

Alakai Defense Systems - PRIEDS Version 3

Alakai Defense Systems, Inc., headquartered in Tampa Bay Florida, has invented, developed, manufactured, and deployed world-record setting sensor systems to protect deployed soldiers and first responders from bombs and other threats.

They specifically specialize in laser-based remote sensing systems for the detection of bombs, IEDs, truck bombs, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), narcotics, and numerous other hazardous materials at long-range for the defense and security space.

OUR STORY

Alakai’s motto since founding in 2004, is “We were Soldiers, our children are Soldiers, our Mission is to protect the Soldier.” The current incarnation of Alakai was established in Florida in 2006 by Ed Dottery, a West Point graduate and Army officer who commanded in the Infantry and Special Forces before returning to the West Point physics faculty, after an applied physics degree from Stanford University.

Mr. Dottery has made it his lifelong mission to serve and protect soldiers through next generation sensor development. These sensors detect bombs and other threats farther, faster, and safer than the current state of the art.

Alakai’s first true product was for fixed sites or vehicle mounted– the Check Point Explosive Detection System (CPEDS), which can detect threats at football field distances and as of this writing has been deployed by the US Army for over two years, and other organizations are following suit. The CPEDS is an extreme standoff range system for Entry Point Security such as a port, military installation, or any other use that requires an extremely long-range detection.

A man-portable variant, PRIED, for Portable Raman Improvised Explosive Detector was then developed by Alakai for the US Special Operations Command. PRIED is contained in a backpack with a hand-held wand design to quickly detect various hazards such as explosives, narcotics, and chemical warfare agents. Alakai’s PRIED was cited by SPIE (International Society for Optics and Photonics) in 2016 as one of the top 3 most innovative optical sensor in the world in a Silicon Valley ceremony.

Alakai Defense Systems backpack
Alakai Defense Systems
Alakai Defense Systems - PRIEDS SystemView

MILESTONES

Alakai has been the recipient of various awards and recognitions including: the Florida Governor’s Business Diversification Award – Entrepreneurship (Major Market), Emerging Technology Company of the Year, Florida Companies to Watch, Florida Fast 50, and three years on the Inc. 5000 list. In addition to its Florida base of operation, Alakai maintains offices in Fort Leonard Wood, MO and the Washington DC metro area.

Alakai Defense Systems, Inc.
8285 Bryan Dairy Road Suite 125
Largo, FL 33777
Email: info@alakaidefense.com
Phone: 727-544-1600
www.alakaidefense.com

JR Griggs – Founder & President of Red Wall Marketing

JR Griggs Red Wall Marketing - Headshot

A BORN INNOVATOR

FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT JR GRIGGS - RED WALL MARKETING

JR Griggs Red Wall Marketing - Headshot

I’ve had a passion for startups and innovation for a very long time. Actually, ever since I was just a little kid I’ve had that entrepreneurial spirit. I was the kid selling candy at school and mowing lawns on weekends and during summers. I always knew I would own a business someday, and am a huge fan of anyone starting a business or innovating in any way.

I believe in people following their passions and solving problems. We have amazing people in this world with great ideas. A business exists to solve a problem or fill a need, and this is how we are able to grow as a society.

I say often that in today’s world, you really need to be starting something, or be a part of starting something. We grew as a nation with people either doing something or being an apprentice to doing something. Businesses solved problems and filled needs. You learned the skills so you could do it yourself someday. We’re getting back to that in many ways, except it’s a much bigger playing field now with so much more capability.

You don’t have to be stuck in a cubicle at a company where you feel like just a replaceable number. It’s a time like no other. The tools and resources available are infinite! You can now start a business, have a website, invoicing system, and office tools all in the same day, and for free or ridiculously cheap. You can broadcast to tens of thousands of people, also for free or ridiculously cheap. Yes, it’s not necessarily easy, but it is possible.

I started my company while painting garage floors. I worked for two bad companies in a row and decided I’d had enough. I began doing anything I could to learn: listening to podcasts and audiobooks, reading marketing materials while waiting for a floor to dry, staying up as late as I could to work on my business. If I wasn’t doing my day job, I was working on building a business. I used any free time I had, and found all of the amazing resources available to start my business.

Too many people complain about their life, or something they want, not existing. There’s no excuse not to go out and do something you want or have a passion for. If you’re not happy and want to start your own thing, go and do it. Make it happen! If you see a problem no one is solving, go and solve it. Now is your time.

Stop looking for permission. It’s time to start something, innovate, solve problems, make the world a better place!

RED WALL Marketing logo JR Griggs

500 E Kennedy Blvd #307
Tampa, FL 33602
Phone: 813-530-1122
RedWallMarketing.com

VasoTechnology – Cutting-Edge IT Services

VasoTechnology Cyber Command Center
VasoTechnology logo

THE MOST CUTTING-EDGE IT SERVICES COMPANY YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF - 20 YEARS IN THE MAKING.

In 2018, VasoTechnology, a.k.a. NetWolves Network Services (NetWolves) celebrated 20 years in the technology sector with a host of new products and services in line with its origins as a cyber security company. Our flagship offering is a unique look at Enterprise IT supporting our extensive managed services business. This “new view” is going to change the way companies approach their IT ecosystem and will make outsourcing a much more transparent and viable option.

VasoTechnology Cyber Command Center

NetWolves launched into the network security appliance market in late the 1990s when it went public via a reverse merger. While the Company achieved early successes with banking and logistics customers, it needed to diversify quickly in the wake of the “Dot-com-bubble” and sought expansion with a service offering. The Company achieved this transformation in 2002 with the acquisition of Norstan Network Services, an FCC-licensed common carrier. This Minnesota-based telecommunications provider came with a mix of several thousand business and residential customers and a single facility partner, namely, Sprint. Today, our network aggregation business boasts more than 15,000 business locations globally – delivering both primary and disaster-recovery networks from over 150 different facility partners, including wire-line, wireless, fiber and satellite products.

Throughout the 2000s, the company continued to diversify itself and made its mark as a managed service provider (MSP) by committing to customer-focused solutions – not only by incorporating its patented proprietary technology, but also by bundling in other “best-in-class” solutions that organizations required but didn’t have the capacity to deploy and manage. Once again, the Company would have its resolve tested in the market collapse of 2007 and determined that a private vehicle would be the best structure to weather the storm. From 2008 through 2015, the Company was able to grow by 65% and deliver year-on-year profitability. Commenting on this, Peter Castle, Company President, stated, “Throughout our history, our success and longevity has been attributable to several factors:, first and foremost our customers who stood by us through thick and thin, as we have stood by them. Additionally, I want to recognize our employees, many of whom work tirelessly, as if it were their own business. Finally, our flexibility and nimbleness, which has so often put us ahead of market trends and always diversified our risk.”

VasoTechnology Network Command _ Control

Once again, we found ourselves in the midst of a transformation, this time during an “up market”. We were acquired by Vaso Corporation (Vaso), in June 2015, with the intention of creating VasoTechnology, our current entity, and the flagship growth engine for Vaso. At the core of the new business unit are the operations of NetWolves Network Services and VasoHealthcareIT (VHCIT). VHCIT is a healthcare application value-added reseller (VAS) launched in late 2014 after signing the first National Specialty VAR agreement with GEHC. This marriage not only provided the NetWolves MSP model access to applications management, but more importantly access to the Healthcare vertical market, both of which were key elements of the company’s strategic roadmap.

While there have been many challenges associated with launching a Healthcare Applications VAR, for example, slow revenue pull-through and significant cash investments, it has delivered in three short years in excess of $18 million in gross contract value. Further commenting, Mr. Castle stated, “None of this would have been possible without the support from and partnership with our sister organization, VasoHealthcare (VHC), GEHC’s largest partner selling imaging systems on an exclusive basis predominantly to the healthcare middle market, and our parent, Vaso, who maintains a strong cash position and the vision to fund this strategy.”

2018 is not only a bookmark signifying 20 dynamic years in the technology industry, but will also usher in a new era and see the beginning transformation from a Technology Services Bureau to a Data Services Bureau. More will be shared on our future strategy and plans over the course
of the year. At the center of our vision, “The New View into Enterprise IT”, is the ability to give all levels of management transparency and accountability across the entire IT ecosystem, or as we refer to it, “All-things-connected” (ATC). Our vision is focused on the increasing rate at which the enterprise is connecting machines, adding complexity and creating data. IT departments are falling behind the curve in Network, Applications, Compute & Security, and the sensible solution is to get out of the IT management business and turn it over to a purpose-built organization designed around maximizing a company’s ability to see the benefits and effectiveness of outsourcing non-core IT functions.”

Phone: (813) 579-3200
Email: suzie.mcgugin@netwolves.com
linkedin: netwolves | vasohealthcareit
www.VasoTechnology.com
www.NetWolves.com

Be Robin Hood – Anyone can be a Hero

Be Robin Hood is an online clothing brand and collection of merchandise
Be Robin Hood Logo

BE ROBIN HOOD

At Be Robin Hood we believe that anyone can be a hero to the people who are less fortunate

ELEVATOR PITCH

Be Robin Hood is an online clothing brand and collection of merchandise where you aren’t shopping for just yourself. Everything you see on the site is either a Be Robin Hood branded product or an altruistically mindedcompany that we have formed a partnership with. Why are we different? Together, we share one vision – to help those in need. By supporting and promoting our partners, we have an opportunity to provide the essentials of life to the less fortunate.

Be Robin Hood Merch

OUR STORY

The definition of a hero is a vague term since anyone can find their personal hero and role model in anyone who has had an impact on their specific life. Why strive to create a company that is named after a childhood story book character? At Be Robin Hood we believe that anyone can be a hero to the people who are less fortunate. We provide and promote products from reputable clothing brands who donate part of their profit to those in need or similarly a good cause.

Robin Hood was known to live by the motto of “taking from the rich and giving to the poor”. Our interpretation of the story is a little different, but our philosophy is similar. Anyone who has the luxury to eat warm food, drink clean water and buy new clothes is fortunate and in the eyes of the poor considered rich. We urge YOU to be Robin Hood.

Be Robin Hood is an online clothing brand and collection of merchandise
Be Robin Hood ladies Hoodies
Be Robin Hood group shot

Whether we know it or not, everyone has an internal sense of purpose to better not only ourselves but those around us. This intrinsic motivation to offer a helping hand can produce a refined version of our personas, and give us a sense of purpose in life amongst many other things. We have created an online merchandise and accessory source that gives such a feeling when shopping for apparel.

Be Robin Hood is more than a clothing brand. It is more than a store or a company. More than a marketplace or charitable collection. Be Robin Hood is a lifestyle. It is a challenge and a dare. We have a vision to create something amazing and each person who joins in makes that much more of a difference. Together as one, we can Be Robin Hood.

MILESTONES

Be Robin Hood’s founder was recognized as a Bay News 9 Everyday Hero.

Be Robin Hood branded caps

Email: rmarton@berobinhood.com
Phone: 630-624-9478
facebook | twitter | instagram
www.berobinhood.com

ProjectMQ – As Told by Marcus Howard

ProjectMQ Marcus and Malcom

PROJECTMQ

AS TOLD BY MARCUS HOWARD

ELEVATOR PITCH

ProjectMQ is a multimedia search engine, for the world’s BEST independent video games. Similar to IMDB, or Rotten Tomatoes, gamers worldwide trust ProjectMQ, to help them quickly find amazing indie games. My twin brother and I got Super Mario Bros 3 when we were 6, and we’ve been playing video games ever since.

Like independent music and film, indie games are much more creative and niche-focused, than their big-budget peers. Independent game makers, knowns as “indie devs” for short, create nearly 70% of the industry’s games, including eSports, mobile, and VR titles. You may have heard of a video game called Minecraft; it too was created by indie devs. The gaming industry is larger than the movie and music industries combined and is expected to reach $180B by 2021. Unfortunately,the average indie dev makes less than $500 of revenue per year. With over 100,000 games on the market today, finding the perfect game is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

ProjectMQ helps indie devs make more money, and helps gamers find video games they’ll love.

ProjectMQ Marcus and Malcom
ProjectMQ founders, Malcolm and Marcus Howard (Photo cred Paul Schnaittacher)

OUR STORY

ProjectMQ - marcus headshot
Marcus Howard (Photo cred Sadiee Bean Photography)

Malcolm and I have been playing video games ever since we were six. Video games inspired us to learn about technology at an early age, and we even started building our 1st video game in the 9th grade. Fast-forward about 10 years, past thousands of hours playing more video games, to March 2013. I have a degree in Information Technology, Malcolm has a degree in Computer Science. We were regularly discussing – well, complaining, depending on who you ask – how inconvenient it was to quickly find video game images and videos online. After years of waiting for someone else to come up with a solution, we finally decided to build our own: ProjectMQ.

Many Triple-A game studios and publishers are also publicly-traded companies, and can afford TV ads and other expensive marketing channels, so it’s easier for them to get the word out about their games. Unfortunately, the majority of independent game studios don’t have that luxury. Independent game developers: they typically have day jobs, and build their games on nights/weekends.

Indie studios generally don’t have a marketing budget, and certainly can’t pay for those TV advertisements that you see for games like Madden and Fortnite. The gaming industry is a pay-to-win ecosystem, where those who can’t afford to reach their audience lose.

PROJECTMQ - Marcus At Tech Diversity Accelerator

INNOVATION

Game discovery has been broken for decades; it’s a complex problem with many layers. In order to fix game discovery, our solution needed layers too: tech and social. The tech part of the solution is the website we’ve built. There, you can easily find amazing indie games from around the world, for any platform or game genre. Let’s say you want to find the perfect horror game for your mobile device, or an excellent racing game for your Nintendo Switch; we’ve got an (upcoming) app for that. While building the website is by no means an easy task, the social part of the solution is much more complicated.

Our social solution is two-fold: we have to simultaneously educate gamers AND non-gamers, about the value of indie games. On one side, most gamers don’t know that blockbuster hits like Minecraft, Rocket League, Clash of Clans, and League of Legends were all created by independent game developers. On the other hand, because games like Fortnite and Grand Theft Auto are the only ones that can afford TV commercials, non-gamers think that all video games are about violence and destruction. First, we teach gamers that indie games can be just as entertaining as popular games like Madden. Then, using indie games, we teach non-gamers that video games can have several educational, psychological, and cultural benefits. For example, we recently organized an indie game arcade in Savannah, Georgia that was free to the public. There, kids and their parents got a chance to enjoy unique, interactive experiences from excellent indie games that we’ve curated from around the world.

ProjectMQ Silicon Valley
ProjectMQ - Malcom Pitch

Paypal selected ProjectMQ, out of 20,000+ applicants nationwide, as the top digital business of their 2018 contest. ProjectMQ is now iHeartMedia’s official Esports partner. They’re the #1 media company in the United States, with over 150 markets across the country, and we’re building all of their gaming events nationwide. This exciting partnership allows us to provide great exposure to indie games from around the world, and improve representation for minorities in the gaming industry. Malcolm and I see video games as an excellent resource to help educate, excite, and inspire youth about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) career opportunities.

ProjectMQ logo

Phone: 740-625-1963
Email: marcus@projectmq.com
twitter | vimeo |medium | linkedin |  facebook
www.ProjectMQ.com

Sparxoo – Strategy | Creativity | Digital Marketing

Sparxoo is a digital marketing agency
Sparxoo is a digital marketing agency

SPARXOO

STRATEGY. CREATIVITY. DIGITAL MARKETING

Elevator Pitch

Sparxoo is a digital marketing agency that delivers strategic, creative impact to accelerate growth for industry-leading brands. The agency helps businesses re-imagine their marketing strategy, share their story so that people will listen, craft experiences that delight customers, and drive omnichannel marketing performance.

Sparxoo - David
David Capece, CEO

Our Story

Sparxoo was founded in 2010 as a digital-first agency with big goals and even bigger ideas. Now in its 8th year of rapid growth, Sparxoo is a testament to founder David Capece’s vision of creative and strategic balance powered by a nimble, innovative, and collaborative team.

Sparxoo is organized into three centers of excellence, all guided by the strategy team. Experience hosts web and mobile developers, Performance leads ROI-focused digital media buying, and Storytelling brings together writers, designers, animators, art directors, video specialists, and other creatives.

Rather than offering up a checklist of marketing services, the Sparxoo team starts with smart listening and strategic planning before creating a custom solution. And it doesn’t stop there—Sparxoo’s dedicated experts are in it for the long haul. Even while producing beautiful content and driving results, the agency’s digital marketing specialists never stop learning from the data to tweak and optimize for the ever-evolving digital landscape.

The way we
work is just
as important
as the work
we do.

After Hours Sparxoo

Milestones

It’s an exciting time at Sparxoo. Three-year growth of 271% earned the agency a position on the Inc 5000 ranking of America’s fastest-growing private companies for two consecutive years, as well as the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Fast 50 and the Business Observer’s Top 500 list.

With a growing client list including the likes of Tech Data, Weight Watchers (recently re-branded to WW), Red Hat, Florida Atlantic University, and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Sparxoo is poised to represent Tampa well on the worldwide stage of creative agencies.

sparxoo.com
813.402.0208
450 Knights Run Ave, Suite 1
Tampa, FL 33602