Tampa Startup Wants Fuse To Be Your One Social App

Fuse Laicos, Tampa startup, California startup,startups, startup interviewRyan Negri, the founder of Negri Electronics and now a startup called Laicos, and Kyle Mathews, the co-founder of Laicos believe that everyone is “one social person” so they should only have one social app. They are hoping that app is Laicos’ first app, Fuse.

Fuse is a social aggregator of sorts that combines all of your popular social networks into one feed. Where platforms like Hootsuite allow a user to peruse multiple social feeds at one time through individual streams, Fuse, has one big stream for all social interactions. Right now Fuse will bring together Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn so that you can cross post, cross read and share all at the same time without having to open and close multiple apps.

Both entrepreneurs know that there are services, like Hootsuite described above, that do what they want to a degree, but Fuse is the only platform that views everything in one big feed.

Mathews is based in Tampa Florida while Negri is based in California. Neither co-founder is a stranger to working remotely. Negri talks about launching his successful electronics business in Wisconsin and then working remotely from California even after relocating that company to Nevada.

Negri’s electronics business specializes in mobile devices, and even imports some of the more high end “unlocked” devices from overseas his customers there are typically early adopters on all aspects of technology. That’s where Negri became so intrigued with solving this social problem, telling us he’s surprised no one has done it this way before. Fuse makes a lot of sense.

Check out our interview with Negri below and for more information check out Fuse’s website here.

seriousWhat is your startup called?


What does your company do?

Laicos was created to focus on social application development, mostly in the mobile app arena.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

The founders of Laicos are Ryan Negri (@ryannegri) and Kyle Matthews (@kylematthews)

Ryan is the founder of NegriElectronics.com. With over 40,000 unique and satisfied customers during more than seven years of operation, Negri Electronics has become a leader in the high end unlocked wireless industry. Before starting Negri Electronics, Ryan, our CEO, was just an avid fan of new technology, excited about the seemingly certain and infinite growth of mobile capabilities and intent on being the first to get his hands on the latest devices. Today, Ryan is still that same fan, and he offers a platform for others, like him, to get the very best wireless devices before anyone else in the world. In June of 2006, Negri Electronics began operations from an apartment in Northern Wisconsin as a distributor of high end unlocked wireless devices through a variety of third-party retail channels. It wasn’t long before the small business was overwhelmed by demand and faced with the opportunity to expand. Ryan leased his first office space, hired his first employee, and launched the first version of NegriElectronics.com. The business met the inevitable challenges each new business faces and overcame them because of Ryan’s dedication to his vision. He knew that an opportunity existed for a company that could offer exclusive devices with outstanding customer service if the price was right. The market was responding and Negri Electronics had expanded its team to five before Ryan made the decision to move from his Wisconsin roots to an area of the country that was closer to his customers and new suppliers and full of entrepreneurial energy. Ryan moved from Wisconsin to Southern California and ran the business remotely with the help of a loyal Wisconsin-based operations manager that had been with the business from the start. The business continued to grow by adding team members in finance and marketing roles, but as time passed, the advantages of operating a business in Nevada became apparent.Negri Electronics relocated its Wisconsin operation to a newly rented warehouse in Las Vegas, Nevada to take advantage of the lower costs of doing business and to make a positive impact in the Las Vegas community. Through local hiring efforts, the Nevada team added energetic and talented warehouse and customer service professionals and, within one year, the company outgrew its space once again. Today, Negri Electronics is a privately owned corporation headquartered in a nearly 6,000 square feet facility in Las Vegas, Nevada with an office in Southern California that houses administrative, finance, and marketing functions. The business offers nearly 5,000 products through a redesigned website and ships to over 190 different countries around the world. Ryan is still in touch with many of his first customers who count on him for his expertise, and they remain loyal customers and valued friends of Negri Electronics. The entire team is extremely proud of the progress to date and remain enthusiastic and optimistic about the possibilities ahead.

Kyle Matthews is the co-founder of ModMy, LLC. Their main website, ModMyi.com, is the largest iPhone customizing community on the internet, with over 850,000 members and over 1 million daily page views. Kyle has been involved in the modifying scene for over a decade, starting with Motorola phones just before the release of the Razr, and continuing this passion for do-it-yourself modifying of devices and software into the iPhone scene. When ModMyi launched in 2007 along with the release of the first iPhone, it was home to many of the first iOS developers in the world – long before Apple released an official SDK or App Store (remember the first year of iPhone had native apps only!). Cody Overcash, the other co-founder of ModMyi.com, created the first iPhone “theme” ever, starting the hugely popular iPhone theming community. Thousands of talented digital artists helped to grow ModMyi.com by creating beautiful third-party UIs and themes for Apple’s flagship device, which they continue to do. The ModMy sites began as purely a hobby, with both the founders having separate jobs. As the community grew, we experienced rapid growth and learned quite a bit about running large online communities, from best practices on management, to server tweaking and creating custom software to enhance the tools we were already using. ModMy quickly became a full time job for both Kyle and Cody, and has now expanded to include daughter companies like ModMedical, which creates iPad apps for medical device companies, and Brooks Motorsport Composites, which takes the customization mindset to the physical world in building custom carbon fiber aero solutions for race cars. Kyle is also very active in the non-profit world, as the co-founder and executive director of Because of Ezra. Because of Ezra was formed in 2011, after the 2010 loss of Kyle and his wife Robyn’s son, Ezra, to neuroblastoma, the most common cancer in infants. Ezra lived exactly 800 days. Neuroblastoma in stage 4 (the most commonly diagnosed staging) has only a 40% cure rate, and relapsed neuroblastoma has no current cure. Because of Ezra seeks to fill some of the large gaps in funding for neuroblastoma research. Since 2011 they’ve give over $130,000 to fund relevant, patient-affecting research into a cure. With a focus on creating exciting online projects with beautiful designs, Kyle has a large skill set relating to most web and mobile development and design projects.

Where are you based?

Tampa, FL, and Costa Mesa, CA.

What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

The Tampa startup scene is brand new, and rapidly growing. A burgeoning digital crew are beginning to pop up, and a host of medical companies also exist.

The Southern California Startup scene is rapidly expanding. With many new startups opening offices in Santa Monica, it’s slowing becoming “Silicon Beach”. We are excited to be a part. We have not yet tapped into the Vegas Startup Scene, but are excited to do so once we get a little more traction and Tony (Hsieh) starts replying to my requests to coordinate. Negri Electronics is based out of Las Vegas – a Tech Ecommerce site 7 years in the making – with similiar values as Zappos.

What problem do you solve?

With Fuse, our flagship product, we solve the problem of social presence fragmentation. Our tagline is “You’re one social person. Get one social app.” As you interact with the social networking world, we find people are increasingly maintaining multiple presences, requiring multiple apps to manage. Fuse brings together all your social networking in one beautiful, unified experience. Interact with your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn contacts all at the same time. We have future plans to incorporate more networks as we grow.

Why now?

Managing your social presence is taking more and more time as multiple networks vie for your attention. A few solutions exist to interact with multiple networks, but they still fragment the experiences within the app. Fuse solves that issue.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

We’ve launched our first product, Fuse, in the App Store!

What are your next milestones?

Laicos’ next milestones are acquiring users. We’re also a month or so away from launching a major redesign, which better matches the flat design seen in iOS 7. An Android version of the app is also in the future musings.

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?

You can find out more about Fuse here, and by downloading the app on your iPhone from the iTunes store here.


Tampa Bay Startup: MamaBear Giving Parents A Piece Of Mind

MamaBear,Tampa Startup,startup,startups,startup interviewMonitoring your kids on the internet and on their mobile phone can be a sticky issue. Every parent wants to know that their children are being safe and that they are safe, everywhere they go and no matter what they are doing. Parents in this day and age have a lot more to watch out for than even 10 years ago. Child predators, cyber-bullying, texting and driving are all real problems facing parents and kids but privacy can be almost as sensitive.

Tampa Bay startup MamaBear has come up a mobile app that allows parents to monitor as much or as little as they want to on their child’s mobile phone. The first step though is the acknowledgement the app gets from the monitored phone (the child’s). Parents download the MamaBear app to their smartphone and then on their child’s phone. The child then checks in, both acknowledging the app is on their phone and letting their parents know where they are.

MamaBear from Mamabear App on Vimeo.

Parents can monitor locations, texts, social media, and more. In fact, MamaBear app also provides a list of words that could indicate the child is doing something that’s at risk or that they’re being cyber bullied.

MamaBear evolved out of a location based company that was working on providing businesses with location based business intelligence. One of the co-founders, Stuart Kime got into a conversation with a parent who had told him that her full time job was monitoring her kids’ social media pages. Kime along with his co-founders were able to come up with an app that gave parents a piece of mind all the way around.

We got a chance to interview Robyn Spoto, co-founder and company President. Check out the interview with her below:

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Tampa Startup OBCIDIO Is All About Social Collaboration INTERVIEW

OBCIDIO,Tampa startup,Florida startup,startup,startups,startup interviewA new Tampa startup called OBCIDIO mashes up social networks to make one easy to use collaboration platform. OBCIDIO combines real time social communication with file sharing, content management and networking tools. It’s like Asana meets Facebook and LinkedIn to focus on working together with different people in your social networks.

In addition to your private feed that’s leveraging your personal social networks there is also a public feed where you can share whatever you would like with the entire OBCIDIO community.

When we asked co-founder Ryan Waier how he’d describe OBCIDIO to his grandmother he said:

“OBCIDIO is best described as a mash-up between Facebook and LinkedIn. By creating or plugging into different social communities, members can filter out the noise and focus on the communication, people and content that is relevant to them.

Every member that creates an OBCIDIO account also receives their own personal cloud to manage communication, contacts, files, tasks and schedules with the ability to create or plug into existing social communities.

Social communities on OBCIDIO can range from members creating regional networking groups for sharing referrals, to companies creating their own private social network for coworkers to share content, ask questions and crowdsouce feedback.

Our communities provide social communication, collaboration, and project management tools unlike other forums or groups you would find on sites like LinkedIn. The purpose of these communities is to give members both a voice and a medium to actively engage in solving problems, pooling knowledge and forging new opportunities.”

Check out the rest of our interview with Waier, below:

Read More…

Florida Startup: Seek.ly To Launch Online Speed Dating At DEMO

Seek.ly,Seekly,Florida startup,Tampa startup,startup,startups,startup newsOnline speed dating isn’t a new concept however it’s one that could use some definite improvements. Online dating sites typically bury their users with superfluous messages. They also give off false positives by matching users with people that aren’t interesting or compatible.

Florida startup Seek.ly plans will eliminate those problems and others to make online speed dating more spontaneous the way that it is when you go to an in person speed dating event at a local restaurant, bar or singles meet up.

Profiles be gone!

While at first this may seem like a crazy idea, one way that Seek.ly puts that spontaneity back into online speed dating is by eliminating profile pictures, and questions. To often people eliminate potential dates by profiles. The other down fall is that profiles are often blown up or only show the absolute best a person has to offer (or what they perceive is their best). With Seek.ly there’s no BS around the profile, more time is spent focusing on getting to know the person.

“Seek.ly does not have profile pictures, questionnaires or compatibility testing because we know that at the end of the day those processes just can’t take the place of human interaction. By eliminating these crutches, seek.ly users are more inclined to get to know the person and not the profile. I’m very excited about our public launch and validating these ideas.” said Susie Steiner, Founder of Seek.ly.

Steiner and co-founder Kim Randall will launch Seek.ly today at the fall DEMO conference in Santa Clara California. They’ll have six minutes to wow those in the audience and those watching from home. Online speed dating needs a makeover and Seek.ly is confident they’ll deliver.

“We are ready to take Online dating to the next level and I am very excited that we are launching our video speed dating platform at DEMO Fall 2012,” said Kim Randall, Co- founder of Seek.ly LLC.


Check out Seek.ly here at seek.ly

Check out DEMO here

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Tampa Startup Banyan Wins Entrepreneur Track At Chattanooga’s Gig Tank

Over 500 people came from across Tennessee and across the USA to Chattanooga TN Wednesday and Thursday for GigTank’s Demo Day. 

GigTank is a 90 day accelerator program based in Chattanooga with an emphasis on using Chattanoga’s 1GBPS internet. Chattanooga was the first city in the United States (edging out Kansas City and Google by a year), to implement 1gbps internet. Every resident and business in a 600 square mile radius has 1gbps fiber optic line straight to their home or business.

Chattanooga was able to set up the 1gb fiber by rolling out a smart grid that provides communications from utility meters at every home and business back to a central location. Citizens of Chattanooga can elect to get data and tv services from the 1gb fiber pipe in their homes on a monthly subscription based model.

Chattanooga’s GigTank accelerator featured two separate tracks. The entrepreneur track was a traditional 3 month accelerator model with a seed investment, and access to services, mentors, office space and other resources. The student track was similar to the entrepreneur track but without the seed investment. Students participated in a pitch contest in Chattanooga Thursday where they competed for a $50,000 prize.

The winner of the entrepreneur track was a Tampa Florida startup called Banyan. The Banyan team was Toni Gamayel, Travis Staton and TJ Weigel.

Banyan is a cloud based collaborative research system. This allows researchers who are working on the same project to keep their research together. It also solves major pains for those managing the research.

During Gamayel’s pitch he brought up an instance where two students at the University of Kentucky were working on the same exact research one floor above each other and didn’t even know it. With Banyan the research manager would have easily been able to identify this duplicate research.

In another instance a Stanford professor had been working on some research. The need arose to validate that the particular research he was working on was being performed at the school rather than at home or another lab. With Banyan they could have easily identified the source of the actual research.

Banyan took a $100,000 check back to Tampa where they plan on using it to beef up their development and marketing. Gamayel is very active in the Tampa startup community. He was a judge for a recent Startup Weekend in Florida and is well known as a resource and mentor in the region. In fact he has provided mentorship to Feathr a Gainesville based startup that is working on eliminating the paper business card.

Check out Banyan’s complete pitch below:


Check out Banyan’s website here

Here’s more of our GigTank coverage

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Tampa Startup: Citizinvestor Looks To CrowdFund Neighborhood Projects

Digital strategist turned entrepreneur Jordan Raynor of Tampa Florida is working on a new and exciting startup in the crowdfunding space. I’m sure you’re wondering how can anyone be working on something “new and exciting” in the crowdfunding space, well read on and you’ll understand.

The first thing you need to know about Raynor is that he is a realist of sorts. Check out his personal website here and you’ll see that Raynor doesn’t pull any punches and he’s not wrapped up in self loathing bull shit. Most of his career as a digital strategist has been spent solving problems in government and politics through technology, which is exactly what he’s doing with his new startup Citizinvestor.

After being tipped off about Citizinvestor it was Raynor’s description of the platform that easily brought the idea home for me. Remember those days when a neighborhood would hold a yardsale, bake sale or spaghetti dinner to get new playground equipment, street signs repainted, or trees planted? Well Citizinvestor takes those ideas and puts them on the web for 2012. In the same manner that traditional, self crowdfunding takes panhandling to the internet.

There are so many civic projects that get shelved for one reason and one reason only, and that’s because they can’t get funded. Some new data analysts needed to crunch the numbers of how many Coke bottles vs how many Pepsi bottles were recycled last month’s salary is more important than replacing that slide that’s been ripping holes in the skin of the towns children for months. (boy that was a run on sentence).

The mulch at the neighborhood entrance that hasn’t been replaced in 12 years somehow keeps ending up on the bottom of the budget list.

So Citizinvestor has a couple of really cool purposes.

1. The platform helps raise the money for the projects that really matter to the people.

2. It puts the power in the hands of the people. If people stand up and donate for the new playground equipment, the city manager can’t take that money and buy more sticky notes.

3. It empowers the people.

Of course some may be outraged by this idea for crowdfunding civic projects. They may feel that it’s the responsibility of the government using the tax money they provide to the government. With that mentality though, projects will continue to get shelved so that more “important” budget line items can use those tax dollars.

I think as far as playgrounds, parks, library books are concerned, when people use Citizinvestor for those projects they’ll take ownership of them. After the slide and the swings are replaced, the townspeople may see how easy it is to come together and get things done and that the bureaucracy, while needed, can be cut through like a large ginsu knife on a stick of melted butter, when people ban together using Citizinvestor.


Check out Raynor’s personal blog here, it’s actually pretty good.

Here’s the link for Citizinvestor

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Tampa Startup: Muzime Is A Spotify For Indie Artists That Kicks Ass

Music sharing startups are popping up all over the place. A lot of them would qualify as “a dime a dozen” but that’s not the case with Florida based Muzime. Joel Fenelon tells the FloridaTechnologyJournal that while he was in college his studies pivoted from business to music. After that he studied and became a conductor, eventually leading to an offer to conduct overseas.

While building up his musical repertoire he realized that his works were his and filled with emotion. He also realized he didn’t want anyone else to own his music, he wanted to own it, perform it and share it with who he wants to when he wants to. That tiny idea eventually evolved into what today he is calling Muzime.

Muzime is a familiar idea, a music sharing platform ala the newest iteration of MySpace and of course social music powerhouse Spotify. However those comparisons just about stop after the “shared music” anomoly.

Muzime,Tampa startup,Florida startup,startups,music startup,independent artists,Joel Fenelon

Joel Fenelon CEO & Founder Muzime (photo: 84degrees.com)

What separates Muzime from the Spotify’s of the world, is that the platform is entirely about indy artists and musicians, like Fenelon, who hold onto the rights of their music.

The service is free to sing up for both artists and music buffs. Artists can create a profile page and share snippets of their songs on their pages. In fact they can upload as many songs as they like. From there, Muzime charges $.89 for the user base to download songs. Of that, the musician gets $.69 while Muzime holds onto $.20 from each track, to keep the servers running .

One of the great features about the site itself is that music lovers can stream each song two times. After the second time they can get a :30 clip of the song or download it for the $.89.

Muzime catalogs the music by artist, title, genre and mood. If you’re feeling happy, sad, angry or any other mood you can select music that way as well.

Muzime has a wide variety of music from just about every genre. We checked out “Jam Bands”, Hip Hop, Jazz and Classical all offering a good sized list of songs and artists. Also each song and artist have their own page where you can get lyrics, read stories about the song and artist and interact with the artists. Muzime is an incredibly robust platform especially considering it’s made up of just independent artists.

The real beauty behind this innovative Florida startup is that Fenelon is not just looking to expose new artists to more people, he’s looking to help artists monetize on their works, which is obviously a win-win for everyone involved.


Check out Muzime and sign up here

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source: FloridaTechnoloyJournal

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