VentureHive – recruiting and cultivating veteran and military family owned businesses in Fort Walton Beach Florida, read on….

I’ve been working with VentureHive in Miami as the Microsoft Innovation Center shares space with them and this is just wonderful to see! Read on.



July 8, 2015 Marisol Gomez

(305) 735-1274

Venture Hive Fort Walton Beach 2015 Veterans Accelerator Companies Announced

Public/Private Partnership between Venture Hive and The City of Fort Walton Beach Announces its 2015 Accelerator Class of Veteran-owned Companies

FORT WALTON BEACH, FL – July 8, 2015 – The Venture Hive Accelerator – the first endeavor of its kind in Fort Walton Beach – is proud to announce its inaugural class of veteran-owned companies. The program is focused on recruiting and cultivating veteran and military family owned businesses in sectors closely aligned with Fort Walton Beach’s economic future.

In May the City of Fort Walton Beach and Venture Hive partnered to create a new home for the veteran entrepreneurship movement with the launch of a customized national accelerator for veteran-owned[1] businesses that connects them to the resources and support they need to scale their businesses. In an effort to stimulate economic activity in Fort Walton Beach, specifically for veteran- owned businesses, the City of Fort Walton Beach has allocated $500,000 for the program.

The Venture Hive Fort Walton Beach Accelerator is founder-friendly, focusing on individual development and supports global, disrupt-the-industry visions. Unlike other veteran entrepreneurship programs, Venture Hive aims to help build large scale and global market companies that can take advantage of the innovative research already being conducted in the Fort Walton Beach area.

“Fort Walton Beach already represents such a unique cross-section of industry and research possibilities,” said Fort Walton Beach Mayor Mike Anderson. “Proximity to military bases and research facilities, higher education institutions, as well as forward thinking community partners have contributed to our area’s reputation as a welcoming environment for tech pioneers.’

Benefits of participating in the first class of the Venture Hive Fort Walton Beach Accelerator include a $25,000 non-equity grant, a world-class curriculum of highly practical workshops and training session, free working space in Fort Walton Beach for a year, exposure to qualified investors and a Demo Day celebration during Veterans Day week. This intensive structured program will also provide the selected businesses with access to a dedicated group of business coaches and mentors, highly customized training and a relevant network to scale their ventures, driving the economic growth of the region.

For its introductory class at Fort Walton Beach, Venture Hive received numerous applications from which seven companies developing innovative web, mobile or technology product solutions to address a clear market need were chosen by an independent panel of expert leaders.

· BLACK THURSDAY (Beverly Hills, CA):

An initiative focused on shining a spotlight on local small businesses by increasing their visual presence and providing residents convenient shopping alternatives.    

Founding Members: Jahi Kokayi, U.S. Marine Corps and Nathaniel Reed, U.S. Air Force


A software company that builds sensor-based neural memories of various objects, images, people, and data in the form of computer code. 

Founding Members: Lloyd Reshard, Formerly of the Air Force Research Lab; Dr. Stephen Thaler, and Vercell Vance

· DREAMHIGHR (Chicago, IL):

A SAAS platform that utilizes optimized matching algorithms and data mining to connect enterprises with ideal candidates. This user-friendly Sourcing software will free talent managers from costly and erroneous third party headhunting services.

Founding Members: Corey Hubbard, U.S. Navy and Camille Enriquez

· FIELD VINE (Myrtle Beach, SC):

Field Vine is a mobile app that helps Property Managers, General Contractors, and Construction Companies keep tabs on projects, collaborate with teams in the field and stay compliant with local code requirements. 

Founding Members: Ray Antonino, U.S. Army and Mark Lewis


An aerial photography and cinematography solution to capture luxurious assets via a small drone. LAS is an affordable, yet effective marketing tool for a diverse range of clients.

Founding Members: Bryan Gonzalez, U.S. Navy and Raymond Anthony

· MRQUICKPICK (Louisville, KY):

MrQuickPick is a $39 Service that delivers fast and affordable roadside assistance for unlocking cars, jump starts, tire-changes and gas delivery.

Founding Members: John Taylor U.S. Navy and Misty Taylor

· WIMAGE (Minneapolis, MN):

Wimage believes in the power of creative visualization to foster better communication. The platform that allows users to express their ideas, regardless of disability or creative experiences, enabling them to share visual stories with their social circles. 

Founding Members: Nic Jansma and Michael Hyacinthe, U.S. Navy

In addition to the full Accelerator program, Venture Hive Fort Walton Beach will offer an 8-week unique Pre-Accelerator program to help veteran entrepreneurs begin to develop businesses that are still in the early phase of development. The Pre-Accelerator is made possible by the support of Gulf Power and other regional business leaders.

“With applicants from across the US, we are thrilled to have four military services represented and such great diversity of products and services among our first class,” said Susan Amat, Ph.D., founder of Venture Hive. “Tech companies, products, and services providers -- all ready to go to the next level. And the incredible business and tech community in Fort Walton Beach is ready to welcome them with open arms!”

Heading up Venture Hive Fort Walton Beach is John Dantzler, a seasoned tech executive who brings two decades of international software and systems experience as well as a decade of business development in Brazil to the program. John served as an engineer in the Navy before moving to San Francisco and working as a systems engineer. He joined Venture Hive in May to lead the veteran’s initiative.

Venture Hive’s existing programs in Miami have shown a $7.3 million economic impact in less than two years of operation, with support from Miami-Dade County and the Miami Downtown Development Authority. The new Fort Walton Beach partnership will bring that impact to the city and to Northwest Florida, ultimately creating entrepreneurs, business growth, and job opportunities.


About Venture Hive

Venture Hive exists to energize, educate, and cultivate entrepreneurs at three levels of engagement. Venture Hive Accelerator and Incubator programs focus on connectivity and guidance for entrepreneurs and startups to maximize regional economic development impact. The Venture Hive Prep and Venture Hive U programs foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship at the high school and university levels. We offer institutions and communities efficient and effective plug and play models to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem based on sound educational principles. Learn more at

About The City of Fort Walton Beach

Revealed as one of 2014’s 10 Happiest Cities in America according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Research, the city of Fort Walton Beach rests in the heart of Florida’s famed Emerald Coast. Serving roughly 20,000 residents, city leadership and staff maintain a commitment to providing high quality, personalized services to visitors and residents while actively supporting the advanced technological pursuits of its military and business communities. To learn more, visit

[1] Veteran-owned (including veterans, retirees, military spouses and dependents)

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