Last Friday morning Venture Hive Accelerator announced its new members of the inaugural class of veteran-owned companies. Included in the group was Cognitive Big Data Systems of Pensacola, founded by Lloyd Reshard. “We are excited about the opportunity and support from the city of Ft. Walton Beach and also Venture Hive,” Reshard stated. He said Cognitive Big Data Systems uses technology to make robots and drones smarter. “We develop algorisms to leverage to centers and technology that we’ve demonstrated in the lab. We’ve created robot programs, we’ve demonstrated Thomas Bodkins NASA on Mars and robots with Master Lanely. It’s pretty amazing,” he added.
More than thirty businesses were represented at the luncheon hosted by Susan Amat, founder of Venture Hive.
A few of those represented at the luncheon included:
Don, one of the participants, worked in Los Angeles for 22 years in the film industry. “I’ve come back to Ft Walton — where I grew up — to bring IT and programming technology skills to third grade up adults. I think there is a big need for that. Being in the Hive program has taught me business skills that I didn’t really learn and that is something that is not taught in the film industry,” He said.
“We actually strengthen and leverage local businesses to be better, make more money and to grow. One of the strengths of this area is an incredibly strong veteran population,” stated Amat. She added that, over time, she would like Venture Hive to do outreach with her company, InfaRel, to inspire other potential entrepreneurs. “There is a major opportunity for companies to scale and grow jobs,” she said..
Jahi Kokayi comes to Ft Walton Beach by way of Beverly Hills, California. A US marine veteran, he brings to the area a company by the name of Black Thursday. “Our main focus is trying to create awareness for local businesses to be able to compete in the market with the big chain stores; not as direct competition but as an alternative,” Holcomb said. He said Black Thursday creates platforms for businesses to market their products and services. “Because this is a city with many tourists, locals as well as tourists will be able to come and shop with them be it online or twitter. We want to create that awareness of the business.”
Mike Hyacinthe of WIMAGE comes to Ft. Walton Beach bringing a new breed of technology. It is an application that aims to enhance how people communicate through creativity. “We are also looking at how we can work with the autistic community and help kids grow,” he said. “Creativity is what is going to foster this next breed of education and jobs.” He added that creative technology can also help veterans, adding “This is a strong military community where guys are coming back home with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. How can we actually help these guys find themselves?”
Bryan Gonzalez, an Aviation Logistics Specialist, hosts a drone related business for Realtors. They are FAA approved in Pensacola to Panama City. They are used for construction inspections, roofing inspections, etc.
Corey Hubbard, founder of Dreamhighr, comes from Chicago. “Our mission in Ft Walton Beach is to use our recruiting service to provide a service for transitioning veterans that are coming out of service. Our mission here is to help veterans find jobs.” He said. If you know of any companies that are looking to set up a veterans’ transitioning program, please let us know. I will do whatever I can to be of assistance.”
Ray Antonino of Myrtle Beach South Carolina is founder of Field Vine, 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. ”We have log ins from Fortune 500 companies all the way down to small companies,” he said.
Mr. Quick Pick, a company founded by John Taylor, a navy veteran from Louisville, Ky. is a service that provides fast and affordable roadside assistance for unlocking cars, jump starts, tire-changes and gas delivery. ”We have about 40 cities covered now and have room for about 100 more,” he said. “We are looking for veterans that we can put to work.”
The program consists of an intensive full-time 12-week structured program to help develop and scale these ventures through access to world-class mentors and training. Venture Hive and the City of Ft. Walton Beach have created this unique initiative to help cultivate veteran and military family owned businesses while promoting economic growth in the area.entrepreneurial