By South Florida entrepreneurs, for South Florida entrepreneurs. All things tech in the sunny Silicon Tropic.
Michael Hall is a go-getter who has the energy and drive to turn his visions into reality. He is not only creating a much needed app (which will identify art, think Shazaam for art), he is also leveling the playing field for minorities and women-led businesses. Tagged by Aurelia Crews, read below to learn more.
Who are you and where are you from? “Michael Hall. A good ole country boy. Born in Alabama, raised in Panama City, Florida.”
What is your job? “Whatever it Takes. Ideation would be a more accurate answer. Take a simple idea, make it big, profitable and fun.”
Tell us about Kurator. “Kurator is an application that allows users to use computer vision technology to identify, learn and purchase art. It’s to art, what Shazam & iTunes is to music.”
When did it launch? “We had a soft launch during Art Basel, we should have a beta launch mid-February.”
Tell us about DGIT. “Digital Grass Innovation & Technology was the answer of 10 other people and myself wanting to address the issues of inclusion and diversity. The focus is based around innovation, technology and entrepreneurship. We focus on social awareness, events, workshops, summits and a service-based accelerator.”
How can it help a minority or women-owned startup/business?
“Exposure and comfort are big things in success. You need exposure to ideas, resources, people, funding and you need to feel welcomed. I think we help with those things as mentoring. “
How can our readers apply/get involved? “We have a fellowship program and we will open up applications for the accelerator hopefully this summer. We have taken on smaller companies and just worked with them because our funding is not for an accelerator, our group has different level of expertise and we offer services that will help build and grow the company. Imagine a voucher for services – programming, marketing, design, UIX, public relations, legal.”
How did you get started, or how did you come up with this idea? “I am an artist and I always like to know the story behind the art. But I have heard people misinterpret art, especially my own, so I thought wouldn’t it be great to know the story behind the art, hear it from the artist directly and have that archived forever. Then it took off with the support of Kairos and my team.”
Where is your office located? “Which one? We are in all 3 counties and also getting ready to convert the old Miami Gardens Police Station into an Innovation & Tech Hub. Been a vision for years, 6 to be exact and the timing just happened to fall upon us.”
Do you have a background in art? And if not, speak to us about why you didn’t need to have a background in art: “Yes. I have been drawing since I was 2 years old, painting since I was 4-5 and my degree is in Fine Arts with a focus in Graphic Design.”
Who are your advisors? “I can’t list them all, but George Arterberry, Kathy Eggleston, John Hall, Bob Hacker, Brian Brackeen and plenty more…”
Do you have a patent or any IP on your software? “I would say more so trade secrets, but the IP resides with Kairos.”
Who is your target market and what did you do to validate this? “Any one who admires or purchases art. The validation came more so from events like Art Basel and decorated merchandise companies that ranged around a $1B market last year.”
How did you acquire your first 5-100 users? “Word of mouth and direct marketing.”
Best marketing trick/strategy: “Make it feel exclusive, its Miami, everything can’t be for everybody even if it is.”
Who made your website? “We do our own website development.”
Who designed your app? “We do our own application development.”
How has launching your startup in Miami been beneficial? “Art Basel is the biggest art event in the nation and Knight Foundation has enhanced this community to being recognized as one of the hot tech start up cities, as well as the pioneers of things like Incubate Miami with Brandon Dorsey and others.”
How can the Miami startup community help Kurator? “Support the artist. Download the app and use it. You may not be able to buy original art, but buy a print, a shirt, pillowcase, coffee cup, anything to show support. It’s not really about helping Kurator, its more about helping Kurator helping our artist, museums and galleries continue to flourish.” [sign up to be a beta user on the Kurator website]
Best cocktail in Miami? “Any craft beer made by a Florida brewery, especially a stout.”