Wednesday, November 13, 2013

#ThankYouMiami for Our Growing Start-Up Scene - Part 3: Brad Liff

Brad Liff, CEO and Founder of Fitting Room Social

Welcome to Part 3 of my 4-part series, “#ThankYouMiami for Our Growing Start-Up Scene", where I recount my conversations with Miami entrepreneurs about what Miami is doing right for its entrepreneurial movement, where there is room for improvement, and why they each say #ThankYouMiami. Today, I share with you a summary of my interview with Brad Liff from Fitting Room Social. Access the rest of the series here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 4.

The Start-Up
Brad Liff is the CEO and Founder of Fitting Room Social, a social shopping platform intended to give women the confidence to shop online knowing the item they are purchasing will fit them well. Users begin by creating a profile with their personal information and clothing measurements (don't worry, girls - you can keep your measurements private!). They then upload photos of their personal style and rate each garment photo as a "Great Fit", "Good Fit", "Fair Fit", or "Poor Fit". Fitting Room Social sorts the user-populated information to connect women with garments that match their individual fits and style per their profiles.

Miami entrepreneur Brad Liff calls Miami a city with "a real business community of talented, smart, and dedicated people".

The Miami Benefits and Challenges
Brad came to Miami almost 5 years ago from Long Island, New York for a job in private equity. In Miami, he caught the entrepreneurial bug, decided to put his private equity career on hold, and started Fitting Room Social.

When I asked Brad why he chose to start Fitting Room Social in Miami, he firmly stated that Miami is his home and that it is important for him to build his business in his own community. He would like to see Miami grow as a tech center and wants to show we have all the resources, including capital and talent, to build a company locally.

Acquiring initial funding for Fitting Room Social was not a challenge. Its current operations are funded through capital Brad received from a group of investors last year. When asked about future funding, Brad responds with confidence that the challenge will not be a consequence of building Fitting Room Social in Miami. In his opinion, institutional investors are becoming more comfortable with investing in cities like Miami and are less concerned with relocating business investments closer to them. Additionally, he thinks the community is doing a better job of educating and accessing local sources of capital.

Brad's views on talent acquisition in Miami are just as positive. Unlike the other entrepreneurs featured in this series, Brad has limited technical knowledge so, for him, finding outside technical experts was a critical first step to launching Fitting Room Social. He began building the platform's prototype using off-shore developers, but quickly realized he needed local talent to realize his vision. He found the high-quality development talent he needed in Rokk3r Labs on Lincoln Road. The support he has received from Rokk3r Labs has been instrumental in helping Brad make his entrepreneurial dreams a reality.

The #ThankYouMiami Statement
Brad met and married his wife, Marjorie, in Miami and recently had his first child, daughter Ruby, here. So what is this passionate new father most grateful for? Brad said "#ThankYouMiami for introducing me to my wife".

Check back tomorrow for Part 4 of this 4-part series where I share with you my interview with David Notik, Founder of Woven and Creator of #MiamiTech.

Are you a part of the Miami entrepreneurial movement? What do you think Miami is doing right to support its future growth? Where do you see room for improvement? Which local entrepreneurs would you like to see give their opinion on this subject? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

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