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La. Company Turns to South Florida for Tech Talent

February 19, 2014

By Marcia Heroux Pounds, Sun Sentinel


Feb. 19--A Louisiana company offering a new social media platform chose to set up shop in Boca Raton -- because that's where top executives found the technical talent they needed.
"Shreveport didn't have the kind of engineers we needed, and South Florida did," said Michael Marshall, founder of Logic Nation, who is based in Louisiana but has been hiring in Boca Raton.
Logic Nation employs 10 in its year-old Boca Raton office and expects to make additional hires as it tweaks its platform, which allows two or more people to have discussions online or multiple viewers to tune in to live-streaming video from a mobile phone, tablet or computer.
The Logic Nation app can be downloaded on an Android mobile phone or iPhone and live video taken in any area that has cellular access or Wi-Fi.
An owner can choose to have his "nation" public or private or charge a monthly fee to subscribe to the content. "Everyone can have a 'nation,' " Marshall said.
Business specialists, entrepreneurs, athletes, educators and others are using Logic Nation to engage with their audiences, he said.
PGA golfer David Toms and triathlon coach Morris Brossette use Logic Nation to do instructional videos, for example.
Or the live streaming video can be "just to your family and keep it private," Marshall explained.
Logic Nation is free, but users can opt for the premium model and charge viewers. Logic Nation said it takes a 20 percent fee from those revenues.
Eventually, users also will be able to add advertising to their nations, if they choose, again sharing revenue with Logic Nation in an 80-20 percent split.
Logic Nation is an example of the technology companies that are springing up in South Florida, driven by people's skills and operating in a place workers want to work and play, local experts say.
Deborah Vazquez, president of ProTech Staffing in Boca Raton, said South Florida is still "relatively unknown" in terms of tech talent. But she said many former IBMers and others with years of experience are available in the region.
Local talent is key to new entrepreneurial companies like Logic Nation, which "could be the next Facebook," said Vazquez, who is familiar with the company's software. "It could be a game-changer for the region."
Kelly Smallridge, president of the Business Development Board for Palm Beach County, agreed that tech entrepreneurs are choosing to base their businesses in region -- and not just for sun and fun.
"Tech companies are coming here because they know they can find the talent," she said.
Logic Nation owner Marshall, an Air Force veteran and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautics University, has no immediate plans to move to Boca Raton, but he doesn't rule it out. He developed the initial technology for Logic Nation while he was in college, filing for a U.S. patent on his platform in 2012.
But he needed specialists with computer science degrees and more experience to build the system in a way that could be used by millions of people at once.
To complete the system, Marshall turned to technology specialist Alexander Barenboim, who has worked in Florida at companies including IBM, Verizon, ADT security and Bankrate. He moved to Shreveport for a year when he saw what Marshall had developed.
"Alex is an 'A' player," Marshall said. "We needed someone to take the technology to the next level."
Barenboim floated some job listings for technology specialists with the skills he needed and found them quickly in South Florida, so he persuaded Marshall to let him build the team here.
"Most of the people are senior-level people with 15 to 20 years of experience," Barenboim said. He located Logic Nation's office in Boca Raton to draw talent from the north and south.
Marshall said he has raised $7 million in "angel" seed money so far for the venture. He expects to officially launch the products within the next couple months, although the app is available now.
"I'm excited to show people what this platform can do," he said.
mpounds@tribune.com or 561-243-6650

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Source: South Florida Sun Sentinel (FL)

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