Why Florida is the 5th-best state for entrepreneurs

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By Celia Ampel
December 22, 2014

Florida is one of the best states to start a business, according to a Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council report released this month.

Ranjini Chandirakanthan Director

Ranjini Chandirakanthan Director

The state ranked fifth for its entrepreneur-friendly policies, after South Dakota, Nevada, Texas and Wyoming. The Washington D.C.-based nonpartisan research organization ranked states based on small business-related taxes, regulatory environment and government spending.”From a federal and state tax standpoint, [Florida is] a very attractive place to start businesses, or frankly, to relocate businesses,” said Jim Cassel, chairman and co-founder of Miami investment banking firm Cassel Salpeter & Co.

After all, the state doesn’t take personal income tax, estate tax or inheritance tax — but that’s just one piece of what will draw entrepreneurs to Florida in 2015, Cassel said.

Here are three reasons South Florida entrepreneurship experts believe small businesses will grow here in the coming year:

Venture capital and angel investors are moving in.

This year, venture capital firms Scout Ventures and Richmond Global Ventures opened offices in Miami, demonstrating national and international interest in the South Florida startup scene.
But that’s just the beginning, Florida Venture Forum President Kevin Burgoyne said.

“Just in the last three weeks, I’ve had meetings with four different venture investors who are in the process of opening offices in Miami,” he said.

As more investors set up shop in South Florida, there will be less reason for startups to move outside the state, Burgoyne said.
“There’s always been a little bit of money in South Florida,” he said. “But money that is willing to invest in early- and mid-stage companies often comes from outside the state, and there is an increasing amount of money that is based here in Florida. That’s very encouraging.”

South Florida entrepreneurs have more resources than ever before.

It’s more than just money, said Ranjini Chandirakanthan, who leads the technology practice at Cassel Salpeter & Co. South Florida entrepreneurs have more access to mentorship, workspace and other resources than ever.

“Money, culture [and] access to human capital all make an ecosystem,” she said. “And I think it’s here. For the savvy entrepreneur with a great idea, I think it’s easier to tap into that network here.”
Coworking spaces like the LAB Miami, accelerators such as Venture Hive and scores of other organizations and events have helped change the landscape for local startups, Burgoyne said.

“It really is just remarkable what resources are available — in almost all cases, at little or no cost to an entrepreneur,” he said.

Local universities are training the next generation to think like entrepreneurs.

South Florida’s universities are focusing resources on entrepreneurship through startup resource centers and world-class researchers, Cassel said.

Florida Atlantic University opened its Tech Runway accelerator this year, while Miami Dade College announced plans for its Idea Center.
Opko Health CEO Dr. Phillip Frost has also put his checkbook into recruiting top-notch researchers to the area, Cassel said.

“Unlike LeBron, they really do bring their talents to South Beach and stay,” he said.

Tiger Media Announces Agreement to Acquire Interactive Data, LLC

From: Business Wire

Dec-15-2014 8:00 AM

Publicly traded Media Company to enter U.S. data fusion market
through strategic acquisition

Tiger Media, Inc. (“Tiger Media” or the “Company”) (NYSE MKT: IDI), a
Shanghai-based multi-platform media company, today announced that it has
entered into a definitive agreement to acquire The Best One, Inc.
(“TBO”), parent company of U.S.-based data solutions provider
Interactive Data, LLC (“Interactive Data”) (the “Acquisition”).
Interactive Data is headquartered in Atlanta, GA and has its primary
technology office in Seattle, WA.

Interactive Data’s recently expanded management team has been executing
on an aggressive growth plan in a multi-billion dollar market of risk
management and marketing data solutions. The Acquisition will give the
integrated company a strong foothold in the data fusion industry with a
management team that has helped mold the entire sector.

“As a founding shareholder of Tiger Media, Inc., I am enthusiastic to
enter into the rapidly growing, multi-billion dollar industry of data
fusion,” said Dr. Phillip Frost, CEO and Chairman of OPKO Health, Inc.
(NYSE:OPK), and Tiger Media’s largest beneficial owner. “The
impressive track record of TBO’s management team in building the
dominant companies in this industry speaks for itself, and I believe
this will be a major player in the space.”

Commenting on the Acquisition, Robert Fried, Chairman of Tiger Media
stated, “We are excited to acquire TBO. We were looking for a U.S.
partner who would also be able to expand our China operations. We
believe this Acquisition with TBO will give our shareholders an
excellent opportunity to realize increased value on their investment.”

TBO’s executive leadership represents over half a century of combined
experience in the industry and is led by Chairman Michael Brauser. An
investor and operator in the data fusion market since its infancy, Mr.
Brauser has built market leading companies with revenues totaling over
$2 billion.

Chief Scientific Officer of TBO, Ole Poulsen, was primary systems
architect of the data fusion industry’s leading products. The products
that Mr. Poulsen designed led to the sales of multiple companies
totaling over $1 billion in the aggregate.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, current shareholders of Tiger
Media and TBO will own approximately 34% and 66% of the combined
company, respectively, following the Acquisition. Approximately 65% of
the shares to be issued to TBO shareholders in the Acquisition will be
non-voting preferred stock, and 30% of those shares will only be issued
upon achievement of certain revenue targets. The Acquisition is expected
to close in the first quarter of 2015, is subject to customary
conditions to closing as detailed in the merger agreement, as well as
the affirmative vote of a majority of the outstanding shares of Tiger
Media entitled to vote.

In connection with the Acquisition, Tiger Media will be redomesticating
as a Delaware company. The affirmative vote of 2/3 of the votes cast at
the Tiger Media meeting will be required for domestication in Delaware.
The structure of the transaction will be in the form of an acquisition
with TBO merging into a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tiger Media, with the
Tiger Media subsidiary as the surviving corporation that will now be
headquartered in Atlanta, GA.

Following the Acquisition, Derek Dubner, CEO of TBO, will join Tiger
Media as Co-CEO along with Peter Tan, current CEO of Tiger Media. Robert
Fried will remain Chairman of the Board. Also, following the
Acquisition, Derek Dubner and Daniel MacLachlan will join the Tiger
Media Board, increasing the Tiger Media Board from five members to seven

Cassel Salpeter is acting as financial advisor and Akerman LLP is acting as legal counsel to Tiger Media. Nason Yeager is acting as legal counsel to TBO.

About Tiger Media, Inc.

Tiger Media is a leading Shanghai-based multi-platform media company in
China which provides advertising services in the out-of-home advertising
industry, including iScreen Outdoor LCD screens, billboards and street
furniture. Tiger Media’s network of street level LCD screen displays,
which captivate eye-level awareness, is complemented by outdoor
billboards which are mostly built on rooftops with good visibility from
far distances. Tiger Media’s network attracts advertising clients from a
wide range of industries including telecommunications, insurance and
banking, automobile, electronics and fast moving consumer goods. Learn
more at www.tigermedia.com.

About Interactive Data, LLC
Interactive Data is a data solutions provider, historically delivering
data products and services to the Accounts Receivable Management (ARM)
industry for location and identity verification, legislative compliance
and debt recovery for over a decade. Interactive Data has served a niche
segment of the risk management industry, consisting of collection
agencies, collection law firms, and debt buyers. Interactive Data has
recently expanded the executive leadership team, adding significant
industry experience. Immediate capital infusion drives an enhancement
and broadening of current offerings as well as expansion into new
markets and services. Learn more at www.id-info.com.

This press release contains “forward-looking statements,” as that term
is defined under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995
(PSLRA), which statements may be identified by words such as “expects,”
“plans,” “projects,” “will,” “may,” “anticipate,” “believes,” “should,”
“intends,” “estimates,” and other words of similar meaning. Such forward
looking statements include statements about the anticipated benefits of
combining Tiger Media and TBO, expectations for closing the Acquisition,
as well as other non-historical statements about our expectations,
beliefs or intentions regarding our business, technologies and products,
financial condition, strategies or prospects. There are a number of
important factors that could cause actual results or events to differ
materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements,
including: the ability of each of Tiger Media and TBO to satisfy the
closing conditions and consummate the transaction, including Tiger Media
obtaining the required shareholder approvals; the risk that the business
of TBO may not be integrated successfully; the risk that the transaction
may involve unexpected costs or unexpected liabilities; the risk that
synergies from the transaction may not be fully realized or may take
longer to realize than expected; and the other risks set forth in Tiger
Media’s Annual Report on Form 20-F, filed with the SEC on March 31,
2014, as well as the other factors described in the filings that Tiger
Media makes with the SEC from time to time.
The forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak
only as of the date the statements were made, and we do not undertake
any obligation to update forward-looking statements, except as required
under applicable law. We intend that all forward-looking statements be
subject to the safe-harbor provisions of the PSLRA.

This communication does not constitute an offer to sell or the
solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or a solicitation of any
vote or approval nor shall there be any sale of securities in any
jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful
prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any
such jurisdiction. In connection with the proposed Acquisition, Tiger
Media will file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”)
a proxy statement in connection with a Special Meeting of its
IMPORTANT INFORMATION. Shareholders of Tiger Media will be able to
obtain a copy of the proxy statement, as well as other filings
containing information about Tiger Media and TBO, without charge, at the
SEC’s website (www.sec.gov).
Shareholders of Tiger Media may also obtain copies of all documents
filed with the SEC, without charge, by directing a request to Tiger
Media, Inc., ir@tigermedia.com.


Tiger Media and its directors, executive officers and other members of
management and employees may be deemed to be participants in the
solicitation of proxies from Tiger Media shareholders in connection with
the proposed transaction. Information regarding the persons who may,
under the rules of the SEC, be deemed participants in the solicitation
of Tiger Media’s shareholders in connection with the proposed
transaction will be set forth in the proxy statement when it is filed
with the SEC. Also, information about Tiger Media’s directors and
executive officers is set forth in its Notice for Annual General Meeting
of Shareholders, which was filed with the SEC on November 19, 2014, and
its Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2013,
filed with the SEC on March 31, 2014, respectively. These documents are
available free of charge at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov,
or by going to Tiger Media’s Investor Relations page on its corporate
website at www.tigermedia.com.

Hiring, training and managing employees for outstanding results

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By James S. Cassel
Special to the Miami Herald
December 14, 2014


Although most business owners recognize that success depends in great measure on their employees, many do not fully understand how to hire the right team members and train and empower them to perform at their peak.

If you want to build a world-class company that will last, and you rely on human assets to achieve success, it’s important for you to correlate your business goals to the types of team members you need to help you succeed.

For example, this means much more than employing accountants at your accounting firm — it requires identifying your key performance indicators, the quantifiable values and skills that rise and fall with your business success, and making strategic hiring decisions based on these considerations.


If your customers spend more in months when you’re receiving high customer service satisfaction ratings, then you should be hiring team members with phenomenal customer service skills as well as technical knowledge.

In most cases it will not be so obvious, and even when it is, how do you gauge customer service skills based on résumés and interviews? You may be better served to rely on tools such as skills and aptitude tests. There are many to choose from.

For example, Publix is widely renowned for its customer service, and that’s no mistake — when applying for a job there, applicants complete aptitude tests that assess how they might react in different customer service situations. This process determines those applicants who already have certain predilections that correlate with strong service.

For more active or specialized recruiting efforts, keep in mind that your prospects’ personal lives should be compatible with the professional lives they’re expected to maintain. When recruiting managers, directors and C-level executives, watch closely: personal demeanor can typically reveal a good deal about what type of professionals they are. You might consider having dinner with prospects to observe how they treat their spouses or significant others.

Curious about how a potential executive might manage your team? Pay attention to how he or she treats the waiter or his or her significant other in a restaurant. A condescending or overbearing guest in a restaurant is not likely to behave much differently at work, and those kinds of personalities can poison employee sentiment. All it takes is one rude or self-absorbed person with an inch of authority over other team members to create a toxic atmosphere. This rule of thumb has been vouched for by so many CEOs that it’s become known as the Waiter Observation.

Furthermore, create a positive work environment with rewards and incentives that are customized to your team members. Some associates respond best to monetary incentives, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It doesn’t necessarily mean they only care about money, or that they care about what they earn more than they care about doing a good job; in most cases, employees and managers included, salary is correlated with one’s sense of worth on the job. That’s not to say that there are not a variety of ways to incent performance, such as better job titles, internal or external recognition, and gifts. Find out what best motivates your team members to keep them fully engaged.

Pushing for results is not the only way to glean top results. People are most energized when they are able to apply their skills and flourish doing something they know they’re good at and enjoy doing. Training as well as coaching can be worth the time and expenditure. This shows that you care enough to invest in the team’s future.

You need to be in tune with these kinds of aptitudes in order to recognize hidden opportunities to empower your associates. This applies to all roles, from the bottom to the top. An excellent creative director might not necessarily be the best person to manage client relations, to supervise the team or run the whole agency.

Don’t confuse exceptional, role-specific aptitudes with the duties of adjacent roles.

Finally, people work differently. Some are myopic and others are better at multitasking. Some can take a task from start to finish with very little oversight. Others pace when they’re thinking, and others listen to music while they work. Remember, they are all people first, so don’t assume they will all take the same course of action to get the same results. Even Google Maps and MapQuest diverge on some routes, but they’ll both get you to your destination.

One last point. A mis-hire or bad team member needs to go. You do no favor for the team member or your company by procrastinating the termination.

The bottom line is that there are serious dividends to be had from investing the necessary time and resources to more strategically acquire, train and manage what in many businesses is the biggest asset, your team members. While it begins with hiring the right people, internal success depends on how well you manage them over time. If you want your team members to bring more to the table, you owe them more personal consideration than your typical annual review. If they lack the perspective to see how they fit into the big picture, let them know. They will thank you for it, and you will be laying the foundation of a powerful, more potent team capable of supporting your goals.

James Cassel is co-founder and chairman of Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC, an investment-banking firm with headquarters in Miami that works with middle-market companies. He can be reached at jcassel@casselsalpeter.com and www.casselsalpeter.com.