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ITEXPO's IDEA Showcase 2023: Engagement for Eager Startups


In 2023, humble startups are like buoys amidst the thrash of waves that established businesses inspire. Yet, inspiration is also a pillar of the entrepreneurial spirit. The startups of today introduce new products and services capable of industry disruption and market transformation. Their successes can lead to advancements in healthcare, finance, IoT, AI, biotech and more, all of which can headline social and economic contributions.

So, let’s talk startups, shall we?

This past Thursday, the IDEA Showcase 2023 was the ultimate #TECHSUPERSHOW networking event for startup pitches. (Think Shark Tank: ITEXPO Edition.)

The IDEA (Innovation, Disruption, Evolution and Acceleration) Showcase was a super popular and highly attended event at this year’s ITEXPO, held at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Erik Linask, TMC’s Group Editorial Director, opened the show for the audience. Linask was followed by Patrick Mahon, Chief Revenue Officer of RingLogix, a provider of branded UCaaS solutions.

Following Mahon, Nikki Cabus of the nonprofit South Florida Tech Club spoke briefly about tech-connecting capabilities with youthful learners and professionals alike in southern Florida. (Scott Kaplan, Vice President of Sales & Marketing of General Micro Systems East (GMS), joined her as well.)

Then, out came the startup competitions’ judges and, of course, the competitors!

The esteemed panel of judges included Albert Diaz (CEO of Ringlogix), YJ Lin (Senior Manager at Dell for Startups), David Hartmann (Founder & CEO of The SilverLogic), and previously mentioned Scott Kaplan of GMS.

The first competitor up to bat? aiMD.

Emma L. Tolsdorf, PhD(c), Founder & CEO of aiMD, explained how the online symptom-checkers of today can be troubling, let alone consistently accurate. Physicians remind patients of this all the time, yet patients should also be able to reasonably advocate for their health.

Tolsdorf’s aiMD remedies this. aiMD is a symptom-screening platform powered by the blockchain. It automatically gathers symptom info (in a non-“WebMD checkbox” sort of way) via consensually submitted audio data and photos. Multitudes of symptom-centric computations are processed, and results and recommendations are provided to patients, as well as a list of local physicians. (And speaking of, this IoT solution can be plugged directly into physicians’ platforms for automated billing APIs and etc.)

Up second was MRGN, a data-informed business intelligence platform for SMBs.

Per MRGN’s CEO Yoni Rubin (who has already accrued 15 years in the industry), 90% of today’s more than 30 million SMBS experience failures. 82% of those failures occur because of preventable issues like cash flow oversight and other financial management woes.

Moreover, MRGN’s proprietary ML engine combines industry benchmarks and user data in order to learn how sectors are evolving (at hyper-granular KPI levels, even). MRGN then uses these to support businesses financially and operationally via a self-sustaining risk-mitigation ecosystem.

Third on the IDEA Showcase stage was Stephen Smith, Chief Hunter (a.k.a. CEO) of the lead-gen and appointment-setting company Hunter Artemis.

In working with IT (MSPs, CSPs, VARs, etc.), Hunter Artemis provides dedicated callers for its business customers. Having partnered with innovative companies like GlassHive, Smith claimed that at least one other ingredient of Hunter Artemis’ secret sauce is his own years of experience as a veteran telemarketer.

Fourth up? Terry Woloszyn, Vice President of Utopia VR.

“Your own Metaverse in minutes!” is Utopia VR’s claim; metaverse environments for businesses and even Metaverse-as-a-Service.

“This is about more than NFTs and video games and fancy goggles,” Woloszyn said as he debuted, live for the IDEA Showcase audience, a video feed of his team’s virtual office space.

With a detailed business adoption roadmap, Utopia VR has potential for metaverse offices (especially in a post-pandemic world), digital marketing, education, and product showcasing. Its VRooms, as they’re known, can be tapped into via text chat, voice and video, and even customized avatars.

The evening’s fifth contender was Sendmarc. Sam Hutchinson, its CEO, kept it short and sweet: Impersonators and fraudsters must be denied from our communications. So, Sendmarc prevents cyber-criminals from using customers’ domains. Sendmarc makes sure that every email received that features the user’s (or brand’s) real name is, in fact, the real thing. (Especially when 96% of phishing instances and 94% of malware attacks all arrive via email.)

Hutchinson not only spoke about how Sendmarc stops phony email fakery in its tracks, but proved it with the audience’s help. By scanning a QR code and sending an email, audience members took part in an experiment; at the end of his pitch, Hutchinson briefly reviewed who may’ve been at risk and why.

“This may seem, to some, like a boring issue, but it’s unfortunately still universal,” he said. “We stop impersonations and maintain the legitimacy customers intrinsically deserve.”

The penultimate presentation was for 2ndVault. Jaclyn Strauss, its CEO, described how 2ndVault was made for businesses looking to gather and store their information securely; this was especially geared at banks and other financial institutions.

2ndVault seamlessly integrates into existing tech stacks and organizes via a suite of tools for guided workflows, document protection, and more. The information 2ndVault is responsible for is protected by AES 256-bit encryption and is SOC2, HIPAA, and PCI DSS certified.

“It’s intuitive protection to bring your digital vault alive,” Strauss said.

Closing out the IDEA Showcase was Tamar Sapir, CEO of Synchronyx, a digital health solutions company advancing connectivity for all partners in health. Synchronyx makes real-time remote patient and medication monitoring possible via battery-free smart sensor tech.

“Our mission is to tackle siloes and fragmentation in healthcare by supporting delivery optimizations and resource allocations through action-driven, patient-centric and data-informed interventions,” Sapir said.

As IoT as it gets, Synchronyx uses sticker tags that connect whatever is tagged (e.g. a patient’s pill container) to a smart label system. Then, with an app, tapping the user’s phone to the container is all it takes to provide them with notifications and reminders. Overall, Synchronyx seeks to eliminate blind spots in patients’ journeys by lowering the current percentage of nonadherence cases and maximizing treatment benefits.

Finally, after a Dell-sponsored home office giveaway and additional announcements about next year’s ITEXPO 2024, the winner was announced. The judges’ IDEA Showcase Award went to…


A sincere congrats to MRGN and all the other startups involved in the event! (And, as both an ITEXPO team member and a genuine IDEA Showcase spectator, I can personally say it was time very well spent.)

Edited by Alex Passett
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