Technology & Innovation Roundup: How this young founder built a thriving business with $500 – South Florida Business Journal – South Florida Business Journal

Science & Technology

Chrissybil Boulin could have had her pick of lucrative jobs after graduating from the University of Cambridge with a master’s degree in economics. But instead of taking the easy road, she decided to gamble it all on herself and her true passion: helping underprivileged kids succeed.
At that point, Boulin had already started the Merkabah International Foundation to support schools in Haiti, something she was inspired to do after witnessing the country’s extreme poverty when she spent the summers there with her father. Still, when she was offered a high-paying position at an intragovernmental economic organization, she was tempted – but not for long.
“[The offer] was more money than I had ever made, but I turned it down because I felt I wasn’t going to be in a position to empower people in poverty,” said Boulin, who was recently featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list, which highlights young, up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
A college education, she realized, is key to improving the long-term economic prospects of low-income people and underserved communities. With that in mind, Boulin launched Fort Lauderdale-based Jump Start Tutoring in 2018. At the beginning, it was a one-woman tutoring operation customized to target the academic strengths and weaknesses of K-12 students. Boulin couldn’t afford to advertise in the early months, so the company grew by word-of-mouth.
“I started the business with $500 and maybe 66 followers on Instagram – no co-founder, no business experience, just a passion for teaching kids,” she said.
Three years later, Jump Start has trained thousands of students in the South Florida area and entered partnerships with the Broward County Public Library and the Urban League of Broward County to provide free and discounted services to low-income youth.
Boulin said the company’s flagship SAT tutoring program helps students increase their test scores by 180 points on average, an improvement that can lead to more scholarship and financial aid opportunities for those who may not otherwise be able to afford a college education.
Now, Jump Start is creating software products designed to make test prep and academic tutoring more affordable and accessible. The venture is developing a revamped online SAT tutoring program that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to adapt to the individual needs of each user. The goal is higher test scores with less prep time, all at a fraction of the cost of traditional tutoring with a private instructor.
Jump Start plans to debut the new software, which is still under research and development, next year. The company is currently raising a $1.3 million seed round to support that development and enable it to expand outside of Florida.
Ilumed charts sixfold increase in patient base
Ilumed plans to double its clinician base and boost its number of Medicare beneficiaries after raising $16.5 million in a series A financing round led by Ascend Partners, a health care-focused private equity firm headquartered in New York.
Jupiter-based Ilumed aims to cover 24,000 Medicare beneficiary patients – a sixfold increase – by 2022, CEO Debra Finnel said.
WRJM Healthcare Partners, an LLC based in Stuart, also contributed to the financing round.
Ilumed is one of 53 direct contracting entities approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as part of its Global and Professional Direct Contracting Model.
$180 million
HQ: Miami and New York City
CEO: Don Loonam
Details: The insurtech raised the funds in a series C round led by Oaktree Capital Management, with participation from existing investors Axis Capital, Second Alpha and Link Ventures. The company plans to further develop its health care insurance platform and hire more employees with the new financing. uses data and artificial intelligence to match individuals with health care products, including its own proprietary insurance plans and customizable insurance product bundles.
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