Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Kairos co-founder Brian Brackeen reveals ‘Raw Truth’ beyond the idealized view of startups

Feb. 27, 2015, 3:22 p.m., Posted by Jenna Buehler


Brian Breslin, founder of the networking and workshop series Refresh Miami, and Brian Brackeen, founder of Kairos, a facial recognition software company that was nominated as one of the Wall Street Journal’s 2013 startups of the year, discuss the ups and downs of launching a startup. Photo by Preston Tesvich.

Two years ago, Brian Breslin, founder of the networking and workshop series Refresh Miami, met Brian Brackeen, a Miami-based entrepreneur who frequented the city’s many networking events in search of investment opportunities for his facial recognition software, Kairos

Today, Brackeen’s startup success has distinguished him as a regular on Miami’s entrepreneur’s speakers circuit. Kairos has received $2 million from investors in Florida and California.

At Thursday night’s Refresh Miami event at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, Brackeen offered the not-so-glamorous truths behind the sometimes romanticized view of startups.

Advisers gather in Miami to review the Knight Cities Challenge finalists

Feb. 27, 2015, 12:40 p.m., Posted by Jessica Hodder


Photo by Jessica Hodder.

Nine advisers arrived
 in Miami this week to help us review the finalists in the first Knight Cities Challenge. One hundred twenty ideas moved forward, with emerging themes that included bringing public life into public spaces; supporting a changing urban economy; building connections between communities; and more. The challenge asked the question, What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?

With the help of these civic innovators, community activists, city planners, strategists and designers, we will identify a group of winners. We’ll announce the winners of the Knight Cities Challenge at the end of March.

If you are one of those finalists, you can expect to hear from us by mid-March. We may also follow up with several projects individually if we believe it ibetter suited to another funding option at Knight.

Akron ‘Snow Day’ creates colorful community connections

Feb. 26, 2015, 12:09 p.m., Posted by Susan Ruiz Patton


Photo by Megan Louise.

Instead of letting the bitter cold and snowy weather trap them inside, the Akron League of Creative Interventionists chose to build their January change-themed event around the snow.

Sure, they had to reschedule it twice – once for a storm that dumped five inches of the white stuff and again in anticipation of rain that would have melted it all. But that didn’t deter nearly 20 people from showing up ready to paint inspiring messages in the snow.

Each month the group builds an event or events around a theme set by the league’s founder, San-Francisco-based artist Hunter Franks. Knight Foundation provided more than $55,000 for Franks to create similar community connections in four Knight cities: AkronDetroitPhiladelphia and Macon, Ga. January’s theme was Change. February’s is Strength.