Miami’s work hard, play hard lifestyle, low corporate tax rates and proximity to Latin American markets, make it an excellent location for burgeoning technology start-ups to call home. NXTLVL TECH, a creative agency focusing on mobile technology, is no exception. Under the brilliant creative direction of Jared DaSilva (@Jay.Alexander), NXTLVL has 10 live iOS apps and is set for an explosive year in 2018.
DaSilva has worked hard to build NXTLVL; after graduating from Florida State’s finance program, working at JP Morgan and couch-hopping in Silicon Valley, he compiled all that he learned, saw the market opportunity in Miami and founded NXTLVL.
I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Jared. He was happy to share his entrepreneurial journey in the tech industry and what sets NXTLVL apart from other creative agencies. He also shared insider tips for health and wellness and for readers looking to break into the tech sector.
Sam Wortman (Juxtapoz): Tell me more about NXTLVL. What is NXTLVL’s mission?
Jared DaSilva: NXTLVL’s mission statement has always been to “Create The Future.” Every business can benefit using mobile technology, whether it’s creating the next big idea, innovating the on-demand economy or streamlining any business model to increase efficiency, we have a solution for any and all businesses or entrepreneurs. We are a creative digital agency passionate about mobile technology and a band of visionaries on a mission to build a tech empire in Miami.
SW: What can NXTLVL do for companies, entrepreneurs looking to take their vision and infrastructure mobile?
JD: We take a lot of pride on bringing entrepreneurs ideas to reality from each stage of the app development process. The brainstorming and creative process is our favorite part. Our primary focus in the initial stage is to focus on building an app based around a brand. Branding is the most vital part of the success of any app. The second thing we look for is ” does this app have a business model that can sustain the rapid evolution of technology and the app world in general.” We have a saying here at NXTLVL that ” 1 month in the tech world, is like 1 year in the real world” … and this couldn’t be more true! Technology moves very fast, so as an agency we must make sure all our projects are built to scale from the ground up, and can sustain any curve balls thrown at us over its course.
SW: NXTLVL has created several innovative, industry-disrupting apps- P2P boat sharing, connecting musicians via geo-sourcing, a platform for luxury car rental agencies, to name a few. Can you share any exciting projects NXTLVL has in the works?
JD: One of my favorite projects coming out soon from NXTLVL is an app we are doing called KURE. Kure is an On-Demand platform to book IV treatment, massages and licensed stretching and acupuncture to your home or office. Another awesome project we have in the works is an app called WhiteGlove, a full-scale luxury transportation and concierge service. WhiteGlove users can get unlimited rides in Black SUVs, with personal drivers from Downtown Miami, Brickell and Miami Beach on monthly subscriptions. Included is also airport pickups and drop offs, nightlife packages and an option to have your own personal WhiteGlove driver stay with you throughout your evening on the town.
SW: Jay, you are the founder of NXTLVL and the artist behind NXTLVL’s aesthetically clean, intuitive applications. Can you tell me more about your creative process?
JD: As a UI / UX designer by trade, I take a lot of pride on the aesthetics of all our projects both big and small. Any website, app or design that comes out of NXTLVL is a direct representation of our agency, so we are all perfectionists here. For me creating apps is an art form. I don’t really have any routine or secrets with my creative process, but I can tell you there’s a lot of Matcha involved!
SW: Silicon Valley, Austin, Raleigh-Durham, Boston are established tech centers. However, the number of tech companies in Miami is quietly growing. What is it like to have a company spear-heading the tech industry in the magic city?
JD: So, a little background on my journey with NXTLVL. After receiving my Bachelors in Finance from Florida State, working at JP Morgan, then quitting my job to pursue my dream of tech on the west coast, I spent a year couch surfing from friend to friend in Silicon Valley picking up the tricks of the trade. It was crazy to be surrounded by the largest companies in the world. I was literally 5-10 minutes from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, etc. That experience changed my life forever. I knew that tech was the only way I could really reach my full potential as an entrepreneur, so I decided to bring my knowledge that I acquired from being in the scene out there and started my agency here in Miami. Big fish in a small pond concept, only this time we were gunning straight for the top.
SW: You have a small but dynamic team, a beautiful HQ located in downtown Miami. Tell me more about NXTLVL’s culture?
JD: We’re one big family at NXTLVL, and it’s not just our internal team, but everyone involved in all our projects immediately becomes family as well. Our company culture is built off loyalty, dedication and putting out the highest possible quality work in unbeatable timeframes, and that’s what draws our clients to align with our vision. Everyone is passionate about what they do here, and it’s the team that builds the dream. Albert (@ambrxse) is our creative director, who also leads the branding and artistic side of the agency. As a singer, songwriter and actor he also adds a ton of value to the agency by bringing his strong connections in the entertainment and music industries. Steven (@stxvxxn) is our COO and lead engineer. He is a master when it comes to knocking even the toughest of projects out, always delivering top notch results. Steven manages our team of 10 (and counting) freelance developers from across the country. Joseph (@josephportes) leads client relations and business development. He is a member of Miami, LA and NY’s elite nightlife scene, and has helped close some of our largest projects to date. Giancarlo (@GCMovesWorld) is a digital marketing guru. He has helped our clients come up with unparalleled social media marketing strategies, as well as digital lead generation and highly targeted marketing campaigns for all our apps. Like I mentioned previously, it’s the team that builds the dream, and my team doesn’t take days off!
SW: Matcha tea, daily workouts, meditation. What is your daily routine? How does it contribute to your individual success and NXTLVL’s?
JD: It wasn’t all blue skies and red roses at NXTLVL. It’s taken over 3 years for us to truly start becoming a household name in the tech scene here in Miami. For my company to reach its full potential, I knew that I needed to make lifestyle changes for myself for the better of the agency. Working on becoming the best version of yourself is the best advice I can give to any entrepreneur. If you know me, you already know that I drink Matcha Green Tea five times a day, every day, to fuel long hours of business, project management and programming. I do an ice plunge (Thanks Tony Robbins) once a day to recover from my daily gym routine. I meditate three times a day, where I visualize and manifest future success. It’s also about the things you do when people aren’t watching you, which helps you become a better person overall. The law of attraction and the power of positivity are all very, very real things, and I believe these have all attributed to a lot of our early success as we look to build our tech empire here at NXTLVL.
SW: You have quite the following on Instagram, 220K and post your activities to your story throughout your day. How has your social media presence helped grow NXTLVL’s business?
JD: I have always looked at Instagram as a business tool and not just a photo/video sharing app. With IG, you basically have access to the world in the palm of your hands. Instead of scrolling aimlessly and liking photos, or getting lost in the depths of the explore page, I study the latest trends, try to decode their algorithm and come up with strategies to target new clients daily. My DMs are consistently flooded with people trying to build apps, websites or get involved in tech.
SW: Salus, an app designed by NXTLVL, that rewards drivers for undistracted driving with points that are redeemable at local businesses, online merchants, is in its own way a cryptocurrency. With so much hype and international belief in the future of crypto, I feel obligated to ask your thoughts on this. Any?
JD: It’s funny that you say this because we are working on our own ICO right now. We have a third-party company that deals with Crypto Portfolio Management, and an entire team dedicated to building the future of crypto through NXTLVL. But for now- we’ll leave it at that. ?
SW: For many people with zero to low coding experience, breaking into the app and mobile industry feels impossible, even if they have great ideas. Any suggestions?< strong>JD: I always recommend UDemy courses to my coders and entrepreneurs who are just starting out. Their online courses really break down the entire app development process step by step for anyone who wants to learn how to build apps. But aside from the courses, it really boils down to how passionate you are about wanting to code and create the future. That fire inside that we look for at NXTLVL isn’t really something you can teach, but if you feel that you’ve got it, here’s my email- firstname.lastname@example.org< strong>SW: NXTLVL Tech had their one year anniversary in December 2017. What do the next five years look like for NXTLVL? Any thoughts on the future of the technology industry?< strong>JD: At the time of this article we currently have 10 apps live on the iOS Appstore (search: NXTLVL for our developer profile or click here). By March we will have 20 live, with most of our initial projects that have secured seed funding moving on to their V2s and beyond. We are projected to have 50 apps developed under the NXTLVL brand by 2019. As far as the future of tech goes, I know for certain that many jobs in traditional markets will slowly become irrelevant as the players in the tech game and the budding on-demand economy takeover with full force. I would suggest anyone who wants long-term success to at least have some sort of technical or social media skillsets so they remain relevant over the next five years. We are also working on some AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) apps that we will be working on throughout 2018 – 2019. At NXTLVL we are working hard to create the future and I believe that we will one day become one of the largest tech companies globally.