The Innovators of Coral Gables

Merriam Webster defines an “innovator” as someone who “makes changes” or “does something in a new way.” According to this definition, Coral Gables is filled with innovators.

Each year, our annual Innovation Issue highlights the city’s latest high-tech advances — in everything from transportation and law enforcement to city apps and sustainability programs. Now we’re focusing on the community’s most innovative feature: Its people.

The Coral Gables community is filled with hundreds of innovators who’ve found a new way to run a business or improve the community by using technology, financial savvy, or pure cleverness combined with perseverance. This year, we’ve decided to pay homage to our Gables innovators, highlighting a few who have used technology to improve the world, and a few who’ve simply relied on native ingenuity. In the end, all have dared to dream, and, as a result, have done something important to make our world — and our local community — a better place.

Lloyd Yates: Measuring Life

“Sixty percent of wealth inequality stems from inheritance, and only one out of five households actually receive inheritance…”

When Lloyd Yates was a sophomore in college, he sold ties out of his dorm room. The ties were hand-made from silk and became a hot commodity among Yates’ peers. Inspired by stories of his great-grandfather, Jimmy “Tylmen” Keyes, Yates took his dorm room operation to the next step and created Tylmen Ties in 2017.

Three years later, Yates began working on a mobile body-scanning software that could measure clients virtually to help create a custom luxury suit perfectly tailored to their bodies. All a client would have to do was take a 360-degree video of themselves and upload it to the Tylmen Ties app.

In 2023, Yates experienced firsthand how challenging an end-of-life care plan could be with his elderly grandmother. So, he decided to switch gears and use Tylmen Ties’ software to make life insurance more accessible. He named the new concept Tylmen Tech.

“Sixty percent of wealth inequality stems from inheritance, and only one out of five households actually receive inheritance,” says Yates. “Then, if you’re a minority, you’re three times less likely to have an inheritance. I saw life insurance as being such an effective, easy, straightforward tool to bridge this gap and pass on a legacy. But there are still 100 million Americans who don’t have life insurance. Our goal is to change that.”


The costs and standard procedure to get life insurance can be a high barrier to entry for many minority communities, says Yates. “The question is, ‘How do you get life insurance?’ Usually, someone has to come to your house, take a urine sample, a blood sample. It’s very intensive and laborious. On the other hand, there’s a trend called accelerated underwriting. You fill out a questionnaire online and get issued policies within a couple of days. But with these types of solutions, companies jack the prices up.”

So, how does using a body scanning app make lifecare more accessible and affordable? According to a 2020 study featured in Nature Reviews Endocrinology, waist circumstance and waist-to-hip ratio are “vital” signs of health and better predictive measures than BMI for many chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.

Yates believes that life insurance companies will see the value in tapping into markets that historically have not purchased life insurance. Moreover, by selling a greater number of smaller policies, life insurance companies can acquire more clients at lower rates, thus bridging the wealth inequality gap for accessible end-of-life care plans.

Tylmen Tech is still in the early stages of development and has begun working with several Midwestern life insurance carriers, but Yates hopes to soon expand to Florida and beyond. He recently moved the headquarters to Coral Gables because of its charm, potential, and professionalism in conjunction with Miami’s burgeoning tech scene. Even though Yates is a relatively new member of the Gables community, he plans on becoming more entrenched in the community as Tylmen Tech grows in a city filled with retirees and new parents.

Brett Beveridge: Technology of Communication

“I started T-ROC with the premise of working with Home Depot and other big brands, saying, ‘What do you guys have that’s complicated?'”

When Brett Beveridge was 23, he sold cell phones out of an over-financed van in Walmart parking lots. He and his partner, a fellow student at the University of Miami, had one van, but every week they would change the numbers on the van, so it looked like they had multiple. “It was the ultimate ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ situation,” says Beveridge.

Nine years later, the van operation turned into Let’s Talk Cellular & Wireless, the largest independent mobile wireless retailer in the country at the time with just under 300 stores. In 1997, Beveridge took Let’s Talk public and sold it to Nextel for $32 million.

He then began his next endeavor,, a company that evaluated and rated cellular and internet services. was later acquired by Brightstar Corporation, the largest wireless handset distributor in the world.

By 2006, Beveridge had launched The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC). Inspired by the dotcom era and the beginning of the information age, Beveridge created T-ROC with the idea of providing retail assistance for big box companies. “I started T-ROC with the premise of working with Home Depot and other big brands, saying, ‘What do you guys have that’s complicated? Well, we can do that for you,’” says Beveridge.

He describes the Coral Gables-based company as the ultimate one-stop shop for solutions at some of the biggest retail brands in the world, helping companies like Home Depot and Walmart stay relevant by offering turn-key, trained sales staff that understand the latest technologies. Now, a lot of that is starting to look more AI-driven.


Beveridge gives a hypothetical example: “Say you go into Home Depot and you’re trying to buy a fan for your patio. It’s a Saturday. It’s busy. First of all, you maybe see an orange vest every fifth aisle, and even when you do find someone to help you, they work in power tools. They don’t know anything about fans. What do you do now?”

This is where T-ROC can employ its virtual agent, Valerie. “You get to the fans, scan the QR code with your phone, and now you’re talking to Valerie,” he says. “She asks and answers your questions, gives you a couple of options for fans. But what about installing it? Well, then she sends you a video or information.” Home Depot gets a sale, and the customer leaves happily with their new fan, rather than frustrated with the lack of help. “Everyone is happy,” Beveridge concludes.

T-ROC currently has thousands of full-time employees and 30,000 contractors across the globe, along with clients in Mexico and Canada. Aside from being a “professional innovator” with T-ROC, Beveridge is also involved in the Coral Gables and greater Miami community through organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters Miami; the Orange Bowl Committee; the Foundation Board at his alma mater, the University of Miami; and the United Way Tocqueville Society.

Arianne Hirsch: Cyber Mindfulness

“I see this as a tool for everyone, especially people who are stressed out in corporate workspaces…”

When Arianna Hirsch was 16, she wasn’t like most “normal” high schoolers. Of course, she still obsessed over her grades, what college she would get into, and getting her driver’s license. But while her peers would come home and turn on the TV or scroll endlessly on social media, Hirsch would meditate… sometimes for eight hours straight.

“After I started meditating, my grades skyrocketed. I was a lot less stressed out. I was almost in a sort of blissful state. For me, it honestly became my favorite thing to do. It was just like entering this state that’s nothing and everything at the same time,” says Hirsch.

Hirsch went on to attend the University of Miami (UM) where she continued her marathon meditation sessions, and it was here that she first got the idea for Levitate, a cross-platform spatial computing meditation and well-being app. Hirsch was taking an art history class when her professor encouraged students to work on an NFT project; Hirsch didn’t see the value of NFTs until she thought about using them with guided meditation.

“I was on the fence about cryptocurrency because I really understood it to be a fad at the time, and an NFT didn’t make sense unless you could go inside of it,” says Hirsch. “The idea was that we can curate this world inspired by art, inspired by things that make people feel calm, and introduce them to meditation.”


Hirsch consulted with her professor, brainstorming ideas about how to make a virtual reality application that would make it easier for people to enjoy the benefits of meditation. In May 2022, the same year she graduated from UM, Hirsch launched the first VR version of Levitate on Meta’s Oculus Headset.

“I see this as a tool for everyone, especially people who are stressed out in corporate workspaces,” she says. “You can’t exactly go outside and sit in the park in the middle of your workday, but if you have a headset, you can put it on in your cubicle and take a little time for yourself.” Hirsch describes Levitate’s visuals as soothing and relaxing. One guided activity called “Leaves on the Stream” takes users to a lush meadow by a flowing stream where they are instructed to imagine their thoughts appearing as leaves and then floating away downstream.

Levitate is currently working with clinical psychologists trained in acceptance and commitment therapy to create more worlds and blend modern psychology with meditation practices. In a few months, Levitate will launch on the Apple Vision Pro, and in 2025, Hirsch expects to have a 2-D product available in the iOS and Android app stores. This month, Levitate will be featured at eMerge Americas’ 2024 start-up showcase. Hirsch hopes the platform will spread awareness about the app and introduce more people to the benefits of meditation. “It completely transformed my life…I think it can change the world,” she says. 

Manny Garcia: An Easier Way to Pay

“Why is it ever the case at a restaurant that you have to wave your hand or wait for the waiter to get a check? Why can’t you just pay on your phone and leave when you want?”

When Manny Garcia first started his legal career at the former Downs Brill Whitehead law firm in Coral Gables, he never thought he’d leave law. But in 2020, after working as the legal counsel for One Payment for nearly four years, Garcia decided to create his own point of sales (POS) system: On the Fly POS.

Founded months before the pandemic took hold in the U.S., On the Fly flourished with its innovative, contactless payment methods. The company now has just under 50 employees and operates in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Philippines.

Garcia describes the beginning stages of working during the pandemic and coming up with new methods of payment that were not widely used or implemented at the time. “We were three months into the company, and we had this client, this huge hotel chain out of Las Vegas. This was in the middle of COVID, and they were like, ‘I heard you can put a QR code in every room in the hotel so people can order and pay there.’ We made like $30 a month off this huge chain, but that, for us, proved the concept worked.”

On the Fly currently offers both hardware-backed solutions and software-only packages, primarily catering to restaurants and retailers. But Garcia says the company can create customized solutions depending on whatever a business’ goal is. The primary mission is to “provide software and solutions that make things easier for business owners,” he says.


For On the Fly, revolutionizing POS systems means moving everything to mobile and using the smartphones in our pockets. Before the pandemic, paying on your phone or even scanning a QR code to look at a menu wasn’t standard practice. Now, these mobile, contactless solutions are an increasingly common way to pay your bill. And according to Garcia, they’re more efficient.

“Why is it ever the case at a restaurant that you have to wave your hand or wait for the waiter to get a check? Why can’t you just pay on your phone and leave when you want?” the innovator asks. He notes other benefits of mobile payment solutions as well; for example, reducing the chance of human error. After all, we’ve all had a waiter accidentally get our order wrong. And with the rising cost of labor, On the Fly reduces the need for additional waitstaff.

On Giralda Avenue, On the Fly’s solutions have been put into place at Clutch Burger, where many customers are also patrons of nearby Galiano’s Cigar Bar. Since Galiano’s doesn’t serve food, customers would often call over to Clutch to place an order. A runner would then deliver the food. Oftentimes, however, the result was incorrect, or the wait was far too long. But since Clutch implemented On the Fly’s QR code, Galiano’s patrons can now place their orders and pay on their phones, streamlining the process and removing the possibility of human error.

Whether it’s in Las Vegas or Coral Gables, Garcia hopes to stay ahead of the technology curve, providing businesses the best payment solution to increase efficiency — and make life easier for their patrons.

Vanessa Bedoya: Adversity into Inspiration

“When I was diagnosed, I really didn’t know how to navigate the healthcare system, and I tried to do it all on my own…”

When Vanessa Bedoya was 21, she sat in the waiting room of a neurologist’s office, anxiously anticipating her test results. Over the last year, she had been steadily losing sensation in both of her legs. She feared the worst. Eventually, after what felt like ages, the neurologist came in with her test results and told Bedoya that she had Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system.

At that time, the only way to find a doctor specializing in MS was through referrals and word of mouth, and even when Bedoya found a doctor, the chances they would take her insurance were slim.

After a few years of fighting with insurance companies, searching for doctors, and maxing out her credit cards to pay for medication, Bedoya finally turned to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS). There, she found resources and support she didn’t know existed.

“When I was diagnosed, I really didn’t know how to navigate the healthcare system, and I tried to do it all on my own.But the people at the National MS Society held my hand through the entire process. They helped fill out financial forms, connected me to support groups… everything,” says Bedoya.

Years later, when Bedoya finally settled in Coral Gables, her experience of working with the NMSS and her own struggles with MS inspired her to create Choice MD, a community-based website that connects individuals with medical resources. Bedoya says the beauty of Choice MD is that it not only helps individuals find doctors, but it also consolidates every resource that someone undergoing a medical ordeal might need.

“There are so many sites and nonprofits out there, whether it’s the Alzheimer’s Association or the Children’s Trust,” she says. “The idea behind Choice MD is to have one site that helps link everyone to whatever support they need and inform them of what’s happening in the community.”


Launched as Bedoya’s passion project in 2019, Choice MD currently has 53 partner organizations and is now a Google-recognized news source. The website’s directory of doctors is updated weekly with data from the Florida Department of Health; Bedoya also updates the site personally with events happening in Miami-Dade County. She hopes to eventually take Choice MD nationwide and have a greater impact on healthcare.

Bedoya was recently recognized at the 2024 Coral Gables Chamber Businesswomen of the Year Awards, winning one of the “Outstanding Entrepreneur” awards for Choice MD. She currently sits on the Coral Gables City Advisory Board on Disability Affairs; Mayor Levine Cava’s Blue Ribbon Commission for Health, Equity, and Special Needs; the Beacon Council Life Sciences and Healthcare Committee; and is a board member of Advocacy Network on Disability.

While Bedoya may not be directly entrenched in the tech scene, she’s using her online platform to change the lives of patients and their families, making access to treatment and support more available. As an innovator living with her own disease, Bedoya has made the best of her circumstances. “Choice MD is the result of my life experiences,” she says. “I started it because of my MS.”