WSVN — Natalia Rodriguez is building her dream business.This FIU senior is the creator of Jiva Cubes, instant sweet coffee designed for people on the go. She got the idea on a trip to columbia.

Natalia Rodriguez: “I found these little fruit-flavored sugar cubes and I thought it would be an amazing idea to make them into coffee.”

Natalia raised the money to start Jiva Cubes on a website called Kickstarter, a funding platform for all kinds of projects.

Natalia Rodriguez: “We raised $80,000 on Kickstarter which allowed us to buy our first machine, and this machine allows us to package the cubes and make them market ready.”

People all over the country use Kickstarter to get financial backing for projects that range from from new gadgets to fashion even films.

Troy Bernier is a writer, actor and director who makes sci-fi movies here in South Florida.

Troy Bernier: “These films made amazing success. We did 23 film festivals in two years.”

He recently raised $25,000 on Kickstarter.

Troy Bernier: “We did a fundraiser for our upcoming film The Temple of Joy. Basically it raised enough money to shoot a few scenes, pay salaries, ensure permits to build some more props … it’s going to go fast.”

Here’s how it works: Creators present their projects for free on the site. Then they choose a minimum funding goal and a deadline. If backers pledge enough money to meet their goal, creators get the cash to start their project.

Troy Bernier: “It’s really straightforward and simple and you have to market yourself, and make your name known. You have to get your product out there and you’ll know within a very short amount of time, 60 days or less, if people are interested.”

If the project doesn’t meet its goal then it’s back to the drawing board. Natalia fell short on her first try, but now Jiva is taking off.

Natalia Rodriguez: “Our Jiva cubes are actually made in Ocamunde, Columbia where the coffee and sugar is grown all on the same site.”

She packs and ships the Jiva cubes from this small warehouse in North Miami.

Natalia Rodriguez: “We’re shipping to Australia, Canada, United States. We’re in over 50 countries. And we’re starting distribution in about 20.”

Troy says 40 people backed his latest film project presented on Kickstarter just enough to help him make the films he loves.

Troy Bernier: “Kickstarter has given us kick to launch our projects and we’ll always be grateful for that.”

Kickstarter makes its money by applying a five percent fee to funds collected on successful projects.

If you’d like to learn more about raising money for a project on Kickstarter just go to our website. And if you have story ideas for Money Monday, email us at




The Temple of Joy


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