Venture Miami and FIU partner to aid minority-owned startups
To promote inclusion in Miami’s technology industry, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s Venture Miami organization is partnering with Florida International University to help female, minority-owned startups secure funding and grow. The cohort-style program, supported by a $150,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase, will provide leadership training and mentorship. Directing the initiative, known as the Venture Miami Opportunity Program, is Kenasha Paul, who also founded and runs the Black Professionals Network and the annual Black Professionals Summit.
Miami non-profit organization Aire Ventures recently surveyed 1,600 local innovators about racial equity, diversity and inclusion, finding that local women entrepreneurs and black leaders lack the support needed to thrive, particularly access to capital.
- Miami commercial real estate firm Inhouse Commercial has partnered with crypto trading exchange FTX to accept and process commercial real estate transactions with digital currencies. Crypto use in South Florida real estate has become more common in the residential market than commercial.
- Related Group partnered with Merrimac Ventures to co-develop a short-term rentalfriendly condo tower with the master- planned $4-billion Miami World Center. The joint venture will target employees of technology and fi- nance firms expanding to downtown Miami.
- The owners of Shorty’s Bar-B-Q, an institution in South Miami since 1951, have sold the property to apartment management company Atlantic Pacific Cos. and Florida Value Partners real estate developers for $14.5 million. Shorty’s is assured a five-year lease.
- Damac Properties of Dubai is bidding on the former site of Champlain Towers South, the Surfside condo that collapsed last summer and killed 98 people. A judge granted Damac more time for due diligence — until mid-March — likely pushing back a potential auction until at least April if more bidders emerge.
- FiFiels Cos. of Chicago paid $19.5 million for an equipment rental property in Miami’s Wynwood District. The developer plans an eight-story project called Wynwood Station with retail, apartments, a co-working space and a creative arts room.
- Miami developer Mast Capital and Bostonbased Rockpoint Group paid $103 million for 2.8 acres in the Brickell financial district. In the plans: Three residential towers.
- Serena Williams, tennis champion, entrepreneur, fashion designer and venture investor, will keynote the eMerge Americas technology conference in Miami Beach April 18-19. Other speakers include Williams’ husband, Alexis Ohanian, a venture capitalist and founder of Reddit; Peter Smith, co-founder and CEO of Blockchain.com; Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary; and musician Armando “Pitbull” Perez. More than 16,000 attended eMerge Americas in 2019.
- EveryMundo, a pioneer in fare marketing technology for airlines, was acquired by the publicly held Pros, which helps optimize shopping and selling experiences, for $90 million in cash and stock. The EveryMundo team, including leadership, is staying in Miami.
- Novo, a digital bank targeting the small-business market, secured $90 million in funding led by growth equity firm Stripes and including Peter Thiel-backed Valar Ventures. The transaction valued the Miami startup at $700 million.
- Miamibased Metaversal raised $50 million in venture capital. The venture studio for non-fungible tokens will use the funds to purchase new NFTs and invest in venture studio projects.
- GlobalListings.com, a real estate-tech company, is moving its headquarters to Miami in the third quarter. The company, founded in 2017, is currently in Irvine, Calif., and West Palm Beach. Its plans for Miami call for several dozen new hires, including engineers and data scientists, over the next 18 months. Its search engine draws 3.4 million global property postings per month, CEO Michael Gerrity says.
- As part of a significant expansion that will double its presence in Doral, global cloud technology leader Ingram Micro Cloud is recruiting in Miami to fill more than 200 positions. With operations in 59 countries, Ingram Micro Cloud is one of the world’s largest providers of cloud products and services.
- Bit5ive, a Medley startup that custom-builds cryptocurrency data mining centers, plans to hire 300 full-time employees as part of its South Florida expansion. Founded in 2015, Bit5ive plans to expand to a production facility it is building in Hialeah Gardens.
- Miami-based Black Ops Ventures closed its first fund with $13 million. Investors include Bank of America and Northwestern Mutual. Black Ops will invest primarily in pre-seed and seed stage rounds of black-led tech startups.
- Banesco USA of Coral Gables received $237.5 million from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to support small and minority-owned businesses and borrowers with new lending products and services. Los Angeles-based Levine Leichtmann, a private equity firm with $9 billion in assets under management, has chosen Miami’s Design District for a Miami office.
- Miami Mayor Francis Suarez became the 80th president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors this year, pledging to promote limited crypto regulation.
- Consulting firm MTX Group has donated $25 million to Miami Dade College to create a center designed to foster growth in talent and skills in emerging technologies.
- Royal Caribbean Group has resumed construction on a new headquarters at PortMiami. The expected completion date is now the end of 2024.
- Florida Blue named David Wagner market president for its South Florida region. Wagner, formerly of Kindred Health, succeeds Penny Shaffer, who retired.
1NCE, a German technology company with offices in nine countries, chose Miami for its North American headquarters, which will house the 100 to 150 employees it plans to hire over the next three years. 1NCE is an internet of things network carrier. It offers its software and service at a flat rate, targeting city projects that often fail because of poor planning, says Ivo Rook, president of the company’s North America division. Miami also will be the U.S. headquarters for Everphone, a Berlin-based company that supplies, repairs, replaces and recycles mobile devices for companies.