Tech Equity Miami aims to invest at least $100 million to boost diversity
To boost diversity and inclusion in Miami-Dade’s tech sector, JPMorgan Chase, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Miami Foundation and social impact venture studio aire ventures launched Tech Equity Miami, which aims to invest at least $100 million over five years in projects that advance internet connectivity, educational programs, resources for small businesses and tech employment opportunities for residents. JPMorgan Chase will contribute $10 million, part of the company’s $30-billion racial equity commitment.
The goals for the five-year initiative include bringing internet access to 100,000 Miami-Dade County students currently lacking at-home broadband; helping 25,000 underrepresented students and workers find tech opportunities; providing at least 1,000 microbusinesses with digital transformation training and technology solutions; and providing digital exposure and literacy for 50,000 families from underserved communities. Progress will be tracked and be accessible to the public.
- Amazon is adding 9,000 square feet of offices in a WeWork building in Coral Gables. The company is hiring 60 employees in Miami, bringing the total to 160.
- Startup accelerator Techstars is partnering with J.P. Morgan, which will invest more than $80 million to support more than 400 companies led by diverse founders in nine U.S. cities, including Miami.
- Miami-based Yuga Labs, owner of the three biggest non-fungible token (NFT) brands on the market, including the Bored Ape Yacht Club, raised $450 million in a seed round led by a16z crypto, Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto fund. It is now valued at $4 billion. In March, Yuga Labs acquired popular NFT brands CryptoPunks and Meebits.
- A Miami fintech startup called Finally, which helps small businesses automate their accounting and finance functions, secured more than $95 million in a round of funding led by PeakSpan.
- Miami-based trucking solutions company SmartHop raised $30 million in a financing round led by Sozo Ventures. SmartHop has raised $46 million to scale its tech-for-trucking tools aimed at helping independent trucking businesses and solo drivers increase their revenue.
- Seattle startup Solo has expanded into Miami, bringing its digital platform to help gig workers increase their take-home pay and cut down on administrative headaches.
- Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management launched an online bachelor’s in global sustainable tourism.
- A $6.75-million donation to Habitat for Humanity Miami — its largest financial gift to date — from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott will allow the non-profit to expand its affordable housing work. Scott also donated $4.8 million toward a new facility for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade.
- Mount Sinai Medical Center revealed plans for a $250-million cancer center, with funding coming from Norman and Irma Braman. The 250,000-sq.-ft. Irma and Norman Braman Cancer Center is planned to open in Miami Beach in early 2025. MSMC recently hired Dr. Steven Hockwald, formerly of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, N.Y., as the new director of its cancer center.
- American Airlines is adding 600 people to its workforce at Miami International Airport.
- Skretting, a Norwegian manufacturer and supplier of fish feed to land-based aquaculture companies, plans a feed facility in South Miami-Dade close to Atlantic Sapphire, one of its largest customers.
- Marsh, the insurance unit of New York-based Marsh McLennan and one of the world’s largest insurance and risk management companies, signed a lease for 25,000 square feet at 830 Brickell, joining dozens of financial firms relocating or expanding in Miami.
- Mast Capital launched sales of the 80-story Cipriani Residences Miami condo in the Brickell Financial District. The developer acquired the 2.8-acre site at 1420 S. Miami Ave. in December for $103 million. Prices start at $1.1 million. Estimated completion is late 2025.
- Developers Fortune International Group and Chateau Group plan to build a 62-story twin-tower luxury condo project in Sunny Isles called St. Regis Residences. Construction is expected to begin in early 2023.
- Miami- Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava declared a housing affordability crisis and launched an emergency rental assistance program with an additional $13.4 million in federal funds, for a total of $39.2 million of available assistance. The goal: To help struggling tenants amid a surge in rent increases. Also, residential landlords in Miami- Dade now must give tenants at least 60 days’ notice of rent hikes of 5% or more. Meanwhile, Miami declared a public emergency over the housing crisis, allowing the city to hire engineers and architects for affordable housing projects faster under no-bid contracts.
- Stuart-based Seacoast Banking Corp. of Florida is buying Miami-based Apollo Bancshares, parent company of one of South Florida’s largest community banks, Apollo Bank, in a deal that’s expected to increase its deposits in the tri-county region to approximately $2.7 billion. Apollo Bank Chairman and CEO Eddy Arriola will serve as Seacoast’s Miami-Dade market executive.
- City National Bank of Florida partnered with non-profit Branches to launch a business development program for minorityled companies: SPARK for Entrepreneurial Equity. The yearlong training and mentorship program for black or minority women business owners in Miami-Dade County will also provide access to $35,000 in grants.