Top Venture News from Florida, March 13, 2023 – March 19, 2023
March 20, 2023

Congratulations to:

  • Prescient AI, a Miami AI marketing simulation and prediction platform that helps eCommerce and direct-to-consumer companies more accurately forecast demand and optimize marketing efforts, on raising a $4.5M seed round led by Blumberg Capital with participation from CEAS Investments, Darling Ventures, and Troy Osinoff.
  • Equitus, a Clearwater big data AI firm offering an open-standard graph database platform that can interoperate across an entire intelligence ecosystem, on raising a $10M Series A round led by Mendon Venture Partners.
  • CAST AI, a Miami cloud cost optimization platform, on closing a $20M round led by Creandum with participation from previous investors.
  • DigitalReef, a Miami mobile marketing and connected TV startup, on merging with LATAM video gaming matchmaking platform and community hub Gamers Club m- undisclosed terms and rebranded as Siprocal.
  • Myosin Therapeutics, a Jupiter biopharma startup developing its lead compound, MT-125, to treat glioblastoma, on raising an undisclosed seed round led by Mint12 Pharma, with participation from the University of Florida Ventures, DeepWork Capital, and the Florida Opportunity Fund.
  • Payabli, a Miami payments infrastructure startup that enables software companies to make payments a core part of their business model, on raising an $8M Series A round from existing investors TTV Capital, Fika Ventures, Bling Capital, and new angel investors Louis Beryl and Ershad Jamil.

Making news:

  • Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello announces retirement after 14 Years leading the organization, effective June 30 – Space Florida Board of Directors will launch a nationwide search for his successor.
  • End of the road for Enterprise Florida? FL Senate President Kathleen Passidomo sides with FL House Speaker Paul Renner on defunding EFI: “I think we could create, you know, a continuous state partnership with the business communities through DEO (the Department of Economic Opportunity), and I think moving the staff, the people who work for EFI to DEO might be a good way to do it.”
  • The House Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee is backing a plan to separate the Space Florida Board of Directors from EFI – Space Florida is now governed by a 13-member board, with 12 spots filled by members of the EFI board – under the plan, the governor would appoint the chair and five members representing the aerospace industry, Florida seaports, the aviation industry and the bond-financing industry and an academic experienced in aerospace or aviation.
  • Nancy Dahlberg’s eMerge Americas report: record year for South FL VC investment – $5.8B across 426 deals, up from 2021’s $5.3B; Florida $8.1B across 703 deals (tied for No. 6 in the nation – 41% of South FL investment in fintech, 15% in blockchain, crypto or web3 healthcare, 9% in healthtech.
  • Leigh-Ann Buchanan, a longtime leader in the Miami tech community, steps down from aīre ventures to lead the new Miami-Dade Innovation Authority – a new organization that supports equitable and sustainable economic growth in the region’s technology economy.
  • Francesca (Cesi) de Quesada Covey appointed Miami-Dade County’s new Chief Economic Development and Innovation Officer – will lead the county’s efforts to accelerate innovation, entrepreneurship and investment
  • Orlando Business Journal and Orlando Inno tech reporter Alex Soderstrom leaving – to write for in Richmond, VA – OBJ now looking for new tech reporter.
  • Central Florida startups take limited hit from Silicon Valley Bank collapse, but investors worry about wider effects – 16% of DeepWork Capital’s portfolio companies banked at SVB but faced only “minor” issues because they also banked elsewhere.
  • Silicon Valley Bank had far-reaching ties in Tampa Bay – sponsored the pitch competition at Tampa’s Synapse Summit, awarding $150K to New York-based EVQLV and provided PPP loans to 10 Tampa Bay tech businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • SVB’s failure reverberated across South Florida’s startup scene and sent founders scrambling to secure funds for payroll and other expenses – worked with a number of local ventures, including medtech firm Neocis and eldertech startup Papa, and signed on as a partner of the eMerge Americas conference – unclear if the bank failure will delay or impact eMerge – 4 of Fuel Venture Capital’s Managing Partner Maggie Vo: 4 of 33 portfolio companies had exposure to SVB.
  • South Florida investors in SVB: Jupiter investment management advisor Voloridge Investment Management (445,286 shares), Miami private equity firm Insigneo Advisory Services (1,181 shares), and Palm Beach Gardens broker Money Concepts Capital Corp (645 shares).
  • Dice report of average tech salary by cities: Tampa, $120,900 (#7 and up 19% from 2021), Miami, $104,542 (#25 and up 10.6%), Orlando, $97,708 (unranked).
  • Maitland VC-backed cybersecurity startup ThreatLocker acquires assets of Arlington, VA software firm HyperQube Technologies for an undisclosed amount.
  • The Research Park at Florida Atlantic University added 119 new jobs last year and companies located at the research and development facility in Boca Raton now support 986 jobs.
  • Novo, a Miami digital banking platform for small businesses, opens new 18,450 sq. ft. HQ in Miami’s Brickell area.
  • Photonics industry drives Orlando manufacturing job creation – Florida High Tech Corridor estimates the optics and photonics industry employs more than 5,800 people in the region. 
  • Orlando Magic to work with startups at Lake Nona sports and health tech accelerator leAD.
  • Winter Park’s GOVO Venture Partners (invests in early stage companies for which doing business with government or navigating government regulations is an important success factor) makes its first portfolio company investment – in St. Louis, Missouri-based Rezilient Health.
  • Florida Polytechnic University professors Doga Demirel and Onur Toker developing 3D bariatric procedure simulator for doctors to perform weight loss surgery.
  • Miami’s Crystal Lagoons suing Plant City’s Oasis Amenities – suite
  • alleges Oasis Amenities broke its confidentiality agreement, stole technology from Crystal Lagoons, and is using it to solicit Crystal Lagoons’ customers.
  • VC-backed Miami startup Roam is building a virtual workplace for meetings – employees show up in virtual rooms or “offices,” CEO Howard Lerman: “I want to remove all that Zoom clutter on your calendar and let people roam around freely. It’s fluid, it’s ad hoc, and it’s dynamic.”
  • Miami water and energy conservation startup EcoSystems achieves Certified B Corporation status – one of only 37 FL companies.
  • Miami VC – backed SportsEdTV, a digital platform containing thousands of world-class coaching videos, scaling – full-time staff of 7 with a platform that is now receiving between 10M and 20M visitors each month from around the world.
  • St. Petersburg ocean mapping startup Saildrone’s Surveyor, the world’s largest unmanned ocean mapping vehicle, recently returned to HQ port in Alameda CA after mapping 4,739 square nautical miles of unknown seafloor around the Aleutian Islands – discovered a 3,200-foot-tall seamount on its way back to port.

Upcoming technology entrepreneurship events on our calendar:

  • The State of Venture Investing in an Uncertain Economic Climate, Tuesday, 5 pm – 7 pm, University Club of Orlando, Orlando. A Florida Venture Forum panel discussion and networking event. Speakers include: Jay Chaudhari, Executive Director, 1858 Capital Partners, Dr. Michael Pape, Dr. Phillips Entrepreneur in Residence, UCF, Deborah Crum, Principal, Advisory and Tax Services, Rehmann, Michael Okaty, Partner, Foley & Lardner, and Jeffrey Phillips, Principal, Advisor, Wealth Management, Rehmann.
  • Central Florida Immersive Technology Summit, March 31, all-day, Full Sail University, Orlando. Sponsored by the Central Florida Chapter of the VR/AR Association and Full Sail University, this conference brings business leaders, technology professionals, and job seekers together to explore the future impact of VR/AR technologies, business strategies, and solutions. The event will include an exhibit hall where companies will highlight innovative technology, a career fair with up to 40 participating companies, and industry panels. The summit expects to attract participants from a variety of industries including aerospace, healthcare, entertainment and travel, sports & fitness, and higher education.
  • eMerge Americas, April 20 – 21, Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach. A VC-backed platform focused on transforming Miami into the tech hub of the Americas. This global tech conference attracts more than 16,000 attendees from 40 countries and over 3,900 unique participating organizations.

Subscribe for Statewide VC News:

Follow The Forum for More:

New Resources:

View the full resource library here.