A common refrain heard in South Florida is that there’s not enough venture capital. But that’s slowly changing. In this week’s newsletter, we discuss the top venture capital funds in the state, one of which is located in the heart of Miami. We also report on the announcement of a brand-new Miami investment fund that has the express mission of closing our funding gap.
Pitchbook announces Florida’s top VCs
Venture funding tracking site Pitchbook has named the most active venture capital funds in Florida since 2013. Orlando-based Florida Angel Nexus was No. 1 with 16 total investments. St. Petersburg-based Westlake Ventures and Miami’s Krillion Ventures tied for second place with nine investments. There have been a total of 308 VC deals since 2013 according to Pitchbook, with software companies taking 37 percent of all funds, followed by healthcare devices & supplies (8.8 percent) and commercial services (7.8 percent).
Here’s the full list (number of investments made):
Rokk3r Labs is creating a new investment fund
Rokk3r Labs, the Wynwood-based startup builder, is announcing the launch of Rokk3r Fuel, an investment fund that will seek to address South Florida’s lack of readily available venture capital.
The fund will be led by Jeff Ransdell, a former Merrill Lynch Executive Director, and Jonas Tempel, the co-founder of Beatport, the music streaming and purchasing site.
“We see Miami as a growing international destination and hub for entrepreneurs throughout the U.S., Latin America, Western Europe and Northern Africa,” Germán Montoya, co- founder of Rokk3r Labs, said in a statement. “Jeff and Jonas bring a unique combination of experience and expertise in entrepreneurship and investing at the most established levels. We are thrilled to have them connecting investors to what we’re building at Rokk3r Labs.”
Dental management startup wins at SUP-X, takes home $15K
Apollonix, a startup based in Hollywood and Miami that helps dentists and dental laboratories better manage their dental prosthetic orders, earned second place at the SUP-X national tech conference in Fort Lauderdale, taking home a prize of $15,000. The company was founded in March 2016, and is one of 20 companies selected to be part of Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab Miami’s inaugural cohort.
“We believe the judges recognized our innovative business model that tackles the way dental professionals work,” co-founder Jessica Shin said in an email to Startup.Miami. “We are solving a workflow and communication problem for a niche B2B oral prosthetic market that is still reliant on paper 90 percent of the time.”
“We chose Apollonix because the founders have excellent insight into the market sector,” Dean Hatton of Fort Lauderdale-based Las Olas Venture Capital said in an email. “They have a greenfield opportunity as there has been limited if any innovation in the process for quoting and ordering dental prosthetics, and the market itself is fragmented yet large enough to create a terrific opportunity for Apollonix to grow.
Another WIN Lab Miami member, children’s tech startup AlphaTechBlocks, won the “audience favorite award.” They are expected to formally launch this spring.
Gridics is in talks to become the zoning platform for South Florida metros
Zonar is a startup owned by Miami-based real estate tech group Gridics that seeks to transform how cities and counties carry out their zoning operations. This week, Zonar announced they are in the process of finalizing terms to become the principal zoning platform for a number of cities and counties in Dade and Broward County. Speaking at Refresh Miami’s Tuesday Fireside Chat, Gridics CEO Jason Doyle discussed how for most local governments, zoning and planning technology remains stuck in the 20th century at best.
“It’s a pain point,” he told Startup.Miami. “There’s lack of transparency, it takes a long time…it’s a very manual process.”
Gridics was founded by three University of Miami graduates. Co-founder Felipe Azenha is a former senior manager at real estate site Zillow.
These are Miami’s most popular lunch spots according to MealPal
Last month, MealPal, the Brickell-based startup that lets users pay a monthly flat fee to sign up for lunch at select restaurants, announced they had raised $15 million in outside investment. This week, they just announced the top lunch spots — and what their top orders are:
- SuViche (Chicken Saltado & Fries, Quinoa Chicken Salad, Chicken Chaufa)
- Dolores But You Can Call Me Lolita (Chicken Caesar Wrap)
- Brickell Fresh Cafe (Mexican Fury Bowl, Berry, Mango, & Greens Salad, Avocado Lover Salad, Mediterranean Bowl)
- Pan Pa Ya (Arroz Con Pollo, Chicken & Potato Wedges)
Apply now for MentorDay Miami
Mentor Day, the national program connecting cities’ industry leaders with budding entrepreneurs, is holding a Miami event at The LAB March 17. It’s free, but you have to apply. To do so, and to see which Miami mentors have signed up, click here.
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