By Nancy Dahlberg
1 Revolution’s Rise of the Rest announces second $150 million fund
Just two years after launching Revolution’s first Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, the firm announced this week it has closed on a second $150 million fund to invest in high-potential startups outside the U.S.’s major tech hubs. That’s good news for South Florida companies, because the first fund backed three of them: Blanket.AI, Caribu and Xendoo.
Revolution’s first Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, launched in late 2017, has backed nearly 130 companies in nearly 70 cities across 32 states. D.C. and Puerto Rico, and includes investors such as Jeff Bezos, Sara Blakely Eric Schmidt and Meg Whitman,. The balance of its capital will be reserved for follow-on investments in these companies. Investments in new companies will be made from the second Rise of the Rest Seed Fund announced today.
“We have made initial investments at a faster pace than we originally anticipated, and we’re seeing a stepped up pace of follow-on investments in companies that have scaled faster than expected. We were once a lonely voice in the venture world in touting this regional investment opportunity and are delighted to see the momentum now building in cities across the country,” said Steve Case, the CEO of Revolution and anchor investor in both Rise of the Rest Seed Funds, in a news release.
Leading the new fund as Managing Partner is David Hall, an investor at Revolution for more than a decade who also was part of the Rise of the Rest Tour that stopped in Miami on the heels of eMerge Americas. [Shown above is the ROTR Pitch Competition winner Xendoo] pitch Partners Anna Mason and Mary Grove will also have expanded leadership roles on the team.
“Through our network of relationships in startup communities across the country, we have a unique window into the next generation of successful companies,” said Case. “We believe that supporting their growth will yield success for our funds, and help level the playing field so that geography is no longer a barrier to the pursuit of the American Dream.”
2 A Miami angel investor reels in $11 million for his animal biotech company
Gallant, an animal biotech company, announced it has raised $11m in funding.
Backers included Maveron, Bold Capital Partners, Bling Capital and Science Inc. Gallant has developed a non-invasive way to collect stem cells, which have been used to treat ailments ranging from torn ligaments to arthritis to kidney disease.
The company, founded DogVacay founder & CEO Aaron Hirschhorn who is also a Miami angel investor, is using the funds for research and development, clinical studies to advance treatments and education campaigns on stem cell therapy. Hirschhorn spoke to Refresh Miami earlier this year, sharing his story and a few tidbits about what was to come. Read it here. Gallant is based in Los Angeles, but Hirschhorn and his wife and family moved to Miami in early 2018.
Richard Jennings, the CEO of cord blood banking company California Cryobank, and Darryl Rawlings, the founder and chief executive officer of Trupanion, sit on Gallant’s board. Its advisors include Art Antin, the co-founder of VCA, and Dr. David Haworth, the former president of PetSmart Charities in the US and Canada.
2 And the winners are …
South Florida startups are taking home the gold as they make impact in their industries.
ImmunSYS, a Fort Lauderdale biotech startup, was the top winner in the BioPitch competition at the 2019 BioFlorida annual conference in Tampa, taking home $10,000. The startup is developing an immunotherapy designed to empower the immune system to recognize and selectively attack cancer throughout the body. Miami-based DermaSensor was a finalist in the contest.
Nearpod and EcoSystems were honored as Endeavor Entrepreneurs of the Year at Endeavor Miami’s Gala this past weekend. Nearpod, the impactful ed-tech startup that uses technology to leverage the power of teachers, offers its platforms in hundreds of schools and districts and as grown to more than 100 employees. It is now offering its products to higher ed. EcoSystems, a water and energy conservation company, focuses on large multifamily complexes for the biggest impact. EcoSystems also recently ranked No. 2 fastest growing in the South Florida Business Journal’s Fast 50.
Staying on the green theme, Lean Orb took home the win at the SoGal Regional finals in Naples Monday night. Lean Orb, which makes biodegradable cutlery and other catering supplies, will now pitch at the finals in Silicon Valley.
And OBE Power was one of 100 startups globally selected to pitch and exhibit at Startup Of The Year. OBE Power, which provides EV charging as a service where people live, work and play, was the People’s Choice in its category.
I likely missed some winners - it is pitch contest season after all! Let me know at email@example.com