By Nancy Dahlberg
1 LAB Ventures reveals plans for real estate-focused startup fund
How does South Florida get real estate investors off the sidelines and interested in startups? Give them their own fund, rich with opportunity in real estate and construction technology.
In its mission to link innovation and Miami’s strongest industries, LAB Ventures, a venture building company that is part of the co-working pioneer LAB Miami, plans to raise a $50 million real estate fund, CEO Thomas “Tigre” Wenrich confirmed. It is expected to be backed by traditional real estate investors. The news was first reported by the South Florida Business Journal.
The fund is currently called LAB Fund I and it could launch as early as this year. The LAB has launched or is developing several of its own companies in real estate tech, including MyRentHero, the first one out of the gate. "As of today, we don’t invest in other people's companies. We would like to be able to do that," Wenrich told the Business Journal.
Wenrich expects to release more details at LAB Ventures' Future of Real-Estate Tech Summit 2019 on May 14 at the Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables. The event includes a pitch competition, and LAB Ventures is now accepting entries; the deadline is April 5. Find more about the event here.
[Read more on Refresh Miami: Can MyRentHero make finding student housing painless? It was built to do just that]
2 Freebee is on the move – once again
Freebee, the homegrown free ride service you can summons with an app, has set its sights north of the Miami-Dade border.
Fort Lauderdale’s Downtown Development Authority announced that a small fleet of Freebees will be available in downtown Fort Lauderdale, underwritten by commercial advertisers for a three-month trial period. The pilot program is Freebee’s first move into Broward, the Sun Sentinel reported.
Freebee’s electric vehicle service is headed by Jason Spiegel, who co-founded Freebee in 2012. It is currently available in eight cities in Miami-Dade County and in Islamorada in Monroe County.
3 An opportunity to join social innovation incubator
Miami EdTech’s Summer-2019 Social Innovation and Entrepreneurial Leadership Incubator is now open for registration.
Working to create a world where innovative technologies redefine education with real-world scalable solutions, Miami EdTech uses its free biannual S.I.E.L. Incubator to empower and ignite passion in teachers throughout Miami. In partnership with Teach For America, S.I.E.L. Incubator participants learn the best practices of launching and scaling an edtech startup. Some participants leave the incubator with a fully developed prototype or MVP. KickEngage and Kiddie Kredit are S.I.E.L. graduates.
This 6-week program runs from June 25, 2019, to August 1, 2019, and concludes with a Pitch Night held at CIC Miami. For more information or to register, please visit miamiedtech.com/siel
4 Orlando’s gaming hub gets a showpiece arena
Full Sail University in Orlando unveiled its $6 million, 11,200-square-foot Fortress Sports Arena, a space that school officials say will be a highlight in the region’s efforts to make Central Florida a competitive gaming hub, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
The new arena will be one of the largest college campus-based arenas dedicated to esports in the country. It will open in May.
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