By Nancy Dahlberg
WeWork to provide a year of workspaces and SoftBank mentorship to women-led businesses
WeWork, the global co-working company with a large presence in Miami, is launching Women For Tomorrow, a new initiative providing selected women-led startups and small businesses with a total of $5 million worth of workspace and mentorship for a year in the U.S. and Latin America. WeWork has partnered with the Women’s Global Empowerment Fund, a nonprofit organization focused on supporting women through economic and social programs, to help identify and select startups that are focused on driving equality, as well as to support women’s empowerment in underserved regions of the world.
From March 16, 2021 through March 31, 2021, women-led businesses can apply for the program, which will provide 100 selected companies in the United States with WeWork All Access memberships for up to 10 employees for one year. In Latin America, 63 selected companies will receive either WeWork dedicated ofﬁce space or WeWork All Access memberships for up to 10 employees for one year.
The selected women-led companies will also have access to advice and networking opportunities with SoftBank’s specialists to help their businesses navigate challenges and grow. To be eligible for Women For Tomorrow, businesses must be based in a city in which WeWork operates such as Miami. To learn more and sign up for updates on the Women for Tomorrow program, go to we.co/womenfortomorrow.com.
Visa to offer $10K grants for Black women entrepreneurs in Miami, 5 other cities
Black women business owners in Miami and five other U.S. cities can apply for $10,000 grants from Visa through its She’s Next grant program. The program will accept applications until April 16 and will select 60 winners.
It’s part of a $1 million commitment that Visa is making to extend mentorship and grant programs for Black female entrepreneurs who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 3 out of every 4 Black women business owners nationwide estimated they could not survive another year under pandemic conditions, according to a survey commissioned by Visa in February.
Applicants must be Black women in business for at least two years, with a minimum annual revenue of $24,000 or more, and their businesses must be operating in Miami, Detroit, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago or Washington, D.C. The application is available here: ifundwomen.com/visa.
Visa also announced it has renewed a partnership with Black Girl Ventures, a national organization with a chapter in Miami, to tackle the tech needs of small businesses owned by women of color.
The LAB Miami’s accelerator launching a free 8-week bootcamp
Beginning March 30, The LAB Miami and Navigate, its in-house accelerator program, will be launching a free 8-week bootcamp titled The Startup Go To Market Strategy: A Framework for Early-Stage Startups to Launch and Scale and taught by Pedro Sostre, CEO of Navigate.
“Partnering with Navigate has been a huge win for our members and community of entrepreneurs. For years we’ve received inquiries and demand for the services which the Navigate team offers, namely help with startup launch and access to resources. This new service offering really brings everything full circle and will help countless entrepreneurs realize their full potential.” said Rachael Bickford, Managing Director of The LAB Miami.
To apply for this free bootcamp, go here.
Florida Funders makes a wager on Simplebet, with a Miami co-founder
Florida Funders, a hybrid of a venture capital fund and an angel investor network, announced that it has invested $2.1 million in Simplebet, a global sports betting technology company that has developed its MLB, NFL, and NBA products and is currently working with FanDuel, PointsBet and INTRALOT. I
It’s part of a $15 million raise by Simplebet. With the new capital, Simplebet plans on accelerating its leadership position on developing the requisite technology to power micro-betting and eventually, all forms of in-play betting and fan engagement for U.S. sports.
Founded by sports industry veterans Chris Bevilacqua, Joey Levy (who is based in Miami), and Scott Marshall, the New York-based Simplebet uses machine learning and automation to create micro-markets, enabling every moment of every live sporting event to become a betting opportunity.
“Thrilled to have some great investors including Aristocrat, Jim Murren, Florida Funder and others with story participation from our existing base,” said Levy on Twitter. “The capital will enable us to accelerate product development, launch new innovations with micro-betting like Scripts, and launch both real money and free to play user experiences for our growing list of partners. The initial data on our launched products has been strong. FanDuel, PayAction and NBA InPlay have been highly engaging free to play experiences, while our real money products on Intralot quickly accounted for 20-25% of their in-play betting handle during the NFL playoffs.”
Levy co-founded and was the CEO of Draftpot, a daily fantasy sports platform, which was acquired in 2017, the year before he teamed up with Bevilacqua and Marshall to launch Simplebet. Bevilacqua and Marshall have equally impressive backgrounds. “They have extensive backgrounds in sports entertainment,” Tom Wallace, Florida Funders Managing Partner, told St. Pete Catalyst. “and they’re very well connected within those circles. And they’re seasoned entrepreneurs — this isn’t their first rodeo.” You can read more here and here.
Fuel VC co-leads $70M round in Brazil-based Recargapay; CEO is in Miami
I haven’t done a roundup in a while so I am very late with this news but it is a significant win for a Miami-based entrepreneur.
RecargaPay, A Brazilian fintech company with operations in Miami, has raised $70 million to further enhance its all-inclusive payment platform, which democratizes access to digital financial services in Brazil. RecargaPay has raised over $100 million to date.
The company, founded in 2010, said it is EBITDA positive with a revenue run rate of over $50 million, and has over 300 full-time employees in Brazil and Miami. The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted demand for RecargaPay’s digital wallet solutions, with the microloan segment in Brazil growing more than 500% in 2020 alone, the company said in its announcement.
The Series C round, announced late last month, was co-led by IDC Ventures of Spain and Fuel Venture Capital of Miami, and included the participation of ATW, LUN Partners, and Experian. The $70 million capital injection will expand its financial services offerings to small businesses and consumers, including further development of its popular subscription program Prime+, as well as enable additional hiring.
“Often people think that RecargaPay is for the unbanked, but it’s actually for the unbanked and the banked,” CEO Rodrigo Teijeiro, who is based in Miami, told TechCrunch. “What we always had in mind was to build — in the long-term — a mobile money ecosystem. Our approach was to solve problems one-by-one, and now we have a vertically integrated payment platform that offers financial services.” You can read more here.
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