By Nancy Dahlberg
Mayor Suarez takes tech message to the city
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez took his message from Twitter to the streets of Miami on Friday, hosting a press conference to speak about seizing the opportunity to build a great tech city and to “create the next generation of leaders right here at home.”
“It’s not only about importing the world’s brightest minds, it’s about creating the world’s brightest minds,” he said, and that starts with creating a world class education system. “76% of Blacks and 62% of Hispanics could get shut out or be under-prepared for 86% of jobs in the U.S. by 2045,” he said. “Miami will do everything in our power to keep this projection from becoming a reality.”
He said 17 high-profile tech and financial firms have already decided to call South Florida home, including Blackstone (see next item), SoftBank, Goldman Sachs, Spotify (expanded in February 2020), Reef Technology and Boston Private Bank.
The mayor also mentioned incentives programs such as the Miami-Dade Beacon Council’s Target Job Incentive Fund, which offers a property tax discount of 80% for 10 years in exchange for companies investing at least $3 million and creating 10 or more new full-time jobs. The Miami DDA’s program offers $50,000 per year for up to three years to qualifying businesses that intend to relocate or expand in downtown Miami, he said, also mentioning the opportunity that Opportunity Zones bring. “I’m working with the mayor of Miami-Dade County to enhance some of those incentives and we are looking at best practices from other parts of the country to make sure we are competitive.” He also said he is looking at laws that could be enacted to make Miami more crypto-friendly.
“My vision is that Miami will become the most globally important cities in the next 5-10 years.”
You can view the press conference on the MayorofMiami Instagram channel.
Blackstone officially landing in downtown Miami
We know it was coming, but now it’s official: New York-based Blackstone Group signed a multi-year lease for 41,000 square feet in downtown Miami, at the 2 Miami Central office building at 700 NW First Ave.. As reported earlier on Refresh Miami, the financial services giant plans to hire 200 employees for its in-house technology team.
"2 MiamiCentral's prime downtown location and access to mass transit make it an ideal office location," Blackstone Chief Technology Officer John Stecher told the South Florida Business Journal. The development also includes the Brightline train station.
Stecher also lauded Miami’s talent pipeline and its best in class universities, factors in its decision to bring the high paying (averaging $200K) coming to Miami.
Alexis Ohanian invests in Miami startup Domaselo
Last month we profiled Domaselo, founded by Emil Hristov, a tech entrepreneur turned baker we profiled here on Refresh Miami two weeks ago. The Miami-based e-commerce startup, launched in February, is aiming to make Hristov’s sourdough brand a nationwide household name.
Hristov is raising money for his venture using a relatively new type of crowdfunding through Mainvest. On Friday, Domaselo was already halfway to its goal of $50,000 to fund equipment and growth. Many of the early backers are fans of the bread, which may not be surprising since 70% of Domaselo’s business is repeat customers. Find the campaign here.
One of the crowdfund investors was Alexis Ohanian, who lives in Palm Beach County and who dropped the news on Twitter.
Mainvest is a crowdfunding platform where, instead of investing for equity, investors buy revenue-sharing notes for $100 or more. When an investor purchases a revenue sharing note, the business agrees to share a percentage of its future revenue until the investor receives the stated return on investment. This way, Mainvest says, incentives are better aligned because the business may be able to use more of its early revenue to grow the business and, because investors receive a percentage of revenue, they can benefit from promoting the business in their communities.
“Mainvest is a relatively new platform and they're backed by reputable investors. I like their mission, which is to help fund main street businesses, something that has been incredibly difficult due to both access to capital and the know-how for fund-raising. I hope they will become as well-known as Kickstarter and others,” Hristov said.
LAB Ventures’ startup OrderOut acquired
LAB Ventures’ portfolio company OrderOut announced that it has sold its business and all of its assets to a group of private investors led by Vlad Sadovskiy, president of publicly-traded payments company Net Element.
OrderOut, which provides restaurants a solution to seamlessly integrate all of their on-line ordering services with their Point-of-Sale systems, was the second project created by the LAB Ventures studio team completely from scratch, and is the first exit for the studio, LAB Ventures said. Terms of the transaction were not released.
Under CEO Thibault Le Conte, OrderOut grew to more than 400 restaurant customers, many of them acquired during the pandemic. They partnered with with restaurant software companies Clover, Fort Lauderdale-based Aptito, and Tabit, the Isaeli market leader that opened a US headquarter in Miami last year. The new owners have committed to scale their business nationally, LAB Ventures said in its blog post. Le Conte will continue to lead it.
The exit also means that LAB Ventures will be 100% focused on proptech companies, said Matti Marshak, CEO of LAB Ventures Startup Studio. devNow, what does this mean for LAB Ventures. LAB Ventures pivoted to the proptech focus in 2019. PropTech portfolio companies including virtual title company Expetitle and Beycome, simplifying the buying and renting process.
READ MORE: Catching up with LAB Ventures
Opportunity knocks: Endeavor Scaleup deadline looms
The deadline is Sunday to apply for Cohort 3 of Endeavor Miami’s ScaleUp Program, a four-month acceleration program designed to support startups with high-impact potential in the South Florida ecosystem to scale. The next cohort runfrom mid February to early June, and you can read more about the program and apply here. Applications are open until Sunday, January 10, at 11:59 pm.
Catch up on all the #MiamiTech news on RefreshMiami.com/news. This past week we brought you news of the #MiamiTech Town Hall, a spotlight on Octo Safety, Bolt's Ryan Breslow's return to Miami, OrthoSensor acquired, Mark Crofton's enterprise sales tips, and the #MiamiTech Manifesto.
Have a news tip to share? Email Nancy Dahlberg at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @ndahlberg.
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