Miami fintech wins Florida Venture Forum competition
Calculum, a Miami-based fintech startup, won the big check at the Florida Venture Forum’s Early Stage Capital Conference in Tampa on Friday. Calculum helps organizations unlock millions in working capital and generate free cash flow by optimizing payment terms. In short, Calculum helps companies get paid earlier and pay invoices later, said co-founder and CEO Oliver Belin, a native of Switzerland (pictured above with his co-founder, Tony Laupsa, left, and a Space Florida executive). The data-as-a-service company’s platform allows organizations to compare themselves with their competitors, and with the web-based platform leveraging artificial intelligence, companies can analyze all their suppliers in terms of payment terms, financials, sustainability, ESG (Economic Social Governance), and seize all the necessary arguments to negotiate more favorable rates.
Calculum, the Latin word for the mathematical study of continuous change, won $40K in cash from the Space Florida Accelerating Innovation award. Fluix of Orlando took home $30K as the runner up and Oracle Health of Safety Harbor took home $20K. Abilitare (University of Florida) and Eucovent (University of South Florida) won conference’s Statewide Collegiate Startup Competition and each received $5K.
The event marks the 14th year the Florida Venture Forum has hosted the Florida Early Stage Capital Conference, and 24 Florida startups presented. In addition to Calculum, the startups presenting from South Florida were Catalyst GEM, CHNL, Imanyco, Lien Library, LifeSavers Software, Opcion Yo, SOAP Health and Throw Raft.
Panoramic releases its State of Startups in the Southeast report
Speaking of venture capital, in the nine Southeast US states, investors poured $8.04 billion into startup companies in the first six months of 2021. That is closing in on the $10.02 billion total in all of 2020 and the $10.32 billion in 2019, according to the 2021 State of the Startups in the Southeast report by Atlanta-based venture capital firm Panoramic Ventures.
The 2021 report looked closely at trends that have either accelerated or taken shape as we move farther from the onset of the pandemic: the acceleration of startup investing, the shift in sector preference by investors; larger check sizes and valuation increases.
Some highlights of the Panoramic Ventures report include:
- Florida ranks first among Southeast states in capital investment made since 2016, with $12.9 billion, with media companies ($3.2 billion – dominated by Magic Leap), software-as-a-service ventures ($2.1 billion) and biotech startups ($1.5 billion) raising the most funding. Florida Funders was the most active investor during this time period, with 54 deals in Florida companies. Miami Angels was second, with 30 deals. The most notable exits were: Chewy ($3.4 billion); Luminar ($3.4 billion) and MDLive ($2 billlion).
- During the five year period, the Southeast region drew 79 mega-deals — investments of $100 million-plus — and 22 in 2021 alone..
- Georgia has the most “unicorns” — startups that have reached valuations of $1 billion or more — with seven, compared to Florida’s six and North Carolina’s five. Of Florida’s six unicorns, all but one (Jacksonville’s Fanatics) is based in South Florida. They are Magic Leap, Pipe, Kaseya, Reef Technology and Modernizing Medicine.
- Companies in the Southeast are attracting larger investments. The average amount in 2016 was $3.6 million. So far in 2021, it is $10.5 million.
Turmoil at the top? Citrix CEO resigns
David Henshall has stepped down as president and CEO of Citrix Systems, the Fort Lauderdale-based software firm announced this week.
Citrix did not disclose the reason for Henshall’s departure. The move comes on the heels of New York-based activist investor Elliott Management Corp. reportedly disclosing a more than $1 billion stake in the company and amid renewed rumors that the company is considering putting itself up for sale.
Stepping into Henshall’s positions on an interim basis will be Citirx Board Chairman Bob Calderoni. This is Calderoni’s third call of duty. Read more in the Sun-Sentinel.
3-day ‘immersive’ conference coming to the Crypto Capital
Miami Crypto Experience, an immersive, community-focused event and educational hub for all things crypto, is gearing up for its flagship experience this November 10–12 at the James L. Knight Center in downtown Miami, showcasing more than 25 workshops, 40+ vendors, nightlife and networking events, organizers said. Whether you’re starting at Crypto 101, headed straight to a Master Classes, or signing up for the hackathon, Miami Crypto Experience will aim deliver crypto education in an interactive, fun, and collaborative format, the organizers said.
Those who can’t attend in person can now purchase tickets to the Miami Crypto Experience Metaverse, where users can log in, create their own avatar and explore the conference virtually. Digital attendees will have access to all the same workshop content, along with the ability to network and chat with other virtual guests online. Another innovative new element this time around is the ability to purchase tickets to Miami Crypto Experience via a first-of-its-kind NFT ticketing platform.
A limited quantity of In-Person Early Bird Tickets to Miami Crypto Experience is currently on sale for $349; online tickets are $35. For more information about Miami Crypto Experience, including discounted student tickets, visit expcrypto.io.
Abovitz leaves Magic Leap board
Rony Abovitz, founder and former CEO of the augmented-reality startup Magic Leap, has left the company’s board, severing his last formal tie to the company he founded in his garage in 2009. Abovitz stepped down as CEO in May, 2020, the company pivoted to an enterprise focus, and Peggy Johnson, formerly a Microsoft executive, was appointed CEO in early July.
“I left the board this August because I felt that Peggy was comfortable in her role as CEO, I had passed on key knowledge and support to her during the transition year, and that I had completed an important step which was to enable that transition to be smooth and effective,” Abovitz told Business Insider. Abovitz, who still holds equity in Magic Leap, also said he was making more time for his new interactive storytelling startup, Sun and Thunder. “I will be rooting for Peggy and the Magic Leap team to have great success.” Read more here.
This week, Magic Leap and VMware, a cloud computing and digital workspace technology company, announced a strategic collaboration between the two companies that includes support for VMWare’s recently announced ‘Workspace ONE XR Hub’ on Magic Leap 2, to better enable enterprise applications on Magic Leap’s XR platform technology. Magic Leap’s technology is frequently deployed to deliver remote training to frontline workers, augment designers and engineers and connect the anywhere workforce in more immersive ways.
Nymbus, we hardly knew you
One of South Florida’s venture-funded fintech companies is trading Miami for Jacksonville – thanks to a $4.5 million incentive package from city and state entities and a promise of creating 600 jobs. Based in Miami Beach, the fintech, which makes software for banks and credit unions, has raised more than $121 million in investment capital, but has kept a low profile in South Florida.
National honors for FAU student inventor
Matthew Maggio of Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, is one of five undergraduate national finalists of the “2021 Collegiate Inventors Competition,” a program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Introduced in 1990, the competition has awarded more than $1 million to students for their innovative work and scientific achievement through the help of its sponsors.
Maggio’s invention, “Air-Coupled Ultrasonic Transduction Inspection System” (ACUTIS), provides a novel method to safely and efficiently inspect wooden utility poles using ultrasonic waves. Currently, there is no other system designed that uses air-coupled ultrasound that is not destructive to utility poles during the internal evaluation process. Moreover, the major advantage of ACUTIS is its potential to provide a continuous, real-time assessment along with the entire vertical profile of a wooden pole while remaining non-contact and non-invasive. Read more here.
- Black Men Talk Tech, an organization that supports Black tech entrepreneurs, will host its third annual Unicorn Ambition Conference on October 21. A keynote speaker is Rick Ross, a serial entrepreneur, rapper, songwriter, and bestselling author with an empire covering everything from fast-casual food, spirits, real estate, and music. With $25K in prizes up for grabs, entrepreneurs who are interested in pitching can apply by October 12 here.
- Grant opportunity for minority-led startups: Through October 14, eligible businesses in Miami and Broward Counties can apply for a $10,000 grant at www.ComcastRISE.com. A total of 100 grants will be awarded in November 2021. The Investment Fund is an extension of Comcast RISE, the multi-year, multi-faceted initiative launched in October 2020 to support startups and small businesses owned by people of color and provide the resources and tools they need today and in the future. Apply here.
- Endeavor Miami and Miami Herald will host a second pitch competition for Black entrepreneurs virtually on Nov. 3. Winners can receive cash prizes up to $25,000 and access to the Microsoft for Startups program. Qualifying applicants must be a Miami-based Black founders with a launched business, either pre-revenue or up to $200K in annual revenues. Apply here by 6 pm Oct. 18.
- The Tech Hub Hackathon is a virtual event where participants form teams, vet ideas, create a project, then present their work to an expert panel of judges. Teams will consist of developers, designers, project managers, and entrepreneurs, with successful teams having a mix of these areas of expertise and winners walking away with a combination of cash and in-kind prizes. This year’s theme is ‘Hack for Inclusion‘ with each project addressing issues of bias, diversity, accessibility and overall inclusion. Teams will collaborate to build a solution to combat DE&I struggles within an organization and/or municipality. Learn more here.
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