By Maria Derchi Russo
Upstream, the Miami-based professional social networking site, announced it has raised $3.25 million in venture capital, including a $2.5 million seed round led by Ibex Investors and a $750k pre-seed round raised in 2020 from 8-Bit Capital, Human Ventures, Basement Fund, NYVP and various angel investors. Funds raised will be used to continue building out the team and supporting their community. They also announced a web version of their service.
Upstream is trying to build the best place to grow your professional network. The platform hosts communities across various affiliations and interest groups. These communities are able to host events, ranging from speaker talks to office hours.
One of the features of the platform is the ability to host breakout sessions after each event. During these breakout sessions, attendees are randomly matched one-on-one via video chat for 5 minute sessions each, meant to recreate some of the serendipity of in person events. If someone wants to continue a conversation post-breakout session, they can easily share their contact information through the app. According to Upstream, 75% of people that go to their first Upstream event return for a second one.
Upstream now boasts over 200+ communities and interest from hundreds of communities that total 400,000+ members that want to start an Upstream community. Examples of corporate communities on the site include GE, General Assembly and Squarespace.
Taub said Nicole Priel, who led the seed round at Ibex, was an Upstream member long before they spoke about investing. "This partnership is a testament to our belief that meaningful, generous relationships change your life," Taub said in a blog post.
While Upstream’s team is distributed, almost half of the company is based in Miami, including co-founder and CEO Alex Taub, who moved to the city with his family last year. Taub previously co-founded social audience analytics startup, SocialRank, which was acquired by Trufan in 2019. Refresh Miami contributor, Ja’dan Johnson, was Upstream’s first local hire and currently serves as Marketing & Community Lead. Taub
“It has been great building in Miami. I feel like I can work my tail off and then flip the switch much more easily and take my kids on a boat in the bay or go to the zoo or monkey jungle. The transition from hard work to enjoying an activity is very seamless here. I didn't initially move to Miami for the tech scene but it definitely will be a big factor in staying long term” said Taub in an email to Refresh Miami.
“I really think Miami has a shot at being a tech hub. The camaraderie feels like early NY tech (circa 2009-2012) when everyone was helping each other out and friendly.”
More info available via the Upstream blog here.
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