By Nancy Dahlberg
South Florida companies raised nearly $1.4 billion in venture capital in 2018, ranking the tri-county metro area tops in the Southeast and 11th in the nation, according to a report released Tuesday by eMerge Americas, the Knight Foundation and Florida International University.
Miami was also the top Southeast U.S. metro area for VC deal flow last year with 128 deals, according to the report, which was largely based on Pitchbook data.
“We believe that Miami is on the cusp of something transformative — and we know the data and trends back it up,” said Felice Gorordo, CEO of eMerge Americas, in announcing the report.
Here are some findings from the report:
- Startups went far and wide to find their funding, including New York, Boston, Saudi Arabia, China, Latin America, Singapore, Japan, Denmark and the United Kingdom.
- The top deal: Magic Leap, which raised $963 in its Series D round started in 2017 and completed with a $461 million investment in 2018 led by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.
- In addition to Magic Leap, other South Florida startups receiving significant funding included MDLive, YellowPepper, Shipmonk and Plum.
- Angels rule: 48% of the deals in the tri-county area were angel rounds.
- About 45% of funded South Florida companies were software companies, which follows national trends. 23% were health-tech, biotech or medical device companies and 18% were fin-tech companies. About 12% described their company as AI.
- The report also highlighted some startups to watch, representing various stages of startups in the ecosystem. In the report, Magic Leap, Nearpod, Boatsetter and Blanket were spotlighted.
- Although the year for exits pales in comparison to 2017, top exits in 2018 included eBuilder, Fairlogix and Biscayne Neurotherapeutics.
Disclosure: I participated by authoring this report, working with eMerge and its partners, and we plan to continue them, with an expanded focus.