By Nancy Dahlberg
Function.vc ‘is about bringing together the investor community in Miami, it is about amplifying them, advocating for them and adding value to this industry,’ says founder Monica Black.
We all know the reality that is Miami: There’s a lot of wealth here, but when it comes to tech investing, much of it stays on the sidelines.
Through her new venture, Function.vc, Monica Simó Black aims to activate the private wealth community in Miami in the world of early-stage technology investing.
Black, who grew up in Miami and was educated at MIT and Stanford, moved back at the end of 2018 after spending 15 years investing and operating in startups, venture capital, and private equity in New York, Boston and most recently San Francisco. She’s held investing roles at Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Providence Equity Partners and TheVentureCity, and is an active board member for several startups.
Black returned to a different Miami, she said. “There is a real thirst for more technology in Miami and for Miami to have more of a role in the national and international tech ecosystem. People are excited about the intention to create more bridges between Miami and the Bay Area. There are a bunch of companies in Miami that people are very excited about as well. It’s very encouraging. “
So let’s find out more about Function.
While Miami Angels has made big strides in connecting startups with available capital and educating future angel investors, Black identified a gap. Much of the substantial wealth sitting on the tech sidelines is still not comfortable investing in seed-stage tech companies that aren’t generating meaningful revenue or may not have found product-market fit. Black wants to introduce these Miami area investors to software companies at the post-Series A stage and to the institutional VC investors backing these companies from anywhere in the hemisphere. “Instead of waiting for this amazing wealth to get comfortable with early stage, why not expose them to these great companies that are still going to generate substantial value for them at a stage where the traction is more tangible?” she said.
At Function, these member family offices and accredited private individuals will be part of the Function community where they have access to events -- dinners, speakers series, etc -- in which Function will bring in founders and leaders from the Miami ecosystem as well as the Bay Area, New York and Latin America to meet with them.
“It is about bringing together the investor community in Miami, it is about amplifying them, advocating for them and adding value to this industry,” said Black, Function's managing director.
Function will also offer a Knowledge Center, where there will be information available to everyone, not only members, about the state of the VC landscape as well as educational material for founders and investors. “I took some inspiration from LAVCA's research and NVCA's research, education, insights, and resources. I hope to bring together both existing best in class resources as well as new insights more tailored to South Florida in Function's Knowledge Center, starting in the next few months,” Black said.
Black has been meeting with as many investors, founders and community builders as she can. Since surfacing her plans for Function, she said she’s heard from many native South Floridians now working in tech in the California, Seattle and New York who could come back one day or become more involved from afar.
While there are still a lot of misconceptions about Miami as a place for tech, Black says: “There is actually a ton of capital here and very experienced business leaders that add a lot of value. My goal is to put Miami on the map as a source of credible and valuable investment capital.”
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