By Nancy Dahlberg
Ocean Azul Partners, a Miami-based early-stage venture firm, announced today that it has closed its second fund at over $40 million and has already invested in nine companies.
With the new fund, both global and local, Ocean Azul expects to invest 20% in Israeli companies that have a US market focus. It also is allotting 5% of the fund to invest in South Florida-based companies that may not meet all the fund’s criteria. About 27% of Ocean Azul's overall portfolio is South Florida companies.
Ocean Azul's quest is "to help create future business leaders across the world," said Managing Partner Bill Pruitt. “As emerging managers, we will continue to focus on bringing our investors what we hope will be industry-leading returns.”
Pruitt, who was managing partner of Arthur Anderson FL and co-founded the Florida Venture Forum back in the ‘80s, is one of five partners (pictured above) in the firm, which was founded in 2017. The other partners are David Zinn, founding CFO of DealerUps, acquired by JM Family Enterprises, and a Florida Venture Forum board member; Salomon Sredni, who was CEO of TradeStation, which he took public and later sold to Monex group; Alex Tellez, who built and sold Miami-based CellIT Technologies, a software company focused on call centers; and Lisette Tellez, previously managing partner for Dorm Room Fund at MIT, a student-run VC fund that invests in student-founded startups.
Ocean Azul invests in early stage companies, typically at the seed or Series A stages. Its check size ranges from $200K to $3 million and it reserves funds for follow-on.
Once Fund 2 is fully invested, Ocean Azul expects to have 20 to 24 portfolio companies in that portfolio alone.
With Fund 2, Ocean Azul has already invested in nine companies, including South Florida based Swift Sync. Other investments so far are Digtal Health, Emerge, Simetric, 1Touch.io, Lynq Technologies, Bandwango, Mosaic and 5x5 Technologies.
Through both its funds, Ocean Azul has 22 portfolio companies so far, of which six are South Florida companies. In addition to Swift Sync, it has invested in Itopia, Taxfyle, BabySparks, Aegle Therapeutics and Dade Systems.
Sectors the partners favor tend to be software technology for enterpriseB2B solutions, and deep tech, but also invests in B2C solutions. Industries it likes include FinTech, AgriTech, IoT, CyberSecurity, Cloud Automation, AutoTech, Digital Health, EdTech, VR/AR, Logistics, and Energy, Zinn said in an earlier interview.
It’s not difficult for startups to reach Ocean Azul, Zinn said then. “We like a warm intro, but it's not criteria, it just helps us. All of our email addresses are on our website. We are very accessible.”
Zinn's tips? “To prep for a meeting, be well prepared with your deck, be knowledgeable on your subject matter, and be persistent. That’s a little of the old school in me. I came to the States with $400 in my pocket on a one-way ticket to achieve the American Dream. I love the American dream stories, I love persistence -- send us a deck.”
Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter and email her at email@example.com
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