10+ things to know in #MiamiTech: News from Betr, Blink Charging, Trav, Brightline, AWS, CIC, Watson Institute, FAU, Insightec, Taxfyle, Bevel & more


Betr launches in Massachusetts, makes key acquisition

This just in: Betr, the Miami-based sports betting startup founded by Joey Levy and Jake Paul, announced today that it has launched its real-money gaming product in Massachusetts. Betr’s product has been available in Ohio since Jan. 1 and the startup plans to launch in additional markets in coming months. Betr is also soft-launching its first of its kind Scripts product, which combines the instant gratification of a microbet with the long odds of a parlay, the company said.

Betr, creator of the world’s first microbetting app, is only the 7th operator to enter Massachusetts, “home of some of world’s greatest sports franchises and fans,” said Levy, CEO. “Not bad for a company that launched less than a year ago with vastly fewer resources than pretty much all industry incumbents.”

In a second development announced earlier this week, Betr announced it has acquired the Chameleon technology platform from FansUnite Entertainment for $7.5 million in cash and equity. The transaction included Chameleon’s source code, related documentation, intellectual property and physical assets. This acquisition accelerates Betr’s broader sports betting market coverage and iGaming capabilities, including the ability to launch a fully integrated sportsbook and casino, while saving on long-term product costs, Betr said in its announcement.

“We are thrilled to acquire the Chameleon platform from FansUnite and to also welcome the engineering team that has been working on this platform for several years to the Betr family. This is a transformational transaction for Betr that enables Betr Gaming to fully control our ability to execute against our core strategy, while also capturing a material amount of gross margin for our business model,” Levy said in a statement.

Betr is backed by $50 million in venture capital from investors including Florida Funders, Fuel Venture Capital and co-owners of the San Francisco 49ers, Boston Celtics and Miami Marlins.


Blink Charging makes change at the top

The Board of Directors of Blink Charging, a leading manufacturer, owner, operator, and provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging equipment and services, announced that Brendan S. Jones has been promoted to the role of president and CEO for Blink Charging and Michael D. Farkas is stepping down but will continue to serve on the board. Jones joined Blink in April 2020 as the COO and has been serving as its President since 2021.

Under the leadership of Farkas and Jones, Blink has restructured its sales and operations, building greater efficiencies while focusing on growing the team to meet the call for a robust EV charging infrastructure around the world. During Jones’ tenure as COO and President, the company has grown from 42 employees to over 625, with plans to continue growing as EV adoption and infrastructure demand accelerates. Blink operates in 27 countries, with offices and facilities in the United States, England, Netherlands, Belgium, Israel, and India.

Farkas, founder of Blink Charging, served as its CEO and executive chairman and in other executive management positions since 2009. Jones joined Blink in April 2020, following his role as COO at Electrify America, where he was the first employee of the world’s largest ultrafast EV charging companies.


Trav acquires credit decisioning platform

Truv, a Miami -based provider of a consumer-permissioned data platform, acquired Credegraph, a Camas, Washington-based provider of a credit decisioning platform

The amount of the deal was not disclosed.

The enhancements created from this acquisition will be available to lenders through Truv’s financial accounts income and transactions products.

Founded and led by CEO Kirill Klokov, Truv, formerly known as Citadel API, is consumer-permissioned data platform that enables financial organizations with access to financial data source available. Use cases supported by it include income and employment verification, employment history verification, paycheck-linked loans, verification of insurance, direct deposit switching, and earned wage access.

Credegraph is an alternative credit bureau dedicated to innovating in the credit reporting industry. Its consumer’s credit autograph provides a view of both ability-to-repay and creditworthiness. This allows lenders to verify income sources and schedules. Codegraph’s CEO will be joining Truv.

“Lenders need access to banking transaction data to verify an applicant’s ability to repay a loan, but banking transaction data is historically hard to decipher. Truv and Credegraph now solve this problem by deriving FCRA compliant credit attributes from banking transaction data so lenders can gather relevant alternative credit data points,” said Klokov, in a statement.


Brightline is first train company to use Elon Musk’s Starlink internet

The fastest train in the Southeast has now also become the first to use SpaceX’s Starlink internet.  Brightline will be  using Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency broadband service for uninterrupted complimentary Wi-Fi signal in trains servicing South Florida and will likely extend to Orlando this summer, Click Orlando reported.

“Brightline will be the first train sets in the world to use the Starlink system. This really speaks to what we represent – an innovative passenger rail provider paving the way for high-speed rail in the US,” Kevin T. McAuliffe, chief technology and digital innovation officer of the rail service, said in a statement. “Brightline is working with some of the best tech teams around the globe and our partnership with Starlink will elevate our brand to the stars.”

Starlink delivers internet to users all over the world, including to homes, businesses, and transportation providers in the aviation and marine industries, using the largest constellation of highly advanced satellites operating in a low orbit around the Earth.

SpaceX has launched several batches of Starlink satellites from Florida’s Space Coast over the years. Read more here.


Three Miami startups chosen for AWS Impact Accelerator

Three tech startups from the Miami area were selected to participate in the AWS Impact Accelerator Latino Founders Cohort, the $30-million business and technical mentorship program created to support underrepresented tech founders.

Of the 20 companies selected for the accelerator, the ones hailing from the greater Miami area are:

  • EducUp: an edtech startup on a mission to make learning easy and fun, is headed by Carlos Raul Garcia is CEO and co-founder.
  • Lazo: a cloud-based products platform that provides guidance to users with their taxes, accounting, and finance, is headed by Juan Manuel Barrero, CEO  and co-founder.
  • Monadd: a service and subscription management software that discovers all the services linked to residences and allows residents to manage them, is headed by Jessica Mendoza, CEO and founder.

The program kicks off this week and will run through June 29. Amazon Web Services said the 20 companies were chosen from more than 1,100 applications.

The AWS Impact Accelerator provides Black, Latino, Women, and LGBTQIA+ founders with access to training, mentorship, and resources, including each company receiving a $125,000 unrestricted cash grant and $100,000 in AWS credits to help them scale their businesses. The cost of the program is free and no equity is taken.

“Latinos make up one in five people in the country, but are still significantly underrepresented when it comes to venture funding support to their businesses—receiving less than 2% of the venture capital invested in the market. This cohort of the AWS Impact Accelerator aims to highlight the viability and ingenuity of Latino-led startups, so the VC community can increase support to these founders,” said Howard Wright, Vice President and Global Head of Startups at AWS. “We’re looking forward to playing an active role in helping these companies turbocharge their growth through access to capital, experts, and all of the innovations that the AWS tech stack has to offer.”


CIC accepting applications for Miami-based soft landing program

CIC, a global operator of innovation campuses focused on supporting the growth of entrepreneurs and startups, announced that it is now accepting applications for the sixth cohort of its Miami-based International Soft Landing (ISL) program, which supports Latin American founders as they enter the U.S. market by providing an immersive experience with the fundamentals of business in the U.S., connecting them with investors, and supporting them as they open new U.S. locations. ISL is particularly focused on startups in tech industries, such as fintech, biotech, and edtech, given CIC’s deep roots and connections in the innovation economy.

In 2022, Latin American startups saw venture capital investments totaling $7.8 billion across 1,114 deals. ISL gives Latin American companies the opportunity to build on this rapidly growing startup culture and succeed in the U.S.’s tech industry, contributing to the development of new ideas and products that transcend international borders in the process. ISL streamlines this process of internationalization by providing the tools and support needed for their cohorts to stand out among competitors. Learn more here.


Watson Institute launching Venture Accelerator

The Watson Institute is launching a fully-funded Venture Accelerator program for next-generation entrepreneurs with the skills, resources, and experience to scale the impactful ventures they are building. Fellows will also have the opportunity to earn up to $6,000 in seed funding. This program is offered with virtual and in-person components. 

Watson Institute has locations in Boulder, Colorado, and at Lynn University in Boca Raton and runs accelerators for leading corporations including Ford Motor Company Fund and Western Union Foundation. They are now building partnerships with innovative corporations and institutions of higher education in the US and globally. Read more in South Florida Tech Hub.


FAU signs research partnership with Insightec

Florida Atlantic University signed a memorandum of understanding with medical device company Insightec to research the uses of focused ultrasound to treat brain diseases, Miami Inno reported.

Founded in Israel led by local serial entrepreneur Maurice R. Ferré, Insightec harnesses sound waves to man target and ablate diseased tissue in the brain without the need for surgical incisions. The technology is being used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and tremors resulting from Parkinson’s disease.

“There is a great urgency to accelerate the pace of medical innovation to treat neurological diseases,” said Ferré, CEO and chairman. “Together with our academic research partners at FAU we will advance preclinical and clinical investigations and further examine the potential of the therapeutic power of focused soundwaves.” Read more here.


More ecosystem news to note

  • Bevel, a strategic communications firm focused on tech, finance and venture capital industries, opened its newest office in at 3050 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami, its fourth location. The New York-based firm also has a presence in Los Angeles and London.
  • Taxfyle, the internet’s accounting workforce, announced it has partnered with Rocket Lawyer to launch Rocket Tax as an easy and affordable way to file taxes on Rocket Lawyer’s complete legal services platform by pairing customers with licensed and experienced tax pros. Existing Rocket Legal Cloud customers and platform partners will gain access to Rocket Tax and in turn, Taxfyle.


Opportunity knocks

  • Want to build a career in tech but facing financial barriers? The Ironhack x eMerge Americas Community Impact Scholarship can help you break down those barriers and launch your dream career. Apply here.
  •  Venture Miami  and The Shrimp Society have partnered up to launch the Built in Miami Startup Program, a year-long initiative designed to support early-stage entrepreneurs in Miami. The Built in Miami Startup Program, free for participants, will feature three tracts for entrepreneurs at each stage of their startup journey: the Zero to One Sprint program, the Builders Summer Series, and the Miami Startup Accelerator. Applications for the Zero to One Startup Sprint are now open and can be accessed via builtmiami.com 
  • The Venture Miami Scholarship Fund provides tuition support to provide gap funding for at-need City of Miami residents who have been accepted into STEM or defined-demand occupation programs at participating colleges and universities, including Florida International University, Florida Memorial University, Miami Dade College, and the University of Miami. How to apply: Students who meet the program requirements and are interested in applying to the Venture Miami scholarship are encourage to complete this survey to begin the application process.
  • Endeavor Miami is accepting applications for the next cohort of EndeavorLAB, an program that offers training and mentorship to underrepresented startup founders in Florida. The upcoming cohort is for women entrepreneurs who run startups that generate between $50,000 and $500,000 in annual revenue. Because of the City of Miami’s support, there is no cost to the participants.  Apply by May 21
  • Techstars Miami Powered by J.P. Morgan focuses on accelerating founders’ efforts in finding product-market fit, fundraising, and recruiting. The accelerator is accepting applications for its in-person Miami accelerator program beginning Sept. 11 and ending with a Demo Day on Dec. 7. Apply here by June 7.
  • Miami Dade College is accepting applications for the next Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program beginning Sept. 12 at the Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus. The program is open to business owners with ventures that have been in operation for at least two years and earned $75,000 or more in revenue during the most recent fiscal year. Apply here by June 13.


Got news: Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg and email her at [email protected]

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Nancy Dahlberg