10+ things to know in #MiamiTech: Tech salaries in Miami, plus news about Magic Leap, Brightline, Opportunity Miami, Borderless Capital, INIT, Seaworthy & more

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Magic Leap, Meta reportedly in talks over potential multiyear partnership

Meta is currently in talks with South Florida-based Magic Leap to strike a multiyear deal that could include intellectual property licensing and contract manufacturing of Augmented Reality headsets in North America, the Financial Times reported.

The report cites “people familiar with early discussions” as saying the deal could involve intellectual property  licensing and contract manufacturing for “mainstream AR products”. That IP could include some of the company’s augmented reality (AR) waveguide patents. 

A potential deal may also allow Meta to lessen its reliance on China for component manufacturing. In 2019, Magic Leap partnered with manufacturing solutions company Jabil to create a Guadalajara, Mexico plant which the report maintains can assemble headsets in “the tens of thousands a year.” A specific joint Meta-Magic Leap headset isn’t expected as part of the deal, Financial Times sources said.

“Given the complexities of developing true augmented reality technologies and the intricacies involved with manufacturing these optics, as well as the issues many companies experience with overseas supply chain dependencies, we have entered into several non-exclusive IP licensing and manufacturing partnerships with companies looking to enter the AR market or expand their current position,” Magic Leap’s statement to the Financial Times read.

Magic Leap has released two AR headsets, Magic Leap 1 and Magic Leap 2. The $3,300 Magic Leap 2, released last year for the enterprise market, is considered by many to be the most advanced transparent optics AR device on the market. Compared to HoloLens 2, it’s field of view is nearly 2X larger and the dynamic dimming feature can render more solid looking virtual objects and enable it to be used outdoors. Magic Leap has raised over $4 billion in venture capital; its majority stakeholder is Saudi Arabia’s state-owned sovereign wealth fund.

In addition to Quest Pro mixed reality headset, Meta has confirmed it’s currently working on its next iteration of Quest, likely Quest 3, as well as its own AR glasses.

2

Miami area tech salaries trail

In a new report about tech salaries and job growth, trade association CompTIA found that the median tech wage for the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area’s tech workers was $79,429, 101% higher than the area’s overall median wage. By comparison though, it trailed the median tech wage in Florida, which was $81,533, and badly trailed the US median tech wage of $100,615. Nationally, The Miami area ranked in the 50th percentile for tech wages.

Here are some more numbers about the Miami metro area:

According to the report, 4.1% of the total workforce are tech workers, about 130,516 of you in all, ranking the metro area 17th in the country. There are 10,040 tech establishments, and 55,155 job postings. Tech employment grew 4.1% from 2021 to 2022, ranking 8th in the country, and is expected to grow 2.7% this year.

The Miami tech workforce is 12% Black, 27% Hispanic and 26% women. These percentages all trailed the total workforce in the Miami area, which was 17%, 37% and 48% respectively.

Software programmer is the leading tech occupation, with 27,816 of you, followed by  IT support specialists and network engineers. But the fastest growing  techoccupations are software programmers, expected to grow 4.8% in 2023, cybersecurity (3.9%); data science/analytics (4.2%) and  emerging tech (4.8%).

Download the report here

3

The lowdown on Brightline tickets to Orlando

Brightline, the high-speed train travel provider, has launched ticket sales for the Brightline Orlando connection. While final preparations are being made for the grand opening, tickets between South Florida stations (Miami, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach) and Orlando are on sale now for late summer through early 2024. Guests can purchase tickets at gobrightline.com or by downloading the app.

Brightline will offer limited one-way SMART fares starting at $79 for adults and $39 for kids. Groups of 4+ automatically save an additional 25 percent on SMART fares. One-way PREMIUM fares start at $149. Brightline’s 168-mile connection between South Florida and Orlando is expected to be completed in the second quarter, Brightline said this week.

In other Brightline news, the service carried 151,080 passengers in South Florida last month, an increase of 61% compared to last year, while ticket revenue in April jumped from last year to $3.4 million. About 30% of the ridership and ticket revenue was generated by the new Boca Raton and Aventura stations.

4

Mayor Daniela makes news at Opportunity Miami ClimateTech meetup

On Monday, Opportunity Miami – an initiative within the Miami-Dade Beacon Council – partnered with Miami-Dade County for its seventh climate tech meetup. It was standing room only in the Brickell offices of the Beacon Council as investors, entrepreneurs, public sector officials, and big business leaders came together to strategize about how to develop a robust climate tech ecosystem in Miami.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava provided the keynote address and described how Climate Tech fits into her ‘future ready’ economic development plan. “One of our pillars of the plan is innovation, which is why we launched the Miami-Dade innovation authority,” she explained, noting that the nonprofit organization raised $9 million to fund innovation at the seed stage across climate tech, healthtech, fintech, and more. “We think that Miami can really be one of the global solution centers of the world and a climate tech hub,” Levine Cava asserted.

She broke the news that Miami International Airport will be installing solar panels on its roof. This initiative is in addition to a wide range of innovations that the mayor already announced, including the installation of the world’s largest shore power system at Port Miami and the expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure. This is all part of the county’s initiative to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 and go net zero by 2050. – Riley Kaminer

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Borderless Capital to manage new $50M fund

More than 20 blockchain teams and venture funds have teamed up to launch a $50 million Cross-Chain Ecosystem Fund focused on backing and growing new startups that leverage the Wormhole cross-chain messaging protocol. The Cross-Chain Ecosystem Fund is being managed and operated by Miami-based Borderless Capital.

The fund aims to support cross-chain innovations that will drive the growth and adoption of the Web3 industry. The Cross-Chain Ecosystem Fund is backed by Jump Crypto, Polygon Ventures, Aptos Labs, Solana Foundation, Sei Foundation, Algorand Foundation, CLabs (the company behind the Celo Blockchain), the Moonbeam Foundation, Optimism, Circle, MultiCoin GP’s Tushar Jain and Kyle Samani, Arrington Capital, GSR, Floating Point Group, Chainlayer, Chainode Tech, 01Node, Staking Fund, Moonlet.io, Forbole Ventures, Syncnode, Inotel, Triton One, Strangelove, Securitize’s CEO Carlos Domingo, OtterSec among others.

The Cross-Chain Ecosystem Fund seeks to unlock the full potential of a cross-chain future, aiming to redefine users’ experiences and establish Wormhole as the cross-chain standard for builders to transcend the limitations of individual ecosystems. “Our goal is to empower builders to transcend the limitations of individual ecosystems, paving the way for blockchain applications and protocols to realize their full potential,” said David Garcia, CEO & Managing Partner of Borderless Capital.

Builders, founders and developers looking to reach across ecosystems can apply to the Cross-Chain Ecosystem fund at wormhole.com/programs. Applications will be reviewed by the fund manager, Borderless Capital, starting this month.

6

APR Renewables receives large investment

APR Renewables, a green energy provider based in Palm Beach Gardens, received a multimillion-dollar investment from Jacobson Partners. The amount of the deal was not disclosed. The company intends to use the funds to accelerate expansion into states that are set to benefit from the recently passed United States Inflation Recovery Act of 2022.

APR Renewables develops, builds, and operates large commercial and utility-scale solar and energy storage assets that provide clean green energy to multi-national companies, electrical utilities, industrial and warehousing, data centers, communities, and government entities. It supplies its customers with green energy through flexible power purchase agreements (PPAs) and virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs), tailored to meet their individual needs.

“For nearly 14 years, APR’s executive team has successfully implemented its mission of building green assets that provide the energy needs for the world’s leading companies and brands. We are pleased to announce the expansion of our business offerings and services into new markets with the strategic investment from Jacobson Partners,” said founder and CEO AJ Javan, in a statement.

7

ArisGlobal makes life science acquisition

ArisGlobal, a Miami-based provider of life sciences software designed to automate core drug development functions, has acquired Sporify, a Dublin, Ireland-based company focused on consistent and ISO IDMP-compliant SPOR data to feed regulatory activities across the product life cycle. Terms of the deal was not disclosed.

With the acquisition, ArisGlobal will enhance its regulatory solutions with data governance capabilities; matching, maintaining, synchronizing, and integrating SPOR data for life sciences customers.

Sporify provides consistent and ISO IDMP-compliant SPOR data to feed regulatory activities across the product life cycle, enabling more informed, proactive regulatory decisions to benefit public health and safety. It is a SPOR data harmonization technology solution for five of the world’s top 20 largest pharmaceutical companies and several European regulators. 

Led by CEO Mike Gordon, ArisGlobal is the creator of LifeSphere, a platform which specializes in global drug development technology solutions. It integrates its proprietary cognitive computing engine to automate all core functions of the drug development lifecycle. Designed with expertise and a long-term perspective that spans almost 40 years, LifeSphere boosts efficiency, ensures compliance, and reduces cost through multi-tenant Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) architecture.

Headquartered in the United States, ArisGlobal has regional offices in Europe, India, Japan and China.

8

Cloudhesive acquires fellow AWS Premier Partner

Cloudhesive, a Fourth Lauderdale -based Amazon Web Services (AWS) Premier Consulting Partner, acquired a fellow Premier Partner Eplexity, based in Denver, Colorado, with additional investment from Strattam Capital.

Th Eplexity offers migration services, application modernization services, and cloud-managed services. The combined company will serve over 500 clients across a diversified set of industries, including oil and gas, logistics, travel and hospitality, healthcare, high-tech, and the public sector. The amount of the deal was not disclosed.

Led by CEO Jim Walker, CloudHesive is an Amazon Premier Partner and an Amazon Managed Services Partner founded in 2014 by veterans in the cloud technology space. The company helps its customers adapt and transform their organizations by leveraging the power of the public cloud ecosystem through consulting, and next-generation managed services with a focus on Operational Excellence, Security, Reliability, and Application Optimization.

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More startup and tech news to note

  • At the launch of INIT, a new nonprofit that aims to bridge the digital divide, the Knight Foundation announced a $400,000 grant to expand the organization. Through its chapters at area universities, INIT is building community for the next generation of technologists and providing access to more Miamians to launch tech careers from local academic institutions. “They embody everything that’s great about Miami. And because of them, blue chip companies think of Miami as a source of elite tech talent,” Jon Belgrad of Knight Foundation announced on LinkedIn. [Read more about INIT here.]
  • Seaworthy Collective was a Stage One winner for the 2023 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, the US Small Business Association announced. Seaworthy Collective will receive a $50,000 cash prize to build strategic partnerships that will support its growth.  “This investment from the U.S. Small Business Administration reinforces Seaworthy Collective’s vision for accessible and inclusive ecosystem development enabling greater participation in the blue economy both locally in South Florida as well as nationally,” said founder and CEO Daniel Kleinman. Seaworthy Collective will now compete for an additional $50,000 to $150,000 later this summer. 

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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.
  • 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.

ICYMI

Send news tips to Nancy Dahlberg at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @ndahlberg

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Nancy Dahlberg