5 things to know in #MiamiTech: Crypto Capital for VC? Getting there, plus eMerge Americas Startup Showdown lowdown and more

Good evening, Miami Tech! Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve likely heard that the upcoming Miami Tech Week is now Miami Tech Month, with conferences, events, pitch competitions, happy hours and a hiring fair already on the calendar for April. Find all the events at miamitechmonth.com. Now let’s get on with some other things to know.


Miami in top 4 as a Crypto Capital for venture: CB Insights

In my last Things to Know column, we learned that Miami was in the top 5 for crypto-related job postings in 2021. So today we learn that the Magic City is also in the top 5 for blockchain and crypto-related venture capital.  

As of now, the Big Apple is the clear crypto capital of the US, according to CB Insights’ latest report. Last year,  NYC-based startups raised $6.5 billion, or 46% of US funding activity, led by massive Q4 rounds from NYDIG ($1B) and Celsius Network ($750M). Silicon Valley came in second with $3.9 billion in blockchain funding and 28% of the market. 

But here comes the Magic City tied with the City of Angels for third place, each taking about a 5% slice of the crypto VC pie. The Miami metro area drew just over $762 million across 17 deals, according to the report, which you can download from here. Miami was helped by a Q4 surge of $624 million (thanks mostly to MoonPay, the Miami area’s top deal). We clearly have an East Coast-West Coast thing going here, and the East Coast is winning.  The rest of the country drew 16% of the crypto funding.

In the US, companies attracted $14.18 billion across 515 deals, according to CB Insights.

Worth noting: My venture report will be coming out soon, and my total for the Miami metro area is  close but a bit higher in both dollars and deals. Stay tuned!


 eMerge Americas announces Startup Showcase details – $400M in investments is the prize

 eMerge Americas, the homegrown organization focused on transforming Miami into a global  tech hub, said that particants in the 2022 Global Startup Showcase will have a chance to win over $400,000 in investments: $250,000 investment by Florida Funders, $120,000 investment by Panoramic Ventures, and $50,000 investment by eMerge Americas, and with additional prizes to be announced in coming weeks. This year the showcase will be sponsored by Algorand, a blockchain focused on decentralized finance.

Through a competitive application process, eMerge Americas will select 100 startups within three stages (University Stage, Early Stage and Late Stage) to participate in a multi-week program, which will culminate in a grand finale pitch competition. This competition will take place April 18-19, 2022, at the eMerge Americas conference; CNBC Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, “Mr. Wonderful” himself, will be a judge in the Startup Showcase finale along with Ryan Whittemore from Florida Funders, Paul Judge from Panoramic Ventures, and more judges will be announced soon.

“The Startup Showcase is the heart and soul of eMerge Americas, the cornerstone of our year-round programming, and the anchor of our annual global tech conference,” said Melissa Medina, President of eMerge Americas.  “We have thoughtfully curated programming for founders to foster exposure to a diverse network of angel investors, venture capital funds and growth equity firms, as well as connect them with mentors, partners and other resources to help scale their businesses.”

Applications are now open and the deadline for entry is February 28, 2022. Click here to apply.

In another announcement, Merge Americas said that Hong Fang, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Okcoin, would be a keynote speaker, joining Serena Williams and others for the April conference.

2019 eMerge Americas Conference. The conference returns April 18-19 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.


Citrix to be sold to private investors

We don’t typically report on multi-billion dollar publicly traded companies on Refresh Miami, but Citrix Systems has been one of South Florida’s largest companies and has anchored Fort Lauderdale’s technology community for more than a decade. The company reached an agreement to be taken over by two large investment firms for $16.5 billion, the Sun Sentinel reported.

Citrix, which employs over 9,400 people globally including about 1,400 at its Cypress Creek Road headquarters,  will be merged with TIBCO Software, a California business intelligence software maker, and the the combined company will be headquartered in Fort Lauderdale and operate under the Citrix name, according to a statement Monday by the investment firms Vista Equity Partners, which owns TIBCO, and Evergreen Coast Capital, the private equity arm of the Wall Street giant Elliott Management Corp.

For fiscal 2021, Citrix reported 3.2 billion in annual revenues. The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year. Read more in the Sun Sentinel here.


 Seven Seven Six raises an oversubscribed $500M for Fund 2

Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six venture fund announced it closed on $500 million for its second fund.  $300 million going toward funding startups at their “earliest possible” stage and $200 million allocated for backing companies that are breaking out, Ohanian told TechCrunch.

Seven Seven Six now has $750 million worth of assets under management. Notable South Florida portfolio companies include Papa, Pipe , QuickNode and Gloria. About 50% are Web3 companies, but always follows “the lead of the smartest founders we meet,” Phanian told TechCrunch. It’s also investing in climate tech, space tech, food tech and “still good old-fashioned SaaS businesses.”


 Opportunity Knocks

  • Apply now for Venture Miami’s Start-Up Mornings, It’s a converstion between founders and funders on how to raise capital and grow your startup. Ask questions, connect with other entrepreneurs, meet local VCs and engage in an educational morning Cafecito. Find out more and sign up here.
  • Endeavor Miami has opened applications to its 2022 Programs, including ScaleUp Program in spring and fall, plus EndeavorLAB, running for multiple specialized classes of founders. Click here for more details.
  • Applications are now open for the Miami Herald’s Startup Pitch Competition. Founders and students building companies in industries vital to South Florida’s economy are welcome to apply. This year, Endeavor Miami is managing the Community Track of the entrepreneurial competition. The deadline to submit an application is March 1. For more information about the FIU Track, open to FIU students and alumni, go here; the deadline is the same but the place to submit entries is different.  

This is the place where I usually link to our Refresh Miami news headlines from the last week but there are 15 of them! So click around RefreshMiami.com/news if you need to catch up! Thank you for reading and supporting Refresh.

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter and email Nancy Dahlberg at [email protected]

Nancy Dahlberg