Miami Tech & Startup News

5+ things to know in #MiamiTech: Miami air taxi dream gains steam; VC firm creation soars in Florida, Novo’s 2021 hiring spree and more

5+ things to know in #MiamiTech: Miami air taxi dream gains steam; VC firm creation soars in Florida, Novo’s 2021 hiring spree and more


 eVTOL maker Archer now trading on the NYSE

Archer, the air taxi startup, began trading this morning on the New York Stock exchange under the ticker ACHR, as a result of its merger with Atlas Crest,  a SPAC. Archer will be ringing the opening bell of the NYSE on Monday. What does this milestone for the Palo Alto company mean for Miami? Plenty.

The business combination brings invaluable capital as Archer develops its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, aiming to transform urban air travel and bring on-demand air taxi service, similar in cost to an Uber ride, to consumers in 2024 – beginning with Miami as its initial launch city.

The venture-funded startup, founded in Gainesville by University of Florida alums, has many Miami ties, including A-Rod as an investor.  One of its first city infrastructure partnerships was with Mayor Suarez and the City of Miami. In recent weeks, Archer forged a partnership with Miami-based REEF to bring its urban air taxi “vertiports” to parking garage rooftops, on the heels of its . Most recently, Archer also announced the FAA’s issuance of the G-1 Issue Paper to the company, a key milestone in the certification process for its eVTOL aircraft.

Archer is not the only company interested in bringing air taxis to the Miami market. California startup Joby Aviation and Lilium, a German company, are also circling the Magic City and both also recently went public via SPACs.



VC firm creation in Florida is up 67% since 2019

We see the fruits of the Miami Movement showing up in the near-daily announcements of company relocations or expansions, VCs opening offies, and the fundraisings that have included many new-to-Miami companies. Now we are seeing it in new venture capital firm creation, too.

The Tampa Bay-based startup hub Embarc Collective and Build In SE announced the findings from their third annual Southeast Capital Landscape Report. One of the most interesting ones is that in Florida the number of venture capital firms has grown 67% since 2019.

There are now 280 individual VC firms in the Southeast US, with Florida being home to 80 of them and Miami alone being home to 34 (data on growth in the Miami area is not available). These numbers show the growing strength of the tech/startup ecosystem in the Southeast as a whole and in Florida.

In the whole Southeast, VC firm creation is up 30% since 2019. The report attributes the region’s increasing access to capital to a number of factors, including:

  • Tech Migration to the Southeast: Founders Fund, Harlem Capital, and General Catalyst are firms that have opened Southeast offices in the past year.
  • Densities of startups in new industries: Startups in sectors such as fintech, digital health, and enterprise SaaS are attracting the funders.
  • Focusing Capital on Underrepresented Founders:  This shift is most dramatically seen in Atlanta, where 41% of the 36 early-stage VC firms identify as having a diversity focus across investments, a diverse fund management team, or both.
  • An Increase in Women Investors: 58% (53 of 90) of women investors in the Southeast hold top leadership titles of Founding and/or General Partner, Managing Partner/Director, or Partner. Georgia has the most female institutional investors with 25, followed by Florida and Tennessee tied with 19 each, the report found.

“Over the years, we’ve heard many anecdotes from founders crafting their investor prospecting list and investors finding deal flow from this resource, and I hope it continues to be a powerful tool for those groups,” said Allie Felix, VP Platform of Embarc Collective

Learn more about the Southeast Capital Landscape here.


Novo makes executive moves in 2021 scaleup

Novo, the fast-growing Miami-based digital bank focused on small businesses, has added two to its executive team. In total, the company has added 60 full-time staff in 2021, more than doubling its global headcount. In the first half of 2021, Novo, founded by Michael Rangel and Tyler McIntyre,has surpassed $2 billion in lifetime transactions — doubling the digital banking platform’s lifetime transaction volume in Q2 2021 alone. Earlier this year, Novo moved to Miami and raised a $40.7M Series A round.

Novo hired Justin Potts as Executive Vice President of Engineering: Potts comes to Novo from fintech company MoneyLion, where he led all aspects of product engineering across the company’s checking account, crypto, investing, credit building, and loan products as VP of engineering and chief architect. Micayla Ryan is the new  Chief of Staff. Prior to joining Novo, Ryan was executive assistant at BARK, a pet-centric subscription company with more than 600 employees, through that company’s IPO.


Top Chilean startups again will be scaling their businesses in Miami

The Chilean Government Trade Agency ProChile alongside Chilean Fund CORFO is launching its program GoGlobal 2021, and once again Base Miami, a Miami based soft landing and go-to-market consulting company,  will be working with these startups as they scale their businesses internationally.

The 11 companies – selected from over 250 applicants – will receive guidance on how to define the right business model, value proposition and ideal client in the US, hot to get ready to go to market and also how to set up their US corporations, how to open a bank account, as well as the legal and tributary aspects in Miami.

The Chilean startups are:

Anastasia Artificial Intelligence


Ceptinel RegTech





LISA Insurtech




“We know Miami has all the tools to make these companies successful, our job is to show them the tools and introduce them to the Ecosystem so they can have a strong foothold since the beginning of their US Market Entry Journey,” said Base Miami Co-Founder Charly Esnal.


Blumberg Capital raises new fund and more news to note!

This just in: Blumberg Capital raises fifth early-stage fund: Blumberg Capital, founded in 1991 by investor (and Miami transplant) David Blumberg, recently closed its fifth early-stage venture fund with $225 million, according to a TechCrunch scoop. TechCrunch has all the details about the newest fund, past performance and Blumberg’s investing style in a Q&A, as well as his thoughts on Miami, including: “Florida is a great place for our family to be and I find for our business, it’s going to be great as well … Some of our companies are moving here, including one from Israel recently, one from San Francisco and one from Texas. A lot of our LPs are moving here or live here already.” Read more here.

Boca edtech company merging with Blackboard: Boca Raton-based Anthology announced it will merge with Blackboard Inc. to create one of the world’s largest education technology and software firms, Miami Inno reported. Jim Milton, Anthology’s chairman and CEO, will lead the combined company when the transaction closes by eyear’s end. Anthology, a cloud technology company for higher education, was formed last year in a SPAC transaction and partners with over 2,000 colleges across 30 countries and has about 1,400 employees. Read more here.

Boca Code scholarship winner announced: Boca Code, a local tech training startup, and MediaOps, a Boca Raton-based IT business, announced their “Engineer the Change” winner who received a $10,000 scholarship to Boca Code’s flagship Software Engineering Career Course, a 10-week coding bootcamp. Students in this course work with companies in the Boca area to develop software projects to address real business needs. The winner: Alina Maliuk, who immigrated to the United States from Ukraine in 2012. After working in entry-level jobs, Maliuk, now a mother of two and a Boca Raton resident, took several online classes in web development and then found Boca Code and attended a workshop in web development.

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