6+ things to know in #MiamiTech: News about OpenStore, Miami EdTech, TravelX, angel groups, flying cars, Bored Apes and more


OpenStore triples its Wynwood office space

With plans for dozens more hires before the end of this year, OpenStore tripled its office space at its Miami headquarters.

The startup added an additional 26,000 square feet. The company now occupies more than 40,000-square feet at The Gateway at Wynwood, a new Class A office building in the Wynwood Arts District and plans to grow to about 100 employees this year, the South Florida Business Journal reported. OpenStore was the first tenant in the 13-story Gateway, moving in a few months ago.

Co-founded by Keith Rabois of Founders Fund, Atomic’s Jack Abraham, Michael Rubenstein, Matt Lanter and Jeremy Wood, OpenStore buys small businesses that operate on Shopify, using its software to quickly evaluate, price and make offers. OpenStore then leverages its technology and  resources to bolster the sales of the acquired product lines, and eventually hopes to combine them under one ecommerce brand.

The  fast-growing startup, which only launched last summer, has some 60 employees and plans to nearly double that this year; more than 30 open roles are advertised on its career page now. What you won’t see on the job postings is the word remote; all roles are in Miami, and Rabois, OpenStore’s CEO, believes working together is critical for early-stage companies. What’s good for this quick-moving company is also good for Miami: tech jobs, lots of them.  

The startup has raised $105 million in venture capital, including a $75 million Series A last November, from investors including General Catalyst and Khosla Ventures. It’s also approaching unicorn territory, with a $750 million valuation.


Miami Edtech receives grant to help bridge the digital divide

Miami EdTech  has been selected as one of 20 Latino-led and serving nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive a $25,000 grant from the Hispanic Federation  in partnership with Comcast NBCUniversal Telemundo to enhance and expand its digital workforce training activities. The award is a part of the Hispanic Federation’s and Comcast’s new Latino Digital Equity Centers initiative, which is a national effort to strengthen institutions serving the Latino community with workforce development and digital training programs.

With the funds, Miami EdTech will receive a first-of-its-kind training program, known as the Digital Accelerator, designed for Latino-led nonprofits to strengthen their organizational capacity, programmatic offerings, and reach in the digital workforce development space. In addition, the organizations will offer a Digital Career Center that provides both online and in-person trainings to community members seeking to increase their digital skills and get connected to employment opportunities that leverage those skills. Miami EdTech also recently launched LatinosforCS, a movement aimed at increasing the number of Latinos in CS careers, majors, and alternative learning experiences.

 “As the tech spotlight continues to shine on Miami, it’s important that we focus on leaving no one behind and ensure equitable access to the jobs that are coming to the ecosystem,” said Carlos Vazquez, CEO and Founder of Miami EdTech.  “This grant will allow us to pilot a new initiative for the community and explore ways to increase the tech talent pool in Miami.”

According to the Miami Foundation, one in every five Miami-Dade residents does not have broadband Internet access at home. Nationally, over the next decade, 50% of tasks across all industries are expected to go digital, eliminating as many as 39 million jobs—and by 2030, at least two-thirds of jobs will require some level of digital skills. Latino workers are 14% of overall workers but represent 35% of workers with no digital skills and 20% of those with limited digital skills.

According to Miami EdTech, while Computer Science wages are more than twice those of non-STEM jobs, minorities and economically disadvantaged students, are underrepresented in the Computer Science workforce.  This funding will support Miami EdTech in growing its industry certification training both virtually and in-person.  Nationwide, the initiative will train 6,000 Latinos over the next year.

“Bridging the digital divide that disproportionately impacts Latinos is key to creating economic opportunity in the Latino community and a more equitable society,” said Frankie Miranda, President and CEO of the Hispanic Federation.


South Florida angel investment groups announce collaboration

Two Miami angel investment groups, Black Angels Miami (BAM) and Gold Coast Angel Investors (GCAI), announced a collaboration aimed at creating more deal flow for investors and more available investment capital for entrepreneurs.

Black Angels Miami and Gold Coast Angel Investors both launched in 2019 and are headquartered in Miami. BAM has 30+ members nationally, and the organization’s investments include ByteChek of Miami, whose seed round last year was dominated by Black investors.

Gold Coast has 26 members thoughout the tri-county area, and  their round sizes are typically about $400K-$500K or more. They are  investors in Natural Cravings in Homestead and Olleyes in Miami, as well as Wellbox in Jacksonville and CogAbility of Gulf Breeze, Fla.

“By teaming together, we expand opportunities to expose our members to more high-quality startups and we also increase the opportunity for founders to find investors when they connect to us. This collaboration is a win-win for our organizations and the overall ecosystem,” said Kevin Cadette, BAM’s executive director. “Bringing more bright, successful people with good values together for a common goal usually produces positives for everyone.”

“We are very excited about teaming with BAM, excited about the co-investing opportunities, and about the positive impact we can have on the diverse South Florida entrepreneurial community,” added Bo Megginson, managing partner of GCAI.


 Doroni Aerospace raises cool million in crowdfunding for flying car

Doroni Aerospace raised $1.07 million from 916 investors on the equity crowdfunding platform StartEngine.com.

Founded in 2016, Doroni’s mission is to bring safe and consumer-first air transportation to the emerging electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) industry. The company’s go to market aircraft — the Doroni H1 eVTOL — uses an intuitive and easy-to-use control system that simplifies the inherent complexities of flight.

Prior to this raise, Doroni designed, built, tested, and successfully lifted-off a 643 LB. full-scale single-seat prototype personal eVTOL. This paved the way for the company to win 2nd place at the 2021 Florida Aerospace Forum and garnered the support of government agency Space Florida to help bring production to scale. Doroni, based in Coral Springs, anticipates a commercial launch of the H1 by the end of 2024, and will be seeking a Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) certification with the FAA.

What will it cost? Initially the H1 will likely retail for between $195K and $250K, the company says. The H1 will be able to park and charge in a standard two car garage.


TravelX makes tracks with airline partners

TravelX, A Miami-based startup building at blockchain-based distribution protocol for the travel industry, announced a new partnership with Kiu System Solutions via Kiu PSS that will enable 73 airline partners the ability to tokenize and distribute inventory as NFTs, all through TravelX’s technology. 

The strategic alliance allows airlines operating with Kiu to reduce distribution and transaction costs and increase revenue, while improving the traveler experience, by tokenizing and globally distributing inventory as NFTickets. This news comes on the heels of a partnership announced last week with ALTA, and just last month selling the first ever NFTicket with AirEuropa for over $1 million during a live auction. 

TravelX was born in 2021 to reimagine the travel industry and accelerate its adaptation to Web3. One of TravelX’s most innovative propositions is the tokenization of E-tickets, evolving them into NFTickets. The company plans to launch its first service and marketplace later this year. 

READ MORE ON REFRESH: NFTs take flight with Miami-based TravelX


Ready to Ape it up at the ballpark?

It’s a whole new ballgame in Miami, the Crypto Capital. On Friday, June 3, throughout loanDepot park, art lovers and Marlins baseball fans can experience approximately 20 pieces of NFT (non-fungible token) Bored Ape Art displayed on the columns throughout the Promenade Level as they walk the ballpark in a first-of-its-kind experience at a Major League Baseball game.

Fans can level up their access with tickets to the pre-game party experience at Recess Sports Lounge with the Magic City Apes from 5-6 p.m. by visiting Marlins.com/BoredApe.


Opportunity knocks

  •  The Algorand Miami Accelerator is looking for the best 10 teams of the American continent and beyond for its 2022 program, which includes 10 weeks of training and mentorship in  NFT, Gaming, Defi, Social Impact; $30,000 in cash; and access to the Algorand ecosystem. Learn more and apply before May 22nd here.
  • BrainStation Miami is offering full scholarships for its full-time bootcamps in Web Development and UX Design that start May 23 at its Wynwood campus. Apply here
  • eMerge Americas and Ironhack are offering $200,000 worth of scholarships for people studying web development, data analysis or UX/UI design. Applications are open until May 19. Apply here
  • Founding in Color i is looking doe founders to feature in season two of the documentary series, which amplifies the stories of Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs launching startups and small businesses. Season one featured Maxeme Tuchman of Caribu and is streaming on Peacock and Black Experience on Xfinity.  Apply here
  • Florida Power & Light  is announced an $800,000 investment in scholarships for black students to facilitate the completion of baccalaureate degrees at Miami Dade College in the technology field. The funds from FPL will be used to cover tuition, fees, books and transportation costs for eligible black students facing a financial need over the next 4 years. For more information and to apply to the scholarship, go here.

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

Nancy Dahlberg