Miami Tech & Startup News

7 things to know in #MiamiTech: Jeeves CEO raises $180M; Amazon moves in; Endeavor ScaleUp cohort named; Black Tech Week sold; and we have winners!

7 things to know in #MiamiTech: Jeeves CEO raises $180M; Amazon moves in; Endeavor ScaleUp cohort named; Black Tech Week sold; and we have winners!

1

Jeeves CEO, now in Miami, raises $180M for his startup valued at $2.1B

Jeeves, an all-in-one corporate card and expense management platform for businesses, announced  it has secured $180 million in a Series C round led by Tencent. The company’s valuations is now $2.1 billion valuation. In the last 12 months, the company has raised over $380 million.

The global startup, headed by founder and CEO Dileep Thazhmon (pictured above), now a Miami area resident,  will use the capital to fuel its global expansion across Latin America, Canada, and Europe. Born in Mexico, Jeeves has doubled its client base to more than 3,000 companies across 24 countries and 3 continents, and has grown revenue by 900% since the Series B in September, the company said.

“While we are in one of the toughest environments for startup funding this year, we are excited in the trust investors have, not only in Jeeves but in growing businesses who will be able to use our financial products globally,” said Thazhmon.

 The remote-first Jeeves team currently consists of 150 employees across 10 countries.  “Personally, I’ve moved to Miami and will be here for at least a year, figuring out what to do for the company’s headquarters,” the CEO told Bloomberg.

Fintech entreprneurs and companies have been flocking to Miami in the past year In 2021, for the first time, fintech was the most active vertical for South Florida venture capital, ahead of healthcare technology.

2

Endeavor Miami announces ScaleUp Program cohort, Boca partnership

Endeavor Miami recently announced eight participating entrepreneurs for the Spring Cohort of its ScaleUp Program, an innovative four-month growth program designed to support startups with high-impact potential in the Miami ecosystem. The participants are:

  • Accountify: An SaaS platform for corporate performance management (CPM) that follows a methodology created by finance experts. The company is led by Goldwasser Neto, co-founder and CEO; João Mano, co-founder and COO.
  • Agrizon: A specialized cross border e-commerce that connects and delivers worldwide brands of ag inputs with farmers and companies. The company is led by Luis Hidalgo, Co-Founder & CEO, Joaquin Paz, Co-Founder & CIO, Michael Rosero, Co-Founder & CTO, and Daniel Badovinac, CLO. 
  • BH Compliance:  With its tech, monitors multinational companies operations to make sure each department is complying with its anti-corruption compliance procedures. The company is led by Susana Sierra, Co-Founder & CEO, Alejandro Sierra, Co-Founder, and Jorge Bofill, Co-Founder. 
  • CLOOD:  the first foodtech focused in aesthetics and cosmetic nutrition market in Latam. The company is led by Juan F. Lago, Co-Founder & CEO, and Federico Weill, Co-Founder & CTO.  
  • ONR App:  an all in one platform that allows users to engage with their associations (Condo /HOA) by having a centralized place to pay, vote, reserve, and sell goods/services with their neighbors. The company is led by Alan Gucovschi, Co-Founder & COO, Carlos Guzman, Co-Founder & CEO, and Nicolas Turbay, Co-Founder & CXO. 
  • Saldo:  helps migrant workers make cross border payments. The company is led by Graciela Dominguez Contreras, Co-Founder & CEO, and Marco Alfonso Montes Neri, Co-Founder & CTO. 
  • Sprightful:  opens the door for all property owners to directly participate in and benefit from the renewable energy revolution by deploying distributed solar assets at no cost to property owners, offering “Solar as a Service.” The company is led by Pablo Corredor, Co-Founder & CEO, and Jack Vargas, Co-Founder. 
  • Urban SDK:  a data analytics and visualization software that transforms data from the physical world and turns it into intelligence. The company is led by Justin Dennis, Co-Founder, COO, and Drew Messer Co-Founder, CEO. 

 Endeavor Miami also recently announced it is partnering with the City of Boca Raton Office of Economic Development for its second EndeavorLAB cohort of the year, focusing on local entrepreneurs in the city. Applications are now open to entrepreneurs and companies within the Boca Raton city limits who want to participate in the growth program. EndeavorLAB is a two-month, audience-specific, accelerated growth program designed to support local early-stage companies in establishing their business foundations post-revenue generation. Selection criteria include being based in Florida, with priority given to companies based within the Boca Raton city limits, having product-market-fit and generating between $50K and $500K in annual revenues. More info here

3

South Florida startups in 35 Mules Cohort 2

Three South Florida startups were selected for the second cohort of Florida Power & Light 35 Mules incubator program. Seven companies were selected, including Boca Raton-based Bond Energy, a company working to commercialize and scale lithium extraction from seawater; Digital Twin Marine, a Fort Lauderdale business that creates 3D virtual replicas of ships; and SMG Delivering Data, a Palm Beach startup that uses manned pilots and drones to collect ultra-high-resultion datasets turning physical assets into digital models. 

35 Mules provides early-stage startups with financial and marketing mentors, workspace, business services and connections.  Check out our spotlight on Cohort 1 here.

4

Startup Studio grantees announced

Three months after launching the eMerge Americas Startup Studio as a platform for propelling minority-led startups in South Florida, three companies have emerged as winners of a pitch competition organized by eMerge Americas and City National Bank of Florida. The three businesses were awarded $50,000 in combined grants – and will be fast-tracked into the eMerge Americas 2022 Startup Showcase taking place at this year’s eMerge conference. The winners of the Startup Showcase will win $400,000 in investments.

Winners of the Startup Studio were:  Storybook (1st Place), which created an application that helps parents help their kids fall asleep faster through story time and gentle massaging; GenoBank (2nd Place), a biotech company that helps consumers establish ownership and control of their bio samples and genomic data while protecting ethical researchers by leveraging blockchain technology to comply with privacy laws; and YTeach (3rd Place), an easy-to-use platform that allows schools to build, deliver, and monitor high-dosage peer tutoring programs, with the goal of driving student success and empowering teachers and administrators.

5

Amazon establishing ‘foothold’ in Coral Gables

It’s not “HQ2” but it’s a start. Amazon is establishing a “foothold” here, leasing 9,000 square feet at the WeWork center in Coral Gables according to the Wall Street Journal. Kayak.com also recently leased space in the same building.

The new offices will host about 160 Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Web Services employees, some new hires, while others will be transferring from Latin America. The company is currently in the process of hiring 60 new employees in Miami.

6

Black Tech Week conference to live on – in Cincinnati

One of the country’s premier technology conferences for Black founders has been acquired.

Cincinnati economic development organizationLightship Foundation has acquired Black Tech Week, a minority tech ecosystem-building festival. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Lightship Foundation founder and CEO Candice Matthews Brackeen said the acquisition means Black Tech Week’s annual conference, scheduled this year for July 18-23, will be held in Cincinnati.

Founded in 2015 by Felecia Hatcher and Derick Pearson, the event was launched in Miami to connect Black tech professionals, entrepreneurs, funders and allies. They also founded the Center for Black Innovation in 2020, along with Code Fever and A Space Called Tribe in earlier years..

“Black Tech Week is a culturally historic event that innovators of color have converged upon for the last seven years to expand their minds, their networks, and their access to capital,”Brackeen said. Brackeen’s husband, Brian, was one of the iniaural speakers

The Brackeens launched Lightship Capital’s first fund in 2020, and recently announced their first Miami-based investment, BootUP, along with some details of their Fund 2.

7

Opportunity Knocks

  • The Venture Miami Tech Hiring Fair is 4 pm to 7 pm April 14 at Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus. .The “vision” of Venture Miami is to make Miami the “capital of capital” with an innovative technological ecosystem and an economy that delivers for everyone. A key component to realizing the vision is connecting local talent to career opportunities at this free event, in which dozens of companies will be looking for talent. Join City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Miami Dade College President Madeline Pumariega, University of Miami President Julio Frenk, and Florida International University Interim President Kenneth A. Jessell for an evening of connection and community. Learn more and register here.
  • Get ready to hack on April 9! This eMerge Americas + Ironhack Hackathon is powered by Blockchain.com and supported by BankUnited, UKG and Miami Dade College. Over 100 elite developers will be tasked to deploy Web3 Tech to create an innovative and unique solution that creates significant, positive change that addresses a pressing social challenge. The winning team will be awarded $10,000 cash in prize money. In addition to the cash prize, the winners will receive a prize from Ironhack. To increase inclusivity in tech there will also be a special prize from Meta for a junior team. Learn more and register here.
  • 776 Foundation and its first campaign, a fellowship that will give $20 million to young people over the next decade to work on climate solutions. Each year, 20 climate fellows between the ages of 18 and 23 will receive a $100,000 grant each, along with support from the foundation’s network of founders, investors, and partners. Apply here.
  • Black Girl Ventures is teaming up with Visa and Truist to host an online pitch competition on March 29. Small business owners can join and present a 60-second pitch for a chance to win up to $30,000 in grants. Register here.
  • CEMEX Ventures opened applications for the sixth edition of its Construction Startup Competition. The pitch challenge is open to early-stage construction companies that want to innovate the industry by developing green construction solutions or improving supply chain and productivity. Apply here

Have #MiamiTech news to share? Email Nancy Dahlberg at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @ndahlberg.

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