8+ things to know in #MiamiTech: IDC launches flexible capital arm, plus news from Black Wolf, Avenue Z, Zoox, Summit Therapeutics, TechStrong, AI bootcamp, tweets of week & more

1

IDC Network, Arena Investors launch $200M flexible capital arm

IDC Network  of Miami, a diversified private equity and venture capital asset manager and parent company of IDC Ventures, a global venture capital firm specializing in fintech and marketplaces, announced the launch of its new credit and flexible capital arm, IDC Arena Credit Ventures.

IDC Arena Credit Ventures was formed through a strategic partnership with Arena Investors, a global institutional investment manager. This partnership is set to create a “powerhouse for financing innovative technology ventures for companies at critical growth stages,” the companies said in their announcement. Melissa Ramirez, managing partner of IDC Network, will lead the new venture.

The strategic partnership aims to address the growing demand for non-dilutive funding options in the tech sector. “I’m excited to double down on our strategic goal to support the next generation of tech leaders with alternative, smart, and flexible capital tailored to their specific needs. This partnership will enable us to capitalize on the significant demand for non-dilutive capital we are seeing in the market, particularly from high-quality, disciplined tech companies,” said Ramirez, who is based in South Florida.

2

Black Wolf rideshare service arrives in Miami

Black Wolf, a gun-toting, TikTok famous rideshare service, recently expanded to Miami with a fleet of armed drivers from police, military and security backgrounds, Axios Miami reported.

Founder Kerry KingBrown, a private security guard and University of Miami alumnus, launched the company in Atlanta in 2023 and now has 25 drivers across Miami, Fort Lauderdale and other Florida cities. Riders can request an armed or unarmed driver. Read more here to find out how much it will cost.

3

Tech PR firm Bevel rebrands; now fully integrated into Avenue Z

Public relations firm Bevel rebranded after being acquired by Miami-based communications and marketing consultancy Avenue Z. Under the Avenue Z brand, the merger will combine traditional PR strategies with paid media, digital marketing, and performance media that not only increases the frequency and consistency of brand interactions but also strengthens the narrative across every platform from the Wall Street Journal to TikTok, the company said.

“The leadership team at Bevel, now fully unified under Avenue Z, is a critical part of helping our clients achieve greater reach, revenue and returns,” says Jeffrey Herzog, chairman and CEO of Avenue Z. 

Avenue Z has teams in New York, Boston, Orlando and Miami. Bristol Jones is director/head of Miami at Avenue Z. Since launching at the start of 2023, Avenue Z, now with about 100 employees, has also acquired Orlando-based marketing and SEO company Designzillas and The Snow Agency, a Miami social media marketing firm.

4

Amazon’s robotaxi Zoox to test in Miami

Amazon.com’s robotaxi unit Zoox said this week it plans to start testing its autonomous vehicles in Miami and Austin. Zoox will deploy its test fleet of retrofitted Toyota Highlanders with human safety drivers in small areas near the business and entertainment districts of the two cities, it said in a statement.

In San Francisco, Las Vegas and Seattle, Zoox has been testing its self-designed autonomous vehicles that are built without steering wheels and pedals and have room for four passengers, with two facing each other. The announcement comes amid an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration into 500 Zoox vehicles equipped with automated driving systems after two crashes. Zoox said it will not offer public rides in Miami yet but is exploring several cities for commercial offerings after its initial launch in Las Vegas and San Francisco.

5

Miami biopharma company raises $200M in funding

Summit Therapeutics, a Miami-based publicly traded biopharmaceutical oncology company, raised $200 million in funding. The company received and accepted an unsolicited offer from an institutional investor to purchase 22,222,222 shares of its common stock at $9 per share. The company plans to use the funds to advance the clinical development of ivonescimab, and for working capital and general corporate purposes.

Summit Therapeutics focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialization of patient-, physician-, caregiver- and societal-friendly medicinal therapies intended to improve quality of life, increase potential duration of life, and resolve serious unmet medical needs. The company has additional offices in Menlo Park, CA, and Oxford, UK.

6

Boca’s Techstrong Group acquired

Techstrong Group, a Boca Raton-based tech media company that specializes in cloud-native, cybersecurity, and digital transformation solutions, is being acquired by The Futurum Group, a leading global tech advisory, intelligence, and research firm, South Florida Tech Hub reported.

Founded in 2013, Techstrong Group is the publisher of tech community sites such as DevOps.com, Security Boulevard, Cloud Native Now, Techstrong.ai, and more. Techstrong services include buyer intent analytics, demand generation, IT buyer journey development, and overall B2B buyer insights. The Futurum Group is the fastest- growing independent tech research, intelligence, media, and advisory firm. Read more here.

7

Mark Cuban’s free AI Bootcamp for high schoolers coming to MDC

Miami Dade College, in partnership with the Mark Cuban Foundation, will once again offer an AI bootcamp, free of charge, to high school students in Miami. With a custom curriculum focused on teaching students about the latest developments in the world of AI, the camp will provide the tools to make these technologies work for them. The camp will take place Nov. 2, 9 and 16 at MDC Kendall Campus.

The AI Bootcamp is introductory and accessible to students in grades 9-12; they do not need any familiarity with computer science or programming to attend.  “While technology expands and becomes more advanced, it becomes more critical that we ensure our students are prepared when they apply for schools or jobs in the future. Thanks to our work with Miami Dade College, the bootcamp will offer an avenue to explore this fascinating field of technology to any student, no matter their means,” said Cuban, in a statement.

MDC is one of 25+ host companies selected to host camps across the US. Applications for the bootcamp are now open. Learn more here.

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Tweets of the Week

PLUS

More news to note

WeWork will depart its last location in South Beach, at 429 Lenox Ave., as the coworking giant prepares to emerge out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. WeWork will continue operating at its three Miami locations at Brickell City Centre (360 N.W. 27th St.), Wynwood Garage (78 S.W. 7th St.), and the Southeast Financial Center (200 S. Biscayne Boulevard) and its Coral Gables locations at 2222 Ponce De Leon Blvd. and 255 Giralda Ave.

Opportunity knocks

  • The Source is hosting a regional Startup World Cup in Miami. Through a local Demo Day and Regional Finals in the Magic City, one startup will ultimately advance to the finals in San Francisco to compete for a $1 million investment prize.  Learn more and apply here by June 21.
  • Seaworthy Collective is accepting applications for Cohort 5, its fall accelerator program.  Interested startups can apply here by June 23. To learn more, join an Instagram Live at noon June 12th with Startup Programs Director, Tamara Kahn Zissman, and RSVP for a webinar on June 14th at 3pm (RSVP to [email protected])
  • HackinMiami, an AI-focused hackathon, is happening on June 15-16. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a budding tech enthusiast, HackinMiami is the perfect platform to showcase your skills and connect with like-minded individuals. Register here.
  • As part of its 100 Startup Project Scholarship Program, The Levan Center of Innovation is offering 10 entrepreneurs a one-year membership to the Levan Center of Innovation, thanks to the support of Memorial Healthcare System. Apply here.
  • Mana Tech is accepting applications for its Miami Immersion Program, a program that gives international startup founders on-site experience in Miami. Learn more and apply here

ICYMI

Have news to report? Email Nancy Dahlberg at [email protected] and follow her on X @ndahlberg. Subscribe to Refresh Miami’s free weekly newsletter here. Thank you for supporting Refresh Miami.

Nancy Dahlberg