8+ things to know in #MiamiTech: Blink acquisition, plus news from North Miami, Ironhack, LULA, Betr, UM, DatProf, Ryder & more


Blink Charging acquires Envoy Technologies to electrify car sharing industry

Blink Charging’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Blink Mobility, an all-electric car-sharing service, recently announced the acquisition of Envoy Technologies, a software and mobility service company offering shared electric vehicles as an amenity for national real estate developers and owners.

Blink Mobility’s acquisition of Envoy, combined with its existing EV car-sharing service, and with the recently awarded $7.5 million to develop an electric car-sharing programs in New Jersey, will create one of the largest all-electric car-sharing companies in the country, Blink Charging said.

Blink Charging’s Board of Directors has authorized its management to start planning for the spin-off of Blink Mobility. Blink Charging plans to distribute a majority of its shares of Blink Mobility as a pro rata dividend to its existing shareholders at a future date.

“We are pleased to welcome Envoy into the Blink Mobility family and the opportunity it brings to take advantage of its experience in the EV car-sharing space and maintain and advance our mission to promote electrification of the nearly $13 billion projected car-sharing industry in the U.S.,” said Michael D. Farkas,  Executive Chairman of Blink Mobility and CEO at Blink Charging. “There continues to be tremendous opportunity among various communities, including inner city areas, for the need of clean, reliable, and accessible transportation.”

Envoy developed a car-sharing platform and mobile app that provides on-demand electric vehicles as an amenity to apartments, office buildings and hotels.  Since its inception in 2017, Envoy has deployed over 300 electric vehicles at more than 150 multifamily properties and office buildings and installed more than 150 EV charging stations.


North Miami launches NoMi Tech: Lightship Foundation providing programming

The City of North Miami has launched NoMi Tech, an initiative aimed at promoting economic development by supporting technology startups. North Miami is home to over 62,000 residents, 60% of whom identify as Black.

The program will include entrepreneur education programming through Lightship Bootcamp, a multi-day immersive series of workshops facilitated by Lightship Foundation, a national leader in providing resources and support to minority-led tech startups throughout typically under-supported US regions including the Midwest and the South. Through talent development and specialized programming, Lightship will provide guidance, support and the network necessary to achieve sustainable businesses in the North Miami ecosystem.

“The Lightship Foundation’s investment in our North Miami community will help create a competitive advantage for our residents that want to stay in the community they grew up in. The NOMI Tech program will provide them with the needed training to develop new skills for higher paying jobs in the technology industry. Keeping our talents at home while investing in their future is how you invest in your community”, said North Miami Vice Mayor Mary Estime-Irvin, in a statement.

North Miami expects this program to provide faster employment growth in “advanced industry” jobs, with the potential to generate higher incomes for the city’s small businesses and entrepreneursy. “As Miami is increasingly recognized as a strong force in the global tech driven economy, it’s important that ecosystems like North Miami that are largely represented by founders of color have the opportunity to capitalize, as well,” said Candice Matthews Brackeen, founder and CEO of Lightship Foundation. Find out more here.


Popular Bank, Ironhack team up to train software engineers

Popular Bank and Ironhack, the Miami-based global tech edtech company known for their bootcamps, are teaming up to equip the bank’s emerging talent with the skills and knowledge necessary for a career in software engineering.

Popular Bank is hiring emerging talent as software engineer associates and onboarding them through a custom-built tech training program that Ironhack created for Popular Bank. The program includes an intensive bootcamp followed by a full year of continuous training in Cybersecurity, DevOps, Mobile Development, Databases, and Cloud, to equip associates with the latest digital skills. New employees joining Popular’s Accelerator program in South Florida and Puerto Rico will also be paid as software engineering associates while undergoing the training, explained Ironhack Account Executive Lisa Nuessle.

The program is looking for recent graduates of STEM majors or those with technology experience. They must live in South Florida. More information here.

Last month, Ironhack and the Miami Marlins announced that Ironhack will establish its flagship US campus at the Marlins’ LoanDepot Park to give more Miami residents access to tech training. Its the first partnership of its kind within Major League Baseball. [Read more recent Ironhack coverage on Refresh]


LULA launches pay-per-day trucking solution

 LULA, a Miami-based fintech startup on a mission to modernize insurance, is launching its Pay-Per-Day Trucking Program in May, co-founder Matthew Vega-Sanz announced on LinkedIn. “Using our integrations, truckers will now have access to LULA’s insurance infrastructure to screen their drivers, organize their policies, monitor their claims … and pay premiums on a per day basis,” he said. The integration took more than 30 months to build.

More than 1,500 trucking companies signed up the first week after announcing the launch., and Lula is looking to expand its biz dev team with people specifically from the logistics and transportation space, said Vega-Sanz, who founded the company with his twin brother Michael. LULA raised an oversubscribed  $18 million Series A round led by Founders Fund and Khosla Ventures in 2021.


Betr partners with The Cavinder Twins

Miami-based sports-betting startup Betr, co-founded by Joey Levy and YouTuber Jake Paul, entered into an exclusive partnership with Haley and Hanna Cavinder, who are known as The Cavinder Twins and are NCAA Division 1 basketball stars with huge social media followings. The Cavinder Twins will join Betr as equity partners, content creators and creative directors and are bringing their popular podcast, Twin Talk, exclusively to Betr Media. Both will also make regular appearances on Betr’s flagship show BS w/ Jake Paul.

Since its launch in August 2022, Betr Media has already generated over 900 million impressions and 50 million engagements across its social channels, with the bulk of this audience consisting of sports fans in the 21-34-year-old age demographic. “Our talent flywheel is continuing to get stronger, and we are just getting started,” Levy said in the announcement.

Betr raised a $50 million Series A round last year and its sports betting app is live in several states.


UM launches consortium on autonomous mobility, including eVTOLs

 To help change the way we commute and live, the University of Miami College of Engineering launched the Miami Engineering Autonomous Mobility Initiative (MEAMI), a consortium of academic, industry, and government leaders.

MEAMI researchers are developing next-generation electric vertical takeoff/landing (eVTOL) air vehicles (flying taxis), building on research funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Science Foundation, NASA, and other major government agencies.

Participating in MEAMI are industry leaders Eve Air Mobility, Aeroauto, and Ryder System, along with the Miami-Dade Beacon Council and public sector partners. The consortium will investigate advanced propulsion, sensing, integration of satellite signals with local sensing, artificial intelligence, clean energy and energy storage, and advanced materials. In addition, issues of safety, air traffic control, regulatory aspects related to noise, cybersecurity, and other relevant matters will also be addressed by the consortium.

At least five companies are wanting to make Miami an initial market, with plans to launch service this decade: Eve Mobility, a unit of the global aerospace company Embraer;,Supernal, an eVTOL service planned by Hyundai Motor Group;  Archer Aviation, one of the first to announce Miami would be one of its two launch cities, along with LA. Joby Aviation, a California startup that acquired Uber Elevate, Uber’s former air taxi arm; and Lilium, a German company that plans rides up to 180 miles in Florida.


Netherlands tech company expands to US

Netherlands-based test data management solutions provider DATPROF, founded in 2009, announced its  expansion to Miami. DATPROF’s new US office marks a significant milestone in the company’s efforts to enhance customer service and expand its global reach, said Maarten Urbach, Managing Director “By establishing a presence in the USA, we’re better equipped to serve our customers overseas and further our ambitious goals.”


Ryder launches EV fleet solution

As demand and adoption of commercial electric vehicles continues to accelerate across the transportation and logistics industries,  Ryder System   announced RyderElectric+ as its new turnkey EV fleet solution.

Ryder Electric+ will serve as a centralized source for the company’s fleet-management services in financing, facility infrastructure, charging, and maintenance for commercial EVs. Through RyderElectric+, Ryder customers will gain access to the company’s inventory of alternative-fuel vehicles that would include financing, warranty, and safety options, as well as the company’s national maintenance footprint, 24/7 emergency roadside assistance, on-the-road usage/telematics for fleet insights, and EV chargers at select Ryder locations.


Opportunity knocks

  •  Venture Miami  and The Shrimp Society have partnered up to launch the Built in Miami Startup Program, a year-long initiative designed to support early-stage entrepreneurs in Miami. The Built in Miami Startup Program, free for participants, will feature three tracts for entrepreneurs at each stage of their startup journey: the Zero to One Sprint program, the Builders Summer Series, and the Miami Startup Accelerator. Applications for the Zero to One Startup Sprint are now open and can be accessed via builtmiami.com 
  • The Venture Miami Scholarship Fund provides tuition support to provide gap funding for at-need City of Miami residents who have been accepted into STEM or defined-demand occupation programs at participating colleges and universities, including Florida International University, Florida Memorial University, Miami Dade College, and the University of Miami. How to apply: Students who meet the program requirements and are interested in applying to the Venture Miami scholarship are encourage to complete this survey to begin the application process.
  • Endeavor Miami is accepting applications for the next cohort of EndeavorLAB, an program that offers training and mentorship to underrepresented startup founders in Florida. The upcoming cohort is for women entrepreneurs who run startups that generate between $50,000 and $500,000 in annual revenue. Because of the City of Miami’s support, there is no cost to the participants.  Apply by May 21
  • Black Ambition has opened applications for the third annual Black Ambition Prize competition. The grand prize winner will receive $1 million, and at least 15 additional teams will receive prize awards of $15,000 to $250,000. Founded by Pharrell Williams and run by Miami’s Felecia Hatcher, Black Ambition has awarded funding and resources to 65 prize winners — totaling $6 million. Learn more and apply here. The deadline is May 8. 
  • Techstars Miami Powered by J.P. Morgan focuses on accelerating founders’ efforts in finding product-market fit, fundraising, and recruiting. The accelerator is accepting applications for its in-person Miami accelerator program beginning Sept. 11 and ending with a Demo Day on Dec. 7. Apply here by June 7.


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

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Nancy Dahlberg