8+ things to know in #MiamiTech: New Magic Leap CEO, who’s pitching, plus news from Miami-Dade, Papa, Digibee, Squeeze, Pitchbook, Mana Tech, eMerge Americas & more


Change at the top of Magic Leap

Last week, Magic Leap today announced the appointment of Ross Rosenbergas as the company’s new CEO, effective November 1. Rosenberg will succeed Peggy Johnson, who is stepping down as the company completes its pivot to the enterprise and moves toward expanding commercial adoption of its augmented reality platform technology.

Rosenberg is an operating, strategy, and marketing executive who has led the launch, development and acquisition of new technologies, products and services, such as with Bain Capital, Danaher, First Solar and Belden, the company said. Most recently, Rosenberg served as an operating executive in Bain Capital’s software portfolio, where he helped lead the transformation at Rocket Software, a large-scale enterprise IT software company. Rosenberg said he will focus the next phase of Magic Leap’s evolution around solving for the needs and challenges of its target customers.

“As companies begin to see true ROI from deploying AR technologies, there is now a clear need state that Magic Leap is capable of solving for,” said Rosenberg, in a statement. “I am incredibly excited to begin working with the world class team at Magic Leap and want to thank Peggy for her leadership in guiding the company through a critical phase of its development.” 

Johnson assumed the role of CEO in August 2020, succeeding founder Rony Abovitz, with a mission to bring Magic Leap’s transformative technology to enterprise companies, with a focus on designing, manufacturing, and launching Magic Leap 2.  Johnson and the team positioned Magic Leap for its next phase of success including launching Magic Leap 2 and establishing Magic Leap as a technology leader in enterprise AR. Magic Leap has secured collaborations with some of the biggest players in technology including Nvidia, AMD, and Cisco, as well as licensing and contract manufacturing agreements with large technology companies, the company said.

“Having accomplished so much of what I set out to do at Magic Leap, I felt the time had come to transition leadership to a new CEO who can guide the company through its next period of growth,” said Johnson, in a statement. “I’m incredibly proud of the leadership team we’ve built at Magic Leap and want to sincerely thank all of the employees for their work in helping to successfully reorient the company to the enterprise market.”


Seven startups to pitch for $15K in cash and credits

Endeavor Miami has partnered with Dell for Startups to power the Dell for Startups Pitch Competition in Miami on November 2 at Mana Common. Seven Florida-based startups compete for $10K and $5K in credits for Dell Technologies products. 

The winners will be selected by a panel of judges comprised of Jaclyn Baumgarten, IDC Ventures Managing Partner, Jared Schwitzke, Managing Director of Miami Angels, Mobolaji Sokunbi, Director, Alternative Routes to Market (ARM) for Dell Technologies Small Business in North America, and Ron Tarro, President of New World Angels. Register to attend the event here.

Here are the startups pitching:

  • EducUp is an educational platform helping online educators to easily create and monetize gamified content using AI. Entrepreneurs: Carlos Raul Garcia, Co-Founder & CEO, Yusnier Viera, Co-Founder & CLO, and Yamel Barroso, Co-Founder & CMO
  • EVQLV,leverages advances in AI and computing to lower the time, cost and effort of drug discovery for pharmaceutical companies and biotechs. Entrepreneurs: Andrew Sat Co-Founder & CEO, and Brett Averso, Co-Founder & CTO.
  • Glam and Go is a beauty on demand marketplace that delivers beauty services and extensions to the comfort of your home. Entrepreneur: Rishielle Giscombe
  • MyCabinet is a patented virtual medicine cabinet that serves as a family health hub, where users store their medications, OTC and supplements and where its one click to refill. Users can see all drug interactions and manage not only their cabinet but other family members cabinets, making caregiving easier. Entrepreneur: Delia Passi, Founder & CEO
  • Roam Around is an AI travel planner. Simply enter any destination on Earth and we’ll create a complete, actionable itinerary in seconds. Entrepreneurs: Shie Gabbai, CEO, and Xavi Serra Garcia, CTO
  • ROOK enables companies in health, fitness, and wellness to access and make sense of their users’ wearable data – via a simple API/SDK integration. They can turn any application wearable agnostic with one single integration. Entrepreneur: Marco Benitez, CEO & Co-founder
  • Seeds is a platform that connects on-demand and validated talent from LatAm with leading companies. We find and manage the perfect match between the company’s needs and the talent’s skills and experience. Entrepreneurs: Ignacio Basso, Co-Founder & CEO, Martin Calzetti, Co-Founder & Operations Director, Stefano Rossi, Co-Founder, Data & Analytics Director, and Ian Teperman, Co-Founder & Product Director

READ MORE: Cheers to 10 years for Endeavor Miami: A look back and ahead


Miami-Dade launches Broadband & Digital Equity Plan

 Miami-Dade County  launched a new Broadband and Digital Equity Plan that outlines a six-point approach to close our digital divide and ensure all Miami-Dade County residents have equal access to high-speed internet. The launch took place at Miami-Dade County’s first-ever Digital Equity Tech Summit that hosted over 200 participants.

With this plan, created in partnership with the Miami Foundation and Miami Connected, Miami-Dade County becomes one of the first local communities in the United States to respond to the Biden Administration’s “Internet for All” initiative – positioning the County to benefit from a historic level of federal investment in broadband infrastructure. 

“High-speed internet should be as commonplace as water and electricity,” said Mayor Levine Cava. “Broadband access isn’t a luxury, but a necessity that opens doors to opportunity and facilitates inclusion in the new economy by enabling access to education, jobs, and services that can meaningfully improve our residents’ lives. By launching this plan now, we are ahead of the curve and positioning our County as a national leader on digital equity.”   

According to data collected by Miami-Dade County from the Federal Communications Commission and the County’s Geospatial Information System, only 36% of households have access to top-quality, fiber-based broadband, and more than 455,000 households do not have access to competitive pricing and multiple internet service providers. 

To advance digital equity, the Broadband & Digital Equity Plan commits to accomplish the following steps by 2026: 

  • Identify opportunities, support partners, and apply for federal and state funding to invest in broadband infrastructure that connects Miami-Dade’s unserved and underserved communities. 
  • Partner with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and community organizations by removing roadblocks, leveraging the County’s data, and creating public-private partnerships aimed at closing the digital divide. 
  • Reduce red tape and streamline processes to fast-track infrastructure improvements. 
  • Support increased competition and promote low-cost access by leveraging the County and partner resources to expand the number of residents who subscribe to broadband internet. 
  • Engage with local ISP providers to ensure we build a marketplace that supports the communities most in need. 
  • Tap into Miami-Dade’s local workforce to build out new broadband infrastructure keeping job growth and opportunity local.  


Papa creates digital health literacy service

Miami-based Papa, a curated platform of companionship and support for older adults and families, announced a new digital health literacy offering to bridge the care access gap and improve health equity among its members. Through this enhanced service, Papa will assess, address, and report on a range of digital health literacy needs to help health plans improve member access to quality health care, and meet forthcoming health equity requirements from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Papa has long supported members with technology assistance.  Papa’s Papa Pals have completed more than 54,000 technology visits with Medicare Advantage plan members since January 2022. Papa has now layered on specific tasks related to CMS’ goal of growing digital health literacy — which are defined by the World Health Organization as ‘‘the ability to seek, find, understand, and appraise health information from electronic sources and apply the knowledge gained to addressing or solving a health problem”— for dual-eligible, disadvantaged, and low-income members. 

Papa also provides additional reporting and expertise to ensure both members’ and their health plans’ digital health goals are met. This includes reporting about initial social needs assessments that evaluate digital health literacy, internet access, and more, as well as support from social care navigators and additional in-person support from Papa Pals. Many Medicare Advantage members at risk are low income, disabled, or live in rural communities and lack access to quality, consistent care. Papa’s solution allows for a purpose-built network of Papa Pals to leverage existing, trusted relationships with members to help educate and enable them to develop the digital skills they lack. Today, 97% of all Medicare Advantage plans have a telehealth solution, however only a small percentage of members engage with those services.

“Leveraging our national network of Papa Pals and expert social care navigators, Papa’s digital health literacy offering ensures members have the proper resources and support to stay connected with their care teams and mental health resources, no matter their race, age, or economic standing,” said Papa founder and CEO Andrew Parker.

Founded in 2017, Papa is backed by Canaan, Tiger Global Management, Comcast Ventures, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, TCG, Initialized Capital, and Seven Seven Six, among other revered institutional and individual investors.

READ MORE: Papa, the eldertech unicorn, stands on shoulders of pioneers to help build Miami into ‘the epicenter of healthtech’


Digibee founders selected as Endeavor Entrepreneurs

Endeavor tapped the founders of Miami-based Digibee for its global Endeavor Entrepreneur network.

Rodrigo Bernardinelli, Peter Kreslins Junior and Vitor Sousa of Digibee were selected as Endeavor Entrepreneurs at a recent International Selection Panel. Digibee started their journey at Endeavor Brasil in 2018, moved to Miami, and then participated in Endeavor’s Spring 2021 Endeavor ScaleUp cohort. 

Digibee is an enterprise Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) provider facilitating the digital transformation of over 250 clients in both Brazil and the United States, while substantially reducing operational costs and achieving efficiencies of up to 10X.

Endeavor Entrepreneurs become part of the global network of Endeavor, an entrepreneurship organization focused on helping selected high-impact entrepreneurs scale up to drive economic growth and job creation. Endeavor Entrepreneurs receive services that include mentorship and access to capital, global markets and talent.

Endeavor’s selection process challenges founders on every aspect of their business, and I am so privileged to have been able to support these incredible founders in answering the tough questions. They have come a long way and I am sure they will inspire other entrepreneurs to succeed as they continue to succeed in the US, said Endeavor Miami Managing Director Claudia Duran.

READ MORE: Digibee bags $60M Series B led by Goldman Sachs, bringing total funding to over $90M


Miami is one of the 20 fastest-growing tech hubs worldwide

PitchBook recently introduced its Global VC Ecosystems ranking, looking at the most developed markets for venture capital activity and cities seeing the fastest growth. Miami is one of the 7 U.S. Cities on the list with a $17.9B deal value, 1,975 deals, and $10.6B over 116 exits between Q3 2017 to Q2 2023 and it ranked in the top 20

PitchBook analyzed VC deals, exits and fundraising activity over a six-year period to come up with its rankings. Topping the list is Dubai, followed by Detroit, the fastest-growing U.S. city on PitchBook’s report. The next-fastest growing U.S. startup cities are Raleigh, North Carolina; Houston; Indianapolis; Miami; Philadelphia and St. Louis.  Read more in Miami Inno

READ MORE: Miami shines, ranking as a top ecosystem in the world


Boca’s Squeeze acquires Youtility

Squeeze, a Boca Raton-based tech platform helping consumers manage, evaluate, and save on their recurring insurance contracts, acquired Youtility, a London -based technology startup who partners with banks and financial technology companies to deliver embedded home finance management services. Terms of the deal were not released.

The acquisition further enhances Squeeze’s ability to work in the UK price comparison market, providing consumers with control and financial certainty. The newly combined business will deliver an embedded experience to bank and fintech customers enabling them to manage, track and take action on their household finances directly from within their existing apps.

Led by Elias Janetis, founder and CEO, Squeeze is a price comparison service that empowers consumers to make informed decisions about their financial services. “Our combined technologies will allow banks to embed essential money saving actions and help all customers, not just the financially savvy, bring about a new era of price comparison to the UK market,” he said.

Co-founded by Will Kostoris and Charlie Quigley, Youtility provides a technology platform that leverages advanced technology and data analytics to streamline the consumer experience, connecting suppliers and customers from within banking and fintech platforms. Clients include Virgin Money, Wagestream, Pockit among others and is due to launch a number of additional large banking partnerships next year.


Mana Tech, Microsoft power AI Latino Immersion Week  

 Mana Tech announced the inaugural Microsoft AI Latino Immersion Week, powered by Microsoft and Microsoft for Startups.  The program aims to integrate Latin American ingenuity with Miami’s vibrant tech landscape by fostering collaborations. Taking part in the program are 21 startups hailing from countries such as Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, and Colombia.

In five immersion days in Miami and four weeks of online training, this program aims to equip businesses with the tools they need to compete in the US market – from pitching to investors and targeting US buyer personas to fine-tuning their sales pipeline. Participants will take part in group workshops, virtual pre-immersion training sessions, and one-on-one mentoring sessions with industry experts. The program will end with a week of in-person events in Miami and end with a Demo Day. RSVP here.


Opportunity knocks

  • eMerge Americas opened applications for its 2024 Startup Accelerator and Showcase. Entrepreneurs have the chance to win a $520,000 investment for their venture. Joining forces with Florida Funders, Medina Ventures and BIP Ventures, eMerge will select 110 startups from across the world for a seven-week program that will culminate in a pitch competition next April. All selected startups will also receive 2 free Tech Passes and prime exhibit space at eMerge Americas. Find out more and apply here by Jan. 31.
  • Are you a BIPOC Founder with groundbreaking ideas in Healthcare, ML, AgTech, Food Innovation, Pet Tech & Innovation, MediaTech, SportsTech, Future of Work, eCommerce, or any other innovative sector? Apply today for the “The Pitch” at the Miami Culture Shifting Summit on Friday, November 17 for a chance to win $18,000 in prize money. For more details and the application link,  go here.
  • Apply to present at the 2024 Florida Venture Capital Conference Feb. 1-2, 2024 at the JW Marriott Marquis in Downtown Miami. The conference attracts over 700 attendees, including 200+ active venture investors. The final application deadline is Jan. 8, but early submissions are strongly encouraged. Find out more and apply here.
  • Venture Miami is teaming up with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to bring the Miami Founder Summit on Nov. 14. This free one-day gathering at Builders Collective in Wynwood is dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs and fostering innovation, with valuable insights on building, growing, and scaling thriving businesses.  Sign up here.
  • Applications are now open for Cohort Two of AI Forge’s Miami accelerator, which begins Jan. 6. AI Forge launched Cohort One in September for 12 startups concurrently with a Cohort in London. Apply here by Oct. 31: www.aiforge.org. Read more in Refresh Miami about AI Forge here.
  • Dreaming of a tech career? Check out these scholarship opportunities offered by BITE-CON and 4Geeks Academy for Full Stack Developer and/or Data Science and Machine Learning bootcamps. Apply on BITE-CON website here.
  • 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.
  • The Alan B. Levan/NSU Broward Center of Innovation is accepting applications for the 100 Startup Project. Applicants who are accepted will receive a yearlong membership to the Levan Center of Innovation. Apply here.


Have news? Email Nancy Dahlberg at [email protected] and follow me on X @ndahlberg and on LinkedIN.

Nancy Dahlberg