Avenue Z acquires Bevel in quest to build ‘digital communications unicorn’ in Miami

By Nancy Dahlberg

In another positive sign of Miami’s rise as a tech hub, two fast-growing agencies have joined forces to form a strategic communications company headquartered in Midtown and focused on the technology and venture sector.

Bevel, a New York-based communications consultancy for tech and venture capital that expanded to Miami this year, has been acquired by Jeffrey Herzog, a Miami-based serial entrepreneur who recently founded Avenue Z to bring together public relations and digital marketing with a singular focus on growth.

With the acquisition of Bevel founded and headed by Jessica Schaefer, Herzog seized the opportunity to add persuasive storytelling and media relations to Avenue Z’s existing capabilities across search and social marketing, calling it “the future of how businesses and brands are built, how influence is created online,” in an interview with Refresh Miami.

“We think that that combination is really an exciting business, especially considering how the media landscape has changed with so many competing channels for information. Bringing together PR, storytelling and technology into one company, that’s Avenue Z,” said Herzog, who founded and sold the global digital marketing agency iCrossing to Hearst Media in 2010 for $450 million, among other ventures. “Jessica will be a big part of our story going forward.”

Schaefer founded Bevel in 2017, leveraging her previous financial experience running communications for Point72, Bevel has attracted a notable roster of clients, including: Acorns, Better.com, BlockTower Capital, Clocktower Technology Ventures, Dave.com, Greycroft, Public.com; RX3 Ventures, a consumer-focused investment fund backed by Aaron Rodgers; and the Sundance film festival. 

“What we’re really known for is finding brands and new technology companies before they make their name in the market and then helping build them into multibillion dollar companies from seed all the way through IPO or exit,” said Schaefer. “The opportunity for Bevel to service companies on even a much larger scale, to take our services global, is a really exciting opportunity. I’m excited to partner with Jeff Herzog to build the first digital communications unicorn.”

Schaefer will be Avenue Z’s Chief Commercial Officer and she has joined Avenue Z’s Board of Directors. She will remain CEO of Bevel for the next year. Bevel’s 40-person team will also join Avenue Z. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Bevel is not Avenue Z’s first acquisition. As part of the company’s launch this year, Avenue Z acquired The Snow Agency, a social media marketing company founded by Jonathan and Daniel Snow that was named by AdWeek as one of the nation’s fastest-growing social media marketing companies. And on the technology front, Avenue Z will be aggregating existing AI technologies and building proprietary technology to measure and track results, Herzog said. “We think that that is paramount as businesses invest more in digital media to know what works and how they can improve.”

Clearly, Herzog sees the potential of the Miami market as Avenue Z’s headquarters.

Miami nearly tripled its venture capital intake between 2020 and 2021 and in 2022, while other tech hubs contracted, Miami continued to grow, attracting a record $5.8 billion. And with the explosive growth during the pandemic, more investors and service providers – including tech communications pros, specialized executive recruiters and more coworking spaces – have been putting down stakes in the Magic City. This year, the Miami metro area ranked as a top 30 ecosystem – ranking No. 23 in the world – in Startup Genome’s 2023 Global Startup Ecosystem Report. What’s more, a number of efforts are underway to develop and grow the talent base in the ecosystem, including the Miami Tech Works’ Tech Talent Coalition and the Miami-Dade Innovation Authority.

“We’re focused on winning new accounts in Miami and in turn growing our personnel respectively. That’s really focusing on all the opportunities that are in Miami – all the web3 business, the entertainment business, the venture capital business built to support the growth of those companies. We don’t feel we need to go too far from home to be experiencing some considerable growth this year,” Herzog said.

With the Bevel acquisition, Avenue Z employs about 100, with 20+ in the Miami office. Herzog explects the Miami office to grow 50 to 100 percent in the next 12 months. The Avenue Z HQ will also be investing in a larger office space, Herzog said.

Avenue Z also has offices in Orlando, New York City, Los Angeles, Boston and London, and plans to continue acquiring firms across digital marketing, branding, analytics and technology. 

Schaefer adds: “We are very excited about the talent that’s in Miami and we are hiring across all positions. For anyone who’s interested in venture communications or tech communications, I couldn’t think of a better opportunity to really be at the forefront of how the ecosystem in Miami is changing.”

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Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg and email her at [email protected]

Nancy Dahlberg