eMerge Americas releases 1H 2023 VC report: We have the story behind the numbers

By Nancy Dahlberg

 When the first-half venture capital results for South Florida companies came out in the media, including right here on Refresh Miami, they didn’t tell the whole story. For that, eMerge Americas released its 1H 2023 eMerge Insights report today, and I am honored to have contributed the research for the report, as I have been doing since 2018.

Like the rest of the country, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale venture capital did tumble in the first half of 2023. The numbers that came out early were an undercount, because venture capital information often lags and, try as they may, data services don’t always keep up with #MiamiTech. I researched Pitchbook, Crunchbase, CB Insights and our own reporting here on Refresh Miami to come up with a truer picture. But much more importantly, we studied what the data tells us about our most active sectors such as fintech and healthtech but also our emerging sectors like climatetech and the ecosystem’s resiliency. For the first time we put the spotlight on AI and as always highlighted ecosystem news that included highlights about AI, tech talent, accelerators, relocation news, diversity trends and more.

The highlights by the numbers

  • $962 million was invested in South Florida startups and later-stage companies in the first half of 2023 across 191 deals. Compare that to $3.1 billion across 209 deals in 1H 2022.
  • That deal total ranked the Miami metro No. 6 in the country, though by the more conventional ranking by dollars the Miami metro would have fallen to 12th.
  • Financial technology was again the most-active sector, securing  $219 million, 23% of the venture capital dollars flowing to South Florida companies and 27% of the deals.
  • Medtech companies snagged 18% of the deals, but with no mega-rounds in the pack, the dollar value of deals fell back in the first half to $114 million flowing into healthcare-related companies.
  • Crypto, blockchain and web3 deals, which held up in 2022, plunged along with the market this year as the crypto winter drags on.  Still, it’s the second most-active sector in South Florida by dollars.
  • 1H 2023’s top funding was Weston-based Digibee, with a $60.2 million Series B raise led by Goldman Sachs in June, bringing  Digibee’s total funding to $90 million. No. 2 was blockchain startup QuickNode, at $60 million.

Behind the numbers

Fundraising was quite notable despite the downturn – and perhaps a sign of better things to come. VC funds based in South Florida announced new funds totally $1.5 billion in fresh capital in the first half, most in Q2.

For the first time, the report contains a deep dive into AI, taking a look at the players so far and sectors we are seeing strength. Of course, AI is the new kid on the block, but AI-related startups based in South Florida attracted $118 million in VC dollars across 26 deals in the South Florida region.

As always, the report contains top deals in South Florida and the state, national rankings, exit activity, investor fundraising, major ecosystem highlights, and a deeper look into our largest sectors and emerging trends, including climatetech. Ecosystem highlights include a number of international tech companies that now call Miami home.

Looking ahead

Of course, this is a moment in time, and we’ll be reporting on the full-year results too.  Already, the third quarter is on pace to exceed last quarter, according to Refresh Miami’s reporting. Including larger rounds announced from ClassWallet, Lula, CarePredict, Betr, Cosmic Wire and others, nearly $400 million has been raised during the quarter and it is not even half over. We’ve had a couple of exits too.

“In celebrating ten years of eMerge, it’s inspiring to look through the Insights report featuring the strength of our ecosystem, the creativity of our startup network, and growth of our community. Where we are today is beyond what we could have imagined ten years ago. At the heart of it sits the resiliency and adaptability that will define our next chapter,” said eMerge Americas CEO Melissa Medina.

Download the report here.

Nancy Dahlberg