Miami Tech & Startup News

Seedfunders launches in Miami, makes first local investment: HeartOut

Seedfunders launches in Miami, makes first local investment: HeartOut

By Nancy Dahlberg

A Florida investment firm that aims to be the first check in for very early-stage startups has expanded to Miami and has made its first local investment.

Seedfunders typically invests an average of $150,000 in  Florida-based scalable technology startups that have an MVP but are typically pre-revenue. Along with the funding, the Seedfunder partners help the startups go-to-market and prepare to attract larger rounds.

Dave Chitester, Seedfunders founder and managing partner, launched in St Petersburg four years ago. Today, Seedfunders St Pete has made 40 investments and has 44 local partners, with the latest investment being Archslate, a marketplace for job seekers in the architecture industry. A couple years ago, Seedfunders Orlando launched and already has 14 partners and has made 12 investments so far, including Kalogon, which makes a smart cushion for wheelchair users.

David Chitester, founder and managing partner of SeedFunders

Now Chitester and his wife have moved to Miami to launch and run Seedfunders Miami, and  he is impressed with the deal flow, already seeing a lot of edtech, medtech and fintech startups.

So far, Seedfunders Miami has eight partners in the Miami area and hopes to build the partner team to 20 by the end of the year, Chitester said. The three cities are separate entities but they share deals.

HeartOut, Seedfunders Miami’s first investment, was founded by Ciro Fodere, a concert pianist. HeartOut is an online recording certification platform that is designed to provide organizations with a solution to both see and hear an applicant’s “live” performance digitally. HeartOut’s platform can host auditions, contests and live performances.

For instance, the musician entering a contest would not be able to take multiple tries until he gets a recording he likes; nor could he make technical modifications to the recording. Everyone records once under the same conditions. Everyone plays their heart out as if they were in person.

“I always thought that recording sucks. Your mental process is so different than when you are on stage. When you are on stage, there is no second opportunity,” said Fodere.

HeartOut launched just before the pandemic, after a year and a half of development, and a lot of organizations began using the platform during the pandemic since many organizations couldn’t do auditions in person. Fodere said many of his customers are continuing to use HeartOut.

“We can now offer hybrid performances. Our hope is that our clients of the future can use us whether they do online or in-person auditions,” he said. The app’s registration and judging features can be used even if the performances are in person. “This technology is here to stay.”

Ciro Fodere, founder and CEO of HeartOut.

Fodere said Some HeartOut clients are seeing higher turnouts in their competitions when they can draw entrants from anywhere. Orchestras are using the app to fill musician positions, because candidates can audition virtually from around the world. So far, HeartOut has hosted 60,000 auditions and its app has been used in 75 countries.

Entrepreneurs wishing to reach out to Seedfunders Miami or find out more about it can go to and click “Apply.”

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg and email her at

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