Slow start for Q1 South Florida VC but deal count showed strength. Here are the top deals.

By Nancy Dahlberg

South Florida venture capital didn’t flow as strongly as hoped in Q1, showing that South Florida startups couldn’t overcome what continues to be a down market, according to the Q1 Pitchbook-NVCA Venture Monitor report released today. However, deal activity was a bright spot in the Miami metro area, while deal counts tumbled nationally.

The South Florida picture

For Q1 2024, Pitchbook reported that the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area pulled in $582.8 million, down significantly from the $700 million companies attracted in Q4 of 2023 but was on par with the $586 million logged in Q1 2023, according to Pitchbook’s revised data. By my reporting, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area pulled in $2.4 billion in 2023, down sharply from $5.8 billion in 2022, when it ranked 7th in the nation.

There was a bright spot to report in Q1:  Deal count – at 94 deals in Q1 for South Florida startups – held up well compared to previous quarters and to other metro areas..

Here’s what the Venture Monitor report had to say about the Miami market’s deal count: “Miami has demonstrated staying power in its VC activity. Prior to the pandemic, its VC market was well below the top 10 most active, but Miami doubled its deal county from 2018 to 20200. It’s local fundraising and the opening of investor offices in the market have kept Miami as the 6th-most-active VC market in the US.”

But some South Florida startups bucked the trends, showing strength amid the down market. According to Pitchbook’s data, here were the top five deals by companies headquartered in the Miami metro area in Q1:

  • Crisp: The Miami-based business productivity software company raised an $85 million Series B round.
  • Passes: The Miami-based early-stage creator economy startup founded by Lucy Guo raised a $40 million Series A.
  • Downpayments: The Miami proptech startups raised a debt-equity round of $32 million.
  • Healthsnap: The Miami-based healthtech company known most for remote patient monitoring innovation raised a $25 million Series B round amid triple-digit growth.
  • Upwards: The Coral Springs-based HR Tech company raised a $21 million Series B round.

Miami-based Carewell, a platform for care giving, was not included in Pitchbook’s report but raised a $24.7 million Series B in Q1. Other strong raises last quarter included StatusPRO ($20 million), Neocis ($20 million), and Blue Frontier ($16.9 million).

There were 6 exits for South Florida companies in Q1,with a combined deal value of $103 million. DocFox at $75 million was the largest deal value Pitchbook recorded.

Venture reporting lags and all of these figures will be revised over the months, but this  provides a snapshot of how South Florida stands now. If the current pace holds for the rest of the year, the Miami metro area will be on track for results close to last year.

The Florida picture

Statewide, according to Pitchbook’s report, Florida companies drew $756.82 million across 137 deals in Q1 2024. That was down from a revised $974 million in Q1 2023. South Florida companies drew 65% of the state’s venture dollars in Q1 and more than 66% of the deal count.

Top deals around the state in Q1 included: LactLogics of Port St. Lucie, raising $93.1 million; Nucleas Security of Sarasota, raising $43 million; and The Pickleball Club, also of Sarasota, raising $39.5 million

Statewide there were 6 additional exits, but none with deal values disclosed.

The national picture

Nationally, startups raised a total of $36.6 billion in venture capital in Q1. That was 8% behind the previous quarter and 29% lower than Q1 of 2023, according to PitchBook’s data.

What’s more,  the number of venture-capital deals in the first quarter dropped to the lowest level since 2017. There were 2,882 venture deals in U.S. startups last quarter, a 16% decline from the previous quarter and down 28% from the same time in 2023.

“Continuing the drastic turn from 2021, the US VC market continues to operate as incredibly investor friendly. Low capital availability has led to an increase in down rounds, and term sheets with greater downside protections for investors. The US VC-backed company count now sits above 55,000 companies, with late-stage and venture-growth-stage counts doubling since 2018, demonstrating the competition within the market,” said John Gabbert, Founder & CEO at PitchBook.

Funds raised by venture-capital firms also experienced continued declines. PitchBook noted the downward trend in VC fundraising “portends to [LP] hesitancy toward VC, and should predict a more difficult dealmaking environment down the road.”

Startup exits showed some positive momentum relative to recent quarters — thanks largely to the successful IPOs of Reddit and Astera Labs. Q1 2024 saw $18 billion in exit value from startups, and nearly three-quarters of that came from those two IPOs.

“This year began on the same note that 2023 ended. Dealmaking and exits are softer and slower than we’d typically like, but there is an abundance of dry powder and optimism in various sectors, including AI, that signal room for growth in the year ahead,” said Bobby Franklin, President & CEO at National Venture Capital Association.

Download the full report here.

Numbers are rounded and reflect activity in CSAs.


Nancy Dahlberg