In the past two years, Miami’s burgeoning tech-startup scene has exploded.
It’s become a magnet for investors from firms such as Founders Fund, Tiger Global Management, and Lux Capital, all of which have at least one partner in the city part time or full time. In July, Andreessen Horowitz said it would open an office in Miami Beach.
Despite the slowdown in venture-capital investments this year, early-stage funding flowing to the Miami area is set to eclipse last year’s total, according to Crunchbase, with more than $2 billion already invested.
The city has also become a popular locale for crypto and Web3 startups, with companies such as QuickNode, Upstream, MoonPay, and Yuga Labs all based in the area.
Several venture capitalists have compared Miami’s budding startup scene to the early days of other tech hubs. Geoffrey Woo, a cofounder of Anti Fund, has said Miami’s “raw animal energy” is reminiscent of San Francisco in years past, while Jon Oringer, a cofounder of Pareto, told Insider that Miami has the feel of New York City’s tech scene two decades ago.
“Miami will eventually be a large international tech hub,” Oringer said. “It’s inevitable.”
Insider asked venture capitalists and other prominent tech figures which investors Miami-area founders should get to know. They identified 26 of South Florida’s most esteemed startup backers.
Abraham dropped out of Wharton to start his first company, Milo, which he sold to eBay in 2010. Through that experience, he said, he realized that the process of building startups was inefficient. That led him in 2012 to launch Atomic, a venture studio that has built companies such as Bungalow, Replicant, and Hims & Hers, which went public last year.
Abraham moved to Miami in 2020 and helped catalyze the migration of tech luminaries to the city. He described the city as fertile ground for building startups in an array of sectors. “Miami has not only leaders in technology but also finance, real estate, hospitality, and healthcare,” he said. “The city has an incredible diversity of people, industries, and ideas that breeds considerable creativity and creates a world-class pool of talent to build companies with.”
As an investor — first at Khosla Ventures and now at Founders Fund — Asparouhov has backed companies such as Akash Systems, Ramp, and Hadrian. He’s an entrepreneur, too, having cofounded the aerospace company Varda Space Industries.
But Asparouhov may be best known as a prominent booster of Miami’s tech scene. In December 2020, he jokingly suggested in a tweet that Silicon Valley should move to Miami, prompting Miami’s mayor, Francis Suarez, to respond, “How can I help?“
Ben-Chanoch, a Miami native, had a winding path to venture. He is a chemical engineer by training but became a private-equity lawyer and then a founder. Once he closed his company, Ben-Chanoch moved back to Miami, met Jon Oringer and Edward Lando from Pareto Holdings, and decided to join the team.
While Pareto is industry agnostic, Ben-Chanoch invests in fintech, healthcare and consumer goods, and, of course, Web3. He’s especially excited about his work with OnChain Studios, an NFT company; EarlyDay, a marketplace for jobs in early-childhood education; and Usko, a consumer-analytics startup. Ben-Chanoch also convinced two other portfolio companies, Runway Health and GazeHealth, to work more closely with Pareto and take advantage of Miami’s tech scene.
Blumberg has backed companies such as DoubleVerify, Katapult, and Nutanix, all of which have gone public, through his eponymous venture firm. But in Silicon Valley, Blumberg sometimes considered himself an outsider because of his conservative politics.
Now, in Miami, where he’s lived since November 2020, he’s found a comfortable home, he told Insider. “People are very open-minded,” he said. He’s also used his new location to source investments for Blumberg Capital in companies such as Mytaverse, which makes immersive 3D worlds for companies to hold conferences, demos, and training events.
A journalist turned investor, Boyle cut her teeth in venture capital at General Catalyst. There, she specialized in backing and working with companies in highly regulated and government-dependent fields such as defense. She became a partner at General Catalyst in 2020 and then joined Andreessen Horowitz a year later.
Boyle is now one of Andreessen’s representatives in the fast-growing Miami tech hub. Her investments include Anduril and Hadrian.
Curtius, a Princeton graduate, came to Tiger Global in 2017 after stints at Silver Lake and Elliott Management. He now heads up Tiger’s software-investing practice and has a string of notable investments including SentinelOne, DoubleVerify, and Gupshup.
In 2021, Curtius moved to the Miami area. At Afore’s Pre-Seed Summit in November, he touted the city’s status as an access point for international startups. “I meet with founders from Latin America at this point every week,” he said.
Durbin serves as a general partner at Boldstart Ventures, which backs enterprise-software founders at the inception of their companies. He’s been at the firm since its founding in 2010, alongside his business partner, Ed Sim. The firm’s portfolio companies include Snyk, BigID, Amberdata, and Upstream.
After more than a decade of helping build up New York’s tech scene, Durbin and Sim relocated to Miami late last year. Durbin told Insider he believes Miami’s tech scene is on track to blossom just as New York’s startup ecosystem did a few years ago. “We saw an opportunity to build community,” he said of his and Sim’s decision to relocate. “That, at our heart, is what we do.”
Once a top football prospect at the University of Michigan, Evans transitioned to the world of tech after an injury dimmed his chance of going pro. He worked at IBM and Okta, then developed investing chops at SoftBank. His investments include the blockchain-infrastructure startup QuickNode and the social-video company Triller.
In February, Evans launched his own firm, Exceptional Capital, with a $30 million fund whose limited partners include Block CEO Jack Dorsey, the legendary Silicon Valley investor Ron Conway, Y Combinator’s Michael Seibel, and the investor and Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian.
Goodlatte began investing in companies as an early employee at Facebook and helped build the social-media giant’s photos feature. There, Goodlatte realized he liked working with startups on product design and other things very early companies have to focus on. Now, as a partner at Form Capital, Goodlatte works closely with new founders.
Goodlatte, an angel investor at Coinbase, Envoy, and Linear, makes bets in what he calls “category-defying breakouts.” But Goodlatte isn’t just interested in getting in early on companies — he’s also excited about helping build out Miami’s tech scene. Goodlatte said that he felt like he needed a change from San Francisco and that the pandemic became the perfect opportunity to start anew.
“Since moving, I’ve found camaraderie amongst other folks who made the move,” he said. “Seeing the Miami tech movement grow and feeling like we’ve been an early part of it has felt very rewarding.”
Hiles spent the bulk of their career in the Bay Area, where they launched the edtech company Pathbrite and built a reputation as a go-to advisor for founders of color. Since 2021, though, Hiles has been based in Miami, where they’ve launched two venture firms: Black Ops Ventures, which they cofounded with James Norman and Sean Green, and Imminent Equity.
In addition to their work as a founder and investor, Hiles sits on the boards of Udemy and the nonprofit Black Girls Code.
Lando, a founder and partner of Pareto Holdings, started his first company in 2014 with the governance-monitoring platform GovPredict, which was acquired in 2020.
But even before he sold his first business, Lando began investing in other companies. He’s made more than 800 investments over the past eight years as he continues to build his own businesses.
One of his signature investments is the grocery-delivery service Misfits Market, where he serves on the board and was a founding investor. Lando said he likes backing teams who are not afraid to change with the tides. He counts himself and his team as part of that, as they moved to Miami from New York during the pandemic.
Lesiva helped raise Palantir’s Series J and K rounds when she headed investor relations at the software company. When she left, she found herself informally advising her former colleagues on fundraising or investing in their friends’ startups. Through these conversations, Lesiva said, she saw strong companies coming from Palantir alumni and high demand to invest in them. So she started the investment syndicate Palumni to work exclusively with startups from Palantir alumni.
Palumni was meant to be a pandemic side gig, but it has since grown to over 700 limited partners with 11 investments. Her investments include Adyton, a company that created a mobile-first operating system for the US military, and Little Otter, a pediatric mental-health company.
Previously an executive at companies such as YouTube, Google, and Facebook, Ling began angel investing more than a decade ago. He joined Khosla Ventures as a general partner in 2013 and then set off on his own to launch Bling Capital in 2018. An honoree on Insider’s 2022 Seed 100 list, Ling has backed unicorns such as Elemy, Rippling, and Veho.
Like many other recent Miami transplants, Ling said the city’s warmth and embrace of the tech industry drew him in. “The culture and weather in Miami are amazing,” he said. “It’s a welcoming city that is excited about innovation and change.”
A former sound engineer for the producer Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def Records, Lyons found his way to Silicon Valley in 2012 when he founded his first startup, PictureMenu. He quickly made his mark in the tech industry and joined Andreessen Horowitz in 2013, initially as the chief of staff to the firm’s cofounder Ben Horowitz.
Lyons has played a significant role in creating two of Andreessen Horowitz’s funds: its seed fund and its Cultural Leadership Fund, which is solely backed by Black investors in the entertainment, sports, and business worlds, such as Kevin Durant and Shonda Rhimes. He became a general partner in 2021 and is now part of the firm’s crypto team.
Ng entered the startup world in the latter stage of the dot-com boom. A repeat founder — his startups include the app-distribution company SweetLabs — Ng in 2015 joined the venture studio Atomic, where he’s had a hand in launching a dozen companies. “I’ve always been addicted to entrepreneurship,” he told Insider.
Last year, Ng moved from the Bay Area to Miami, joining a growing group of investors who’ve made South Florida their home. Atomic has since become a hub for other tech figures looking to explore the region.
Nyatta joined SoftBank’s growth-investing team in 2015 and later helped establish the conglomerate’s Latin America Fund and its Opportunity Fund, focused on Black, Latino, and Native American founders. His investments at SoftBank include the insurance-tech company Lemonade, which went public in 2020, and Kavak, a used-car marketplace serving Latin America.
Earlier this year, Nyatta left SoftBank to launch Bicycle Capital, which will focus on investments in Latin America. His growing investment focus on that region initially fueled his interest in moving to Miami, but he soon grew to appreciate the city’s culture, he told Insider. “You get all flavors of ethnicity, citizenship, professions, opinions, styles, and it’s all out in the open, loud and proud,” he said. “Purple Lamborghinis coexist with white Teslas.”
Oringer, a cofounder and managing partner of Pareto Holdings, knows what it takes to build a successful business; after all, he cofounded the photo company Shutterstock in 2003.
Oringer, who’s still Shutterstock’s chairman, began investing while he was still at the company. After transitioning to executive chairman and hiring a CEO to run the company, Oringer took the plunge to invest full time with Pareto. His investment focuses on software, with a strong interest in marketplaces with a network effect.
Oringer said he felt compelled to make Miami a destination for tech entrepreneurs. “It feels like New York City in the early 2000s and Miami will eventually be a large international tech hub — it’s inevitable,” he said.
Working in the finance industry, Pierre-Jacques noticed that investors in the field didn’t have very diverse backgrounds. So in 2015, he and Jarrid Tingle, his classmate at Harvard Business School, launched Harlem Capital, which focuses on backing women and founders of color. Harlem Capital raised a second fund of $134 million in 2021 and has backed companies such as Pangaea, Compt, and Repeat.
Pierre-Jacques had originally planned to move to Miami temporarily in 2021 — as a year-long honeymoon with his wife. But the city won him over, he said, and he’s staying put. “We have enjoyed the warm weather year-round, lifestyle, access to water, and quick access to so much of the world for traveling,” he told Insider.
Polovets wanted to build his own startup after working at LinkedIn and Factual. But first he wanted to learn what it was like to build a company. Polovets met the team that became Susa Ventures by chance in 2012, and they began talking about co-investing. But what was supposed to be a two-year foray into venture before becoming a founder has lasted nearly a decade.
Polovets invests in B2B enterprise tech and emerging sectors like defense, climate, and robotics. One of his investments is Treasury Prime, a startup that helps financial-services companies like LendingClub embed banking services into their systems.
Throughout Rabois’ investing career — as an angel investor and partner at Khosla Ventures and now at Founders Fund — he’s backed successful companies including Udemy, which went public last October, and Ramp, which has been valued at $8.1 billion. In May, he made Insider’s Seed 100 list of top early-stage investors.
Since moving to Miami in 2020, Rabois has become the city’s unofficial tech ambassador. “I tell people, come here for seven to 10 days, and just try it,” Rabois told Insider in May 2021. “And like any good consumer app, it’s really addicting.”
Schwitzke grew up in South Carolina but has roots in Miami: His mother, a Cuban immigrant, came to the US via the city’s Freedom Tower, and several of his family members still live there.
His early tech career, including a role at the fintech startup Spring Labs and two years at GreatPoint Ventures as the firm’s head of platform, led him to California. But during the pandemic, as Miami grew into a startup hub, Schwitzke jumped at the chance to move to the city.
“I like Miami because I believe it has the potential to become a global hub (rather than just a North American hub) for early-stage tech,” he told Insider in an email.
At Miami Angels, which he joined in May, Schwitzke has invested in companies such as the adtech startup Taiv. Schwitzke also is the cocreator of Deal Flow Miami, a newsletter connecting local founders to investors.
Shleifer joined Tiger Global in 2002, not long after its founding, following a stint at Blackstone. In 2003, Shleifer cofounded the firm’s private-equity business, and he’s spearheaded the firm’s investments in companies such as Postmates, JD.com, Shein, and Roblox.
Since moving to the Miami area last year, Shleifer and John Curtius, who leads Tiger’s software investments, have sourced several investments there, including the crypto companies QuickNode and MoonPay.
Sim entered venture capital 26 years ago in New York. He’s backed notable companies through several iterations of the internet age. At the first firm he launched, in 1998, Dawntreader Ventures, he invested in GoToMeeting and Greenplum. More recently, at his current firm, Boldstart Ventures, which he founded in 2012, he’s backed Blockdaemon, Snyk, and Kustomer.
A longtime booster of New York’s startup scene, Sim moved to Miami late last year. He now runs the Miami Enterprise Tech Meetup alongside Eliot Durbin, his partner at Boldstart, and Peter Yared, a six-time founder who is now the CEO of InCountry. “I’ve found folks to be super welcoming and collaborative, and I truly believe it’s a great recipe for future success,” he said.
Originally from Vietnam, Vo, the managing general partner and chief investment officer at Fuel Venture Capital, began her career at the Prudential Vietnam Fund. After moving to the United States and finishing her studies, she would once again turn to finance.
Before making the switch to venture capital, Vo worked at the hedge fund Blue Shores Capital. She moved to Miami in 2011 to work for Blue Shores, and she fell in love with private markets. Vo joined Fuel Venture Capital in 2018.
Recently, Vo and Fuel Venture Capital have focused on fintech, artificial intelligence, and software as a service. Some of their investments include PredaSAR, a radar imaging and data startup that became a subsidiary of the newly public company Terran Orbital. Vo said one of her most memorable investments is in RecargaPay, a Brazilian payments app — she recalled having to stand in long lines to make simple payments while living in Vietnam and said she’d connected with RecargaPay’s mission of providing online payments infrastructure.
Wexler started her investing career in 2005 at the private-equity firm Elevation Partners. She eventually moved toward earlier-stage investments in companies that she felt could address big challenges related to climate change and health. In 2017, she cofounded Starlight Ventures, whose investments include the climate-tech startups Tynt Technologies, AtmosZero, and Chement.
Wexler, who has lived in Miami for a decade, told Insider that she believes Miami is an ideal spot for sustainability-focused startups and that she’s excited by the city’s emergence as a tech hub. “After years of loving Miami on a personal level but finding it lacking on the professional front, I’m thrilled to be a small part in continuing to build on what many people and organizations have seeded here in the tech ecosystem,” she said.
Woo said he likes venture because he gets a sneak peek into the future. “I did this to sate my personal curiosity, and it’s been amazing to be able to make a living professionally from it,” he told Insider.
Woo began Anti Fund with the influencer and professional boxer Jake Paul in 2021. They’ve been active in crypto, machine learning, healthtech, and software infrastructure businesses. Anti Fund has invested in the sports-media company Betr, the crypto-infrastructure startup Alchemy, the NFT firm Manifold, the mental-health company Osmind, and Anduril. Woo said he’s especially proud of his early investments in Ramp and Chronosphere, both of which he’s helped guide to unicorn status.
Woo, who was born and raised in California, decided to move to Miami a year and a half ago. In an essay he wrote for the Los Angeles Times, Woo said that he felt a calling to move to Miami after pandemic lockdowns in San Francisco and that he wanted to be a part of the vibrant, thriving scene growing in Miami.