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SoftBank earmarks $100 million for Miami-based startups

Miami, an rising startup hub, has a brand new check-writer on the town: SoftBank. The Japanese multinational conglomerate introduced plans right this moment to speculate $100 million, drawn from throughout its funds, into Miami-based startups. Notably, SoftBank’s $5 billion Latin America fund is headquartered in Miami, as properly.

The initiative is led by SoftBank CEO Marcelo Claure. The fund will again firms who’re in Miami or plan to maneuver there.

A SoftBank verify is considerably of a Silicon Valley rite-of-passage, so the agency’s involvement within the scene will probably sign to others that the expansion of Miami is one thing to be taken severely. The tax-free haven is attracting swathes of traders and founders from across the nation trying to be part of the rising scene. Relocators embrace Keith Rabois of Founders Fund, David Blumberg of Blumberg Capital, Chris Dixon of Andreessen Horowitz and David Sacks of Craft Ventures.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who has been on a Twitter tear asking techies to maneuver to Miami, has spearheaded a lot of the efforts to show the town right into a startup epicenter.

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Big Win for #MiamiTech @marceloclaure and @SoftBank’s newest funding initiative: The $100M Miami Tech Fund will immediately fund and help Miami-based companies, creating Miami unicorns proper right here at house.

— Mayor Francis Suarez (@FrancisSuarez) January 28, 2021

Ruben Harris, founding father of Career Karma, has been working with Suarez since 2018 to assist individuals break into tech.

“Now that Softbank has made this transfer, we are going to see extra funds comply with their instance and it is a big win for range not simply from a race perspective, but in addition from a socioeconomic perspective, and from a gender perspective,” Harris mentioned, who is considering shifting to the town. Career Karma is presently working with VC funds to get previous laptops into its Reskill America program, to assist practice an rising workforce in Miami.

Monica Black, who’s behind Function, a Miami-based non-profit investor syndicate, hopes that SoftBank’s entrance “won’t solely improve the quantity of capital going to native startups and assist them develop to the Series A stage and past, but in addition entice different institutional VCs as co-investors.” Historically, she mentioned, it’s been robust for native startups to boost capital from Silicon Valley or New York funds. The exception to this was Papa, which raised $18 million in September to attach older adults with digital companions from Sound Ventures and Canaan.

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Nico Berardi, the founding father of Miami-based fund ANIMO Ventures, linked the brand new SoftBank initiative to the latest announcement by San Francisco’s Founders Fund to open an workplace in Miami.

“Both are symbolic and I believe symbols matter,” Berardi mentioned. “[They] are planting a flag right here and saying look it is a viable scene.” Of his 16 portfolio firms, Berardi says just one startup relies in Miami. With an increasing number of traders shifting to the town, Berardi is optimistic that it may magnetize extra expertise to maneuver, too.

“I’m hopeful that this will entice tens or a whole lot of founders to construct their subsequent factor in Miami,” he mentioned.


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