Silicon Valley has a new competitor. In recent years, a crop of tech companies and venture capital firms have begun to move away from the longtime tech hub in favor of new locales, a trend that was only exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This shift has made cities like Miami, Florida prime real estate for the startup world.
The vibrant city is known for its clubs, beaches and food scene, all of which could prove attractive to the stream of startups, tech workers and venture capitalists that are now finding themselves able to work from anywhere. Moreover, the Sunshine State’s tax benefits and comparatively cheap cost of living make it an easy choice for those looking to leave Silicon Valley.
The past year has been hot for South Florida’s startup community, and the area’s ventures raised more than a combined $1 billion in the first quarter of 2022. And in 2021, the value of venture-capital deals for Miami-based startups nearly quadrupled, reaching $4.6 billion overall, up from $1.2 billion in 2020. This boom in funding is on pace to put Miami in the pantheon of the country’s top startup locales. During the first year of the pandemic, Miami saw the greatest inbound migration of software and IT workers of any U.S. metropolitan area, with a 15.4% year-over-year increase. Meanwhile, workers left the Bay Area. Miami's network of domestic and international flights and its proximity to Latin America make it a gateway to the rest of the world, as well as having global markets at its fingertips.
“Miami has everything in place to accelerate its rise to be cemented as a significant tech/startup ecosystem,” David Goldberg, a general partner at Alpaca VC, told TechCrunch. “It now has capital (investors), founders, talent and infrastructure, each growing by the day given the attractiveness to the area. In five years, I am confident Miami will only trail SF, NYC, LA and Boston in terms of size/deals.”
Miami might be gaining popularity, but it’s no stranger to the startup world. In 2019, the beachfront city boasted the highest startup density in the U.S., at 247.6 startups per 100,000 people. Among these startups are some household names like Magic Leap, the augmented reality company that has raised over $3.5 billion in funding. But the list of promising startups doesn’t stop there.
Keep on reading to discover the disruptive Miami area startups you should know in 2022.
Yuga Labs was founded in 2021, making it the youngest venture on the list. The company mainly derives revenue through its service of creating NFTs and digital collectibles on behalf of a variety of different companies and individuals. The platform behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection runs off of the ApeCoin DAO and has seen rapid growth in the last year. Despite the recent crypto downturn, Yuga should have staying power as it completed its seed funding round in March 2022, giving it a $450 million runway to outlast the market turbulence. The company has also made two acquisitions in the past year including the CryptoPunks and Meetbits NFT lines.
DoorLoop is the Miami startup behind a rental property management solution that takes most of the legwork out of being a landlord. The company’s software offering makes tasks like screening tenants, collecting rental payments and accounting simple for property owners. The business has gone through two rounds of fundraising since it was founded in 2019, with the most recent round in September 2021. With $10 million in the bank DoorLoop is positioned to accelerate the growth of its platform in 2022, especially as the rental market in Miami continues its meteoric growth—the year Miami surpassed Boston as the third most expensive rental market in the U.S.
Wynshop is a Miami startup that aims to be an e-commerce solution for grocers. The company offers a platform that helps U.S.-based grocers grow their business through the use of an online platform and a digital fulfillment solution that improves the end-user experience. The business has experienced rapid growth since it was established in 2020. Despite the company’s quick growth, Wynshop hasn’t yet gone through any round of startup funding, but as the business continues to grow and scale its operations and looks to launch same-day delivery this year, it will likely attempt to fundraise in the future making it a startup to watch.
Founded in 2017, aXpire develops SaaS fintech products that help businesses increase productivity and profits. The company’s end-to-end spend management and expense allocation software targeted at hedge funds and private equity firms and allows users to increase revenue, streamline communications and optimize operations by automating tasks. aXpire’s also offers a time-tracking and dictation product to law firms to help legal offices automate tasks, enhance records, and improve the billing process. In the second quarter of 2022 aXpire is slated to release a new crypto app with a cryptocurrency wallet and trading platform that sports an AI price prediction feature.
ThriveDX is a Coral Gables-based edtech company that was formerly known as HackerU. The company offers courses on cybersecurity, UI/UX design, data science and analytics and digital marketing to individuals and businesses to help close the skill gap in the modern economy. ThriveDX has had a stellar 2022 and completed not one, but two funding rounds—a $100 million deal in January and a $75 million deal in February.
Novo is a digital bank focused on small and medium businesses. The neobanking venture closed a $90 million Series B funding round in January bringing its valuation to $700 million. In an interview with Refresh Miami, Novo’s co-founder and CEO Michael Rangel said he would use the funding to build out the 150-person company’s headcount in “a massive way.” He also added that the funding would also be used to double down on customer acquisition and build new financial products to automate the process of providing short-term capital for reducing cash flow friction.