eMerge Americas, a venture-backed platform focused on changing Miami into the tech hub of the Americas, closed a round of investment led by Florida Funders, the firm announced on Tuesday.
Florida Funders is a a venture capital fund and an angel investor network, and its investment in eMerge Americas is aimed at helping Miami’s tech and entrepreneurial hub grow by expanding its reach. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.
The partnership will “further amplify eMerge Americas’ year-round platform with content, events, pitch competitions and a match-making agenda for investors and entrepreneurs with expanded programming and engagement across the state of Florida, in addition to an office in Miami,” the firm said.
In March, the mobile phone surveillance firm Unacast said that in 2020 there were 59,000 visits by New Yorkers to Southeast Florida, with most visiting Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. New residents who sell Northeast homes can bring assets higher than those of existing South Florida residents, along with higher incomes, if they take their jobs with them.
And Miami’s Mayor Francis Suarez has been actively courting them. On Tuesday, Suarez was appointed to the firm’s board of directors. Marc Blumenthal, general partner at Florida Funders, will also take a seat on the board.
“Over the past year we have welcomed the future unashamed, unafraid and optimistic. Miami has moved in a new direction and that is forward,” he said in his state of the city address in January.
As a member of the board, Suarez will support eMerge Americas as the city sees an influx of companies and people move to Miami. He will also help to guide the growth and long-term strategy of the company.
As a result of many businesses moving to Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a surge in companies looking for tech workers. There was a 29% increase of tech job postings in South Florida this year, the South Florida Business Journal reported last week citing data from a CompTIA analysis of Burning Glass Technologies Labor Insights.
The SFBJ reported there were 14,084 job ads for tech and innovation workers in June, up from 10,945 in March. The Miami area led the state for followed by Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville.
“eMerge Americas has laid the groundwork for the city of Miami to become a bastion of entrepreneurship, tech and innovation for over a decade and I couldn’t be more honored to join the board of directors,” Suarez said. “Working closely with eMerge Americas uniquely positions us to attract more businesses, entrepreneurs, and investment talent.”
On Nov. 30-Dec. 1, eMerge Americas and Florida Funders will host La Casa, an in-person event of investors and startup founders in Miami. Its annual conference will return to Miami in April 2022 after being cancelled over the past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This strategic partnership with Florida Funders and the appointment of Mayor Francis Suarez to the board allows us to super serve our ecosystem stakeholders with the resources, programming, and capital they need,” said Manny Medina, founder and executive chairman of eMerge Americas. “We could not think of better partners that are aligned with our vision and enthusiasm to accelerate innovation statewide.”