Three Miami tech veterans have put together a new venture investment syndicate to get more money into the pockets of founders and investors alike.
Flamingo Capital is being launched by Chris Adamo, Adam Garfield and Will Weinraub to bring more Miamians into the deal flow — the network of companies looking for funds — from their vast set of connections developed over years on the tech scene.
“We have a duty to connect old Miami to new Miami,” Adamo said in an interview. “We’re all in the middle of this community, and it was time to open a syndicate with friends and get more money in the pockets of founders.”
Flamingo is already on its second deal opportunity for investors — this time into a startup called Trend, a new platform for users to create content for themselves and brands they use. Trend has been described as “Cameo for everyone” — a reference to the personalized celebrity video platform that has raised more than $100 million at a $1 billion valuation.
“Today, we’re all creators – whether that’s videos or photos, short form or long form, raw or cinematic,” Flamingo said in a statement. “Ramon and the Trend team are helping creators maximize their earnings in a really simple but powerful way, and making life easier for brands big and small to find the best creators for them. We’re excited to invest alongside great people, and connect another growing company to the Miami community.”
Trend CEO Ramon Berrios, a Puerto Rico native with Miami family ties, said he is now in the process of moving Trend’s headquarters to Miami. Berrios said he met members of the Flamingo team while attending startup bootcamp OnDeck’s Miami cohort earlier this year. The company has five employees and counting. Trend was also selected for investment as a minority startup by Black Ambition, the new venture group founded by musician Pharrell and headed by Felecia Hatcher.
“We saw Miami as a huge opportunity,” Berrios said. “Sometimes these things just speak to you — this is really good timing and it feels like a bet worth taking, so we’re moving the company.”
Adamo has been a longtime executive at local media startup WhereBy.Us, which recently launched Letterhead, a new way for publishers to monetize newsletters. Garfield’s SpeedETab, digital menu and restaurant product startup, announced in March that it had been purchased by website creator Wix, where Garfield is now a vice president. Weinraub was CEO of LiveNinja; he now leads OnChain Studios, an NFT-focused startup.
Coral Gables-based JAG Insurance goes all in on crypto
Looking to take the lead among insurance companies in a fast-growing space, JAG Insurance Group in Coral Gables has begun taking steps to match employees’ retirement contributions in crypto — and to offer a form of crypto-asset insurance to institutional clients.
“This has been a new retention and recruiting tool for us,” JAG partner Luis R. Gazitua said in an interview. “We’re saying, ‘Why not continue to be that local company who’s really all in on this space.’”
Gazitua said the company is focused on educating its nearly five-dozen employees about the possibilities of crytocurrencies. Some, he said, are already asking to have their commissions paid directly in Bitcoin.
“Right now, crypto is more of a speculation — but we’re thinking in the future that it will adapt as a form of payment,” Gazitua said. “We want to be on the forefront.”
Startup Showdown Coming to Miami Next Month
Startup Showdown, an opportunity for early-stage startups to present to investors for a chance to win $120,000 in investments from Atlanta-based Panoramic Ventures, is slated for Thurs., Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. at Le Rouge in Wynwood. The event will be hybrid, with an expected attendance of at least 500 and live-streamed to a global audience.
Applications are open to all software and tech-enabled service businesses. Applications are open until Mon., Sept. 6. Each application is reviewed by a member of Panoramic’s team, with 25 semifinalists selected to advance to attend a virtual Mentor Day.
Then, five tech startups will pitch investors on stage for a chance to win $120,000 investment prize from Panoramic Ventures.
Apply to Pitch: https://www.startupshowdown.vc/startups/
RSVP to Attend (virtual and in-person): https://app.experiencewelcome.com/events/mquRyw/stages/Y2fq6V
Kiddie Kredit announces Equifax partnership
Kiddie Kredit, the credit score startup founded by Miami entrepreneur Evan Leaphart, announced its partnership with credit bureau giant Equifax to expand the Kiddie Kredit app. They are also laying the groundwork to bring the Builds Credit model — founded in Boston as a way to boost residents’ credit scores — to Miami with Miami Builds Credit.
“We’ve been working together, but never formally announced anything,” Leaphart said in an interview. “It’s a multi-faceted partnership, and we’re exploring adding additional capabilities in the app.”