eMerge Americas Wins Florida Funders Backing, Will Launch New Tech Event to Coincide With Art Base
eMerge Americas has won the backing of Florida’s most active venture capital firm.
The Miami-based organization, host of the region’s premier annual tech conference, announced it closed an investment round led by Florida Funders, a hybrid venture capital and angel investor network headquartered in Tampa. General Partner Marc Blumenthal will join the board of eMerge.
“This transformative partnership with eMerge Americas was a natural next step as we expand our footprint — we have a shared mission, and we’re excited about helping grow the tech and innovation ecosystems in Miami and around the state,” Blumenthal said in a statement.
Florida Funders’ board members Rachel Sapoznik, founder of Sapoznik Insurance; and Steve MacDonald, founder of MacDonald Ventures, contributed to the round.
eMerge did not specify the size of the investment. Ashley Abdullah, director of marketing for eMerge, told the Business Journal the details will not be disclosed.
In March, Florida Funders announced it was expanding to Miami to build relationships with local founders and investors as more technology industry insiders relocate to South Florida.
The company was voted Pitchbook’s top venture capital firm in the Southeast last year, beating out competitors in other regional tech hubs such as Raleigh, North Carolina and Atlanta. Florida Funders has invested in at least 10 Miami-area startups in recent years, including HealthSnap, ClassWallet, Bambino and Lula, the “Stripe for insurance” startup that recently closed an $18 million Series A financing round.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez will also join the board of eMerge effective immediately, the organization reported. As a board member, Suarez will support eMerge’s mission to build a top-tier technology ecosystem in the Miami area.
eMerge will use that partnership to launch “La Casa,” an in-person event for investors and startup founders that will be hosted on Nov. 30-Dec. 1 to coincide with the commencement of Art Basel.
eMerge founder and executive chairman Manny Medina said the partnership will serve local tech stakeholders by bringing together the resources, programming and funding connections they need to succeed.
Medina, widely considered to be the father of Miami’s tech movement, founded the real estate-turned-information services company Terremark Worldwide, acquired by Verizon for $1.4 billion in 2011. He launched the eMerge Americas’ global tech conference in 2014.
“We could not think of better partners that are aligned with our vision and enthusiasm to accelerate innovation statewide,” Medina said.
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