/ / 2020 brought in a wave of tech-focused investment firms. What have they done in 2021?
/ / 2020 brought in a wave of tech-focused investment firms. What have they done in 2021?

2020 brought in a wave of tech-focused investment firms. What have they done in 2021?

The last year brought several high-profile founders and companies to the Tampa Bay region. It also brought in the crucial building block to help those companies thrive: funding.

Throughout 2020, a number of Tampa Bay tech executives announced they would launch investment firms focused on technology. The Tampa Bay Business Journal spoke with each of those founders to see what’s been accomplished in the last 12 months.

Bellini Capital

Run by: Arnie Bellini and his wife, Lauren. Bellini is the co-founder of software giant ConnectWise, which was acquired in February 2019.

Launched: In 2019, announced in September 2020

What they’ve invested in so far: The fund has deployed $13 million in 2021, Bellini told the Business Journal. It runs across startups in several sectors:

  • Marxent, a St. Petersburg-based augmented reality company with a focus on the retail space
  • AutoElevate, a Miami-based provider of automated privileged access management software
  • SaaS Alerts, a Wilmington, North Carolina-based provider of SaaS security assessment services
  • CrushBank, a New York-based company using IBM Watson as an information technology engineer
  • Password Boss, a Minneapolis-based provider of password management solutions
  • Knack, a Tampa-based edtech company 

What’s next: Bellini said the fund has $50 million to deploy, with the hopes $20 million of that sum will be deployed in 2022. 

Seedfunders Opportunity Fund

Run byDave Chitester, who runs its parent fund, Seedfunders. He previously told the Business Journal the opportunity fund will be overseen by a management board headed by Seedfunders and Florida Funders co-founder Irv Cohen. The board also includes Tonjua Williams, president of St. Petersburg College, Bridgette Heller, who served in many corporate roles, and Seedfunders partners Geoff KeithRuth Ross and George Lange.

Launched: Seedfunders was launched in 2017, and the opportunity fund was created in June 2020.

Its focus: It will focus on funding startups owned by Black tech-enabled entrepreneurs to help in the pre-seed, otherwise known as the “friends and family” investment stage. 

What they’ve invested in so far: Chitester did not respond to a request for comment but previously told Tampa Bay Inno in May it invested $50,000 into Orlando-based College Thriver, which helps provide low-income students access to rigorous college programs.

MacDonald Ventures

Run bySteve MacDonald, founder of myMatrixx, which was acquired for $250 million in 2017.

Launched: MacDonald announced the creation of his firm in October 2020 and launched in early 2021.

Its focus: He previously stated he will invest in mainly technology-enabled companies but added he might “periodically take a gamble” and invest outside of that sector. 

What they’ve invested in so far:

  • Chattr, a Tampa-based provider of automated hiring software
  • Pocket, a Tampa-based blockchain data platform
  • HealthSnap, a Miami-based remote patient monitoring and telehealth company
  • Simple Bet, a New York-based sports betting software company
  • Side, a San Francisco-based real estate technology platform
  • Bird, a Santa Monica-based micromobility company, best known for its scooters
  • Astranis, a San Francisco-based maker of satellites to help with internet connectivity  

What’s next: MacDonald told the Business Journal he plans to keep the same pace of investing after deploying $3 million in 2021. 

“There are a lot of good opportunities, at least here locally — we’re trying to keep an eye toward Florida,” he said. “The opportunities seem to be getting better, and higher quality companies are staying here, so the selection criteria, it’s getting a little harder — but that’s a good thing.”

CAVU Capital

Run byBarry Shevlin, co-founder and former CEO of Clearwater tech company Vology. Before creating the investment firm, he launched a technology practice for Skyway Capital Markets.

Launched: December 2020

Its focus: Midsize technology companies that bring between $10 million and $100 million in revenue a year. 

What they’ve invested in so far:

  • FlyFlorida, a Clearwater-based, technology-enabled, asset-light, private aviation company
  • Black Belt Solutions, a Tampa-based company founded by Shevlin’s former Vology colleague. The company offers business process improvement and automation services.  
  • Prodoscore, a California-based SaaS-based productivity management software platform

What’s next: “We’re starting to get our legs under us,” Shevlin said in an interview with the Business Journal. He hopes to look at other companies that complement the three he’s already worked with, possibly adding “one or two more” platforms in 2022. 

“We’re very invested in the region,” he said. “I’ve grown roots here, so as much as we can do to build on the tech ecosystem that’s being built here, we want to continue to be part of that.” 


Run by: Four men long familiar with the tech and startup scene: Andreas CalabreseMarcus AdolfssonTom Frederick and Wesley Barnett

Launched: May

Its focus: The $20 million fund wants to deploy the funds across 20 startups in the next five years, entirely focused on the Tampa Bay region.

What they’ve invested in so far:

  • Procoto, a software procurement company which moved its headquarters to St. Petersburg at the beginning of the year
  • Slide, a Tampa-based insurance technology company that closed $100 million in credit last month
  • Two more are currently in the due diligence phase

What’s next: Calabrese told the Business Journal the fund plans to invest in two companies per quarter.

“We’re obviously incredibly selective, even by VC standards, but we’re finding a great deal flow and great companies,” he said. “Which is proof of our thesis, which is that great companies are being built in Tampa Bay — and it’s shown with wins in the ecosystem in general.”

Read More on: https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2021/12/27/who-all-the-tech-investment-firms-have-focused-on.html?utm_source=st&utm_medium=en&utm_campaign=me&utm_content=ta&ana=e_ta_me&j=26176300&senddate=2021-12-27