Sun, Sep 10, 2017 - Page 15 News List

Sun, sand, unicorns: Making a case for Florida’s tech scene

By Jonathan Levin  /  Bloomberg

Miami and Fort Lauderdale ranked 44th and 46th, respectively, with pools about half the size of Tampa’s.

Then there is the funding. Deep-pocketed financiers still have a bias toward investments in their own backyards, where they can visit by car and keep an eye on the entrepreneurs entrusted with their money.

Magic Leap was a special case: Abovitz had a track record to stand on, having sold his previous company, Mako Surgical Corp, to Stryker Corp for US$1.65 billion.

“There’s a thing called a plane where you can fly, have a meeting on Sand Hill Road and come back,” Abovitz told the crowd in Miami Beach, alluding to the Menlo Park, California, street famous for its venture capital firms.

JetSmarter’s founder has access to airplanes, too, but he also found another way around the fundraising dilemma.

The tech-cum-aviation business had a wealthy user base that it tapped for funding, instead of relying on traditional Silicon Valley-based venture capital.

Jay-Z, for instance, got interested from using the service, founder and chief executive officer Sergey Petrossov said.

“It’s probably a long ways away from being a Silicon Valley, but I think it’s come on the map,” he said.

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