March 16, 2017

$300,000 in Florida Institute funding closes $1.1 million round for Candidate.Guru

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By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Candidate.Guru received a $300,000 investment from The Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research, closing out its financing round at $1.1 million.

The Boca Raton-based startup developed its human resources software solution with technology developed at the Florida Institute for Human Machine and Cognition so it was eligible to apply for Florida Institute funding. The Florida Institute supports new company creation based on publicly-funded research, and bridges early funding gaps for companies spinning out of Florida-based universities and research institutions. To date, 65 Florida companies have been funded through the Institute, which makes matching investments up to $300,000; Candidate.Guru received the maximum.

Candidate.Guru developed a big-data software solution that can predict a culture fit between companies and prospective job candidates without the need for surveys and assessment tools. It was the winner of the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge in 2016.

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“Our customers can easily submit job candidates to Candidate.Guru via LinkedIn, job boards and human resource systems, and we then return them in rank order based on strength of the culture fit with a specific hiring manager, team or the company itself. This enables our customers to prioritize thousands of job candidates instantly and reach out to the best culture fits first,” Candidate.Guru CEO Chris Daniels said in the news release. Daniels, a former executive recruiter, founded the company in 2014.

“Candidate.Guru is improving the hiring process by enabling companies to hire the best candidates more efficiently, thereby increasing long-term employee productivity,” added Jackson Streeter, Florida Institute’s CEO.

The new funding extends Candidate.Guru’s previously reported round to $1.1 million, which also included funding by Florida angel groups The FAN Fund, Florida Funders and Miami Innovation Fund. Before that, Candidate.Guru raised about $475,000 from friends and family. The revenue-generating Candidate.Guru has more than 20 corporate customers.

The Florida Institute has also funded South Florida companies Vigilant BioscienesBiscayne PharmaceuticalsKairos, Heart Genomics and Genetic Networks, among others.

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

READ MORE: Candidate.Guru’s big-data solution solves HR quandary: Will the new hire fit in?



Alta5 joins 500 Startups to bring automation to your online brokerage account

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Miami-based Alta5 team, from left: Jack Slocum, Rocco Savage, Adam Mishcon.

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Fintech startup Alta5 received a $150,000 investment from 500 Startups, and its co-founders are part of 500’s current accelerator class in San Francisco.

Alta5, which created an automation platform for individual investors, is the second Miami-based upstart that 500 Startups has invested in this year; Court Buddy, a legal-tech company, also received an investment and is part of the accelerator.

The team at Alta5 has been working behind the scenes to bring its innovative technology to the retail investing market. The platform gives investors the ability to build bots that trade automatically out of their online brokerage account, eliminating the risks in missing trading opportunities and managing their portfolio around unforeseen market events, said Rocco Savage, who co-founded the company with Jack Slocum and Adam Mishcon.

Slocum, CEO, and Mishcon, COO, co-founded Sequoia-backed Sencha.com, so they have an extensive background in building frameworks that are adopted by millions of people. Sencha is a developer framework used by 80 percent of the top financial institutions, most of the Fortune 100 and over 2 million developers worldwide, Savage said. Savage, who oversees business development, also worked at Sencha, as well as Nomi and Tony Robbins. In addition to the 500 Startups funding, Alta5 previously received an undisclosed seed investment and it is currently raising another small round of financing. 

Fintech is a growing specialty in South Florida, and it’s no secret the trends in finance are moving toward automation. Automated trading programs have even impacted Goldman Sachs, which recently laid off 600 traders to hire 200 engineers. “We think it’s important that everyone has a fighting chance, and what that means is creating technology for individual investors to succeed in today’s markets dominated by computerized trading,” Savage said. “Think of Alta5 as your personal automation platform for investing in the stock market.”

 Founded in 2014, Alta5 is putting its platform through final testing and will be opening it to consumers in the coming months, giving more than 6.5 million investors with a TD-Ameritrade account access to its automation features. Sign up to receive early access here.

The team is currently in Silicon Valley participating in the accelerator, which ends with a Demo Day in May. 

“The 500 Startups network is best in class and we feel privileged to be a part of their accelerator,” Savage said. “There’s an abundance of resources at our fingertips including mentorship, networking and investor opportunities, and we are excited to be a part of it.”

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

March 10, 2017

More Miami startup capital on way: Rokk3r Labs launches investment fund

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Rokk3r Fuel team, clockwise from top left: Jeff Ransdell, Jonas Tempel, Germán Montoya and Nabyl Charania. Rokk3r Fuel is a new fund from Miami-based venture builder Rokk3r Labs. Rokk3r Labs

 

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Rokk3r Labs has launched an investment fund and it is already beginning to deploy capital into Miami’s startup community.

The Wynwood-based venture builder announced the launch of Rokk3r Fuel this week. The fund will be led by founding partners Jeff Ransdell and Jonas Tempel in partnership with Rokk3r Labs managing founders Nabyl Charania and Germán Montoya. Ransdell said the goal is that Rokk3r Fuel will be a $150 million fund, which would make it one of the region’s largest, and fund-raising is well underway.

Ransdell most recently was divisional director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, joining Merrill Lynch in 1994, and was responsible for $138 billion in private client investments. Tempel, a serial entrepreneur, was co-founder of Beats Music, which Apple acquired in 2014 to create Apple Music, and the first CEO of Beatport, which SFX acquired in 2013.

“We see Miami as a growing international destination and hub for entrepreneurs throughout the U.S., Latin America, Western Europe and Northern Africa,” said Germán Montoya, co-founder of Rokk3r Labs, in the announcement. “Jeff and Jonas bring a unique combination of experience and expertise in entrepreneurship and investing at the most established levels. We are thrilled to have them connecting investors to what we’re building at Rokk3r Labs.”

Independent of Rokk3r Fuel, Ransdell and Tempel recently were investors in Miami-based Taxfyle’s $2 million fund-raising round. Taxfyle matches tax specialists with consumers and small businesses. Ransdell said he is an investor in 30 to 40 companies although Taxfyle is the first Miami startup he has backed.

But that will likely change soon. Through Rokk3r Fuel, “we are going to make some deployments next month. Of those investments in April, they will all be Miami companies,” Ransdell said in an interview. Some of those will be Taxfyle as well as Rokk3r companies AdMobilize and Emerge, he said, as well as some earlier stage companies they will begin to develop. “We will be making more deployments in June.”

Rokk3r Fuel is aimed at bringing early-stage capital to the best-performing companies emerging from Rokk3r Labs, which partners with entrepreneurs to cobuild ventures. About half of the Fuel portfolio will be from the Rokk3r universe. But Ransdell said the other half of the fund could be from anywhere in the world, as well as other South Florida companies.

“The whole idea is to inject fuel into these companies at strategic times of their growth,” Ransdell said. “I am here and purposely in Miami to support what I believe is a very, very expanding startup ecosystem.”

Rokk3r Labs, founded in 2012, is currently working with about 40 companies, including Hyp3r, AlzhUp and HotSwitch. It has recently moved its headquarters from Miami Beach to Wynwood.

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.

READ MORE: Rokk3r Labs relocating its headquarters to Wynwood

READ MORE: Miami-based Taxfyle raises $2 million, launches version 2.0 of app

 

March 08, 2017

Miami startup RealConnex raises $3.5 million in funding

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

RealConnex, a platform connecting the commercial real estate community to capital, investments and services, announced it has raised $3.5 million in strategic financing in a round led by Silver Portal Capital, a San Diego-based real estate investment and merchant banking firm.

RealConnex, founded in Miami in 2013 by real estate developer Roy Abrams, aims to help real estate developers connect with the right capital sources, service providers and one another. Abrams, the CEO and a 25-year veteran of the technology and real estate industries, said the new funding will be used for marketing, to expand the leadership team, and to add new features to the platform. In total, the company has raised $10.2 million.

The company, based in New York and Miami, has 65,000 active users and a database of 200,000 companies, individuals and funds. Abrams said RealConnex will likely have 6,000 registered capital sources, 9,000 investment opportunities, and more than $1 billion worth of transacted deals by the end of 2017.

Silver Portal Capital, a boutique firm focused exclusively on real estate, will adopt RealConnex's technology platform throughout its organization and channel partners to drive business growth.

"We see a significant competitive advantage in working with a technology partner like RealConnex," said Jean-Louis Guinchard, senior managing principal of Silver Portal Capital, in a news release. "They intimately understand professional real estate and technology, and they are poised to affect the market in a material way. Our investment will help the company scale into the largest real estate professional network."


February 25, 2017

Blacktech Weekend draws hundreds to talk about tech and capital raising, make connections

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A standing-room-only crowd piles in to hear Michael Seibel of Y-Combinator, Sarah Kunst of Proday and Angela Benton of NewME (shown below) open Blacktech Weekend at Venture Café in CIC Miami Thursday. More photos at bottom of story. Photos by Nancy Dahlberg

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By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

It was billed as an opportunity to “break bread and make bread.” Blacktech Weekend was certainly that and a whole lot more.

Black startup founders, investors, techies and community builders flew in from Silicon Valley and all over the U.S. to meet and mingle with Miami’s entrepreneurship community for talks, panel discussions, meals, bus tours, community outreach activities and parties during the event Thursday through Saturday at various locations around the city. On the main stage at the Little Haiti Cultural Center and the evening before at CIC Miami, the talk was capital raising, getting the message out, social impact and building inclusive ecosystems.

I’ve been to a lot of conferences, and the speakers usually bolt after their talks. Not at Blacktech Weekend. Each talk on stage – heavy with personal stories and advice -- came with substantial Q&A time, and the conversations continued after, in the halls, over lunch, on the buses, at the bars. Many of the speakers stayed for the entire conference.

That’s by design, said Blacktech Weekend’s founders Felecia Hatcher and Derick Pearson, who also co-founded Code Fever, an organization for inclusive coding and entrepreneurial education. The speakers list was curated and the event put together so that attendees received many opportunities to meet – and be inspired by – some of the luminaries of the industry. These are the stories that don’t get told, they said. And along the way, attendees also get their burning questions answered and, most importantly, begin building a relationship with potential investors, mentors and strategic partners.

But let’s get down to a few highlights:

“This is not a game where everyone wins. … You need to know that’s the world you are going into. I tell founders all the time, 99.9 percent chance of failure,” Michael Seibel, CEO of Silicon Valley’s Y-Combinator, one of the world’s preeminent startup accelerators, and co-founder of Justin.TV/Twitch and Socialcam, told the standing-room-only opening night crowd at Venture Café at CIC. He said in the last two years YC has funded more than 100 black and Hispanic founders.

More truths he shared: “I’ve seen every idea. Ideas are irrelevant. You are judged on execution and the number 1 way to prove that you can execute is by executing.”

Entrepreneurs succeed in fund-raising by developing leverage – by getting people to fear them as opposed to love them, he said. How to do that: Build and launch something without money. Have the right team, and there better be engineers on it, he said. And in the beginning, it’s ok if just a small group of people love your product.

“Good founders can give me a picture of the future that I can believe,” Seibel said. “And the second that I believe your version of the future, you have leverage. … I’m a little bit afraid if I don’t get behind this.”

Startups are your opportunity to change the world, but make sure you are working on a problem you really care about, he advised.

Sara Kunst, founder of Proday, and Angela Benton, founder of NewME, the first accelerator for entrepreneurs of color, got even more real: “You have to go above and beyond, and that’s the reality we are in,” said Benton, now a Miami resident who is looking to expand programming here.

The stats are sobering: Under-represented minorities in tech number in the low- to mid- single-digit percentages, and it’s about the same for senior leadership, according to statistics released last year at SXSW. Only 1 percent of VCs are black and about 1 percent of VC money goes to black founders.

Women of color who have been funded are an especially rare breed. Kunst said there are just 13 black women founders in the nation have raised a million dollars or more in venture capital.

For seed funding, if you don’t know a lot of rich people, Kunst recommends applying to accelerators, even those in obscure places such as the Midwest, because they generally provide funding. F6s.com has a good list of accelerators, she said.

Richard Kerby is vice president of Venrock, an early stage VC fund that invests in tech and healthcare companies, writing checks from $500K to $10 million. He said he listens to the founder’s vision, and then thinks, if that team can execute the vision, how will the world be impacted? If he likes the answer to that, he dives deeper into more traditional venture measures around team and product.

“As for team, I look less at your education background and look more to understand your raw intellect. I look less on your experience and more at your great market knowledge of your category. In product, I look at the value you provide to your end customer,” he said during the conference on Friday at the Little Haiti Cultural Center. For consumer products, engagement and retention is super important, he said.

Chris Christmas, founder of KeepLivin, reminded the audience that’s it’s not all about the exit.

“Everything is not about raising money and selling … Stay in your communities and grow jobs … Let’s be about economic development in our communities.”

KeepLivin  is a digital health company that aims to increase health equity in communities where health disparities exist. “Our job is to bring digital technology to the community and we are starting in barbershops, salons and churches,” he said. “We go to the streets; we meet the customers where they are at.”

For example, KeepLivin takes telemedicine to churches and to families with members in the Caribbean, so they can be seen by a board-certified physician.

KeepLivin was part of the first cohort of Startupbootcamp Digital Health in Miami, and Christmas said he found Miami to be a perfect ecosystem to grow keeplivin.org.

“Innovation is a social process, and it is one that it is fueled by conversation, collaboration, storytelling and it thrives when everybody’s included,” said Leigh-Ann Buchanan, executive director of Venture Café Miami, who led a panel discussion about inclusive ecosystems.

Leslie Miley, a returning Blacktech Week speaker who has held engineering leadership roles at Slack, Twitter, Apple and Google, said the onus is on the black community to get the positive stories out on social media platforms. “It’s about changing the narrative that is being told. .. [On social media] we should be talking about our accomplishments, talking about what we do.” Taking a page from the alt-right’s success getting its message out, he said, “Just publish information, just publish it. Link to our positive stories and have them go viral.”

Indeed, Hatcher said the reason for starting Blacktech activities was because, “We want to make sure everyone gets a seat at the table, or can build their own … table.”

Saturday brought about 40 conference goers into the streets via a bus tour of black history and innovation in Miami and others mentored youth entrepreneurs at the Overtown Youth Center. Blacktech Weekend, supported by the Knight Foundation and a number of other sponsors, was a warm-up to the main event, the third annual Blacktech Week, this year being held Sept. 25-30. If you missed the weekend event, much of the content was taped and some has been put up on social media (Refresh Miami posted Seibel’s talk on its Facebook page) and, as in the past, other talks will be released by Blacktech Week over next couple of weeks. You can catch up on the conversation at #BTWKND17.

READ MORE:

Blacktech Week receives $1.2 million in Knight funding to expand entrepreneurship programs

WLRN Q&A with Felecia Hatcher

Numbers don't lie: Silicon Valley still has a diversity problem

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Blacktech Weekend day 2 speakers at Little Haiti Cultural Center include Richard Kirby of Venrock, with Derick Pearson, above. Below, Chris Christmas of KeepLivin and panels on social media and inclusion below. Photos by Nancy Dahlberg

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February 24, 2017

Fintech company Nymbus raises $16 million

Nymbus, a Miami-based financial technology company, announced that investors are pouring in more capital to fuel their growth.

Nymbus, a provider of cloud-based core technology for financial institutions founded in 2015, announced it has secured a $16 million funding round led by Home Credit Group, a consumer finance provider based in the Netherlands and active in 11 countries. This round comes just six months after raising $12 million to continue its expansion plans. Nymbus also made three acquisitions last summer.

“Tens of thousands of banks and credit unions are not capitalizing on strategic growth opportunities due to outdated legacy core technology. This round of funding will allow us to strengthen our focused efforts around helping customers implement more efficient operations, more modern digital experiences and, ultimately, achieve greater growth,” said Scott Killoh, executive chairman of Nymbus.


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/technology/article134832134.html#storylink=cpy

 

February 15, 2017

One year later: Miami-based MealPal raises $15M, expands internationally

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By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

5.5-inch (iPhone 6+) - Screenshot 1One year ago, Mary Biggins launched MealPal, a subscription restaurant lunch service, in the Brickell area of Miami, and quickly expanded to Boston, New York and four other U.S. cities. On Wednesday, Biggins announced the startup is jumping across the pond to London, its first international expansion, and it has raised $15 million in venture capital to fund its growth.

The Series A financing round was led by Comcast Ventures, the venture capital affiliate of Comcast Corp., with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, Haystack Partners, NextView Ventures and Miami-based Krillion Ventures, said Biggins, who co-founded the Miami-based company with Katie Ghelli (both are pictured above).

“MealPal has built an exciting business in the huge, but overlooked meal takeout space, using technology to create a win-win for consumers and restaurants,” said Daniel Gulati of Comcast Ventures, in a statement. “Their early traction has been outstanding.”

In the markets it serves, Miami-based MealPal offers hundreds of affordable and curated local restaurant lunch options to its members near where they work or live for a flat, monthly fee. Every weekday, members can browse the curated list of offerings on MealPal’s website or app and pre-order the night before or in the morning and then skip the takeout line. For restaurants, it can increase revenue and exposure. In London, it launched with 125 restaurants.

With London, the tech-enabled subscription meal service is now in eight cities, including San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago and Philadelphia. The service has facilitated more than 1 million reservations for lunch – doubling its total in the last four months – and has thousands of restaurants on the platform, said Biggins, who previously co-founded ClassPass, which offers fitness classes by subscription.

In September, the company rebranded from MealPass to MealPal and introduced “Pal,” a smart bot that uses artificial intelligence to make reserving lunch easier and more personalized. “Pal will know if you like big lunches or small lunches, if you like cheese, if you like meat or are a vegetarian, if you likes beets, etc, so it can make really good recommendations to you,” Biggins said then.

Now? “We’ve captured preference data for hundreds of thousands of meals at this point with Pal,” Biggins said on Wednesday.

MealPal has about 45 employees, most of them in its biggest market, New York. Although Biggins travels a great deal between all MealPal locations, she and her Miami team are based at Building.co. Krillion Ventures also participated in MealPal’s seed funding round.

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

READ MORE:

MealPass rebrands as MealPal, unveils ‘Pal’ feature, launches in Chicago, Washington, DC

Tech Talk: From ClassPass to MealPass, the Big Apple to the Magic City

 

February 13, 2017

Meet the investor: Next round of EDC angel connections series on March 14 to feature Las Olas Venture Capital

Enterprise Development Corporation is hosting the third in a series of investor/startup events meant to provide entrepreneurs valuable funding insights.  The event on Tuesday, March 14, will feature Las Olas Venture Capital and Partner, Mark Volchek.  

Volchek will meet in the afternoon with four selected companies from a growing company database of over forty companies.   Each company will receive feedback on their presentation, an initial interest level and specific advice in applying for formal consideration by Las Olas Venture Capital.  For entrepreneurs wishing to be considered for the one-on-one, please submit an executive summary and investor slide deck to team@edc-tech.org by 2/27/17.

March 14th also hosts a public evening event, held at Mindwarehouse in downtown Miami from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. where  Volchek will share with the audience general funding guidance for entrepreneurs as well as specific insights into Las Olas VC’s selection and funding process.  Register for the evening event at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/inside-the-investors-head-with-las-olas-venture-capital-partner-mark-volchek-tickets-31830714524

At the previous event, DealCoachPro was one of six selected for a one-on-one with featured investor Tamiami Angel Funds.  According to Founder Erik Mintz  “The investor series event was a real opportunity for my startup.  I was able to participate in the one-on-one with Tim Cartwright of Tamimai Angels which was a meaningful experience with great feedback as to our fit with the Fund.”

The series combines one-on-one investor/startup introductions with an evening event for a broader audience of entrepreneurs.    The objective of these “capital Introductions” is to both help startups acquaint themselves with active Florida and non-Florida early stage investors and help investors identify South Florida’s best emerging investor-ready companies. 

Future events in this series will be ongoing throughout 2017, so please check www.enterbusiness.org for updates. 

- Submitted by the EDC

February 09, 2017

Blacktech Week receives $1.2 million in Knight funding to expand entrepreneurship programs

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By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

This month’s Blacktech Weekend will bring the CEO of Y-Combinator and other tech leaders to Miami, and it is just a slice of what’s to come.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation on Thursday announced $1.2 million in new support for Code Fever’s Blacktech Week and related programs that aim to expand opportunities for black entrepreneurs.

Based in Miami, Code Fever is a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting people of color to the startup and tech ecosystem in South Florida and is run by Felecia Hatcher and Derick Pearson. In 2015, with support from Knight Foundation, Code Fever launched Blacktech Week, a six-day conference that was also held last year.

New support from Knight, awarded over three years, will go toward expanding Blacktech Week programming year-round to include Blacktech Weekend and continued monthly office hours and meetups. Code Fever will also introduce VC in Residence, a new program that will invite venture capitalists to spend a month in Miami advising and guiding minority entrepreneurs.

Hatcher said these events will continue to bring together participants eager to connect, learn and explore ideas around how to grow black entrepreneurship and make sure people of color are represented in the tech industry. “The talent and the demand are there. With our new, expanded programming, we’ll be able to provide greater year-round access to networking, mentorship and funding,” she said.  

Matt Haggman, Knight’s Miami program director, believes the funding will help Code Fever expand and deepen the impact of Blacktech Week. In addition to the signature event, a regular calendar of events will ensure an ongoing presence throughout the year while helping to create “an inclusive and equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem in Miami,” he said. The lack of diversity in the Silicon Valley tech industry is a well-documented problem with little progress made.

“We are still in the early days of building a Miami innovation ecosystem, and we want to be very intentional that this ecosystem includes the whole community. We see Black Tech Week as a key part of this effort,” said Haggman, who has spearheaded Knight’s involvement in Miami ecosystem-building. “The more the whole community is involved, the more success we will have.”

The first Blacktech Weekend — a condensed version of Blacktech Week — will take place Feb. 23-25, with a focus on business development and raising capital. Speakers include the CEO of Y-Combinator Michael Siebel, Richard Kirby of Venrock Capital and Marlon Nichols of Cross Culture Ventures, and panels and presentations will be on topics ranging from pitching investors and asset framing to storytelling and building hubs for inclusive innovation.

This year, Blacktech Week will be Sept. 25-30. The event will feature speakers from around the globe, panels, an interactive tech career fair, workshops, networking opportunities, pitch competitions, and a new government-tech track. Code Fever will also expand its monthly Blacktech meetups and office hours to better connect Miami’s black entrepreneurs with advisors, mentors and investors throughout the year.

Past speakers and panelists at Blacktech Week have included NFL Champion and AsktheDoctor.com founder Israel Idonije and Magic Leap CEO Rony Abowitz (pictured below), Maker’s Row Founder Matthew Burnett, DreamIt Ventures Managing Director William Crowder, Priceline.com co-founder Jeff Hoffman and former Twitter Engineering Manager Lesley Miley (pictured above), among many others.

Additional details about Blacktech Weekend and Blacktech Week can be found at blacktechweek.com.

Over the past three years Knight has made more than 200 investments in entrepreneurship in South Florida.

Nancy Dahlberg: @ndahlberg

 

READ MORE

Blacktech Week: Innovating, scaling, giving back

Why I quit Twitter (and turned down a seven-figure severance package)

Black Tech Week spotlights pioneers, rising stars

Numbers don’t lie: Silicon Valley still has a big diversity problem

 

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February 08, 2017

Wyncode coding school raises $1 million to fund growth

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Juha and Johanna Mikkola, founders of coding education company Wyncode, announce that the startup has received $1 million in funding. The announcement was made during the opening party for Wynbase, their new Wyncode campus.Photo by Nancy Dahlberg.

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

As the Wyncode Academy team celebrated the opening of their new coding school campus Wednesday night with the Miami technology community, the founders announced they have raised $1 million from a leading Swedish consulting and education group to fund their growth. 

Wyncode, which offers in-person coding bootcamps teaching computer programming in 10 weeks, will receive the funding from Academic Work X Group, a sister company of Academic Work. Academic Work is one of the largest education, consulting and placement companies in Sweden with operations in six European countries.  This investment is the company’s first step into the the U.S. market.

Wyncode was co-founded by the husband-wife team of Juha and Johanna Mikkola in 2014; in 2015 they were selected as Endeavor Entrepreneurs, giving them a global network of mentorship and support. Last month Wyncode opened Wynbase, its new 3,100-square-foot dedicated code school campus in Wynwood. It has two classrooms, an open space for students to work in and conference rooms. “It definitely feels like we are growing up but it also feels like we are putting down stronger and stronger roots here,” Wyncode co-founder Johanna Mikkola told the crowd. “We’re all working together to build something great.”

Juha Mikkola said Wyncode has graduated 400 people, called Wyncoders, who gained the skills needed to get entry level coding jobs in tech. About 190 companies have hired Wyncoders with 49 companies hiring at least two, he said. CareCloud, Kipu Systems and Watsco have each hired six to eight graduates.

Although its bootcamps will always be at the core of what Wyncode does, Wyncode will also form a training and consulting arm of the business that will place more experienced coders into companies. “A comment we hear from Miami companies is they face an ongoing challenge finding vetted talent,” Johanna Mikkola said. “We are going to be working with companies to provide specific talent and specific training for needs at all levels of tech positions. That’s going to be a whole new phase and wave and we are here to provide that to this community.”

That’s where Academic Work’s expertise will come in, as that company is focused on connecting talented individuals with opportunities in the work force. “We fell in love with the entrepreneurs and we have a very similar model in Europe, so we know this business works and what potential it has,” Academic Work CEO Johan Skarborg told the crowd.

Wyncode’s next full-time coding bootcamp begins on Feb. 13 and $10,000 in scholarships are still available, the company said. Wyncode also launched its first part-time course on Feb. 6 and is accepting applications for its next cohort. Wyncode’s Wyntroduction, a one-day coding bootcamp, takes place Feb. 25 at the Lightbox in Wynwood.

Nancy Dahlberg: @ndahlberg

READ MORE: Wyncode outgrows The LAB, will open its own campus Jan. 8

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The Mikkolas with their team, above, and the crowd, shown below, at the opening of Wynbase, Wyncode's new campus. Photos by Nancy Dahlberg

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