September 21, 2015

Modernizing Medicine announces $38 million capital raise

The Boca Raton healthcare-technology company has raised about $87 million

By Nancy Dahlberg / 

Modernizing Medicine, the Boca Raton-based creator of the Electronic Medical Assistant, a specialty-specific electronic medical record system, announced Monday that it has closed a $38 million Series E financing, bringing total capital raised to about $87 million.

DancaneInvestors in the latest round of financing included Pentland Group, which has been an investor since Modernizing Medicine’s first round, Summit Partners, also an existing investor, and Sands Capital Ventures, a large healthcare fund and new investor for Modernizing Medicine.  “We greatly appreciate the vote of confidence,” said Daniel Cane, co-founder and CEO of Modernizing Medicine (pictured here).

Earlier this month, the fast-growing Modernizing Medicine completed its acquisition of Weston -based gMed. The gMed acquisition gives Modernizing Medicine 18 percent of the gastroenterology market, and Modernizing Medicine recently launched into urology, said Cane on Monday, speaking from a board retreat.

“We continue to focus exclusively on medical and surgical specialty markets. Those are the most difficult markets to provide software for and they are the best fit for our solution because of just how our solution was designed. So we continue to run between the feet of the elephant,” said Cane, a serial entrepreneur who also co-founded Blackboard.

With the gMed acquisition, Modernizing Medicine has been on a hiring spree and now employs 430 people. "We hired several more people today so that number is already out of date," he said.

Modernizing Medicine also recently launched a telemedicine solution, said Cane. “If you think of dermatology, where we have over 35 percent of the entire U.S. market, almost everything in dermatology you can diagnose using telemedicine. It provides users a tremendous convenience … it’s  a time saver and cost saver for both the providers and the patients.”

Modernizing Medicine, founded in 2010, is one of the most successful South Florida early-stage companies in terms of fund-raising and employment. Among its recent accomplishments is four No. 1 EHR Black Book rankings for dermatology, orthopedics, otolaryngology and gastroenterology. In August, the company, with  $30.5 million of revenue in 2014, was named to the Inc. 500 list. It was also one of the first early-stage companies to partner with IBM Watson. Modernizing Medicine's Electronic Medical Assistant, or EMA, provides a specialty-specific EMR system used by more than 6,000 healthcare providers in the United States.

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg

Earlier Miami Herald profile of Modernizing Medicine here.


August 20, 2015

500 Startups launching growth-marketing accelerator program in Miami

500 Startups, a Silicon Valley venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator, is doubling down on its interest in Miami.

In March, 500 Startups and its founder Dave McClure brought its PreMoney conference to Miami, its first foray outside Silicon Valley with that event. Thursday, the organization announced that it will launch a 10-week growth marketing program in South Florida beginning Sept. 28.

Because the past couple of years have seen the Miami and Latin American startup ecosystems continue to mature, with more companies emerging in the region and more money to fund them, 500 Startups believes it is a good time to launch its new Miami Distro Program – distro is 500 slang for distribution or customer acquisition. The organization’s staff and mentors will be flying in from Silicon Valley, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil to administer the program, guiding and funding its first batch of invited startups focused on scaling customer acquisition, retention and revenue.

The program is supported by partners John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Simkins Family Fund, Softlayer and, a new collaborative space for tech companies in downtown Miami, where the Miami Distro Program will take place.

YangStartups accepted into the program with “growth as a mindset” will be in the post-seed stage and have previously raised at least $150,000 in funding from other investors. They will likely be five to eight teams from South Florida, Latin America or elsewhere that want to target the Latin America market and/or the U.S. Spanish-speaking market i from Miami, said Bedy Yang, the 500 Startups partner that is leading the program. The companies have not been selected yet, Yang said, but will be identified through recommendations and introductions from its global network of 3,000 founders and mentors.

Participating companies will receive between $150,000 to $250,000 in funding from 500 Startups, with $50,000 of that allocated to the Distro program fee and another $50,000 earmarked for growth marketing spending. The Distro Program will be staffed with four to six mentors on site, and additional topic-specific mentors will be flown in or available remotely throughout the program.

Yang said the 500 partners and mentors will also hold meetups for the greater community. Many of 500 Startups’ growth marketing programs also will be available to the public on its YouTubechannel.

Yang said this is the first 10-week Distro Program for 500 Startups, which has a portfolio of 1,200 investments in over 50 countries, including more than 100 in the Latin America region. It is also running shorter distro-themed programs in London and Kuala Lumpur. With all three, it was seeking hub locations to serve regions where startup activity is emerging. Yang said the fund’s interest in Miami is strong, and hinted there will be more to come.

“It is so easy to convince everyone to go to Miami,” said Yang. While 500 leaders have been in and out for events, “it will be great to be able to spend a lot more time there. We’re quite happy. You’ll be seeing a lot more of us.”

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter. 


500 Startups founder Dave McClure chats with Fabrice Grinda during its PreMoney conference in Miami in March.

August 12, 2015

5 key considerations for South Florida startups seeking funding

By Ed Boland

EdSince we opened our Miami office in the fall of 2014, thus becoming the first institutional venture capital firm in the MagicCity, we’ve met with countless South Florida startups and are incredibly encouraged by the activity we see in the ecosystem. There are plenty of driven entrepreneurs as well as helpful organizations such as eMerge Americas, Knight Foundation, Rokk3r Labs, Wyncode and Carve Communications, all of which provide much needed support to the growing landscape. Needless to say, we are thrilled to be a part of this budding ecosystem, and intend to help entrepreneurs reach their potential.

That being said, after talking with many entrepreneurs over the past 10 months, there are some key aspects to raising capital that founders should be mindful of as they set out on the fundraising trail. Keep in mind the following are not ranked in any particular order of importance:

1. Team and Culture: Many founders believe their product is the most important asset, but at Scout, we look first and foremost at the team and the culture of the company in question. We examine the background of the team, and discuss how these contribute to what the entrepreneur and team are specifically working on. We also explore how the team is structured. At Scout, we make sure every team member has a clear job and is well suited to handle it. We also look to see if a founding team has both a technical and non-technical co-founder, as we have found that this often contributes to a successful team dynamic.

 2. Roadmap and Timeline: As investors, we like to know what you’ve built and accomplished since the inception of your business. But at Scout, we are just as interested in what you’re planning on doing next. As an entrepreneur, you should be able to confidently and succinctly discuss items such as: the benchmarks and KPIs that your business needs to hit, your product roadmap, who your key hires will be and when you plan on hiring them. If your company is sales-driven, be able to discuss who your target customer is and the typical sales cycle associated with your business. Understanding the future path to success is even more important than the path you took to get a meeting with an investor. Entrepreneurs should be thinking about revenue milestones, key hires, sales pipeline and the key performance indicators that are going to drive your business to the next level.

3. Product: As an entrepreneur, there are many distractions that you can get caught up in, including fundraising. While it is easy to get lost in the noise, successful entrepreneurs will be able multitask fundraising and building the product and sales pipeline. Of course, fundraising will take a good chunk of your time, but effective leaders delegate efficiently. Thus, we like to see teams who continue to improve their product during the fundraising process. We see that as a positive signal that teams will be able to successfully iterate on their product over the long run, even with the inevitable distractions that a startup will encounter over its life.  

4. Revenue: At Scout we are revenue focused because we aim to build sustainable companies that have a clear path to monetization. Although there are many VC firms that tend to invest in companies that focus on user growth before monetization, we do not subscribe to that mindset. As a result, we ask our entrepreneurs to have realistic revenue models as well as plans to achieve those revenue targets. These plans will not just please your investors, but they will set you up for long-term success, making your life much easier down the road.

5. Reporting: Although reporting can feel like an onerous task, it is a crucial aspect of your business. We’ve found a natural correlation between efficient reporting practices and successful startups. A company report should be sent to investors on a monthly basis and should include metrics such as monthly revenue, cash on hand, monthly burn, and other relevant KPIs. Founders should give these metrics context by describing how the business has evolved over the past month, and by giving any relevant news updates. Finally, founders should outline where they expect the company to be in the next month, and ask investors for any assistance reaching these goals

Hopefully, these tips are helpful to all the entrepreneurs based in Miami.  We’re very excited to be here, and we believe South Florida is on the verge of becoming a household name in the tech-ecosystem. Over the past year, we have seen local entrepreneurs make meaningful strides, and we believe the space will generate strong returns not only for us, but for any investors who are starting to build a thoughtful, strategic allocation to venture capital.

Ed Boland is a principal at Scout Ventures. Follow him on Twitter at @edbolandmia.


August 04, 2015

45 venture capital firms commit to diversity actions

With various estimates out there putting the numbers of female venture capitalists and female founders receiving venture capital at about or under 5 percent, this is a solid start. The announcement:

Forty-five venture capital firms representing over $100 billion in assets under management invested in nearly 7,000 startups across 45 states today announced their commitment to advancing opportunity for women and underrepresented minorities in venture capital and the entrepreneurial ecosystem.  Led by the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) Diversity Task Force, the commitments were announced in a letter to President Obama as part of the first-ever White House Demo Day, which is bringing together diverse entrepreneurs and other key stakeholders from across the ecosystem to convene and showcase the innovation economy.

NVCA Diversity Task Force member firms Scale Venture Partners, Greenspring Associates, Polaris Partners, True Ventures, .406 Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, JumpStart, Inc., Pappas Ventures, New Enterprise Associates and GE Ventures were joined by Intel Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, New Atlantic Ventures, 500 Startups, IBM Venture Capital Group, SoftTechVC, North Bridge Venture Partners, Insight Venture Partners, and many others in signing the letter. 

Together, these 45 firms commit to taking the following actions:

* Distribute and participate in the National Venture Capital Association's 2015 Venture Census survey led by NVCA, Dow Jones VentureSource and CrunchBase to measure the diversity of the U.S. startup ecosystem. The results will be made public in the fall of 2015.
* Adopt HR policies within their firms to create work environments that foster respect and dignity for all.  In addition, they will immediately explore and develop a forthcoming set of NVCA model HR policies.
* Contribute regularly and actively to programs and initiatives that encourage women and underrepresented minorities to consider, pursue and thrive in venture capital and entrepreneurship careers.
* Commit to visible leadership by sharing regularly within their community and throughout their portfolio the best practices that demonstrate a long term commitment to change.

Several firms also provided specific actions their partnerships will take to advance diversity. Greenspring Associates and Scale Venture Partners are committing to adopt the “Rooney/Murray Rule” for the interview processes to ensure a diverse slate of candidates is considered.  True Ventures created the Priya Haji Fellowship in 2015, a nine month fellowship program for new college graduates.  NCT Ventures will announce the results of its research on minority entrepreneurs to give measurable quantitative and qualitative insight into barriers to accessing capital among minority business enterprises.

Download the commitment letter and fact sheet.

The NVCA Diversity Task Force launched in 2014 to develop meaningful solutions to support diverse groups of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs in order to build a stronger innovation ecosystem for the 21st Century.  The first solution set will be announced in the fall.

Separately, other firms also made announcements at the White House Demo Day. Impact investors Mitch Kapor & Freada Kapor Klein announced that the Kapor family of organizations -- Kapor Capital, the Kapor Center for Social Impact & Level Playing Field Institute - will invest $40 million dollars over three years in initiatives to accelerate their life's work of making tech entrepreneurship more inclusive.

To address both the pipeline problem and the leaky pipeline problem for African Americans, Latina/os and all women in tech, the investment will take a comprehensive approach, supporting three interrelated pillars: access to tech education, including scaling its SMASH (Summer Math and Science Honors) Academy, access to capital and strong community institutions.
“Had industry leaders committed to diversity and inclusion a decade ago, imagine how tech would look today,” stated Freada Kapor Klein, Founder of the Level Playing Field Institute and Partner at Kapor Capital. 


August 03, 2015

Will SpeedETab find its funders deep in the heart of Texas? Stay tuned!



Are investor checks bigger in Texas? A bootstrapping South Florida startup founder is about to find out.

Adam Garfield (pictured above), co-founder of SpeedETab, will be the first entrepreneur to seek funding when a new CNBC show, “West Texas Investors Club,” premiers at 10 p.m. Tuesday. He will pitch his mobile application that modernizes the way customers order and pay for food and drinks at their favorite hangouts.

“West Texas Investors Club” is an eight-episode reality show set deep in the heart of West Texas featuring multi-millionaires Rooster McConaughey (brother of actor Matthew McConaughey) and Butch Gilliam, who struck their millions in the oil pipe business. In each episode the duo will be seeking their next big investment by interviewing up-and-coming entrepreneurs to uncover their potential as well as the potential of their products. The show is produced by the same team behind the network’s popular entrepreneur reality show “The Profit.”

Frustrated with poor service and long wait times in the hospitality industry, co-founders Garfield and Edward Gilmore developed SpeedETab to let customers order and pay for menu items right from their smartphone.  Once the drink is ready, SpeedETab sends a notification to the user to pick up their items; it can also deliver promotions and customer analytics. An  iOS version of the app is on the market, and  an Android version will be released on Tuesday, timed with the show.

Garfield, 27, was born and raised in South Florida, graduated from the University of Florida, worked in Boston after graduation at a hedge fund firm, and returned to South Florida earlier this year to work on his startup fulltime.

Garfield said he never set out to be on a reality show, but he met a Shark Tank producer at a Boston meetup who suggested he apply to be on Shark Tank. While that didn’t go anywhere, CNBC executives saw his application video for the contest on YouTube and reached out.

“At first I only knew that it would be a shark tank-like show,” said Garfield. But he is happy with the potential exposure. “It’s a little of Shark Tank meets Texas, the good old boys of Texas who have a slightly larger focus on the entrepreneurs behind the product as well as the product. We got to showcase that the product is serving a need, whether that need is South Florida or West Texas.” SpeedETab will be the focus of about 60 percent of the hourlong show, he said.

SpeedETab launched in South Florida in April with a dozen locations, mainly bars, and plans are to expand nationally. So far, the endeavor has been financed mainly by Garfield’s $100K in life savings.

So did SpeedETab get funded? Like with Shark Tank, the episodes have already been filmed --forget Hollywood or New York’s financial district, we’re talking Midland, Texas -- and Garfield is sworn to secrecy about the outcome.

Yet, the press materials say there was at least one aspect of the business model the investors really liked: They would get their drinks faster.

SpeedETab will be having  a viewing party Tuesday night at Tongue & Cheek, 431 Washington Ave., from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. You can also follow along on Twitter at #WestTexasInvestors. 

UPDATE AFTER THE SHOW: Funded! Garfield repped the #305 well, and in the end SpeedETab accepted the club's offer of $250,000 now in exchange for 40 percent of the business and another $250,000 once SpeedETab is in 250 bars.  Rooster and Butch promised help to get SpeedETab in Caesars and other establishments. And "we're going to have to stop drinking beer during these negotiations."

Something you'd never see on Shark Tank: The show went into the West Texas local Corky's bar and let Garfield loose to demo SpeedETab among the regulars. Though Corky's is not SpeedETab's target demographic, the bar goers really took to it -- the waitresses, not so much...

If you missed the premier episode, catch it on the web. 


July 26, 2015

Q&A with Nico Berardi: Connecting startups with investors

By Nancy Dahlberg /

56 BM Q&A Nico Berardi 0624Accelerated Growth Partners, a Miami-based angel investment group, relaunched a little over a year ago with a couple of key goals: to expand its network of active angel investors to help bridge the funding gap in South Florida and launch investor-education workshops aimed at broadening the pool of investors interested in early-stage ventures.

With funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the organization began meeting and Nico Berardi was chosen to lead the effort, acting as the connector between entrepreneurs and prospective investors. Berardi, AGP’s managing director, is the former U.S. CEO for TECHO, a nonprofit that mobilizes youth volunteers to fight extreme poverty in Latin America. Under his watch, the organization expanded and fund-raising doubled.

In a short time, Berardi’s track record at AGP has been impressive, too.

AGP Miami ( was not a new organization when Berardi took over, but it had slowed down considerably. The group invites entrepreneurs seeking funding to pitch their businesses, and members can decide individually whether to fund them. Since Berardi took over, membership has quadrupled to more than 80, and more significantly, members have invested in nine South Florida startups. It’s now the largest local angel group.

“We sent out a survey to all our members, and what came across the strongest was the co-investor intellectual horsepower. The group represents so many industries, there is likely someone in the group that knows the particular space. We have seen really good deal flow, and our members are engaged. At each of our pitch meetings, we have had 50-plus of our members show up,” said Berardi.

Berardi meets with roughly 450 startups a year and sends the most qualified startups through the AGP screening process. The screening committee will then decide whether they will present to the AGP membership, typically with one member championing the investment. One startup company, ClassWallet, has been funded twice. The other companies receiving funding in year one of the relaunch were: Everypost, Weebee, Videoo, Blackdove, Stadson, Hair Construction, Waleteros and Nearpod.

“Because we are an up-and-coming ecosystem, a lot of our entrepreneurs don’t understand how to work with investors, and a lot of investors don’t know how to work with entrepreneurs. That is something we can work on,” Berardi said. “The entrepreneurial team brings an entire skillset, and we bring capital and experience. Most of the time, you need both.”

To be sure, startup funding is often cited as a key missing ingredient as Miami works to build up its entrepreneurial ecosystem. While there is plenty of wealth here and family offices proliferate, the money is typically not going into technology plays and local startups.

To help begin to fill that ecosystem need and make sure AGP has a growing roster of active investors to fund more companies, as well as double down on existing investments, Berardi and the Knight Foundation, together with partners such as Northwestern’s "Kellogg School and Greenberg Traurig, launched a series of workshops this year to train potential investors.

“This was an experiment. We said, ‘Let’s start shooting information,’" space="1"” said Berardi. Each of the six educational sessions were themed and led by experts in those areas. The result: standing-room-only workshops. “People were thrilled to get the content. Now we are talking about the second cycle. Is this going to move the needle, and are we going to have 100 new investors? We don’t know yet.”

This summer, Berardi was chosen to join Class 20 of the Kauffman Fellowship, 40 emerging leaders of venture capital and angel investing organizations from around the world that will meet regularly to learn about investing and leading capital ecosystems. The Fellowship’s goal is to develop a worldwide network of innovation investors who provide smart, connected capital to fuel entrepreneurial change, and Berardi is excited about bringing back what he learns to Miami. “The better investors we can be, the better we think we can help our companies,” Berardi said.

The Miami Herald spoke with Berardi recently about AGP’s first year and what is ahead.

Q. AGP relaunched just over a year ago. What were some of the highlights of the year?

A. The highlight was to realize how much a friendly platform to connect entrepreneurs to investors in an efficient way was needed. We made 10 investments into nine companies totaling $1.8 million. Membership stands at over 80 investors.

Q. What will be your metrics for success in year two?

A. Deal flow is king. As long as we keep on finding really interesting companies being built from or moving to Miami, we will continue to be active. We aim to make 8 to 10 investments per year.

Q. Do you think the quality of deal flow will continue?

A. We’re very optimistic because of all the new things coming to town. Existing institutions like the Venture Hive and Endeavor in town continue to do good work, while many others are drawing up plans to open shop. Large conferences like eMerge Americas and SIME bring a lot of attention, which then attracts entrepreneurs and organizations. The large tech firms are also paying attention; Twitter opening its new Brickell office is a key example. Infrastructure is becoming more robust, too — service providers are tailoring their offerings, coding schools are growing, and co-working spaces have proliferated. It is the combination of all these things that make us very optimistic.

Q. What kind of companies do you look for to potentially take to the members, if they make it past the screening process?

A. We have a strong preference to invest in South Florida-based companies. In fact, all nine companies we have invested in have key strategic operations here. From a stage perspective, we look for companies raising between $250,000 and $1.5 million that are in the market already. We usually steer away from beta, prototype, pre-launch companies. In a way, we come in after friends and family and accelerators but before an institutional Series A. Once a company fits within that sweet spot, we look for a combination of really big markets or attractive vertical niches and outstanding management teams.

Q. Tell me about a couple of the companies that got funding?

A. ClassWallet is an exciting company at the intersection of fintech and edtech. Today, in the U.S. alone, there are $23 billion worth of cash transactions that occur in K-12 classrooms every year! With cash, there is no accountability, no transparency and is very time-consuming from an administrative standpoint.

NearPod is also in education. They identified that smart devices took the classroom by storm, and today they represent a learning barrier for teachers to overcome. Their technology empowers teachers to create and deliver content that leverages those same incredible devices. Their platform is bringing the learning experience to the 21st century.

Q. What advice do you have for entrepreneurs seeking investment from AGP?

A. Don’t think about building a fundable company. Focus on one thing and one thing only: building an amazing product that your customers will love. That is what will draw our attention.

Q. Why did AGP launch an angel educational program?

A. The local community of investors has not been exposed to early-stage tech investments enough. Historically, it has been mostly real estate, public securities and a bit of private equity. While we have some of the smartest investors in the world in those areas, they are very different from investors in tech. Our hypothesis was that not many people were investing in tech because they lacked the know-how to do so. The premise then was that by educating the community more, people would get involved by understanding that tech is a great way to diversify your portfolio. We wanted to solve that problem by educating the community to leverage their intellectual horsepower with the financial capabilities.

Q. And how did your first education series go?

A. We honestly did not know what to expect but had two amazing partners that believed in our premise. Having had Kellogg and Greenberg Traurig co-organize the series really helped in having people step off the sidelines. All the speakers were volunteers we got from the community, and most of the success is due to their involvement, so a big shout-out to our speakers.

Q. Do you plan to continue the series or have other plans in the education area?

A. Absolutely. Having heard the feedback from the attendees, we are back at the drawing board for a second cycle starting in the fall. Stay tuned.

Q. What do you hope to bring back from your Kauffman Fellowship experience that is just getting under way?

A. Two things, mainly. The first is technical training. As I mentioned before, tech is very new to our investment community, so having more sophisticated investors will strengthen the ecosystem. The second is being able to plug in the Miami ecosystem to the global VC world.

Funding risk is perhaps the biggest risk Miami-based startups face. It’s a win-win situation if AGP can co-invest with the best VCs at a global level. More entrepreneurs will want to work with AGP because that will increase their chances of success.

Q. From your perspective meeting with so many entrepreneurs every month, how do you think our ecosystem is progressing?

A. There’s a natural hype that comes with a growing, improving ecosystem. That means more companies in quantity but not necessarily in quality. There starts to be a lot of noise coming from “want-a-preneurs.” I take it as a great sign, and we just have to be efficient at cutting to the next cycle.

Q. And, more specifically, the capital ecosystem?

A. Definitely a lot of activity. Some funds have taken the plunge and opened offices locally, while others are peeking in, ever more "aggressively. It’s not uncommon to grab coffee with a visiting VC every other week.

Q. What role do family offices play in all this?

A. Family offices understand there’s something going on that they want to be a part of. Most are not trained in VC and haven’t yet developed a strategy that fits within their broader portfolio. From what we’ve seen, the traditional VC model has not proven very successful when it comes to engaging them. A hybrid model is needed, and it’ll be interesting to see how the story unfolds.

Q. If you could wave a magic wand and add one ingredient to the ecosystem right now, what would it be?

A. I’ll cheat and mention two. One is more accelerators. If you look at developed ecosystems, the main accelerator alone will be working with 150+ companies a year. While the Venture Hive is amazing, we need more companies to go through programs like that. The second ingredient is investors across the board. More angel investors, more seed funds and definitely more VC funds.

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.

Nico Berardi

Titles: Managing Director, AGP Miami. Kauffman Fellow.

Age: 26.

Experience: Former U.S. CEO for TECHO, a nonprofit that mobilizes youth volunteers to fight extreme poverty in Latin America, for two years, and before that was TECHO’s director of development for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Honors: Speaker at the Global Economic Symposium, TEDx Miami and the Center for Hemispheric Policy and the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. Participant in the Kellogg Innovation Network, Clinton Global Initiative and the PODER Business Awards. Selected as a Young American Leader by Harvard Business School, Top 100 Innovators of Argentina by BGH, GameChanger by the Miami Chamber of Commerce and showcased at Yahoo! The Innovators series.

Education: Bachelor’s in economics, Universidad Torcuato di Tella, Argentina.

Favorite book: ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell.

Best advice received: There are over a thousand variables determining your success. How much effort you put in is the only one you can do anything about.

July 17, 2015

MDLIVE leads state in venture funding in 2nd quarter

South Florida companies attracted most of the state's venture capital funding, according to the MoneyTree Report. Nationally, AirBnB was the top deal -- $1.5 billion.

By Nancy Dahlberg /

MoneybagMDLIVE, with more than 200 employees, provides access to virtual doctor visits utilizing partnerships with established industry leaders, including Walgreens, Microsoft and major health systems across the country. The company raised $50 million from Bedford Funding Capital Management, a private equity firm based in White Plains, N.Y. “We view this as an important first investment in a growing partnership with MDLIVE to fundamentally change healthcare in the United States,” said Charles Jones, managing partner of Bedford.

In total, South Florida companies raised more than $86 million in the second quarter, and all of that money flowed into health-tech or biotech companies. That’s up from $70.9 million last quarter, according to the report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association, based on data provided by Thomson Reuters.

More than half the state’s funding flowed to South Florida. The other funded companies were: CareCloud of Miami ($15.3 million), TissueTech of Doral ($15 million), Altor BioScience of Miramar ($10.7 million) and Watermark Medical of West Palm Beach ($5 million). In addition, Carson Life and Meetoou, both of Miami, raised undisclosed seed rounds.

Florida companies in total raised $153.7 million in 17 deals, up sharply from $85.6 million in the first quarter and $117.4 million in 13 deals a year ago.

Still, for the country’s third-largest state, that is less than 1 percent of the national venture capital pie.

Nationally, venture capitalists invested $17.5 billion in 1,189 deals in the second quarter, the MoneyTree Report showed. Quarterly venture capital investment increased 30 percent in terms of dollars and 13 percent in the number of deals, compared with the first quarter when $13.5 billion was invested in 1,048 deals.

The second quarter is the sixth consecutive quarter of more than $10 billion of venture capital invested in a single quarter.

“There is no reason for this to slow down. We are seeing faster growth rates in software companies than we have ever seen … and there is still a lot of room to innovate,” said Tomasz  Tunguz, partner at Redpoint Ventures in Menlo Park.

Indeed, the software industry continued to receive the highest level of funding of all industries, increasing 30 percent from the prior quarter to $7.3 billion, the largest quarterly investment total going into software companies since the inception of the MoneyTree Report in 1995.

Tunguz sees continued opportunity in enterprise software. It’s one of the fastest-growing categories in tech, yet funding is still only at half the level of 2000, he said. “There is $1.2 trillion in market cap committed to enterprise and only 2 percent of that has moved to the cloud. There is a lot of money still to change hands.”

Other categories doing well nationally were media/entertainment, with $2.7 billion going into 118 deals, and biotechnology, with $2.3 billion going into 126 deals.

The top five deals, according to MoneyTree, were AirBnB ($1.5 billion); Snapchat ($538 million), Zenefits ($500 million), WeWork ($400 million) and Docusign ($278 million).

“We saw 26 megadeals [of $100 million or greater] in Q2, including yet another billion-dollar investment. After seeing the very first billion-dollar VC investment in Q1 of last year, we now count four of the last five quarters with companies receiving billion-dollar investments, adding to the ever-growing herd of unicorns, which is approaching triple digits,” said Tom Ciccolella, U.S. Venture Capital Leader at PwC. He believes 2015 VC is on track to exceed the $50 billion invested in 2014.

Investment in Florida companies in 2015 will have a tough climb to exceed 2014, as much of last year’s $865 million total was raised by one company — Dania Beach-based Magic Leap, which raised $592 million in two rounds. But so far, South Florida healthcare-related companies are leading the charge this year. OrthoSensor, Pure Life Renal, Brickell Biotech, Vigilant BioSciences and USARAD all attracted funding in the first quarter.

MoneyTree Report results are available at

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.


July 15, 2015

Rokk3r Labs raises $5 million in funding

Miami Beach-based Rokk3r Labs said this week it has closed on $5 million in funding from data scientist and TED Fellow Jon Gosier and New York City-based venture capital firm Scout Ventures, among others.

CharaniaRokk3r Labs partners with entrepreneurs to cobuild companies and has already helped develop high-growth companies such as AdMobilize, HYP3R, Juana La Iguana and others into multi-million dollar ventures. With its latest $5 million investment round, Rokk3r Labs said it plans to cobuild 100 companies over the next five year as well as start building its own companies. Rokk3r Labs CEO Nabyl Charania (pictured here) said the company will also expand its investment fund to fund Rokk3r Labs’ own companies as well as co-invest in portfolio companies.

With offices  in Miami Beach, New York, London, Toronto and Bogota, Rokk3r Labs said it now intends to scale its cobuilding approach to new target locations including Africa and South America. “It’s a huge honor not only to be an investor but to join the Rokk3r Labs team to help establish a venture fund focused on opportunities in the U.S. as well as spearheading Rokk3r Labs’ entry into Africa,” said Gosier, who was a speaker during the inaugural Black Tech Week in Miami  in February.

Currently, Rokk3r Labs has a portfolio of 25 companies.

 “Rokk3r Labs is one of the first company builders to put to execution the principles in my Exponential Organizations book. And based upon their track record, I’m excited to see how they leverage ExO principles to cobuild companies that change the world,” said Salim Ismail,  author and founding executive director of Singularity University. “Rokk3r sponsored two full-day workshops with Ismail earlier this year.

 Scout Ventures managing partner Bradley C. Harrison first  announced the investment into Rokk3r Labs in February, and said he was impressed with Rokk3r's unique cobuilding methodology and desirable track record of swiftly bringing companies to launch. Scout has an office in Miami.


July 13, 2015

ClassWallet raises $1.9 million in seed financing

ClassWallet, a platform for school systems to disburse and track funds, has closed a $1.9 million round of seed financing, the company said Monday.

Total funding raised to date by ClassWallet is $2.53 million.
The Miami-based company said the latest round was oversubscribed by 30 percent. Investors include NewSchools Venture Seed Fund, Kaplan Ventures, William Guttman, as well as several edtech and fintech angel investors. Accelerated Growth Partners and other leading Miami-based angel investors, including MaverixLab, founded by former Noodle CEO Joe Morgan, continued their support by contributing to the round. ClassWallet is a graduate of the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, powered by Techstars.
RosenbergThe company will use the funding for sales and product development. The team plans to release the next version of its platform this summer, which will include a reloadable ClassWallet debit card and a Pay by ClassWallet API for vendors to integrate, said Jamie Rosenberg, ClassWallet’s founder and CEO (pictured here).
“As school budgets shrink, an increasingly larger portion of procurement is being funded by corporations, foundations, parents and teachers to meet student needs,” said Rosenberg. “The size of this market, up to $23 billion annually, and the amount of inefficiency and lack of transparency is staggering."
Organizations and school districts using ClassWallet include Harrington Park School District, Albuquerque Public Schools Education Foundation, Reading is Fundamental, Broward Education Foundation, as well as many others.
Companies including Amazon, Office Depot, Best Buy, School Specialty, Scholastic and 40 more accept ClassWallet as a form of payment. Each provides ClassWallet with SKU level purchasing data, which makes tracking and reconciling of purchases seamless. Most recently, Marqeta, the program manager behind Facebook and eBay’s card platforms, joined forces with ClassWallet to power the ClassWallet debit card for offline purchases such as professional development, field trips and more.

Rosenberg launched in 1998, one of the first crowd-funding sites and national education philanthropy platforms on the Internet.

June 24, 2015

MDLIVE closes on $50 million of private equity funding

MDLIVE, a provider of virtual health services based in Sunrise, announced Wednesday that it has recently closed on a $50 million investment from private equity firm Bedford Funding, which specializes in the software industry. 

Bedford Funding joins previous investors Sentara Healthcare, Sutter Health, Heritage Group and Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors. According to the MoneyTree Report on venture capital, MDLIVE attracted $23.6 million of funding in 2014.

Funding will help MDLIVE expand its acquisition strategy and consumer reach to further its vision of building a fully integrated, end-to-end virtual health system, said Randy Parker, CEO. "By providing convenient, high-quality, cost-effective care that seamlessly transitions from the virtual to the in-person setting, we are reinventing healthcare delivery and setting a new standard for health care services in this country," Parker said.

MDLIVE, with more than 200 employees, provides millions of Americans with access to virtual doctor visits utilizing partnerships with established industry leaders, including Walgreens, Microsoft, and major health systems across the country. By providing convenient access to healthcare through a HIPAA-compliant cloud-based platform, patients, healthcare providers and the healthcare system benefit through improved outcomes and cost savings, the company said.

John Sculley, vice chairman of the board of MDLIVE and past CEO of Apple and Pepsi, said few industries are in need of transformative change as healthcare in the U.S. In an interview earlier this year, he said a typical virtual office visit can cost a third of a live one: “We have experienced incredible customer satisfaction. We are growing like crazy -- it’s a South Florida company that is at the sweet spot of a fundamental change in healthcare. And it's completely supportive of customers making choices for better services.”