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Medina Capital closes $182 million fund for tech growth companies

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Medina Capital, a private equity firm started by South Florida tech pioneer Manny Medina that is focused on high-growth technology companies, announced Wednesday the closing of the firm’s first fund with $182 million of committed capital.

Manny Medina 1691 jpgMedina said he established the fund to continue the work of Medina Capital and capitalize on “truly exciting times in information technology,” an industry that has moved into an era of agile IT — mobile and cloud technologies — to cope with an explosion of data. That’s creating “fantastic opportunities” in a potential multi-trillion dollar global marketplace, he said. Medina is managing partner of Medina Capital, and he founded, grew and sold Terremark Worldwide.

The new private equity fund will invest in early growth-stage companies in cyber-security, big data, mobility and cloud computing — “the infrastructure side of technology,” Medina said in an interview Monday.

The fund’s typical investment size is $10 million to $20 million, Medina said. “We are looking for early-growth companies that already have traction with products or services that we can then help not only with capital but also with our significant experience, track record and contacts in the industry.”

To date, Medina Capital’s investments in the areas of cyber-security and big data have included Easy Solutions, a  cyber-security company that Medina brought from Bogota to Sunrise, Cryptzone, Brainspace, Catbird and Prolexic, the firm’s first exit, or sale. The Hollywood-based cyber-security company was acquired by Akamai for about $370 million in February.

Medina said the new fund’s investors include pension funds and large financial institutions. Most of the fund-raising, which took about a year, was done outside South Florida, he said.

Medina Capital’s partners include Nelson Fonseca, Barry Field, Rene A. Rodriguez and other former top executives who helped Medina build Terremark into a global player before selling it to Verizon in 2011 in a transaction valued at $2 billion. Medina Capital’s partners provide tactical direction to the firm’s portfolio companies in various areas including market acquisition, product development and partnership building.

Medina, who calls Medina Capital his “day job,” also recently founded eMerge Americas, which will hold its second annual technology conference in Miami Beach in May, with a goal of attracting 10,000 attendees. The mission of the conference and his Technology Foundation of the Americas is to help establish Miami as a tech hub for the Americas.

The fund news follows last week’s announcement that Richmond Global Ventures is opening an office in Miami and raising a venture fund that will invest in early-stage high-growth companies in the Series A and B fund-raising stages. That followed news of Scout Ventures, Krillion Ventures and Thesis Ventures also launching funds focused on earlier stage companies and setting up South Florida offices, as well as new angel investor groups finding Miami startups attractive.

“We are thrilled to see other new funds coming into town. This will continue to increase the awareness in the significant opportunities Miami has here,” Medina said.

“The fact that the Medina Capital team was able to raise such a significant fund with top-tier individual and institutional investors is a testament to their strength as a team and the robust opportunity in the market,” said Bob Dickinson, former CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, a limited partner in the fund and member of Medina Capital's board. “It also strongly reinforces that Miami is becoming a hotbed of activity for technology investors and entrepreneurs.”

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.

Posted Dec. 10, 2014