News Column

Startups Find Funding in Unexpected Places

Aug 20, 2013

In South Florida, startup and early-stage funding still makes the news -- and there has been a run of it this month.

Some startups are finding their angels in less conventional places. For instance, Mas Equity Partners is the $1 million funder behind SPORTSMANIAS, a news platform for sports fans. It's the first tech-startup investment for Mas Equity Partners, which typically invests mainly in later-stage energy companies and also in banking-related businesses, said Jorge Mas, chairman of Mastec.

ContractRoom, the creators of a cloud-based platform to automate the negotiation and contracting process for enterprises, said Thursday it has completed its angel investment round totaling $850,000. Investors include entrepreneurs in the legal, finance, healthcare, real estate and tech industries, such as Parker Thomson, former partner at Hogan Lovells and Edward Matthews, a former finance executive.

This new financing will be used to further accelerate product development and fuel sales and marketing activities, the company said. ContractRoom previously raised a seed round of $375,000, bringing its total investor financing to more than $1.2 million.

Other recent funding news: Miami-based medical analytics company QualMetrix reportedly raised $800,000 and Leapfactor, the Miami-based provider of mobile business applications and services, reported in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week it had raised $384,000 in new funding. Leapfactor has already raised more than $13 million.

Showing it how it is done: CareCloud, the Miami-based provider of cloud-based practice management, electronic health records and medical billing software and services, last week announced it closed on an additional $9 million from Adams Street Partners as part of the company's Series B financing round.

In June, CareCloud announced it secured $20 million in Series B funding from Tenaya Capital, Intel Capital and Norwest Venture Partners. CareCloud's funding to date: $55 million.

Education matters

The Venture Hive Accelerator and Miami-Dade County Public Schools are teaming up to produce a new magnet program for tech-entrepreneurship education called TEAM (Tech Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program) that will offer high school students the chance to intern with top tech startups. "We are giving our students an applied, experiential learning environment with world-class technologists, the curriculum of our accelerator program, and the mentoring and support from our team and the startups in the Hive," said Susan Amat, founder of Venture Hive. Amat also chairs the Miami-Dade Schools STEM Board.

Startup Quest, offered by WorkForce One, is a new 10-week free program that provides hands-on entrepreneurship training to individuals to people with college degrees who are either unemployed or under-employed. To learn more about program requirements and to submit an application, visit -- but hurry, the deadline is Thursday. There is also a no-obligation Introductory Workshop Thursday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Signature Grand in Davie.

On the radar

NewME Accelerator in San Francisco is bringing back its three-day PopUp Accelerator to The LAB Miami in Wynwood Sept. 27-29. Like last year, the PopUp includes two Master Classes in the evenings on preparing and presenting a pitch deck. Also included is a one-on-one hour-long mentoring session and a Demo Night, where participants can present to local investors as well as ones from Silicon Valley and compete for prizes, including a spot in NewME's Accelerator. The PopUp program fee is $99. To find out more or to register, go here:

Tech conferences are continuing to call Miami home. WebCongress, a digital media gathering with based in Spain with events all over Europe and Latin America, announced recently it is coming back to South Florida for its second year with a much larger program. It will be Nov. 7-8 at the Knight Center in Miami, and organizers are expecting more than1,000 participants, triple last year's attendance. Speakers will include executives from Blackberry, Google, AOL, CNN, ESPN, TechCrunch and others, said Ouali Benmeziane, CEO of WebCongress. More info:

Source: (c)2013 The Miami Herald. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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