Knight Foundation announces investments in local startups to accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship in Miami

Eight projects will receive over $1 million to foster stronger connections among entrepreneurs, grow funding capacity and expand access to mentors and professional development

Contact: Kenny Ma, Communications Director, Knight Foundation, 305.908.2646, [email protected]

MIAMI — January 30, 2020 — In an effort to increase funding and build stronger connections for Miami entrepreneurs, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced today more than $1 million in funding for eight promising local projects.

From an angel investment group that brings together black investors, to an organization that makes Miami’s private wealth more accessible to local ventures, to a group that convenes entrepreneurs through monthly workshops led by seasoned entrepreneurs, these initiatives will accelerate Miami’s evolution into a city where high-growth entrepreneurship thrives.

“Globally competitive cities are known for being great places for entrepreneurs to build and grow companies. These investments are part of Knight’s deliberate focus to help great entrepreneurs thrive,” said Raul Moas, Knight Foundation program director for Miami. “We’re proud to support organizations building a community of entrepreneurs, investors and innovators who create lasting change for our city.”

Knight’s investments will also support efforts to grow the pipeline of mentors for local entrepreneurs, support community-building and career advancement within Miami’s startup ecosystem for LGBTQ+ stakeholders, and connect diverse founders in high-potential businesses with each other and with prospective investors.

“Each investment speaks to our city’s intentionality in building a startup community that reflects Miami’s rich diversity and is accessible to all,” Moas said.

The eight projects receiving support include:

Black Angels Miami ($250,000): To contribute to a more diverse and inclusive venture investment landscape within Miami’s startup community by supporting the launch of Black Angels Miami, an angel investment group connecting its members to top-notch startups while also increasing the number of black angel investors.

Function Collective ($240,000): To elevate Miami as a source of investment capital in the global venture capital ecosystem by supporting the launch of Function, a membership organization that connects Miami’s investor and private wealth community and activates them in early-stage technology investments across the hemisphere.

Venture Cafe Miami ($160,000): To expand the diversity of high-growth businesses in Miami and engender a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem through Passport, a program that trains and connects founders in low-growth businesses with each other and with partners to enable these businesses to transition to higher-growth.

Craftspeople ($140,000): To increase the availability of high-growth company building expertise so that Miami’s founders do not have to look elsewhere for guidance and mentorship by supporting the launch of Craftspeople, a membership organization that brings together entrepreneurs through monthly workshops led by seasoned founders and venture builders.

Black Men Talk Tech ($100,000): To support more successful tech ventures led by black men by better connecting black entrepreneurs and investors through the expansion of the Black Men Talk Tech conference.

Miami Herbert Business School ($100,000): To increase the flow of global entrepreneurial leaders and knowledge coming through Miami by supporting a speakers series featuring distinguished leaders in business and venture building.

The Idea Center at Miami Dade College ($50,000): To create additional avenues for new participants to enter Miami’s startup ecosystem, and to create a denser, more familiar community of entrepreneurs and high-potential talent by supporting the local chapter of 1 Million Cups, a national network of weekly meetups by and for entrepreneurs.

Out In Tech ($50,000): To support community building and career advancement within Miami’s startup community for LGBTQ+ stakeholders by supporting the launch of the Miami chapter of Out in Tech.

Kevin Cadette, Black Angels Miami’s executive director, said Knight’s funding will help his group build a stellar pipeline of investment opportunities and curate a top-notch membership experience.

“Black Angels Miami was born out of a desire to get our members in on the ground floor of Miami’s burgeoning startup ecosystem,” Cadette said. “BAM believes diverse perspectives improve investment outcomes. With this in mind, we intend to recruit members of all races, creeds and orientations while proactively increasing participation by black investors.”

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About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit kf.org.


Image (top) by Ryan Parker on Unsplash