Miami has been built into a global tech-hub. So much so, that this week marks Miami’s first ever Tech Week. To kick off Miami Tech Week, 305 Ventures, a Miami-based venture capitalist company, hosted Miami Tech Week Founders’ Demo Day, a “Shark Tank” style event on Tuesday at Island Gardens.
During the event, startups had the opportunity to pitch their ideas in the hope that the panel of venture capitalist judges would invest. Judges included Jake Paul, social media influencer turned boxer and founder of Anti Fund, along with several other judges with backgrounds in investment funds and startups.
“We started a year back with these events. It was initially supposed to be something for us to meet some of the startups in the ecosystem more rapidly,” said Zaid Rahman, a founder of 305 Ventures. “It’s turned out to be a huge success.”
The 305 Ventures founders are Zaid Rahman, founder and CEO of Flexbase, a credit card for construction companies; Michael Melikian, former president & CEO Of Mel-Pharm Inc, a medical retail store in California and Joey Levy, founder of Simplebet, a sports micro-betting service.
305 Ventures focuses on creating opportunities for connection and investing in startups through events like Demo Day. The company focuses on startups at the “pre-seed stage” and the “seed stage,” when the idea is new and still being tested. In return, 305 Ventures gets an equity stake in the startup.
Jonathan Bierig is the founder of one of these startups that 305 Ventures invested in a few months ago.
“We’ve really used that money and their connections to grow our network,” said Bierig, founder of Ultimate Odds, a fantasy sports betting service.
Following Demo Day, guests enjoyed an after party of networking with free drinks, food, music and fire dancers.
“Being a young startup founder, I’m only 21-years-old, it’s really key for me to introduce myself to a lot of people in the industry,” Bierig said.
305 Ventures’ website lists 65 firms they have invested in, ranging from financial tech to NFTs to health tech services.
According to an article by Refresh Miami, 305 Ventures invests between $25,000 and $100,000 in each firm, with the aim of attracting more young tech entrepreneurs to Miami.
“So many people are moving to Miami and Miami is becoming the new tech hub of the country,” said Valentina Pope, an event coordinator at 305 Ventures and a senior broadcast journalism major at the University of Miami. “A lot of my colleagues that I work with say it reminds them of how San Francisco was in the beginning of its early stage, emerging as one of the top tech hubs in the country.”
Naila Charnia, a freshman majoring in accounting and finance, weighed in on the importance of tech startups in Miami.
“Tech startups are really important because they show that people are willing to increase their productivity and their creativity to solve problems that otherwise have not been solved before,” Charnia said. “Especially with technology, it’s such a rapidly increasing part of society that having startups dedicated to solving problems with technology makes things very efficient.”
Students can engage with 305 Ventures by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find them on Twitter @305Venture and on Instagram @jointhe305.