Next-Generation Startups

By staff writer

January 2019

Miami’s growing reputation as a startup hub is no secret. The Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Pompano Beach region was ranked number one on the Kauffman Foundation’s 2017 Index of Startup Activity among 40 metropolitan areas. Furthermore, the city garnered a wealth of publicity when it was considered as a host for Amazon’s HQ2 site last year.

“I’m very happy with how the startup market in Miami has been evolving,” said Olivier Grinda, founder and CEO of local startup Home61, a digital real estate brokerage company, when he recently sat down with the Invest: Miami team. “The market now represents the first generation of startups i.e., those like us that came here in 2015-2017. Thanks to the work of local investors who decided to take a chance on the city back then, businesses such as ours were given the platform to grow and recruit employees.”

Thanks to decisions made over the last decade by local organizations and co-working spaces such as the Knight Foundation, Refresh Miami, LAB Miami and Pipeline, among others, the city was provided a foundation on which to grow its tech sector. However, there are other factors driving the city’s appeal for those looking to found or invest in startups.

When Invest: spoke with Richard Lavina, co-founder and CEO of Miami-based startup Taxfyle which has been the number one tax-time app in the App Store for the past three years he pointed to the city’s relatively low cost of living as a key asset for startup activity.

“$1 million doesn’t go as far in Silicon Valley as it does here in Miami,” Lavina explained. “Cost of living is cheaper, so people hired to come here can experience a better quality of life for lower pay.”

The low cost of living, favorable tax laws, weather and geographic location all work to ensure the city’s long-term appeal for startups, thus giving way for an upcoming “second generation” of startups over the next decade, which, according to Grinda, will further stabilize the local startup market and allow for continued growth.

“The city, which was once generally considered to be nothing more than a vacation destination, will grow into an intricate and diverse business center,” Grinda stated.

Given the city’s penchant for innovation and the velocity at which its tech sector has flourished, surely we can look forward to this second generation being just as robust and groundbreaking as the first. For more information on our interviewees and the local startups they founded, visit and


Philadelphia’s Diversified Economy Highlighted at the Launch of Invest: Philadelphia 2019


January 14, 2019

City of Philadelphia Director of Commerce Harold Epps will give the keynote address at the launch of Capital Analytics’ first publication focusing on Greater Philadelphia.

Philadelphia, PA – Greater Philadelphia’s robust healthcare industry, historically strong higher education sector and focus on innovation are just some of the focal points in the first edition of Invest: Philadelphia from Capital Analytics. The 2019 edition highlights the five-county region of Greater Philadelphia, including Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware and Chester counties, with special focus chapters on the City of Chester and the dynamic neighborhoods in the City of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia’s housing market is one of the hottest in the country, and the region’s real estate industry is attracting increased interest from investors both domestically and abroad, particularly in the multifamily space. Utilities and infrastructure are covered in detail as the city looks to alternative sources of energy to sustainably grow and develop. Transportation is a hot topic, with the Philadelphia International Airport continuing to expand its reach and SEPTA making improvements to help keep counties connected via extensive bus and train routes. The Invest: Philadelphia publication from Capital Analytics is a 208-page economic analysis that highlights business opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs and innovators alike looking to Philadelphia for opportunities.

The official launch of the publication will take place on January 24, 2019, at the Loews Hotel. Following a short networking breakfast, Harold Epps, Director of Commerce for the City of Philadelphia, will give a keynote address that underscores some of the major achievements of Philadelphia’s economy over the past 12 months. This will be followed by three robust panel discussions.

The panels will address major themes currently dominating Philadelphia’s economy: education, healthcare and innovation. The “Healing the Community: Healthcare in Philadelphia” panel will be moderated by Susanne Svizeny of Wells Fargo. Panelists will be Dr. Jay Feldstein of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Jack Lynch of Main Line Health, Dr. Larry Kaiser of Temple University Health System and Ray Williams of DLA Piper. The “World Class Minds: Education in Philadelphia” panelists will be Craig Carnaroli of University of Pennsylvania, Guy Generals of Community College of Philadelphia and Michael Mittelman of Salus University. The “On the Cutting Edge: Innovation in Philadelphia” panel will be moderated by Mathieu Shapiro of Obermayer, and panelists will be Dan Hilferty of Independence Blue Cross, Tricia Marts of Veolia, Atif Ghauri of MAZARS and John Giordano of Archer Law.

The event will be attended by hundreds of high-level guests and officials from some of Philadelphia’s key industries and economic institutions.

“Invest: Philadelphia is Capital Analytics’ first foray into the Northeast,” said Abby Melone, president of Capital Analytics. “After resounding success in South Florida and Georgia, we wanted to expand up the coast to the hidden gem of the Northeast. Philadelphia is increasing its global visibility, and we wanted help the city capitalize on that. As the most affordable major city in the Northeast corridor, Philadelphia has a great deal to offer people of all ages, from students to young professionals and from entrepreneurs to capital investors. We are excited to be a part of Philadelphia’s journey.”



About Invest: Philadelphia

Invest: Philadelphia is an in-depth economic review of the key issues facing Greater Philadelphia’s economy featuring the exclusive insights of prominent industry leaders. Invest: Philadelphia is produced with two goals in mind: 1) to provide comprehensive investment knowledge on Philadelphia to local, national and international investors, and 2) to promote Philadelphia as a place to invest and do business.

The book conducts a deep dive of the top economic sectors in the county including real estate, construction, utilities and infrastructure, transportation and aviation, banking and finance, legal, healthcare, life sciences, education, sports, and arts culture and tourism. The publication is compiled from insights collected from more than 200 economic leaders, sector insiders, political leaders and heads of important institutions. It analyzes the leading challenges facing the market, as well as covers emerging opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs and innovators.

For more information, contact us at:



Tech-Forward Transportation

By staff writer

January 2019 — 2 min. read

Technology has had a significant impact on Orlando’s transportation sector. Various transportation companies have taken important steps towards innovative projects to improve passenger experience and service efficiency. For instance, a group of agencies are developing and testing several smart transportation technologies in the Creative Village complex throughout 2018 and 2019 to enhance pedestrian safety and ease congestion. Creative Village, located in Downtown Orlando, is a mixed-use, transit-oriented, urban infill neighborhood that will be home to the UCF/Valencia Downtown Campus in 2019.

The transit programs will be developed by the Florida Department of Transportation, MetroPlan Orlando and the University of Central Florida (UCF) as a result of a $12 million grant awarded by the Federal Highway Administration. The grant will focus on four major technologies: PedSafe, a pedestrian and bicycle collision avoidance system that digitally connects people, vehicles and traffic lights; GreenWay, which uses traffic signal technology and sensors to help the transportation system adapt to real-time traffic conditions; SmartCommunity, for trip-planning apps; and SunStore, which integrates FDOT data. Operation and maintenance of these projects are expected to continue through 2021.

In addition to group efforts and partnerships, many transit companies are implementing innovative solutions to combat mounting traffic and adjust to the needs of modern passengers. One example of these efforts are the changes made by LYNX, a bus system run by the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority.

LYNX launched four mobile applications in 2018. “One of them is our LYNX Bus Tracker, a real-time mobile application that allows passengers to track the bus they are waiting to get on,” Edward L. Johnson, CEO of LYNX, told Invest: Orlando when he sat down with our team in early December. “We also developed NeighborLink, a mobile application for our door-to-door bus services for areas with less passenger flow. The technology is similar to Uber and Lyft applications.”

LYNX has also launched the application “See Something/Say Something,” which allows customers to discreetly send a notification to the company’s security offices if something improper is happening in one of its vehicles. LYNX plans to merge the mobile applications in 2019. It is worth noting that LYNX accommodates an average of 90,000 passenger trips daily over an area with a resident population of more than 1.8 million.

Companies like MetroPlan Orlando have reinvented the traditional way of adjusting to the influence of technology. “We are getting ready to update our strategic plan, and we are about to kick off the update of our long-range transportation plan,” Gary Huttmann, MetroPlan’s executive director, told Invest:. “This plan will be different from any other we have seen because of the influence of technology on the work that we do and how we address that looking into the future.”

Among the most anticipated innovative transit projects in Orlando is the arrival of Brightline, with construction set to begin in 2019. This massive project will allow passengers to travel from Orlando to Miami in three hours. Brightline is also in negotiations to add rail service from Orlando to Tampa, which might include stops near Disney World and Lakeland.

This advances in technology and intelligent transportation systems (ITS) are expected to reduce mounting traffic and road accidents and bring safer solutions to bikers and pedestrians. As outlined in the Harvard Business Report, McKinsey and Bloomberg New Energy Finance have estimated that in 50 metropolitan areas worldwide, a rapid transition to advanced mobility systems could yield $600 billion in societal benefits through 2030. You can bet that everyone here at Invest: will be keeping a keen eye on the tech-forward transit projects underway in Orlando.

For more information on our interviewees, visit their websites:


MetroPlan Orlando:

For more information contact:
Jaime Muehl
Managing Editor
TEL: 305-523-9708, ext. 230

Look, Ma, No Hands!

May 2018 — Last month, the City of Peachtree Corners in Gwinnett County and Prototype Prime announced the creation of a city-owned autonomous vehicle track and Advanced Vehicle Technology Accelerator. By January 2019, the $2 million project will create a self-driving shuttle bus on a 1.4-mile stretch of Technology Parkway between Spalding Drive and Peachtree Parkway.

Despite what one might think, the goal of this autonomous shuttle bus is neither to address sustainability nor traffic. Instead, Peachtree Corners envisions this project as a way to propel economic development and attract top companies to the area. While the bus will be limited to only a small number of riders, it will serve as a test site for new AV-related technology. This test site is expected to attract companies focused on future transportation technologies.


Prototype Prime will work as a business incubator, as it is located on the planned 1.4-mile stretch of Technology Park where the autonomous shuttle will run. The company has over 25,000 square feet of space slated to house new startups and serve as the testing hub for future advanced vehicle projects.

In addition to the autonomous shuttle, Prototype Prime will launch the Advanced Vehicle Technology Accelerator in collaboration with This partnership is meant to foster collaboration among researchers, startups, Fortune 500 companies, local technology companies and corporations to work with the test shuttle.

All of this collaboration makes us wonder: Is the future of driving autonomous? In the last year, a large number of studies have been conducted regarding the impacts of a driverless world. Many studies explore congestion benefits, environmental benefits and even parking benefits.

One May 2017 study conducted by researchers from the University of Illinois, University Grenoble Alpes, the University of Arizona, Yale University, Penn State and Rutgers University found that adding just one autonomous vehicle to a mix of 19 normal vehicles lessened “jamiltons,” or traffic waves. Adding just one autonomous car to the mix reduced excessive braking events from 8.58 per vehicle per kilometer to just 0.12 per vehicle per kilometer. In short, autonomous vehicles are so efficient in speed that they reduce human inconsistency and result in much less traffic congestion.

In a heavily congested city such as Atlanta, autonomous driving could be the key to alleviating drivers’ woes. But is autonomous driving the future? The year 2018 is sure to bring many more studies and pilot programs in order to move toward this innovative technology. The Peachtree Corners vehicle track and accelerator program is propelling the future of transportation technology.

To learn more:
City of Peachtree Corners:
Prototype Prime:


FinTech South Conference

May 7–8, 2018
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Atlanta, GA

Hosted by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), the event will join the industry in an exchange of insights, innovations and trends fueling tomorrow’s financial tech industry.

The two-day conference will feature current and emerging FinTech leaders from across the globe. Panel discussions, innovation spotlights and interactive break-out sessions will cover a variety of topics, including Security, Regulations, Blockchain & Crypto, AI & Big Data, Commerce & Retail Payments and Banking & Lending. The conference offers an opportunity to engage with hundreds of companies including those based in the region that generate more than $72 billion in revenues and process more than 118 billion transactions annually.

For more information on registration and sponsorships, visit

Transaction Alley

January 2018 — Atlanta has recently been promoting itself as the global fintech capital, and rightfully so. The fintech sector generates approximately $72 billion in annual revenue for Georgia. Nearly 70 percent of all U.S. transactions are processed through a Georgia-based company, and 60 percent of all payment-processing companies are headquartered in or have operations in Georgia. Additionally, about 100 fintech companies operate in Georgia, including 6 of the 10 largest U.S. payment-processing firms.
With the pool of well-educated graduates from renowned local universities like Georgia Tech, University of Georgia and Georgia State, the industry gains a significant advantage for continued growth in Atlanta.
Focus: Atlanta spoke with a number of business leaders in the banking, finance and technology industries to get their insights on the booming fintech industry. Here is what they said:

Joe Brannen, CEO, Georgia Bankers Association

“We see money flowing into fintech, and we saw people thinking that this was going to disrupt our industry. A lot of money is going into these types of companies, but we have access to the customers. We have spent hundreds of years building a customer basis. The fintech companies developed something but have to find customers. The fintech companies that are now beginning to partner with banks are the ones that seem to be performing the best. There aren’t many Amazons out there, and the successful ones are able to do things smarter, better and faster. Banking is not a new product; it is just a new way of doing things.”

Jenna Kelly, President & CEO of Atlanta Division, SunTrust Bank

“Fintech is something that all banks are paying attention to because it is important to invest in the future. All banks are working out how to better deliver services to clients, so fintech plays a big role in that. It isn’t simply big payment processors; there are a lot of companies that make up the sector that have some innovative ideas, and SunTrust is also involved in this sphere. We were one of the first to develop a consumer online lending platform, called LightStream. It has issued about $5 billion in loans since it started in 2013.”

Cynthia Day, President & CEO, Citizens Trust Bank

“With rapid changes in technology, there are opportunities to explore valuable partnerships with fintech companies. We are keenly aware of how our local and global economies are becoming increasingly driven by rapid decisions and efficient delivery of services. Our ability to deliver financial solutions to our customers through technology creates a win-win for our customers, for developing partnerships and for the economics of our city.”

Eddie Meyers, Regional President of Georgia, PNC Financial Services Group

“Branches still matter, but 60 percent of PNC clients are using financial technology these days, compared to 39 percent four years ago. Many young professionals no longer have a need for retail branches and rely on technology for their banking needs. Our goal it is to make sure we offer the technology, service and convenience to help simplify their lives.”

Barry Mccarthy, Executive Vice President, Head of Network and Security Solutions at First Data, Chairman of FinTech Atlanta

“Very quietly over the past several years, Atlanta has become the global fintech capital. To be clear, Atlanta isn’t the financial services global capital — London and New York share that recognition. However, for fintech specifically, there is nowhere else like Atlanta.”

Allen Maines, Executive Partner, Holland & Knight

“If you’re in the fintech business and you want talented people to run your company, you need to go where the talented people live. Atlanta is home to the largest payment processors in the world and also some of the largest data aggregators. There is a healthy pool of trained people working directly in these industries, but there is also a great deal of related activity.”

Scott Meyerhoff, COO, Incomm

There are three main factors in Atlanta that help with the growth of fintech. One is government support on a state, county and city level. The second is talented workforce. We are blessed to have a number of fantastic universities that feed us with great talent on the technology side and the low cost of living in comparison to other technology hubs. This helps tremendously with talent retention. The third is the entrepreneurial spirit of the people in Atlanta. If you want to exist here, you have to be willing to contribute. The spirit of creation is alive, and with the support of the government, a good workforce and access to the rest of the country, this is a good place to create.”

To find out more about our interviewees above, visit their websites at:

Georgia Bankers Association:

SunTrust Bank:

Citizens Trust Bank:

PNC Financial Services Group:

First Data:

Holland & Knight:


Space and power: Dallas’s strength in the data center industry

November 2017 – As cloud computing matures and companies of all sizes have increasing IT needs, data centers have become big business. These vast warehouses full of networks of processors are used for the remote storage, transmitting and processing of data. As of October 2017, there are 56 data centers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the third highest in the nation behind New York City, with 97 and Washington D.C. with 77, but beating San Jose, CA with 51.


Dallas’s strength as a hub for data centers can in part be traced back to the mid-1990s, when Texas became the center for a new fiber-optic network for the U.S. designed to help county-wide telecommunications networks. The robust telecoms infrastructure combined with ready access to power bought advantages when retrofitting a number of empty building in Dallas during the 2000s. The State of Texas has an independent energy grid, creating an extra level of security for companies worried about power black- and brown-outs, such as the 2003 East Coast blackout. Dallas’s central position in the country also means low latency on data transfer for nation- and world-wide companies.

Real estate and electricity prices both offer good value for companies looking to the county for their data needs. Texas produces more energy than any other state in the U.S., according to the U.S. Energy Administration Agency, and JLL Research in 2016 claims that the average cost of energy was $0.054 per kilowatt-hour in Dallas, compared with $0.12 in the San Francisco Bay area and $0.052 in Northern Virginia, furthering this point.

Due to the nature of the market, data centers are measured in power capacity. As of March 2017, total inventory in the Dallas-Fort Worth market is 208 MW, according to CBRE. This makes it the second largest market in the U.S. by capacity, behind Northern Virginia, with 557 MW, and ahead of Chicago, with 192 MW. According to the Data Center Frontier report published in 2016, the market in Dallas-Fort Worth is growing at 20 MW per year.

As of the second half of 2017, there are 10 major data center projects in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In October, T5 Data Centers opened a new 156,000-square-foot data center on its Plano campus in Collin County, adding 10.75 MW of capacity and bring the total campus capacity of up to 28.75 MW. Also in October, Dallas-based IT real estate company CyrusOne broke ground on a 66-acre project in Allen, Collin County. It will be the first data center in a three-part project that will result in a campus of 1 million square feet with a total capacity of 100 MW.

“The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex has always been a strong market for CyrusOne, and we continue to see growing demand from customers to scale with us. Allen is a business-friendly community, and its proximity to Dallas makes it an ideal site for our new state-of-the-art data center campus,” said John Gould, executive vice president of global sales for CyrusOne in a press release.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is already home to Facebook’s $1-billion data center, which opened in May 2017. The company is already expanding by an extra 100 acres, with construction costing a further $267 million. In August, Digital Realty Trust announced the first phase of a three phase $1 billion data campus on a 47.5-acre piece of land in Garland. When complete the project will bring capacity of 150 MW. The area is already home to a 388-million, 200-000-square-foot data center that was opened in the first of 2017 by RagingWire Data Centers. Also the first part of a three-phase investment, when complete the $1-billion campus will have 80 MW of capacity. Other companies with completed or planned data facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth market include Skybox Data Centers, RagingWire and Digital Realty.

The first half of 2017 saw investment worth $18.2 billion in the U.S. data center market, according to CBRE. The need for greater storage, more complex data processing solutions and greater security concerns have led to a larger number of companies are migrating to cloud-based IT solutions. Faster and more reliable internet connections mean that off-site data-servers are often the most cost-effective and practical options for companies of all sizes. All this suggests that the data center market is far from peaking. Dallas is well positioned to make the most of the potential.



Cash out across the Atlantic

Once the domain of the science fiction fantasy, experts are predicting a cashless society in the U.S. by 2030. As Apple Pay, Bitcoin and contactless cards are taking the place of traditional bills and coins, electronic payment is becoming one of the most crucial segments of the fintech sector. With the launch of the P20 Payment Conference, Atlanta, Georgia is consolidating its position right in the center of this lucrative system.

June 2017 – In an April 2017 survey conducted for ING Bank, 38 percent of respondents from the U.S. said that they would like to “go completely cashless.” For a generation of professionals raised with debit cards, the idea of making even the smallest of transactions without resorting to traditional bills and coins is becoming more reasonable. However, with this new era for day-to-day financial transactions comes an increased demand for processing infrastructure, security, and innovation.

Atlanta has been on its way to becoming a center for credit card payment processing since the late 1980s when caps on the credit card fees were lifted and credit card companies flocked to Georgia. In 2017, around 70 percent of all transactions in the U.S. were going through Atlanta, according to the American Transaction Processors Coalition (ATPC), earning is the title of “Transaction Alley”. Around half of all global payments are currently processed in Atlanta and the surrounding region.

“Atlanta sits at the intersection between financial technologies and a large number of payment companies. The cost of living and operating makes Atlanta a good prospect for companies, and the educational environment here is very good. It makes sense to have a concentration of fintech companies here.“ Joan Herbig, CEO of ControlScan told Focus: Atlanta 2017.

To build upon this already impressive standing and with an eye to the future of international payments the first P20 conference, run in partnership with the City of London, UK will be taking place in October 2017. The conference will alternate between Atlanta and London and will bring together 20 of the most important payment processing institutions, as well as bankers, politicians and other members of the international finance industry.

“The P20 conference will be great for Atlanta. London is often considered a financial capital and so having bilateral cooperation between London and Atlanta is itself advantageous. The P20 conference will be a great launching pad for more awareness and the promotion of Atlanta on the global stage.” Barry McCarthy, executive vice-president of First Data told Focus: Atlanta in May 2017.

The aim of P20 is to bring together key innovators and stakeholders to work on a range of issues such as security, regulation and developing technology. It will create a direct connection and partnership between Atlanta and London, leading to long-term synergies and importantly, facilitating dialogue surrounding issues such as growing security risks and the need for regulation. 

“The P20 conference is our international platform that will bring together regulatory thought leaders with industry thought leaders from the U.K. and the U.S. It will nurture new ideas around the future frameworks. We want to set up global regulatory frameworks and we want to do this in an inclusive fashion.” H. West Richards, executive director of ATPC told Focus: Atlanta 2017.

The Fintech industry supports more than 40,000 jobs in Georgia, and is worth more than $30 billion per year. Despite uncertainty as to its place in the EU, London held onto its title of financial capital of the world in 2017. The P20 partnership will bring the international recognition that Atlanta deserves, and help to grow its already vibrant fintech industry even more.    

Growing a tech hub

Medina CapitaManaging Partner and eMerge Americas Conference creator Manuel D. Medina discusses Miami’s budding tech industry

What were the origins of eMerge Americas and the movement to build a tech hub in Miami?

The idea grew out of my frustrations in running a publicly traded tech company, Terremark, headquartered in Miami, but the city not getting any respect when it came to technology. Miami is the capital of everything having to do with Latin America, except technology. We determined that a major event, modeled after South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, would be the best way forward to promote the tech potential and opportunities that exist here – just look at what Art Basel did for arts and culture in Miami. This conference, however, is just one part of a greater strategy, which has the following four pillars: education; incubators and accelerators; funding mechanisms; and an employment base. These are the four essential components to a healthy tech ecosystem.

What are some of the tech trends in and related to Latin America? How do these impact Miami? 

There is greater mobile penetration in Latin America than in the U.S., which makes mobile technology a key growth area in the region, as are cyber security and cloud products, or “agile IT.” Miami is well positioned to benefit from the growth of Latin America’s tech industry, and the increasing international interest the region has generated. We are seeing an insatiable appetite for the transfer of technology into Latin America from abroad, as well as a desire to import technology developed in Latin America to the U.S. For legacy companies – the IBMs and HPs of the world – the explosion in the development of innovative technologies in Latin America presents new opportunities for their business.

What factors inform Miami’s potential to become a tech hub, specifically a tech hub for Latin America?

Miami houses the Network Access Point (NAP) of the Americas, through which 95 percent of the Internet traffic between Latin America, North America and Europe passes. There are 170-180 carriers amalgamated in this facility, and that is a feature that sets Miami apart from a connectivity standpoint. Miami also has a strong bilingual base, which is increasingly important for developing technology ties with Latin America and attracting Latin American capital.

With regard to funding, eMerge Americas is working to recruit more venture capitalists (VCs) to Miami. What has been the progress to date?

The success of eMerge Americas, which saw more media impressions in its first year than SXSW, has been eye-catching for Silicon Valley and East Coast VCs. We are also capitalizing on the presence of family offices here in Miami, many of whom were previously investing almost exclusively in real estate, but are now providing seed money for a number of tech ventures and talented entrepreneurs.