Invest: Miami speaks with Nabyl Charania, Co-Founder and CEO

The lack of professionalized or institutional investment has been an issue for this market and affects companies needing to access growth capital. A startup can raise the initial $200,000 to $2 million from angel investors, but getting to that next phase is more difficult. Recognizing these challenges, Rokk3r Labs launched Cross Valley Capital, a $20-million venture fund, to back emerging fund managers at Iterative Instinct, another $20-million early-stage fund. But it’s not just us: established funds like Accelerate Ventures, Scout Ventures and Mosley are realizing that a lot of good ideas are coming out of Miami.

South Florida has no shortage of wealth, but most investors do not know how to valuate tech investments. Many investors come here for the real estate, but once here, are open to other opportunities. However, unlike real estate, which is a tangible product, investors unfamiliar with tech need to be guided through the valuation of a tech investment. Everyone talks about exponential technologies and understands we are living in a special moment. The next step is to help a would-be investor understand the power of these technologies—to walk them through where we are and how far we have come in a few years.

Take drones. Eight years ago, you could not buy a drone. Six years ago, they were prohibitively expensive. Today, you can buy one for $30 and use it for your business. Communicating the potential of these technologies is crucial—someone may have made a lot of money on real estate, but where is the money to be made in the future? Opportunities lie at the intersection of exponential technologies. Seizing those opportunities requires, not just a certain knowledge base, but also a sense of imagination.

Building an ecosystem is a long-term project. We need support from public and private sector alike in innovation and entrepreneurship to develop the skillsets people need to become employable. We need to come up with a cohesive way for foundations, like the Knight Foundation, and government entities to become part of the framework as opposed to being the people you go to for money.