Follow the Money
This is the March 6, 2023 edition of the Opportunity Miami newsletter written by Matt Haggman, which we send every Tuesday. Click here to subscribe to get our weekly updates in your inbox.
Q&A: How to create a more diverse small-business ownership future
Leonel Azuela explains how the How to Start Something program will work with 300 minority-owned small business entrepreneurs in Miami-Dade
With Aspen Ideas: Climate starting today, our newsletter is hitting inboxes a day earlier, so we can revisit a primary theme of our work: that addressing climate change presents the business opportunity of our lifetime. And the cities that build the zero-carbon companies of the future will lead the global economy.
A little more than a year ago, we launched Opportunity Miami. Powered by Miami-Dade Beacon Council, Greater Miami’s economic development organization, Opportunity Miami is a platform aimed at catalyzing a vision for Miami’s economic future — and helping rally the community to create it.
From the start, we focused on how the transition to a sustainable, net-zero economy will propel our economic growth and create jobs. To get a better understanding, we turned to two leading venture capital investors in climate tech, recording podcasts with Christian Hernandez of 2150 VC and Clay Dumas of Lowercarbon Capital.
Climate change, Dumas said, is “the single biggest problem that we can solve and the single biggest opportunity from a financial standpoint.”
It’s a key point often missed — the existential threat is highlighted, not the generational economic opportunity. But what’s remarkable is how strong investor confidence has remained since those conversations despite a year that included a stock market swoon, layoffs, and crypto trauma.
Consider The Numbers
In 2022, amid the economic upheaval, overall venture capital investment plummeted 35 percent compared to the year before, according to Crunchbase. But, during the same period, venture investment in climate tech companies held steady, with investors pouring more than $40 billion into climate tech companies, only about three percent less than in 2021, according to CTVC.
And the number of deals in climate companies grew by 40 percent, as early-stage companies saw a big increase in investment.
Last week, this investor enthusiasm was on display again as BlocPower, which aims to decarbonize buildings, announced a $154 million funding round. Last year we sat down with BlocPower’s Ian Harris for a conversation, which you can watch here.
Meanwhile, Miami is part of this all. It’s home to one of the leading electric vehicle car charging networks companies in the US (Blink), the largest indoor aquaculture facility in the world (Atlantic Sapphire), and the biggest air conditioning distributor in North America (Watsco), which Hernandez of 2150 VC in London called “one of the most impactful companies in our fight against climate change.”
But the point is this: as Aspen Ideas: Climate gathers for its second year on Miami Beach, the money aimed at building a sustainable, net zero future is strong.
Climate Solutions Showcase
If you would like to meet some of the entrepreneurs creating this future, join me at Aspen Ideas: Climate for the Climate Solutions Showcase on Tuesday from 11:30 to 12:45 as climate tech entrepreneurs pitch their startups. I will emcee the event and would love to see you. An important note: this will be at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Expo Hall B, and is free and open to the public.
While there, you can check out the Aspen Ideas: Climate Tech Expo and Job Fair, which is also at The Miami Beach Convention Center and free and open to the public as well.
How to Start Something
On a separate but important note, we sat down with Miami business leader Leonel Azuela for an Opportunity Miami Q&A to discuss the launch of the “How to Start Something” program across Greater Miami. The program, which had great success in New York and is funded by J.P. Morgan Chase, aims to stir entrepreneurship by offering free mentorship and support for 300 people looking to start, pivot, or re-start their ventures. You can read it here.
As always, we would love to hear from you. You can share trends, story ideas, and details on people building the Miami of 2040 we want. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you were forwarded this newsletter, you can subscribe here. We also invite you to subscribe on YouTube and follow us on social media channels.
Hope to see you at Aspen Ideas: Climate this week.