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State of Startups: These local groups are among Florida's most active investors

Florida leads the Southeast when it comes to attracting investor dollars.

Technology companies headquartered in the Sunshine State received $12.9 billion in capital investments between 2016 and the first half of 2021, according to Panoramic Ventures' 2021 State of Startups in the Southeast report. That funding was poured into Florida startups across 2,719 deals, with media companies ($3.2 billion), software-as-a-service ventures ($2.1 billion) and biotech startups ($1.5 billion) raising the most capital.

More than $2 billion of the funding directed to media companies went to Magic Leap, an augmented reality venture headquartered in Plantation.

North Carolina ranked No. 2, with $11.9 billion in capital deployed, followed by Georgia ($9.8 billion); Virginia ($6.6 billion), and Tennessee ($3.7 billion).

Florida Funders, a Tampa-based venture capital with offices in Miami, was the state's most active investor, with 54 investments in Florida companies. Miami Angels, an angel investor network, was the second-most active with 30 deals. Other active local investors included Boca Raton-based New World Angels, with 16 investments, and Las Olas Venture Capital, with 11.

Florida is also near the top of the pack when it comes to private companies valued at $1 billion or more. The state is home to six of these "unicorn" ventures, the second-most in the Southeast U.S. behind Georgia, which has seven. Five of those unicorns – Magic Leap, Pipe, Reef Technology, Kaseya and Modernizing Medicine – are headquartered in South Florida.

Other takeaways from the 2021 State of Startup report:

  • The Southeast drew 79 "mega-deals" – investments of $100 million or more – between 2016 and the first half of 2021, with 22 in 2021 alone. Software-as-a-service, financial technology, biotech and manufacturing startups attracted the most mega deals.

  • Check sizes are increasing. The average investment reached $10.5 million in the first half of 2021, up 42% year-over-year.

  • The number of seed-stage deals declined across the Southeast, representing less than 40% of the deals reported. Florida, however, was an early-stage powerhouse, with 1,170 seed stage investments during the five-and-a-half year period analyzed.

  • It was an active period for exits, as well. South Florida companies likeChewy (NYSE: CHWY), MDLive and Nearpod have been acquired in multimillion- and multibillion-dollar deals since 2016.

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