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What's 🔥 in Enterprise IT/VC #274
25 Years in NYC Enterprise Tech and why I moved to Miami 🌴 - 🔥 up to build 🏗️
Hi all, it’s been an emotional week as I finally moved to Miami and am starting to get settled in. Having been an early advocate of the NYC tech ecosystem since 1996, this was quite a move for me and my family. That being said, I’m more energized 🔌 than ever before and excited for the future. I’ll share some of my thoughts on the early days of NYC, and why I believe Miami will accelerate as a hub for founders/investors. See 🧵…
After sifting through a lot of “holy shits” and “what are you doing” and “you’re the only infrastructure investor down there”, I’m now finally able to gather my thoughts.
I’ll start off with personal reasons. My wife and I have always loved the warmer weather 🌴 and now that both of our kids are in college, this is a great place to be due to proximity to NYC where we still have lots of friends.
Investment wise, I’m ready for a new adventure. I’ve always enjoyed being an underdog since my early days in NYC in 1996 when folks used to laugh and say that we couldn’t build billion dollar enterprise companies in NYC, that it was too expensive to live in, and that all of the capital was flowing out of NYC and not to NYC. Fast forward 25+ years later and we can all agree that NYC is solidly #2 behind Silicon Valley just like we had all envisioned. Ok…maybe it took a lot longer than expected 🤣. Being in Miami gives me that same underdog feeling, especially when it comes to enterprise startups, and it’s a feeling that I relish and 🔥 me up.
In the venture world, timing is everything and when Forbes has headline articles like below, the contrarian in me says it’s time to go. Once upon a time, my dream was to have Tier 1 Silicon Valley VC funds lead A rounds in some of our portfolio companies in NYC to help legitimize the idea that hard core infrastructure startups can be built in NYC…and now that dream has become a reality and in spades as there are way too many VCs 😄 now. NYC is far from contrarian!
Finally, while I built my VC career out of NYC starting in 1996 and boldstart was started here in 2010, many don’t know that 2/3 of our investments, yes 2/3, are in Europe and Israel. We’ve always been investing internationally since we started boldstart and many of our biggest winners thus far like Snyk (London and Israel, dev first security, $8.6B), Blockdaemon (fully distributed with tech in Ireland, Germany, CA, crypto infra $3.25B, and BigID (Israel, NYC, Miami where CEO is located, data privacy, $1.25B) and many others were never in NYC.
So will it take 25 years for Miami to be the next big tech hub?
The world is so different today than when I started in NYC in 1996. For context, here’s an Infoworld article I was quoted in from August 1999.
SaaS wasn’t even SaaS as it was called the ASP model. LivePerson where I led the founding round ended up being one of the early enterprise cos which IPOed from NYC in 2001 and is still a public company worth around $2B (more here).
What’s different today vs. before comes down to the 5 cs - capital, cloud, connectivity, community, and crypto. I believe in 5 years Miami will be a top 3 hub in terms of $ invested into startups as more founders and investors come to visit and never leave.
Capital: there is already an amazing startup capital base in Miami thanks to Keith Rabois at Founders Fund and including Softbank with their Miami fund, Blumberg Capital, Thoma Bravo and many others too numerous to list. Let’s put it this way - after my tweet and linkedin post, I learned of a dozen+ other enterprise investors already here or about to move here. In addition, Limited Partners, or those who are the main backers of VC funds, do not see Miami as a place to retire but one from which to build. After my tweet last week, 2 of my larger institutional LPs already reached out saying they were in town to meet next week.
Cloud: The cloud has changed everything. In the early days of NYC and LivePerson, for example, the company had to raise $50M of funding to build out its own data centers and find the expertise to manage those data centers. The cloud has changed everything for founders and creating a new ecosystem is much easier than before.
Connectivity: Because of COVID, the world is used to Zoom and being remote first. While it took years to build the engineering community in NYC, this time it’s different for Miami since almost all startups are remote first or fully distributed. Building the ecosystem here will be much faster as experienced CEOs are the first to move to Miami (too many to even mention) and will manage their distributed teams from here and look to angel invest and advise new startup founders in the community. NYC had to create its own repeat and experienced founders turned angel investors as the world was local-first pre-COVID and Miami has already shortcut that process.
Community: As I’ve explored the community over the last 6 months before deciding to move, all I can say this is one of the most welcoming and inclusive communities I have ever met. Everyone is fired up to attract more founders, engineering talent, and investors to turn Miami into a top entrepreneurial hub you can’t ignore. Also shoutout to Jesus Rodriguez from ITB who’s invited me to a couple of amazing DeFi dinners and introduced me to a number of great folks already.
Crypto: Every city needs an anchor and foundation and crypto is it for Miami with Mayor Francis Suarez front and center with the Miami Coin and his push to see wider crypto use in the city. There is a cluster of amazing founders from Moonpay to Quicknode and IntoTheBlock and dozens of others, and it’s only building.
I’ll share more as I experience the city and people but all I can say is I feel like it’s Day One all over again. I’m excited to discover, learn, meet, and help build a community around developer first startups, enterprise infra, and crypto infrastructure. A number of boldstart founders like Dimitri Sirota from BigID (data privacy and infra space) and Sam Kassoumeh from Security Scorecard are already down here, and I know a number of others about to make the move. Alex Taub, founder of crypto infra company, Upstream (a low code DAO in a box) is already here, and we @boldstartvc are ready to write checks. My partner Eliot Durbin is also here with me so please ping him as well. I look forward to waking up every day, learning from all of you, and also sharing some of the lessons that we learned partnering with founders from Day 1 who started companies like Snyk, Blockdaemon, BigID, Superhuman, Kustomer and many others. NYC - I ❤️ you and miss you already, but I’m ready for a new adventure!
Please reach out if you want to meet or discuss any of the above.
Let’s 🏗️ build!
As always, 🙏🏼 for reading and please share with your friends and colleagues.
Power of onboarding your customers and what was learned 🧵 when it comes to managing your time
AMA - my partner Eliot Durbin on Google Cloud series talking about how technical founders can build from day one and more…
Crypto infrastructure for the win!💪🏼 Huge congrats to + the entire team on new round at $3.25B valuation as it continues to be world’s largest blockchain infrastructure co for node management + staking. DeFi Fund + more M&A to come 🙏🏼 for to be partnered since day oneToday, I’m proud to announce that we have raised a further $207M in investments, led by @SapphireVC & Tiger Global, with a post-money valuation of $3.25B https://t.co/BaS43HAg9dkonstantin richter @konstantin11
And this…Fireblocks at $8B (glad that our blockchain lab Mstate was in the seed 😄)
Speaking of crypto infra, The New Stack which is all about cloud native is amping up its coverage of crypto infra…
Let’s go Slim.ai - great snapshot of journey from OSS project to seed to Series A round…💪🏼 Huge congrats + entire team on $31M Series A led by Born out of OSS, helping devs search, analyze, optimize, minimize, and better secure containers - shift ⬅️ Proud day one partnerWe are humbled and honored to announce that @SlimDevOps has raised a $31M Series A. It’s a great testament to our team, our community, and our mission to help developers create cloud-native apps with less friction and risk.🧵 https://t.co/wVPlnvawJXJohn Amaral @amaral_john
A long journey indeed - I like to say sell the product, market the vision - great to see 5 years later that the BigID vision is being fully realized
NFTs are not just images…🧵
What’s ahead for 2022 as per Microsoft and Satya Nadella’s earnings call:
Keith Weiss -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst
I wanted to check in with you guys on how you feel about the overall demand environment, particularly around digital transformation, and how durable is that going to be into calendar year '22? Do you still see a lot of wood to chop, if you will, a lot of activity taking place in that direction? Thank you.
Satya Nadella -- Chief Executive Officer
overall, what we see is pretty strong demand signal. And quite frankly, going into the pandemic, we saw demand increase because of the constraints the pandemic put on corporations and the increased consumer activity.
And then coming out of the pandemic, we are seeing actually a lot of constraints in the economy and the only resource, as I said in my remarks, that can help drive productivity while keeping costs down is digital tech. So when I think -- take something like Power Apps, it's just a great example of something that's right in the middle of our stack, you know, really helps drive that next level of productivity in the labor force for any company in any industry. And so the demand signals we see across the stack from security to our cloud infrastructure to business applications and solutions like Teams is very strong. And the other area, obviously, we're seeing strength is in gaming.
Wise words and one of my fave questions at a board meeting - how much of this forecast is based on selling what’s on the truck versus future product
And for all of those crossover funds, the opportunities in public are too hard to ignore as compared to late stage private (more here Techcrunch)
“You can bet your bottom dollar that every investor in the Coatue, Dragoneer, D1 [Capital Partners], Tiger — those crossover funds — are finding more value right now in the public markets right now than they are the private markets,” says Mitchell Green, the founder of his own, 12-year-old crossover firm, Lead Edge Capital.