FIVE REASONS TO INVEST IN EARLY STAGE TECHNOLOGY
TOM WALLACE, MANAGING PARTNER FOR FLORIDA FUNDERS
Early stage innovation and technology companies are one of the best investment opportunities available today. Florida is at the forefront of a blooming technology landscape and Florida Funders, a hybrid of a venture capital fund and crowd-funding platform that invests in emerging trends, has a passion for growing the next generation of Florida tech companies. Led by an experienced team of serial entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and experienced angel investors, Florida Funders has a proven track record for finding strong investment opportunities in early stage companies.
If you’ve been sitting on capital and you’re looking for a new way to experience growth, Florida Funders has five reasons you should invest in early stage technology:
Be one of the first to invest in in the most innovative, emerging Florida companies. Florida Funders has a strong team of leaders that work tirelessly to find the best technology companies throughout the state. In many of our recent investments, Florida Funders has been the first institutional money into our portfolio companies, this gives all our investors a tremendous opportunity to get in on the ground floor and help the company to grow and develop through our time, talent and our treasure.
Support the future of Florida. Our mission is to turn the Sunshine State into the Startup State. By investing in Florida companies, you’re supporting the economic growth of our state to help make our communities throughout Florida become one of the best places to build a great business, career and life. For every great technology company and technology job that is added to our state, there is a significant growth in non-tech, service-related jobs, such as hospitality, insurance, and real estate. We’ve partnered with key players within Florida to support technology growth statewide. Recently, we’ve acquired Florida Angel Nexus (NEXUS), an Orlando-based firm that has facilitated more than $20 million in funding to Florida startups. We’ve also been selected by the Institute for Commercialization of Florida Technology to enter into contract negotiations to serve as Private Fund Manager to manager their portfolio of funded companies, which consists of businesses in all segments of the innovation economy including the life sciences, digital information, clean energy and other emerging sectors. Through June 30, 2018, funded companies had raised in excess of $255 million in private investment capital, a ratio of 10:1 to State funds invested, and the overall economic impact of the Institute since 2011 is over $1.4 billion (Washington Economics Group 2018 Study). We believe it’s imperative to get involved throughout the community to stay on top of the latest opportunities.
Assets are non-correlated to the current market trends. We invest in companies that are not directly impacted by current stock market and industry trends. For example, we’ve recently invested in PICKUP, an agile last mile delivery platform for large or heavy retail products. Consumers are goingto continue to purchase big-ticket items, such as furniture and mattresses. Often times, retailers are unable to fulfill large and/or heavy products conveniently enough to meet the needs of today’s consumers. With PICKUP, customers can select their items, request delivery at the checkout and have their goods delivered to the room of choice in as little as one hour.
Early stage technology provides a diverse portfolio. Technology is more than just an electronic device or software. Today’s technology companies are innovative disruptors to very classic industries and business problems. In some ways, tech is any business that can scale and create significant differentiation by leveraging things like mobile apps, AI, Augmented Reality and big data. Our portfolio features a vast array of innovative startups throughout the state. In addition to PICKUP, we’ve invested in Homee, a Tampa, Florida based on-demand mobile application responsible for connecting customers with local service providers. Homee provides homeowners, property managers, offices, restaurants, hotels and more with access to handymen, electrical, HVAC, plumbing service providers through the Apple and Android application. Or, take Rep Scrubs as an example. RepScrubs, a Sanford, Floridabased smart scrub solution for modern medical facilities. RepScrubs provides a vending machine system that distributes disposable scrubs for medical device representatives inside of hospitals to create a more sterile solution for healthcare. Between PICKUP, Homee and RepScrubs alone, we have an expansive reach of companies that are affecting various markets.
Today, wealth is created in the private market, not the public market. Companies are waiting longer to go public because there’s so much money in the private equity market. By the time they go public, they are worth billions and it is very hard to generate more wealth in the public market. Uber, a private company, is valued at over $68 billion-dollars. Once they decide on an IPO, investors won’t make near the return that the earlier investors made. Imagine if you had invested in Uber at $50 million, $500 million, or even $5 billion-dollars, and its forecasted to go public at $120 billion, early investors will see returns between 50 and 2,500 times their investment. Florida Funders investors can not only gain access to Florida’s best early stage companies, they can spread their investment capital across enough private companies for intelligent diversification.
Tom Wallace co-founded his first company at the age of 23 and has been involved in starting, growing and building businesses since. He has been an active tech angel investor for the past 25 years. Prior to joining Florida Funders, he served as the CEO for Vector Solutions, a SaaS company providing services in the online training compliance space in which he invested in 2003. In 2016, Vector Solutions was purchased by Providence Equity Partners, a $40 billion-dollar private equity firm.