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September 24, 2018
Rokk3r is turning ideas into companies

Photo: Rokk3r Labs

Juan Montoya, left, with clients at Rokk3r Labs office in Miami Beach.

Miami-Dade Roundup

Rokk3r is turning ideas into companies

Hard Rock International signed on as sponsor of the Miami Dolphins’ stadium, in an 18-year deal reportedly worth $250 million. Once known as Joe Robbie Stadium, it will now be called Hard Rock Stadium (its ninth name). The University of Miami also plays its football games there, and the stadium hosts the Orange Bowl Classic college game. The Seminole Tribe of Florida owns Hard Rock International.

Building a Portfolio

Rokk3r works with entrepreneurs to turn ideas into companies.

Rokk3r, which started as a marketing agency, changed direction after the founders began meeting people with great ideas who needed help turning those ideas into companies.

Rokk3r added “Labs” to its name and began working with entrepreneurs to create, launch and grow companies. Based in Miami Beach, Rokk3r invests money and helps develop companies from the ground up — beginning with designing and creating a product or software. It calls itself a “co-builder,” offering a company everything from technology, staff and office space to a business plan, company structure and a steering committee. Its portfolio of companies around the world can tap into Rokk3r’s staff and consultants for legal support, training and technology development.

When companies need to recruit employees or contractors, they can use Rokk3r’s recruiting platform and network of talent, which Rokk3r has trained and manages.

Rokk3r has 35 companies in its portfolio and has been involved in building almost 50, says COO Juan Montoya. Among its companies are AdMobilize, which has been with Rokk3r for four years and develops products that gather contextual data from physical spaces, and HYP3R, a social media management platform that joined Rokk3r last year.

Rokk3r’s co-founders — Montoya, CEO Nabyl Charania and Germán Montoya, chief strategy and creative officer — believe that execution, not early-stage money, is what really determines success. Rokk3r, Montoya says, “put a process around something that didn’t necessarily have one.”

Still, money matters to a company’s success, and Rokk3r wants to bring more of that to the table, as well. Last year, it raised close to $5 million in its own venture funding round, which it’s using to scale up its co-building activities.

Charania now is working to raise up to $200 million to create an early-stage investment fund. The company’s pitch to investors: The process it has developed for creating and growing companies mitigates the risks of early-stage investments and creates a great pipeline of deal flow.

Rokk3r, which also has offices in London and Bogota, Colombia, plans to grow its physical base and is looking for a larger Miami-area office.

Micro Plans

Developer Moishe Mana plans a 49-story rental tower in downtown Miami, with about 200 of the 328 units no more than 400 square feet.

Business Briefs

CORAL GABLES — Accounting and consulting firm BDO USA absorbed Coral Gables-based Goldstein Schechter Koch. BDO will retain GSK’s employees and offices as it rebrands the firm. Spanish IT firm Tecnocom USA will open an office in Coral Gables.

MIAMI — After five years of price hikes, downtown Miami condominium resale prices have dropped 4% this year, according to a study by the Miami Downtown Development Authority. Just months after founder Zalmi Duchman purchased Fresh Diet back from a public company, the firm closed without informing most employees or clients. Another Miami-based meal delivery service, Fit2Go, took over filling customers’ orders, allowing them to redeem Fresh Diet credits. Providence Financial Investments, a Miami-based firm, filed for Chapter 7 after the SEC moved to close the company. Brazil-based hedge fund Leste Capital Management opened an office in downtown Miami, its first in the United States. The firm will start with 10 employees. A health care real estate investment trust based in Chicago will acquire the University of Miami Life Science and Technology Park for a reported $220.3 million as it acquires all of Wexford’s life science and medical real estate assets.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY — Baptist Health South Florida partnered with Hilton Worldwide to open Hilton Miami/Dadeland at the Baptist Hospital campus in Miami. It will have 150 rooms with 34 tailored for extended stays. Baptist also partnered with telehealth technology company American Well to launch Baptist Health Care On Demand, which enables patients to consult with a doctor on demand via video on an app, with no appointment, 24 hours a day. Consumer electronics and cellular repair services firm Topp Solutions will move its manufacturing, repair and distribution facility to the West End Innovation District from Doral, adding more than 200 jobs and investing $2 million within three years. French logistics firm Seafrigo opened a frozen food shipment facility in Miami with about 50 employees. Japan-based pharmaceutical company Santen will acquire Inn- Focus, an ophthalmology company developed within the University of Miami’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, for $225 million. InnFocus is developing the MicroShunt, a device that drains eye fluid and reduces intraocular pressure, a non-invasive way of preventing vision loss and glaucoma. Shareholders of FirstCity Bank of Commerce in Palm Beach Gardens blocked a proposed acquisition by Coral Gables-based Professional Bank. Philip Esformes, who owns a group of more than 30 skilled-nursing and assisted-living facilities called the Esformes Network, was arrested and charged with orchestrating one of the nation’s biggest Medicare fraud schemes ever, defrauding the agency of $1 billion. The county approved a $464-million, mixed-use, transitoriented project at the Douglas Road Metrorail site, a venture between 13th Floor Investments and Adler Group.

NORTH MIAMI — The non-profit Larkin College of Pharmacy opened in August. It will award degrees in three years, rather than the usual four. Sliderz MG announced a partnership with Boca Raton venture capitalists Benzion Aboud and Joe Randazza to expand from one restaurant to 80 over the next five years with $21 million in funding.


Elder Care Management

Nestor Plana founded Independent Living Systems in 2001 as a way to better manage elderly patients’ health care and social services needs. Plana built the company on software that allows caregivers to personalize care and keep track of each patient’s needs — including nutritional profiles and arrangements for the right food to be delivered to patients’ homes. Patient care is delivered either in their homes or in their communities. Plana sells his service to insurance plans, which save money by keeping their patients at home.

Plana started his health care career as a hospital orderly, eventually founding a health plan before starting Independent Living Systems in 2015. This year, Ernst & Young named Plana Florida health care and life sciences entrepreneur of the year.


» Starr Cos. Hired Dorian Grey as president of its Latin America division, giving him overall responsibility for the growth and profitability of the insurance company in Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Tags: Miami-Dade

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