January 29, 2020
Cheaper travel to Miami from South America

Photo:

Jake Moskowitz speaks at TechStars in 2016.

Miami-Dade Roundup

Cheaper travel to Miami from South America

A young Miami entrepreneur's website brings affordable travel options to South America.

Jake Moskowitz wants to make it easier for budget travelers in South America to compare prices and book affordable travel tickets. The 28-year-old is CEO of Miami-based startup Voyhoy.com, a travel-booking site that works with hundreds of companies to digitize their offerings, which include routes in five countries: Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Peru and Brazil.

Moskowitz co-founded the business in Santiago, Chile, where the American had arrived on a visit, stayed and eventually started working with U.S. universities sending students to South America. In that job, he experienced firsthand the difficulties of figuring out the best transport mix for cost-conscious travelers. Many companies did not have data online, and new low-cost airlines were starting to offer flights that could be as cheap as bus travel.

With angel investor funds from Chile, Moskowitz launched Voyhoy in late 2015 with Roger Robinson (a fellow American) and Ignacio Vial (a Chilean). They took part in startup accelerator TechStars in Detroit in 2016 and soon after moved Voyhoy’s headquarters to Miami. At 2017’s eMerge Americas conference, the startup took the top prize in the pitch contest. This summer, it became the 23rd company in Endeavor Miami, the local branch of a global non-profit that helps entrepreneurs scale ventures through access to mentors, capital, talent and more.

Voyhoy employs 18. Next: Adding routes and transportation providers in existing markets, expanding to Ecuador and raising more cash. “We’re targeting a very underserved market,” Moskowitz says. “There’s a big opportunity for growth.” – Doreen Hemlock

EDUCATION

  • Florida Keys Community College will finally have its own campus after buying 2 acres in Key Largo; it has been holding classes in Coral Shores High School since 1998.

ENERGY

  • Coral Gables-based power provider and energy trader Guzman Energy raised $130 million from Vision Ridge Partners, Zoma Capital and others.

FINANCE

  • Miami-based Ladenburg Thalmann expanded with the acquisition of Massachusettsbased Patriot Financial Group which manages about $650 million in client assets and has 33 financial advisers. City National Bank hired Neil Solomon as chief of staff and executive vice president.

HEALTH CARE

  • The Miami Heat NBA team and non-profit Baptist Health South Florida (the region’s largest hospital system) announced a partnership to create the Miami Heat Sports Medicine Center at the Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute in Coral Gables. The Heat would not say how much it donated for the facility, which should open next summer.
  • Jacqueline Dascal Chariff, a serial entrepreneur who has been chairman of Continental National Bank for five years, launched CosmeticPlans.com. The company links users to cosmetic physicians in South Florida and offers a monthly subscription service for 20% discounts off those doctors’ services.

TOURISM

  • Florida’s only non-stop passenger flight to Africa will take off on April 3, 2019, when Royal Air Maroc begins direct service between Casablanca, Morocco, and Miami International Airport. MIA’s first cargo route to Africa launched in August, when Ethiopian Airlines added stops in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to its cargo routes from the airport. The only non-stop flight between Florida and Poland will take off on June 1, 2019, when LOT Polish Airlines begins direct service between MIA and Warsaw Chopin Airport.
  • The 60-acre Hawks Cay Resort, one of the Keys’ largest hotels, fully reopened after $50 million in repairs after Hurricane Irma. Miami residents voted to allow ESG Capital to build a 300-room hotel, up to 130 feet tall, at Jungle Island Amusement Park on Watson Island in Biscayne Bay.
  • Netherlands-based citizenM will be the brand on a 348-room hotel in the Miami Worldcenter mixeduse project in the city’s downtown; this is the third property the “affordable luxury” hotelier has announced it will open in the county.

TRANSPORTATION

  • Ridership on the county’s public transit system — Metrobus, Metrorail and Metromover — fell 25.2% from June 2014 to June 2018, continuing a pattern that has seen similar drops every month for the past four years.

RETAIL

  • Miami Heat basketball stars Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem will open an 800° pizza restaurant in Aventura; it is the first venture of their company, Forty-Three.
  • At newly opened Coral Gables coffee shop Fixpresso, everything on the menu costs $2 — including lattes, croissants and sandwiches. The company has already approved franchisees in 15 states.
  • David Grutman, who owns Miami Beach nightclubs LIV and Story, will open three restaurants and a retail store in the city, adding to two restaurants he already owns and one in development with musician Pharrell Williams.

Tags: Miami-Dade, Transportation, Travel & Tourism

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