by Amy Martinez
Updated 2 yearss ago
In 2019, Key Biscayne native Felipe Jauregui and two childhood friends, Andres Avello and Khalil Khouri, launched Miami-based PADL, an app-based business that offers stand-up paddleboards for rent at self-serve kiosks in Florida. “Think of us as a Citi Bike,” Jauregui says, referring to the bicycle rental service that uses docking stations to store bikes between customer rides.
Each PADL kiosk runs on solar energy and has four paddleboards equipped with GPS and Bluetooth technology. Customers who download PADL’s app can unlock a board (along with paddles and a life vest) and use the equipment for as long as they’d like before returning it to the same location. The rental fee is $10 to $15 an hour, or customers can buy a membership for $25 a month and get an unlimited number of two-hour sessions.
“The problem we’re solving is the hassle of storage and transportation,” says Jauregui, the company’s COO. “Our stations are about 50 feet from where you launch, so you don’t have to carry the board very far.”
PADL has kiosks in seven locations statewide, including Key Biscayne, Jupiter, Lake Butler and Vero Beach. The startup now hopes to raise $1.5 million on the crowdfunding website SeedInvest.com to expand to as many as 50 Florida locations over the next year.
- Phoenix-based Televerde plans to hire 150 inmates at a new call center inside Homestead Correctional Institution, a mixed-security women’s prison. The company, which handles sales, marketing and customer service for corporate clients, pays inmates via the Department of Corrections, which gives a portion of the money to the women to use while they’re incarcerated; another portion goes into savings for their use after release.
- Malcolm Medley, the former head of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Miami office, filed a discrimination lawsuit against the agency, alleging retaliation and a hostile work environment.
- The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation pledged $15.3 million to Florida International University, the University of Miami and Baptist Health South Florida to develop a deeper pool of local tech talent. FIU and UM will receive $10 million and $4.3 million, respectively, to expand their computing and data sciences schools; Baptist Health will receive $1 million to create a fellowship program focused on health care innovation.
- Digital payments company ACI Worldwide will get more than $360,000 in local and state incentives to move its headquarters to Miami-Dade from Collier County. The company brings 182 jobs and plans to spend at least $9 million to build out its new offices and to expand its software design and research and development operations.
- Cyxtera, a data center company created by Miami tech entrepreneur Manny Medina, plans to go public through a $3.4-billion merger with Starboard Value Acquisition. The combined company will operate as Cyxtera and be listed on Nasdaq. Cybersecurity provider Appgate, which recently was spun out of Cyxtera, will merge with Newtown Lane Marketing, a publicly traded shell company led by Jonathan Ledecky, co-owner of the New York Islanders hockey team.
- Unybrands, a Miami Beach startup, raised $25 million and launched an ecommerce platform focused on personal and pet care, household and baby products, supplements and sports/fitness.
- Michael Reininger returned to Miami-based Brightline to lead Brightline Holdings. Reininger, who previously oversaw the development of Brightline’s first stations, left the company in 2018 to head Saudi Arabia-based Qiddiya Investment. In his new job, Reininger will steer Brightline’s expansions in Florida and the western U.S.
- Cruise ship operator Windstar will move its headquarters to Miami from Seattle. The company plans to have about 50 employees in Miami by 2022, the Miami Herald reported.
- Developers Terra and Grass River Property began building Grove Central, a mixed-use project near the Coconut Grove Metrorail station. The development will have a 23-story residential tower, a public parking garage and about 170,000 square feet of retail space, including a Target store.
- The Miami Planning and Zoning appeals board approved a request to raise the height limit on a proposed mixed-use project in the Design District from 20 stories to 36 stories. Dacra CEO Craig Robins plans to develop the project on two vacant parcels near a proposed Brightline station.
- A vacant North Miami Beach site where a seven-story Cambria hotel had been proposed is now slated for a 19-story mixed-use project with 341 apartments.
- Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava created a department of equity and inclusion, led by Jason Smith, who was her legislative director when she served on the county commission.
- Miami Dade College’s north campus was designated a federal mass vaccination site, with the capacity to administer up to 2,000 COVID vaccines daily.
- Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava launched a new initiative called Renew305 to boost the local economy as it recovers from the pandemic. The effort includes a nearly $2-million investment in workforce training from CareerSource South Florida and a “CEO ambassador program” designed to engage local business leaders in attracting and retaining major employers.
Read more in Florida Trend's May issue.
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