Updated 1 years ago
OnChain Studios has signed a multi-year partnership with Mattel for its Cryptoys NFT platform and raised $23 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Dapper Labs and Mattel. The deal brings Mattel’s iconic brands into the collectible, interactive digital world created by the Miami startup. The non-fungible tokens platform combines toys, gaming and entertainment, and the technology allows players to own a digital original of a character. “Playable and interactive NFTs will be the first foray into Web3 and blockchain for millions of people, and we want Cryptoys to be the on-ramp that makes it fun and easy for everyone to collect and play,” says Will Weinraub, CEO and co-founder of OnChain Studios. Cryptoys will be launching its original digital characters as well as Mattel brands, including Barbie, Hot Wheels and American Girl dolls.
- Miami has teamed up with Atlas, a web infrastructure service provider, and CTH Group, to launch the inaugural MiamiWeb3 conference. Web3 is a blockchain-based web service. Scheduled for Nov. 28-30 at the InterContinental Miami, the MiamiWeb3 conference will bring together investors, startup founders and government officials to discuss the future of Web3, digital asset markets, NFTs, the metaverse and more.
- Zilch, a London-based “buy now, pay later” app, opened its U.S. headquarters in the Brickell area of downtown Miami. Founded by Philip Belamount, the company raised $400 million from Goldman Sachs and others, bringing its valuation to more than $2 billion.
- Miami has two additional aspiring “unicorns” — private companies valued at $1 billion. Novo, the digital bank for small businesses, reached $700 million in value after securing $90 million in its latest investment round. OpenStore, a digital platform that buys small businesses operating on Shopify, hit $705 million after raising $105 million. OpenStore is expanding its Miami headquarters in Wynwood. The startup has about 60 employees and plans to double that this year.
- Jobox, which offers digital tools for the home services industry to keep track of and collect payments for projects, moved its headquarters to Miami from Palo Alto. Earlier this year, Jobox raised $42 million, bringing its total funding to $58 million.
- Niantic, the company behind Pokémon GO, acquired SpotX Games, a Web3 project built during this year’s Miami Hack Week. Users experience an augmented reality scavenger hunt across the city and earn uniquely generated NFTs. Founders Galina Fendikevich, Jackson Harris, Traci Levine, David Woodward and Chris Daniels, who is also the founder of the Shrimp Society, will continue working on the project under Niantic in Miami.
- Boomerang, an app that helps businesses manage lost and found items, raised $2.8 million from Miami firms 305 Ventures and Flamingo Capital.
- Michael Sayman, founder of Friendly Apps, raised $3 million in seven days without having produced a product. Miami-born Sayman gained fame in Silicon Valley as a teenager who taught himself how to code using a tutorial he found online and began building apps during the Great Recession. He developed high-profile products like Instagram Stories, WhatsApp Status and YouTube Shorts. At 17, he became Facebook’s youngest employee. Friendly Apps aims to connect people online in ways that promote kindness.
- Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava launched a $70-million affordable housing fund. Miami rents have climbed to an average of $2,846 a month, reports Florida Atlantic University. The launch of the fund comes at the same time the Miami-Dade Office of the Commission Auditor released a report critical of local government’s efforts to encourage affordable housing development by providing land to builders. Of the more than 1,400 properties given to developers, hundreds of public properties were used improperly and some outright lost when used as collateral for loans on which the developers defaulted. The audit examined an era prior to Levine Cava’s administration.
- Developer Moishe Mana added a building to his downtown Miami Mana Common plan, paying $7.3 million for the former home of the Children’s Store at 118 Flagler St. Mana has spent about half a billion dollars for 70 buildings to create Mana Common, a startup and tech-hub inspired by one in Tel Aviv. After a $50-million makeover, Coconut Grove landmark Mayfair Hotel is open for business. The newly named Mayfair House Hotel & Garden is inspired by the Antoni Gaudi-designed buildings in Barcelona. The hotel’s architect Kenneth Treister and interior designer Matthew Goodrich designed the makeover with the same vision as the original. Canadian asset management company Brookfield bought the 179-room hotel, which originally opened in 1985, for more than $40 million in 2019 — $13 million more than the hotel’s former owners, TriGate Capital and Copperline Partners, paid in 2014.
- William G. Hardin, the Ryder Eminent Scholar Chair and Research Fellow in the Tibor and Sheila Hollo School of Real Estate at Florida International University, has been named dean of the College of Business. He had been interim dean.