New World Angels has closed an investment in Raw Shorts, a Miami tech startup that enables users to create customized explainer videos. The Boca-Raton based NWA led the $1 million Series A financing round, joined by prior investors in the company, Mosley Ventures of Atlanta, and members of Accelerated Growth Partners angel group in Miami.
Raw Shorts will use the funding to make key hires in product development and marketing in order to “scale the business that we know works and take the product from early adopter to early majority stage,” said Antonio Otalvaro, the company’s founder and CEO.
Explainer videos have boomed in popularity, but many businesses find them difficult and expensive to produce. Raw Shorts created an easy-to-use drag and drop explainer video builder that allows business users to make their own videos. The video builder has already been used by 150,000 businesses, and the company closed out 2015 with its highest quarter yet in terms of revenue and new accounts, Otalvaro said. He and technical co-founder George Estrella have worked together for more than a decade on a number of prior startups.
“In addition to an exceptionally talented management team, the capability of the company’s product offering to provide scale and mass for its users is absolutely breathtaking. These factors are what initially attracted us to the Raw Shorts investment opportunity,” said Randy Wood, the NWA member who led the investment effort. Wood, a co-founder of Fort Lauderdale-based Citrix, will join Raw Shorts’ board.
Raw Shorts, housed in Miami’s Venture Hive incubator, has raised $1.35 million in total, and most of it through a supportive local ecosystem, said Otalvaro. “Venture Hive was the first to believe in us. We were an example of a company that came in with just a solid idea and a team,” Otalvaro said. As part of Venture Hive’s inaugural accelerator class in 2013, which came with a $25,000 grant, Raw Shorts worked on its business strategy and its investor pitch. After that, it received a seed investment from Miami Innovation Fund, which later led to Mosley Ventures of Atlanta investing, and now AGP and NWA, said Otalvaro.
NWA, an organization of about 60 members that was co-founded and is led by Rhys L. Williams, funds early-stage companies based in Florida. With chapters in bothSouth Florida and Tampa Bay, NWA typically invests $600,000 to $1.5 million as a lead investor or co-investor. The organization also often makes subsequent investments in companies it funds.
In the past two years, NWA has invested in six new deals and six follow-on rounds. Along with Raw Shorts, NWA most recently led a $1.1 million investment in TAO Connect Inc. (TCI), a St. Petersburg-based company that has pioneered a Therapist Assisted Online integrated treatment platform of evidence-based tools for providing online mental health treatment. TCI, a startup from the University of Florida’s Innovation Hub, is initially focused on serving the needs of college students who suffer from depression and anxiety.
Nancy Dahlberg; 305-376-3595; @ndahlberg