A Wynwood technology startup is Scout Ventures’ first South Florida investment.
Scout's managing partner, Bradley Harrison, announced in September that the New York-based venture capital firm specializing in early-stage companies was opening its first office outside New York in Miami. On Tuesday night at a Startup Grind event at The LAB Miami, Harrison announced that Scout will lead an undisclosed round in LiveNinja, a company that provides live video chat services.
“We are super excited about LiveNinja for a bunch of different reasons,” said Harrison, before the event. “They are a company ingrained into the entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Miami, they have a strong set of local angel investors and they have built a unique proprietary technology with a strong team under Will's leadership.”
Will Weinraub, co-founder and CEO, said the funding will go toward expanding the enterprise sales team, marketing, launching mobile applications and expanding its platform. “We are very excited to be moving into 2015 with Scout on board,” he said.
LiveNinja, now with a team of 12, is focusing on its Katana product for the enterprise market. "We are at the right place with the right technology at the right time... We are focused on scaling Katana, growing our partnership channel and getting lots of businesses to use our technology on their websites," said Weinraub.
A few of its clients are Opulence International Realty, Combat Gentlemen, Femwell and Live Vet. Some clients are using it for sales and customer support, and others are using it for telemedical purposes because the technology is flexible, Weinraub said. LiveNinja has raised about $1 million to date, about 70 percent of it from local angel investors, said Weinraub.
Scout is currently looking at two or three other companies to decide if they are a fit for its fund. "The local community of angel investors has been very supportive and has sent us a lot of different deals to look at. We have a huge pipeline of companies we are reviewing so there is a lot of work to be done yet," Harrison said. "By making the LiveNinja investment, hopefully the Miami community understands that Scout is serious about being here."
Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.