Miami’s active tech scene has fallen asleep. For an investment, that is.
SoftBank says it has chosen a third company to receive funds through the $ 100 million Miami investment initiative it announced in January. The new recipient is Eight Sleep, a high-performance sleep company that sells temperature-controlled mattresses with technology technologies. Its leaders, and soon other employees, move from New York to the Magic City.
“We spend a third of our life on a mattress, which is otherwise just a lump of foam,” Marcelo Claure, CEO of SoftBank International Group, told the Miami Herald at the venture capital giant’s Brickell offices. . “So someone who is studying what it takes to get a good night’s sleep … this data and this technology is so valuable.”
Founded in 2014, Eight Sleep has already raised more than $ 75 million for its smart mattresses, which automatically adjust the temperature based on the user’s body characteristics and sleep patterns. They have been ranked as the best “smart” mattress, the top mattress for athletes, and the top cooling mattress for hot sleepers by SleepFoundation.org, a sleep resource site. They also connect to phones to provide sleep report and tips for better sleep. Mattresses start at $ 2,495, or $ 70 per month.
To make this investment, the amount of which has not been disclosed, SoftBank is tapping into its $ 100 million opportunity fund, which is dedicated to supporting minority founders – in this case, Alexandra Zatarain of Eight Sleep, a Latina of Mexican origin. Zatarain and her husband, Eight Sleep CEO Matteo Franceschetti, have met in Miami and have visited “hundreds” of times. Zatarain also completed a communications program at the University of Miami for a year.
The company plans to announce additional “shares” in the near future that would further consolidate the company in Miami, Zatarain said.
“Having lived here for a year and being familiar with the culture, we believe it is important to connect, beyond the people who want to move here, and to give people here the opportunity to join our team. and have amazing jobs, ”Zatarain said.
Eight Sleep follows Miami-based startups Quiknode, a blockchain application support company, and cybersecurity firm Lumu, receiving support from SoftBank’s Miami initiative. Since announcing the first two investments, Quiknode has been selected for the prestigious Y Combinator accelerator, while Lumu has revealed that it has accepted a $ 7.5 million investment round led by SoftBank.
Claure said SoftBank hopes to announce at least one new investment per month through the Miami initiative. He said the initiative has already attracted the interest of 600 startups. Denying a business is difficult, he said, but in addition to having a connection to Miami, SoftBank’s standard criteria are that a target business must be able to disrupt the industry.
“We are long-term business owners,” he said. “We’re the only company that can write a check for $ 1 million or $ 10 billion. WWe don’t just invest in businesses that make money, but in businesses that can massively disrupt work, play and life. We’re not for everyone.
Claure said the opportunity fund itself is moving to Miami to be managed alongside SoftBank’s $ 5 billion Latin America fund. It is one of the largest funds in the world dedicated to supporting black, Latin American and Native American founders, and has invested in nearly 30 companies since its inception last year.
“I was frustrated that most of our investment went mostly to the United States and mostly white males, Indians and Chinese, and very little to black or Hispanic entrepreneurs,” Claure said.
Studies and experience show that these entrepreneurs tend to identify with investors of color – and vice versa, he said.
“It’s a lot easier when you’re developing a product for blacks or Hispanics to have someone who understands the value proposition a little better,” Claure said.
In the next 30 days, SoftBank plans to announce the opening of its own larger office in Miami. The space, up to 100,000 square feet, would house executives and employees for both Opportunity Fund and Claure’s SoftBank International Group, which will also be consolidated in Miami, Claure said. He jokes that he’s “not too happy” to have more competition with other venture capitalists, like Founders Fund, who are now relocating to Miami.
“You haven’t seen anything else like this in the world, it’s like a gold rush,” he said. “Now this is where everyone wants to come. We want to make sure we create and deliver the capital, talent and resources these businesses need to continue and be successful. “