A student picks up a delivery from a Kiwibot, which uses lidar technology and proximity and cliff sensors to get around. Photo: Ulysses Ortega/Newscom
Kiwibot, a robotic delivery service startup founded in Colombia and now headquartered in Miami, closed a $20-million contract with Sodexo, a Fortune 500 food services company. The deal will expand Kiwibot’s fleet of robots by 1,200 to serve 50 college campuses nationwide by the end of this year. Kiwibot also raised $7.5 million in VC funding.
Founded in 2017, Kiwibot’s robots have delivered more than 200,000 meals to students. Through a Knight Foundation partnership, the robots have been doing community service in Miami’s Little Havana, delivering food from local restaurants. Uses beyond food delivery are being developed.
- Professional Holding, owner of Professional Bank, chose Abel Iglesias to replace Daniel Sheehan as CEO of the Coral Gables-based publicly traded parent company and the bank. Iglesias has decades of executive banking experience and is serving his second term on the Miami board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
- Kaseya, a global provider of cloud-based information technology management and security software, nearly tripled its office space in Brickell, leasing 64,716 square feet at 777 Brickell.
- Miami Dade College received a $15-million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Miami-Dade County, Miami and the Miami Downtown Development Authority to bolster its emerging technology programs. Every MDC student will soon be required to take at least one course in artificial intelligence. The college will also offer a bachelor’s degree and a certificate program in A.I. MDC will also open an A.I. center that will bring together industry leaders, teachers and students. MDC and Miami are also creating a Miami Tech Charter School, planned to open this August on MDC’s Wolfson campus. Students will graduate with an associate’s degree from Miami Dade College for free.
- Supernal, an air taxi service planned by Hyundai that would use electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Miami city officials aimed at establishing Miami as a “model” for the service. Supernal will work with the city to develop policies to enable the service, which Supernal plans to launch commercially in 2028.
- Blockchain.com, a global cryptocurrency trading exchange now headquartered in Miami, is moving into 22,000 square feet of space in the Wynwood neighborhood.
- Miami-based banking-software company Technisys has been acquired for about $1.1 billion in an all-stock deal. The buyer, SoFi Technologies, a publicly traded digital personal finance company, will use Technisys’ platform to roll out personalized financial services for its banking customers, as well as let other banks and fintech companies use the platform.
- Relief, a Miami startup that says it can cut a consumer’s credit card debt in half for free, raised $15 million in a funding round led by Nava Ventures and including former CEOs of American Express and Citigroup. The app’s technology automatically analyzes a user’s personal finances, negotiates directly with creditors and then creates a more affordable payment schedule.
- Taxfyle, a Miami-based startup that connects consumers and businesses with tax professionals, raised $20 million in funding led by Fuel Venture Capital and IDC Ventures.
- Picsart, the world’s largest digital creation platform with 150 million active users, is moving from San Francisco to Miami Beach.
- Miami-Dade County’s school district is selling 1.3 acres of its downtown Miami property to development company Crescent Heights, which plans a 55-story tower with 1,441 residential units, plus retail and office space.
- Ryder System is putting its 238,420-sq.-ft. headquarters in Miami-Dade up for sale. It plans to buy or lease a smaller office location in the county.
- Terra, a Miami-based developer, revealed plans for the first phase of its 43-acre, mixed-use project, dubbed Upland Park, at the Dolphin Station park-and-ride facility under construction in west Miami-Dade County, Ultimately, 709 apartments, 50,000 square feet of retail, a grocery store and 1,270 parking spaces are planned.
- Fontainebleau Development, led by Jeffrey Soffer, is seeking to build a pair of 24-story luxury condo towers at the Turnberry Isle Yacht Club in Aventura. The towers would replace a 50-room hotel and eight tennis courts now on the property.
- Wells Fargo granted $20 million to the Miami Foundation to support small businesses and non-profits through a combination of grants, loans and technical assistance.
- JPMorgan Chase is providing three Miami-based nonprofits — Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida, Miami Workers Center and Catalyst Miami — with $5 million over three years for winning its AdvanceCities competition aimed at devising sustainable solutions for communities and professionals affected by COVID- 19. The non-profits plan to use the money to help people working in child care, home health, cleaning and other similar professions.
- The show is over for Lolita, a 7,000-pound orca at the Miami Seaquarium. She will no longer do tricks for tourists, under an agreement between the theme park’s new owners, MS Leisure, and federal regulators.
- Shortly after its parent company, Genting Hong Kong, filed to liquidate, Crystal Cruises laid off 238 employees.
- Miami-based Genuine Health Group, owned by 30 physicians, acquired Premier Care Associates, a local medical group with 26 locations that served 4,500 Medicare patients. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- Sprouts Family Market is coming to Grove Central, a mixeduse, transit-oriented development being built in Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood.