Miami Tech & Startup News

JPMorgan Chase is doubling down on #MiamiTech. Here’s why – and how local startups can benefit

JPMorgan Chase is doubling down on #MiamiTech. Here’s why – and how local startups can benefit

By Riley Kaminer

Where they kept their money was probably on the bottom of most founders’ list of priorities until earlier this year, when the Silicon Valley Bank collapse emphasized the importance of strong and stable banking partners.

JPMorgan Chase is increasingly pitching itself as a trustworthy partner for startups nationwide, with Miami in particular focus.

Melissa Smith, Managing Director, JPMorgan Chase

“We have very much noticed the enormous amount of activity that seems to be happening in Miami ever since COVID and the influx of people in the tech industry into Miami – and across the innovation economy overall,” the Managing Director & Head of Specialized Industries at JPMorgan Chase, Melissa Smith, told Refresh Miami.

Smith, who is based in New York, noted that JPMorgan Chase has had a presence in Miami for a number of years but has more recently expanded its local footprint in response to more companies being based here.

Brickell-based Andrew Lane represents all things JPMorgan Chase when it comes to technology and disruptive commerce banking. He landed in South Florida in January 2020. “When I joined, I was the first innovation economy banker,” he said. “By the end of the year, we will have approximately 10 to 12 innovation economy bankers.”

“I’m very bullish on the South Florida innovation economy ecosystem,” Lane continued, highlighting the growth of our local educational institutions as well as a major increase in VC dollars being invested into Miami-based tech companies.

Smith and Lane both acknowledged the important connection between Miami and Latin America’s tech ecosystem. “Miami is strategically well positioned to support Latin American startups,” said Lane, sharing that he has seen many Latin American founders successfully raise institutional funds in the US market. “This also ties into our firm-wide work of supporting the Hispanic and Latino community overall,” added Smith.

“Aside from just the products and services that JPMorgan Chase can offer, it is also our job to be a strategic advisor to startups,” said Lane. His team aims to facilitate connections between innovators in our ecosystem and help foster a sense of community.

JPMorgan Market Executive Andrew Lane, based in Brickell.

JPMorgan Chase has already started working on many of these initiatives. Earlier this summer, they hosted an event bringing together their new clients and promoting what Lane described as “strategic dialogue” among top founders.  Locally, they sponsor Tech Equity Miami, a local initiative aiming to leverage the potential of tech to become a powerful accelerant of socioeconomic mobility. JPMorgan Chase has already deployed $2 million of its $10 million commitment to Tech Equity Miami by giving $500,000 grants to BrainStation, CodePath, Rebrand Cities, and YWCA of South Florida. Overall, Tech Equity Miami aims to assemble a $100 million funding consortium. They also partnered with Techstars for their accelerator program for diverse founders launched last year in Miami, among other cities.

“We are really committed to helping drive sustainable, real impact in the Miami ecosystem – helping founders achieve their definition of success,” said Lane.

Education is a key pillar of JPMorgan Chase’s activity in Miami, with future events being planned covering topics such as raising a Series A. “Being a large firm, we have a lot of expertise across a multitude of different subjects,” said Smith. “And it’s about how we can help bring that expertise to earlier stage companies within the innovation economy.”

Photo at top of post: JPMorgan Chase and community leaders including Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava celebrate JP Morgan Chase’s first four grants to Miami startups and organizations under the Tech Equity Miami initiative.


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Riley Kaminer