VBT Newsletter

October 4th

Good morning!

Welcome to another Monday edition of the newsletter featuring:

  • Where Miami ranks among the world’s startup ecosystems

  • Dapper Labs teams up with the NFL

  • The cloud kings form a pact

  • Microsoft releases details about Office 2021

  • And Amazon has a new hit PC game

It’s October 4, 2021.

1. #MiamiTech

Miami isn't a global technology hub – yet – but it does rank among the globe's top emerging startup ecosystems. That's according to Startup Genome's new 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem report. The organization analyzed data from 3 million companies across 280 metros across the world to determine which regions are home to the strongest startup communities.

South Florida failed to make the cut for the world's best startup ecosystems. However, it did rank No. 10 on the study's list of Top 100 Emerging Ecosystems, which looks at funding, early-stage ventures, and companies valued at $1 billion or more in up-and-coming tech markets.

The tri-county area's exclusion from the main list could be a problem of timing. The Startup Genome study analyzed data from 2018 to the first half of 2020, so it doesn't include the flood of fundings, expansions and business relocations that have occurred over the past year. Other takeaways:

  • Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties' startup ecosystem is valued at $17 billion, 61% more than the global average of $10.5 billion.

  • South Florida startups raised a median seed round of $675,000 during the period studied, surpassing the global average of $494,000. Series A rounds came in at a median of $2.3 million, slightly below the global average of $2.7 million.

  • Life sciences is one of the Miami area's strongest tech subsectors. Medical tech ventures like Heru and Neocis made waves with $30 million and $72 million financing rounds, respectively.

  • Blockchain is another strong subsector. Startup Genome notes Miami is working toward establishing itself as a cryptocurrency hub after several ventures, including eToro and Blockchain.com, expanded to the city.

2. NFTs

Dapper Labs launches NFT collectibles with NFL and NFL Players Association (VentureBeat)

Dapper Labs is teaming up with the National Football League and the National Football League Players Association to create digital video highlights as NFTs. The deal comes a week after Dapper Labs raised $250 million and cut a similar deal to create digital collectible NFTs with LaLiga.

The new digital collectibles will give NFL fans the opportunity to collect and own some of the greatest and the most talked about in-game moments from leading players week-to-week throughout the season, including current-day superstars and legends of the game. Additionally, fans will get the chance to own and collect some of the greatest plays from NFL history.

Fans will be able to buy and open NFT packs featuring their favorite NFL heroes, show off their newfound digital NFT collections, and trade moments with other fans. Similar to other products created by Dapper Labs, fans will also have the ability to buy, showcase, sell, or trade any of their moments in a dedicated marketplace on Dapper Labs’ Flow protocol.

3. The Cloud

Amazon, Microsoft, Google OK cloud principles (Axios)

Amazon, Google, and Microsoft announced that they, along with a number of other enterprise companies, have agreed on a series of principles on customer protection and data sovereignty to govern their cloud computing work. Other signatories include Atlassian, Cisco, IBM, Salesforce + Slack, and SAP.

The rare joint announcement shows the industry presenting a united front as regulators around the globe consider different approaches to issues ranging from where data is stored to how to handle requests from law enforcement.

The Trusted Cloud Principles are still fairly broad but reflect the industry's concern that certain regulations and proposals are not only making it hard to do business but forcing companies to hand over customer data without even being able to notify customers.

4. Windows 11

Microsoft announces Office 2021 features and pricing (The Verge)

Microsoft is launching Office 2021 on October 5th, and the company has finally detailed the features and pricing. Office 2021 will be the next standalone version of Microsoft’s Office suite, designed for businesses and consumers who want to avoid the subscription version of Office.

Office Home and Student 2021 will be priced at $149.99 and include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Microsoft Teams for PC and Mac. Office Home and Business 2021 is priced at $249.99 and will include everything in the Home version and Outlook for PC and Mac, alongside the rights to use all of the Office apps for business purposes.

Office 2021 will include the collaboration features found in Microsoft 365 versions of Office, with real-time co-authoring, OneDrive support, and even Microsoft Teams integration. Office 2021 will also include the new Office design that has a refreshed ribbon interface, rounded corners, and a neutral color palette that all matches the UI changes in Windows 11.

Office 2021 will be available on October 5th, alongside the launch of Windows 11. Microsoft says Office 2021 is supported on Windows 11, Windows 10, and the three most recent versions of macOS. Click here for a detailed list of all the new Office 2021 features.

5. Gaming

Amazon has a smash hit on its hands - a new computer game with hundreds of thousands of players (CNBC)

While everyone was paying attention to Amazon’s marathon announcement of new holiday gadgets last week, the company already had a new hit on its hands. Amazon Game Studios (the video game development arm of Amazon) released a new computer game called “New World” that has captivated the PC gaming world.

“New World” is an online game that lets thousands of players explore and build a virtual colony that’s sort of like a magic-infused version of colonial America. Since its launch, it has averaged hundreds of thousands of concurrent players at a given time on Steam, the most popular online store for PC games.

On launch day, the game peaked at more than 700,000 concurrent players, making it one of Steam’s biggest launches ever. There were more than 450,000 concurrent players as of last Thursday morning. On top of that, there have been reports of queues of up to 10,000 players just waiting to get into the game to play.

If the early momentum behind “New World” continues, it’ll soon enter the canon of massively popular online games such as “Fortnite” and “World of Warcraft.” And while gaming likely won’t generate the kind of revenues Amazon sees from e-commerce or cloud services, it can directly make money for the company. “New World” costs $39.99.

6. Funding, IPOs, M&As

As always, please feel free to share questions, feedback, or requests for future newsletters.