VAC Coffee leads the Kendall scene. FL SPAC surge. Moscase is growing up.

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Country Walk near Kendall in West Dade is unlikely to come to mind when you think of where Miami’s startup founders congregate.

But as area real estate costs skyrocket in the county’s urban core, two engineering visionaries have moved into a 1,400-square-foot facility in the more suburban part of town.

The founders of VAC Coffee, Eduardo Umaña and Otto Becker, have created a coffee machine that makes your coffee sweeter through an innovative vacuum brewing process. VACs are already sold in Panther and Uncommon Ground – not to mention Williams Sonoma – and the company has been featured in Wired, Tech Crunch, and Mashable.

“We love that you can add Panther coffee to your VAC and have a delicious cold brew in just four minutes,” Panther co-founder Leticia Pollock said in an email. “Having known the VAC team for years, we appreciate their continued dedication and passion for coffee and innovation.

In addition to selling their machine, VAC now also offers subscription coffee roasts brewed in the countries of origin. Sales were strong, Umaña said.

ACC is another example of how geography is becoming less of a factor for businesses, thanks to the ability to work remotely, which has led many tech specialists to choose Miami over other centers. established technologies.

In an interview, Umaña disavowed any attempt to label him as a trailblazer, saying he was not aware of any other tech startups based in Kendall or West Dade, parts of which were has experienced significant population growth over the past decade.

“All of our neighbors here are industrial companies,” he said.

Still, Umaña recommends the Kendall area to any business looking to save on rent: they pay as much for their floor space – about $ 13 per square foot – as they did for a 9 by 9 cabin in a co-working space in Wynwood.

“It wasn’t very hard to find at all – I really think there is an opportunity for the founders here,” Umaña said. “Being in an office building is a problem, you have the fob, the security, the rules. And I park my car right in front of our space.

And if you don’t mind driving, there is no traffic, as the rest of the city is struggling to get to the city center. “The traffic is going in the opposite direction – I have the freeway empty the whole way,” he said.

A local SPAC boom

New NASDAQ data provided to the Miami Herald shows that at least 29 South Florida-based entities – including those based in Palm Beach County – have gone public this year, an unprecedented number for the region.

Yet 21 of them were Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) which are in effect shell companies designed to merge with real ones.

Many have yet to find a fusion target. And it is not clear if they will do so soon.

“The PSPC market is very saturated and very competitive as there are almost 600 PSPCs in the market, of which more than 400 are still looking to acquire,” said Julian Klymochko, PSPC expert and founder and CEO of Accelerate Financial Technologies Inc.

In fact, Miami has seen some target companies successfully merged with PSPCs, generating billions in the process. These include Manny Medina’s two tech companies, Cyxtera and AppGate, and rivals Cano Health and CareMax, both primary care providers.

The local PSPC boom demonstrates that whenever there is foam in the economy, South Florida will be a part of it.

Health Tracking iPhone Case Maker Plans Vacation Rollout

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Moscase co-founders Chanteva Schoch, center, and Akos Balogh pose with Miami curator Manolo Reyes. Moscase hopes to create dozens of jobs in downtown Miami to develop its unique iPhone cases. Moscase

A Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge / Startup Pitch finalist said he plans to roll out his unique charging case in time for the holiday season.

Moscase, whose iPhone cases monitor users’ health, will be on shelves by the 2021 holiday season. In an email, Moscase founder and CEO Akos Balogh said the company is currently researching offices and had obtained $ 40,750 in potential incentives. from the Miami Downtown Development Authority if it meets its goal of hiring 70 employees.

“This will allow us to hire people in sales, marketing, logistics, software and hardware development,” Balogh said. He added that Moscase is also working on a strategic partnership with Equinox to put the bags in the hands of coaches and their guests.

“I hope it will be a long term cooperation,” Balogh said.

Rob Wile’s “Tech Trail” column appears in the Sunday Miami Herald every week. If you have any advice you can reach Rob at 312-806-6565. Follow him on Twitter: @rjwile

Rob Wile covers South Florida business, technology and economics. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern and Columbia University. He grew up in Chicago.

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