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Report: venture capital showers region with cash

Private equity and venture capital funding, in Florida, are going in opposite directions.


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  • | 6:00 a.m. June 7, 2019
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Clearwater-based KnowBe4, run by Stu Sjouwerman, recently announced a “sizable minority investment” from global private equity icon KKR.
Clearwater-based KnowBe4, run by Stu Sjouwerman, recently announced a “sizable minority investment” from global private equity icon KKR.
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Private equity money — despite some outsized opposite examples — has been staying away from Florida, according to a new report from the Florida Council of 100, a Tampa-based, statewide nonprofit that promotes economic development.  

But while private equity sits, venture capital, usually with investors more willing to take risks, has been showering Florida with cash, adds the report, entitled Project Sunrise: Florida Economic Competitiveness Strategy.

The private equity-venture capital difference is stark: For private equity, investments from 2010 to 2016 dropped from $20 billion to $8 billion, a negative compound annual growth rate of 20%. Venture capital, meanwhile, grew from $400 million to $1.5 billion during the same time frame, a compound annual growth rate of 32%.

Commercial services and health care services were the main sectors for private equity, the report states. Virtual reality, health technology and fintech led the way in venture capital.

The private equity slide didn’t impede two companies in the region, both in data protection and cybersecurity, from scoring major wins. FairWarning, which provides software to firms in compliance-heavy sectors, such as health care and financial services, received a $60 million growth equity investment from San Francisco-based Mainsail Partners last summer. Earlier this year KnowBe4, specializing in security awareness training and simulated phishing, announced a “sizable minority investment” from global private equity icon KKR. Both FairWarning and KnowBe4 are based in Clearwater.

 

 

 

 

 

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