Banking

Harlem Capital cofounder Henri Pierre-Jacques is spending 12 months in Miami to tap into one of the hottest new startup hubs. It’s also a fine place for his honeymoon.

  • Yet another VC is Miami-bound: Harlem Capital’s Henri Pierre-Jacques is moving there for a year.
  • Pierre-Jacques told Insider he’s looking to expand Harlem Capital’s investments in the South.
  • Right now, VCs may outnumber founders in Miami, but Pierre-Jacques expects that to change soon.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Harlem Capital’s Henri Pierre-Jacques is saying goodbye to the neighborhood and hello to Miami, at least for the next year.

He’s one of the latest in a succession of venture capitalists who are embracing the beach city as one of the next big startup hubs. In the past few years, a growing number of investors — most notably, Keith Rabois and Peter Thiel of Founders Fund — have found a foothold in Miami.

The whole VC firm isn’t moving, however. Jarrid Tingle, Harlem Capital’s other cofounder and managing partner, is still in New York, along with the bulk of the team.

The impetus for his move isn’t strictly business, Pierre-Jacques told Insider. He recently got married in May, after the pandemic forced him and his now-wife to postpone their original wedding plans. Instead of rescheduling their honeymoon, they decided to make the move to Miami, which was already one of their favorite vacation spots, for a year.

One draw from Harlem Capital’s perspective, Pierre-Jacques said, is that South Florida’s demographics make it an obvious place to look for talent among underrepresented groups in tech, which is his firm’s focus. In fact, it’s his aim to fund at least one Miami-based company in the next year. Harlem Capital has backed only one company in the South to date — in Atlanta, he said — and he’d like to extend the firm’s presence in the region.

“Miami and Atlanta are two of the next frontiers,” he said.

So far, the move has gone smoothly, Pierre-Jacques told Insider. He’s received enough business inquiries to book his calendar solid for the next few weeks, and he and his wife just found an apartment — which, in his estimation, is even more challenging to secure than in New York. (They had to put down a deposit of three months’ rent.)

One potential challenge may be the growing concentration of investors vying for deals in the area. “From what I can tell,” Pierre-Jacques told Insider, “I see more VCs than founders.”

But the influx of investors will likely draw more entrepreneurs, he said. In the meantime, he added, Harlem Capital’s focus on diverse founders sets it apart from other firms in the area.

“I don’t view it as a competition,” he said.

 

 

 

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