St. Petersburg-based Seedfunders, a firm that invests in early-stage startups, is expanding its reach while simultaneously making internal changes.
Dave Chitester, the founder and managing partner of Seedfunders, is going to place a deeper focus on activity in Miami. “I started Seedfunders in St. Pete four years ago. When you look at investors in Miami, nobody is doing what we do,” Chitester said.
Seedfunders works with pre-revenue businesses, and on average it invests roughly $150,000 in a startup. “We help build them up and that’s something that is needed down here,” he said.
Chitester also founded Tampa-based Florida Funders, a venture capital fund and angel investor network.
He explained that over the last year, Seedfunders remotely started building its activity and portfolio in Miami by completing six investments. However, Chitester said Seedfunders needs to physically have boots on the ground in South Florida. Therefore, he and his wife are relocating to Miami in March. Seedfunders will likely lease co-working space in Miami, he said.
The goal is to also increase the number of partners in Miami to roughly 40 or more. There are over 40 partners in St. Petersburg, and Seedfunders has 14 in Orlando.
Although Chitester is physically exiting St. Petersburg, another executive at Seeedfunders is filling his shoes. Partner Geoff Keith is serving as the interim CEO. Keith unofficially started the new role several weeks ago.
“He’s the perfect guy to do it, he’s chairman of the board,” Chitester said.
The Seedfunders board will meet in May, and at that time Keith may pursue becoming the permanent CEO. “It [becoming interim CEO] was a gradual step. I’ve been a member for a couple of years and I joined the board in the spring,” Keith said.
He’s become more involved in the organization, he noted, as he took over the chair of the managers’ committee when the previous chair stepped down in August.
“I’m a big believer in Tampa Bay, and right now it’s a fantastic place to start a business. One of the things we need to integrate is connecting entrepreneurs with more skillsets,” Keith said.
Keith plans to attend the Synapse event in Tampa and other local networking and pitch events.
Meanwhile, Chitester said he will continue to oversee the Seedfunders’ management, which binds the Seedfunders entities together and includes managing the costs and operations.