Ex-nightclub mogul Francis Milon sells waterfront Miami Beach home for $13M

Cognito co-founder relocated from San Francisco to Miami last year

Cognito's John Backus and 7960 Biscayne Point Circle (LinkedIn, Zillow)
Cognito's John Backus and 7960 Biscayne Point Circle (LinkedIn, Zillow)

Another out-of-state tech tycoon is taking over a waterfront Miami Beach home.

John Backus, co-founder and chief technology officer of identity verification company Cognito, paid $13 million for a five-bedroom, six-bathroom house at 7960 Biscayne Point Circle in the city’s Biscayne Point neighborhood, according to records.

Seller Francis Milon paid $2.1 million for the property in 2013. Milon demolished a 1,611-square-foot home and replaced it with the two-story, 5,800-square-foot modern house, built between 2016 and 2019, records show. The home has five bedrooms, six bathrooms, high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling glass walls and marble floors, according to Zillow.

Milon and his brother, Eric Milon, co-founded The Opium Group, a now-defunct hospitality company that owned Miami Beach nightclubs Mansion, SET, Mokai, and Cameo during the 2000s and 2010s.

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In January, Backus and his partners sold Cognito to San Francisco-based financial services company Plaid for $250 million in a cash-and-stock deal, according to published reports. On his Twitter account, Backus said he moved to Miami from San Francisco in April of last year. At the time, he tweeted that the business climate and less restrictive Covid-19 measures in South Florida convinced him and several close fellow techies to relocate.

“I didn’t move to SF b/c of the weather,” he tweeted. “I moved there b/c I like programming computers and being around smart ambitious people.”

Indeed, Backus is not the only tech guru to find refuge under the sun and by the water. Last month, an entity managed by Dario Leonardo Conca and Paula Shayene Cruz De Araujo, a married couple who are top executives at software and app company Zudy, paid $21.5 million for a partially built waterfront mansion on the Venetians Islands.

Another recent tech arrival to the Venetian Islands is Ryan Hudson, co-founder of the discount and coupon app Honey. Last year, Hudson paid $15 million for a 5,501-square-foot waterfront house on Dilido Island.

In November, Ed Lando, co-founder of gifting app maker Goody, paid $15.1 million for a waterfront home on Rivo Alto Island.