I think Miami is destined to be the next “Silicon Beach”. Yes, that’s right the next Silicon Valley is right here in the warm and beautiful Miami, FL. South Florida’s multicultural offering and proximity to the Caribbean and Latin America creates a unique position for the city to be a domestic and international tech hub.
Last week, my company CONCIERGEpad had the privilege to participate in the emerge Americas conference as a showcase startup (see picture of our booth). It was a great experience indeed but what really impressed me was the tech movement and community right here in Miami. In fact, a new study shows that South Florida is No. 1 in U.S. in startup activity. You can read the article that was written in the Miami Herald here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article151189417.html It’s incredible that I have been in the tech business now for 14 years and I was not privy to all the resources and tech talent in my own backyard. Below are 3 reasons why there has been such a trans-formative movement in what I will call the: “The Miami Tech Scene”.
1) Venture HIVE (http://venturehive.com)
Man! This place is really cool and oozes entrepreneurship. When you enter the venue you can appreciate the great working environment and culture that exists (See pics below). The layout of the place includes spacious working areas and conference rooms throughout. The venue also has a Microsoft Innovation Center, which is really inspiring and to learn that Microsoft has their brand attached to this place is impressive. The founder of Venture HIVE has a passion for entrepreneurship and it really permeates through the entire building.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a special bootcamp they administered and it was again a great experience. What I am really proud about was the amount of entrepreneurs I met that are doing really good things in Miami. There is a lot of talent within the city and it’s awesome to see how many good companies are flourishing and executing on well thought out business models, etc.
2) emerge Americas Conference (http://emergeamericas.com)
This is a really nice conference that bridges the gap between domestic and international business. Although the conference is only once a year, it’s a conference that everyone who is in “tech” and lives in Miami should attend. The keynote lineup this year was top notch and some of the speakers included: Steve Wozniak, Pitbull, Suze Orman and Alex Rodriguez. All great entrepreneurs and some of them again right out of South Florida.
3) Refresh Miami (http://refreshmiami.com)
I believe Refresh Miami is the longest on-going tech meetup in Miami. This is a community that meets a couple times a month and the organizers always do a good job with choosing tech topics to talk about and incorporating speakers who are experts in their domain. I have been to a couple of meetups and I highly recommend it. What I really enjoy is when the speakers share their personal experiences about their trials and tribulations in business. I find this to be very helpful and the networking aspect of attending an event like this is always fun.
Co-working Space trend is a “good signal”
Something that I think is very telling about the future of the Miami tech scene is that a lot of co-working spaces are opening all around the city. Co-working companies like WeWork, Buro, Building.co, TamboWorks and some others seem like they have presence now in different parts of town, which is fueling tech innovation and progress. Also, company giants like Apple, Facebook, Google and Twitter all have offices down here not only to take advantage of the local talent but also again because of the proximity to the Caribbean and Latin American markets.
These 3 resources I wrote about above are really making a difference in the Miami community and everyone who is in the tech space should really take advantage and foster these groups to help propel the tech movement further. If anyone has any other resources, venues, conferences or groups that are here in Miami that I did not mention please let me know. I look forward to continuing my journey as an entrepreneur and being a part of the Silicon Beach community!