Miami’s technology and finance sectors are booming. Now the city’s tech leadership is looking to capitalize on that growth to address pressing local issues, from sea-level rise and high housing costs to unfair access and opportunities for businesses owned by women and minorities.
More than a year since Miami’s mayor Francis Suarezis famous”How can I help?“-Tweet caught the national attention of the increasingly interlocking technology and financial sectors, South Florida remains full of activity and growth.
Tech job postings in the greater Miami area – Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach – have skyrocketed and, according to a. far surpassed other large metropolitan regions Association of the Computer Technology Industry Analysis of Work insight data.
The Miami metropolitan area has seen too 22% growth in venture capital dollars as big money firms like Founders Fund, General Catalyst, SoftBank and Tiger Global attracted investors, placing the region ninth in terms of total funds invested, business analytics companies CB insights found.
Combine this with Miami’s pro-crypto policies – including the home of the first communal cryptocurrency, MiamiCoin, whose potential is Suarez with that of a. compared freshly tapped oil well – and the city succeeds in being a technology beacon and a so-called “capital of the capital”, said Saif Ishoof, Suarez’s senior innovation and technology advisor.
To keep the momentum going, Miami needs to ensure there is a sense of accessibility between tech companies, local talent, and local opportunity that together enable future upscaling, according to Ishoof.
Here come initiatives like that Venture Miami Opportunity Program Come in. The four-month-old program, funded by a JPMorgan Chase grant of $ 150,000, is a partnership between the city and Florida International University. Founder of the Black Professionals Network Kenasha Paul directs the program.
Her goal: to help a cohort of female Color founders grow their annual recurring revenue and raise capital – potentially millions of dollars – to grow their business through intensive management and leadership training.
“As we like to say at Venture Miami, diversity, equity and inclusion in Miami are the key competitive advantage of our region,” said Ishoof, who also works as vice president for the FIU’s Office of Engagement. “But it takes intent.”
Ishoof believes Miami can use technology to lead the city in addressing the next public health crisis and combating climate change, an issue where the Magic City is at the forefront.
This will require new and continued investment in local academic facilities, he said.
“Our institutions will train a record number of interdisciplinary technologists ready to face the challenges ahead and build their own companies,” he said. “I also think this movement will expand our local minority-owned businesses as we continue to deliberately focus on becoming the most diverse and inclusive technology hub in the world.”
Suarez launched Venture Miami in February with Ishoof at the helm. Ishoof said he has since organized a team of “exceptional professionals” who “are truly the best in our community at helping funders, founders, job seekers and businesses”.
The no-shortage group is preparing to unleash the power of Web3 and take Miami to the next level, ”said Ishoof.
Web3, also known as Web 3.0, is a conceived new Internet that incorporates key aspects of cryptocurrency such as decentralization and blockchain technologies. embossed by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood 2014 advocates see Web3 as a way to turn the current internet model upside down which has existed for almost two decades and removes control of content and information from a small number of “big tech” companies.
The city also plans to use MiamiCoin to fund free or affordable staff development programs like the FIU’s Urban potential laboratories to support the education of locals in healthcare, retail and logistics, as well as in other industries with higher paying jobs and growth potential.
“And next year we will work to meet the daily challenges Miamians face, prepare more locals to take advantage of these new opportunities in Miami and stay in Miami – and keep our doors open to incoming capital,” said Ishoof.
In recent years, numerous technology and financial companies have either opened new offices and headquarters in South Florida or have expanded their presence in the area significantly. Among them: cryptocurrency, blockchain, and non-fungible token companies Glozal, Orca capital, BlockTower Capital, Blockchain.com, Compass mining, Bit digital and Okcoin; Venture capital and private equity firms Thomas Bravo, Start-up fund, Atomic, Loon consultant and Apollo Global Management; Fintech company Milo, Advance legend, Majority and OKY; Hedge funds D1 capital partner, Schönfeld, Point72 and Moore Capital Management; technical advisor slalom, Nucleus research and Amber data; Augmented and virtual reality companies Red 6 and Aexlab; Technology company Microsoft and pipe; E-commerce company Magnifying glass and hesitant move; Health technology company Dad health, Olios health and BraveHeart Wireless; Asset manager Silicon Valley Bank and HPS partner; Music streamers like Unitea and Spotify; and like others Motorsport network, REEF, Matrix Renewables, Axela Technologies, Every Mundo, Shiftpixy, Over, Kaseya and Blackstone group.
“Francis Suarez was open to ideas and it was a real dialogue,” said Serial Entrepreneur and Investor Jack Abraham, Founder and CEO of the Atomic mutual fund, among many other companies.
In May Atomic and Founders Fund colored long-term leases for office space in Wynwood, one of the hippest neighborhoods in town and the place where Abraham believes he should be the heart of Miami’s tech community.
When asked about Miami’s local tech talent pool, Abraham said the city still had ground to go before it could compete with Silicon Valley.
“Very up to date – artificial intelligence or the latest data science – you may need to find this talent from certain parts of the (San Francisco) Bay Area or other parts of the country,” he said. “But by and large I think there is a great talent base here.”
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