In 2018, I decided to say goodbye to Silicon Valley and move to the Magic City. At the time I had been working on Apple’s global PR and storytelling initiatives for nearly a decade, but was drawn to Miami for the same reasons as most of the new folks in town—fairer weather and fewer taxes.
Once I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the 305 had an ecosystem of innovation centers, startups and technology companies of its own. The tight-knit community had a gritty, young energy that had been missing in the Bay Area for a while, and innovative individuals like Leigh-Ann Buchanan, president of aīre ventures, is actively working to make the tech scene more inclusive for people of color and women. Plus, the city itself was electric, defined by its Latin American and Caribbean influences and attracting tourists, businesses and venture capitalists from all over the world. I was immediately hooked.
As someone who has thoroughly explored the 305’s diverse tech scene, I’ve compiled a snapshot on South Florida’s many resources, nonprofits, foundations and publications dedicated to nurturing South Florida startups, entrepreneurs and businesses.
A great place to start for those looking to better understand the 305’s technology scene is the #MiamiTech Manifesto—a collaborative effort by Miami’s technology leaders (many of whom are mentioned in this article) to outline their shared vision for an equitable and inclusive community dedicated to increasing awareness about business opportunities in the city.
Refresh Miami is another wonderful resource for those new to the area. The nonprofit organization has more than 11,000 members in the tech scene and serves as a resource for startup and technology news, events, jobs opportunities and more.
The Beacon Council and The Knight Foundation are two important organizations which play a huge role in helping nonprofits, businesses and individuals throughout Florida receive necessary funding and resources to help their ideas grow.
For those interested in investing in the startup scene or connecting with investors, Miami has some pretty incredible venture capital firms and seed accelerators like 500 Startups, Miami Angels and TheVentureCity. The Miami Herald also hosts an annual Startup Pitch Competition which allows individuals to pitch their business plans to some of the area’s top CEOs and businesspeople.
If face-to-face interaction (in-person or virtual) is what you’re after, then consider working out of The LAB Miami’s coworking space in Wynwood; joining one of VentureHive's or WIN Lab's accelerator programs; or attending summits and conferences like Tech Beach Retreats and eMerge Americas.
Finally, my biggest recommendation for those looking to get more involved is to follow the locals. Learn about Miami’s neighborhoods beyond Miami Beach and Brickell. Little Haiti, Wynwood, the Design District, Little Havana, Coconut Grove and MiMo are just a few of the neighborhoods that have shaped the city’s unique character. Ultimately, the connections you make by putting yourself out there will be invaluable.
Still have questions about how to get involved in the #MiamiTech scene?