Miami Tech & Startup News

5 things to know in #MiamiTech this week

5 things to know in #MiamiTech this week


1 Can we drink coffee and support startups? You bet. 1 Million Cups Coming to Miami

1 Million Cups, a weekly gathering to connect and support entrepreneurs and the local community, is launching in Miami, kicking off Nov. 14 during Global Entrepreneurship Week. The bi-weekly cafecito-powered networking event will be at Miami Dade College’s Idea Center at 8:30 a.m. on every other Wednesday.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City started 1 Million Cups in 2012 as a free weekly event to educate, engage and inspire entrepreneurs and provide them with tools and resources.  Since the first gathering at the global entrepreneurship foundation’s KC headquarter offices, it has spread to more than 180 cities across the U.S., all powered by volunteers.

Typically, two startups give a short presentation at each event, with plenty of time for the attendees to ask questions and give feedback and offers of support. Whenever I am in St. Pete, I attend its 1 Million Cups, which was the 19th chapter established in 2013. Since then, 480 startups have presented (2 every week) in downtown St. Pete over cups of Kahwa (the local Panther). The gatherings all end with the question: What can the community do to help you? If you are in one of the other 180 or so communities on a Wednesday morning from 9 to 10, you can find a 1MC. (Miami’s event starts at 8:30 – I guess that’s to account for “Miami time”).

It’s not easy keeping a chapter up. Miami tried it before for several months. Perhaps Waffle Wednesdays at Live Ninja, then a weekly morning event, filled the void. But since Waffle Wednesdays is no longer weekly, perhaps the time is right for 1MCMiami (for evenings, you have plenty of options – just check the Refresh Miami events calendar!) .

Get the details here and see you there!


2 $20 million incubator/accelerator planned for NSU

Nova Southeastern University is planning to add a 60,000 square foot incubator and accelerator on NSU’s Davie campus.

The goal, as reported in the South Florida Business Journal, is to elevate Broward County as a national technology hub, help attract and retain tech talent for Broward’s companies such as Magic Leap, MDLive, Citrix, e-Builder, Ultimate Software, Hotwire and others, and help accelerate local startups.

The NSU Broward Innovation Center would include an “Innovation Space” for its incubator and accelerator, a pitch room, a “Collaboration Space” for events and co-working, and a “Showcase Space” with bootcamps, conference rooms and mentoring, according to the Business Journal.

The project is expected to take 12 months. Read the Business Journal’s story here.


3 Wynwood Yard: We’re still open – but in spring we’re heading west

Because business has dropped 20-40 percent since it was announced Wynwood Yard would be closing, founder Della Heiman took to the Miami Herald to get her message out: The open-air incubator and event space is still open.

And next spring, the Wynwood Yard team will be going west: Opening the Doral Yard in spring of 2019. The 20,00 square foot space in downtown Doral will have an indoor space, a micro food hall, a bar and café, CHARCOAL bar and grill and a huge outdoor space, the Miami Herald reported.

Heiman and partner Ken Lyon are also proceeding with plans to open a Yard in North Beach in 2019.

Read more in the Miami Herald here.


4 Moishe Mana to blockchain companies: We want you

We already have blockchain meetups and conferences, as well as a few companies. What’s next? Here come the developers – of course.

According to South Florida Business & Wealth, developer Moishe Mana is leasing six floors at 100 E. Flagler Street and is targeting blockchain companies. A Colliers International South Florida team, the project’s exclusive leasing agent, is marketing the space as the “Block Building.”

It’s location, location, location: The downtown building will act as an “incubator” for blockchain technology and lure the “best and brightest,” the marketing goes. The asking rent ranges from $20 to $24 per square foot, and there will be some rent flexibility on a case-by-case basis.

Mana’s Mana Wynwood hosted the Blockchain Shift conference in October, and Mana was a speaker.

Read the story here in South Florida Business & Wealth here.


5 Seen and heard at unbound Miami: Amazon-mania, startups to watch and the dreaded “Silicon Beach”

Speaking of Mana Wynwood, there was lots of chatter last week about tech hubs at unbound Miami, which drew several thousand to the two-day conference. First, the titans of economic Development in South Florida – Michael Finney of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, David Coddington of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, Sharena Coleman of Palm Beach County Inc. and Manuel Mencia of Enterprise Florida — took the stage to talk “regional cooperation” – aka the Amazon HQ2 bid promising 50,000 high paid jobs to the winning metro area. While those pesky NDAs meant they could not talk about specifics, they said that win or lose, the silver lining is that the project made them realize that they are stronger together and they pledged to do more regional development efforts, including a joint meeting of their executives in February. Lots of talk about how BrightLine will be the connector, and no talk from this pro-business crowd about traffic issues, housing costs or climate change. We are more than the gateway to the Americas, Coddington said, “we are the Gateway to Technology.”

And as to HQ2, Finney said South Florida’s bid is still very much in the running, even though, just a couple days later the Washington Post, New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported that it appeared that HQ2 will now be two sites, according to sources, and it looks to be headed to Crystal City, Va., which is a couple subway stops from Washington DC, and Queens, New York (Dallas may be in the running, too, according to reports). But it’s all sources say and speculation and for his part Jeff Bezos says he is gathering the data and then will be making the decision “from the heart.” Urban affairs expert Richard Florida believes Miami will be tapped for a future LatAm headquarters for Amazon, part of a broader strategy by Amazon to create a number of mini-HQs. But as for HQ2 (and maybe HQ3), a decision will come by the end of the year, Amazon says, and likely sooner. Stay tuned.

Tech hub or no, three Miami startups were winners in the Claro pitch competition: Waleteros, Streann Media and Reloadly. All are fund-raising.

I first met Etienne Gillard of fintech startup Waleteros back in 2013. “We’re still here,” he said when I approached his booth. But he undersells it. Waleteros, a one-stop-shop mobile banking solution for the more than 20 million unbanked and underbanked U.S. Hispanics, has 28,000 clients. Next year, Waleteros will be expanding to Mexico.

Streann Media, founded by Giovanni Punzo and Antonio Calderon, is aiming to reinvent digital content for media customers and brands through distribution, engagement (including through gamification) and monetization. It streamed the World Cup for three countries. “Streaming is empowering new market experiences,” Punzo said. Read more here.

Reloadly, “the Western Union for mobile credit transfers,” is an API platform that enables other apps and websites to send the credit to 4.5 billion homes around the world, said CEO Michel Francis. The fintech startup is based in Miami, with offices in Paris and Barcelona.

Unbound also rounded up superstars from South Florida’s entrepreneurial organizations to talk about breaking innovation barriers in South Florida (note to organizers: Please stop calling us Silicon Beach). Susan Amat, CEO of Venture Hive, said South Florida’s governments and corporations should welcome the opportunity to work with startups and help them launch pilots. And I will also give her the last word.

In response to a question about how Miami compares to the Valley: “That’s the most annoying question in the world. … To founders out there, focus on building your companies, solve big problems, that’s it.” Hear! Hear!

Have news? Email Nancy Dahlberg at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @ndahlberg. 

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