By Nancy Dahlberg
The Wall Street Journal splashed the news this morning: Miami is now attracting the likes of SoftBank and Founders Fund and more are scouting the area. Two of the world's most prominent venture capital companies are making big bets on Miami’s future in tech.
SoftBank Group is looking for “a big block of expansion space” in Miami and Founders Fund is building out an expansive office in the Wynwood Annex, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Wall Street Journal’s sources said SoftBank was looking for as much as 100,000 square feet of space in response to the tech boom in progress – it currently occupies about 14,000 square feet in Miami. SoftBank, under COO Marcelo Claure’s leadership, recently committed $100 million to fund Miami-based startups as well, and operations for SoftBank's $5 billion Latin America Fund already making waves in the region are based here, too.
But that’s not all. The Wynwood Annex (pictured above), developed by Related Group and East End Capital, has signed Class A office leases with venture capital funds Founders Fund and Atomic and Keith Rabois’ e-commerce startup, OpenStore. In total, the leased 22,000 square feet in the 65,000-square-foot development that was completed in 2019, the Wall Street Journal and the Miami Herald reported.
The leases will encompass three full floors – the 4th, 7th and 8th -- housing up to 50 workers, and the lease commitments extend up to 10 years, according to the Herald and the Real Deal South Florida. Founders Fund is currently leasing office space in Brickell, while buildout is underway. The Annex has also leased space to LiveNation, and last year Spotify announced plans to expand in the neighborhood.
The fact that Miami is now attracting big tech investment companies like SoftBank and Founders Fund. “To have a premier funder with an office in your community is key,” Matt Haggman of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council told the Journal.
“The signing of leases by Founders Fund, Atomic and OpenStore in Wynwood is proof that Miami is well on the way to becoming the capitol of capital,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez in a statement. “I am excited about all of the opportunities for impact that will be unlocked for founders, job seekers and innovators as a result of the arrival of these iconic firms to Miami.”
But close listeners of the mayor’s #CafecitoTalks knew this was coming. Rabois shared some details of the news in early February.
“We’re looking forward to the grand opening. It’s going to be great, we’re going to host entrepreneurs … we’re going to be part of the community,” Rabois, who moved to Miami last year, said on the #CafecitoTalk.
Who’s next? Microsoft, which has a Latin American sales group based in the region, is also reportedly looking for space in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood, according to the Journal’s sources. Big financial companies have already leased space or are considering such plans. Blackstone Group is creating 200 high-paying jobs in tech in its Miami expansion.
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