Miami: Where startups become great

By Guest Writer

Josip Rupena

I was recently reminded of the adage, “Greatness happens in clusters,” and for Milo, that saying rings true as ever.  As I reflect on all we accomplished in 2020 – raising $6m in funding, processing $100m in mortgage loan applications, doubling our team, setting up two offices and making progress despite the pandemic – I know that big things are in store for 2021. And for everything that’s to come in the year ahead, there’s nowhere else our team would rather call home than Miami. 

Josip Rupena

I’m proud to say that our story doesn’t exist in a vacuum. On the 7th floor of WeWork at Brickell City Center, Milo and our fellow startup “neighbors” Papa, Secberus, SmartHop and Blanket have raised over $60 million and hired over a hundred team members between us, and we’re just getting started. After a year of quietly building our firm, catching countless flights from coast to coast, and raising capital from investors based in San Francisco to New York, Milo is ready for the next phase. 

For us, that means playing the long game, locally. Between the business-friendly environment and Mayor Francis Suarez’s commitment to empowering the region’s tech entrepreneurs, Miami’s bourgeoning startup scene is the perfect place to build a global financial technology company. We know it, our investors know it, and our clients know it. In fact, in 2020 venture-backed startups based in Miami raised roughly $1 billion. Our clients are also becoming more active - most of them high net worth investors, international celebrities, and family offices, are buying up investment properties as the “tech flight” to Miami takes off. 

That’s why I have no doubt Miami is set to become the next great hub of innovation, and why I believe wholeheartedly in the potential of local talent to take us there. Every company has a duty to its community, and I am proud to share that Milo is committed to proactively recruiting from local universities, offering paid internships and hosting key hiring events. We believe strongly in reinvesting in the region’s rising talent and becoming fully embedded in its ecosystem by bringing jobs and opportunities to our communities.

Miami is the place to be for multilingual, multicultural teams. We embrace our roots and have more than 10 nationalities represented at Milo. This diversity is one of our core strengths, especially when scaling an international business aimed at serving global consumers. It allows us to connect with our foreign clients, makes us more inclusive and better equipped to engage the local community, and it’s just plain good for business.

I’m excited to continue growing our firm in a city where tech companies can be born in condos, conference centers, and Wework spaces. As a CEO in the midst of scaling a business in Miami, I can say firsthand that with the support of local government, access to some of the most qualified talent pools, and rich cultures at our fingertips, Miami is a place where doers can do, leaders can lead, and any startup can be poised for greatness.

Josip Rupena is founder and CEO of Milo. This post was originally published on LinkedIn.

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READ MORE ON REFRESH: Milo, a Miami fintech startup, raises $6M seed round – and it’s hiring