Miami’s hard tech scene is bigger than you might think – and growing

By Riley Kaminer

'The depth of talent in the Miami area is really awesome. It just hasn't been spoken about enough, so people don't realize it' - Channing Pear, Hard Tech Miami

Breaking into the world of hard tech can be, well, hard. But one group of enterprising technologists is working to make finding hard tech success in Miami a bit easier.

Hard Tech Miami founder Channing Pear first landed in Miami earlier this year to take part in the On Deck program with Keith Rabois. Coming from San Francisco, where he had lived for three years while working as a software engineer at Stripe, he was impressed by the optimism he felt in South Florida: “People are happy here. There’s growth, and people feel high agency.”

Channing Pear, founder of Hard Tech Miami

After spending some time in the Miami tech ecosystem, Pear realized that “even though there are a lot of people who are working on really awesome hard tech stuff, there was not a community for people who are working on these types of hard tech problems.”

Embracing the startup spirit of building the world you want to inhabit, Pear got together with a few like minded peers including his sister Alexandra, also a technologist and On Deck participant, and Sebastian Gomez Puerto, the CEO and Founder of shared mobility startup SunVessel, to develop Hard Tech Miami.

Pear told Refresh Miami that the main thesis for the organization is to “bring together and support the most ambitious doers in the Miami hard tech ecosystem.” He continued, “In fact, it’s our goal to build Miami into something that rivals Silicon Valley.”

While the majority of members are operators working directly in the hard tech space, the group also includes investors, advisors, and other key players in the ecosystem.

For now, Hard Tech Miami is invitation only. Pear noted the significant interest in joining: “We’ve been pretty selective in the application process. It’s competitive, but at the same time we’re growing quickly.” Hard Tech Miami currently has 40 members, having scaled up from 10 and then 20 people attending its first and second in-person meetings (shown at top of post and below). But Pear signaled that he hopes to also host events open to the public.

Pear described hard tech as “anything that’s technical and has some physical component.” It’s a broad category that includes subsectors as varied as biotech, wearables, and autonomous vehicles. South Florida has some big name hard tech companies that have collectively attracted billions of dollars of funding: Neocis, REEF, and Broward-based Magic Leap, to name a few. Pear hopes that Hard Tech Miami, in collaboration with local organizations like Moonlighter, can help develop our region’s hard tech prowess from a grassroots level.

While talent is a perennial concern, particularly in this highly technical sub-sector, Pear said that the issue is more about branding than human ressources: “The depth of talent in the Miami area is really awesome. It just hasn't been spoken about enough, so people don't realize it.” He cited FIU and the University of Miami as "key engineering school resources that people can leverage.”

Since relocating to Miami, Pear has left Stripe and begun working on developing Anvil Labs, a startup that aims to leverage technology to bring back American manufacturing.

“There's so much going on here,” said Pear. “It’s exciting. You feel like you could really build the future in Miami."

Hard Tech Miami is organizing a house for Miami Hack Week  (Aug. 1-8). If you are working on hard tech or deep tech projects, apply to join.

To learn more about Hard Tech Miami, visit their website.

Hard Tech Miami's second meetup is shown here. At top of post is the first meetup. The group is now 40+ members. 

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Riley Kaminer