By Nancy Dahlberg
If you attend this week’s free three-day Career Growth Summit, and hear talks by tech luminaries and career experts like Gretchen Rubin, best-selling author of ‘the Happiness Project,” Keith Rabois of the Founders Fund, Jeff Bussgang of Flybridge Capital Partners, and five dozen others, you can thank a Miami local who found his way back to the Magic City earlier this year.
We’ll tell you more about the virtual conference happening May 4-6 in a bit, but first let’s get to know more about David Fano, how he came to launch his startup Teal, and what he hopes to bring back to Miami.
Fano, Miami born and raised in Little Havana, the son of a Cuban immigrant father and a graduate of Palmetto High and FIU, left for New York in 2003 for Columbia grad school for architecture.
He thought he’d never move back.
After grad school, Fano eventually started his own company, CASE, doing technology consulting and helping architecture and construction firms leverage tech to build better and faster, and drew WeWork as a client, back when they had only about eight locations. Long story short, “we grew very quickly with them. We consulted for three years, did a lot of the infrastructure for them and were basically embedded in the company. We grew to 63 employees, and then WeWork acquired us in 2015.” Fano stayed with WeWork, where he was overseeing the rollouts of WeWorks globally as Chief Growth Officer, until 2019.
Having worked as both a business owner and an employee, he was thinking a lot about how complicated careers can be and how there is a lot of bad advice out there. “Then you add in the fast-changing technology and all the emerging industries from blockchain to cannabis. These are industries that didn't even exist five years ago. So I started thinking about all the people that I was managing who would come into my office and ask me for career advice and I'd find myself kind of torn because I needed them to do certain things for the company, but then that may not be what's best for them. I realized that there really is a lack of career infrastructure and resources for the modern professional that is truly their advocate. You can hire a career coach but they're actually quite expensive. … I started to obsess on that problem.”
In 2019, he founded Teal, a platform for career professionals to manage their job searches and careers, raised $5 million in funding in 2020, and moved back to Miami in February 2021.
“Our focus has been on enabling millennial and GenZ professionals to take control of their careers and find jobs they love, and the long-term ambition is to be there with them [throughout their careers]. But in the short term, our focus is job seekers that want to work in up and coming industries, and empower them to take control of the process,” Fano said. “The focus is white collar jobs in the tech industry, but not necessarily engineers. We help them reposition themselves, help them with the networking, on how to do informational interviews, and then they can use our tool to manage the process.”
Teal operates with a membership model, and its community is the differentiator, Fano said. “Job searching is oftentimes done in a lonely kind of way. So, throughout the process we create these job search cohorts. We run people in accountability groups to help each other. They show each other job opportunities. There's been a really strong. amazing communal approach to what we're doing.”
While building Teal, Fano has been thinking about how best he can get involved in Miami tech and bring back his knowledge and skills to build up the ecosystem. “I want to help. I like being part of a tech ecosystem succeeding in talent…. This is real, this isn't just a trend, and this is a really vibrant awesome community. Open to jumping in however I can.”
This week, his startup Teal, partnering with the City of Miami and a number of Miami sponsors, is hosting its signature event, the Career Growth Summit May 4-6, and the virtual event is free to attend. Find out more and register here.
Fano said the conference will highlight “all the amazing tech opportunities that there are in Miami” and feature talks by Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and local and national tech leaders for people in Miami and beyond who are growing their careers in tech. Teal will also launch the new version of its platform with the latest functionality at that event. As a sort of reverse job fair, tech employers will also be involved in the summit.
Here are some of Fano’s suggestions on what not to miss:
#1 - Miami Mayor Francis Suarez – The magic of the Magic City: A look at Miam’s growth and burgeoning tech scene
#2 - Keith Rabois – Why haven’t you moved to Miami yet?
#4 - Madeline Pumariega – Education for future careers
#5 - Jeff Bussgang – Entering StartUpLand: an essential guide to finding the right job
#6 – Maria Derchi – An insider’s guide to navigating the Miami tech scene
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