The hottest start up location in the country has to be Miami, Florida now calling itself “Silicon Beach”. Home to some of the best beaches anywhere, sexy South Beach models, exotic cars and swanky offices, Miami has become a real tech hub and start-up incubator.
Hearing the term “Silicon Beach” makes most smile at the thought of scantily clad models in front of an art deco hotel on Ocean boulevard. But in reality Miami is becoming a tech hot spot. Miami start-ups and entrepreneurs’ are heating up the tech scene faster than the opening of a South Beach nightclub.
South Florida’s sunny warm weather, lower cost of living as compared with other major cities, and its proximity to Latin America are drawing entrepreneurs to the greater Miami area. There are also tax advantages; no local or state income taxes, no local corporate tax, and Florida’s corporate tax rate is 5.5 percent, one of the lowest in the nation.
“South Florida and particularly Miami is a great location for any tech business, you have easy access to the Latin America market as well as Europe. Where else can you have ocean front offices and staff that looks like they just walked off a fashion shoot” said Brad Averhill, director of ego SEO Services the Miami search engine optimization company.
Tech start-ups in Miami attracted about $49.4 million in venture funding over 11 deals in 2015. According to CB Insights, Miami was the star of the largest tech funding rounds in 2014. Virtual reality start-up Magic Leap generate $542 million from big VC firms including Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Google Ventures.
“One reason Miami continues to see such strong growth in its start-up community is because of its diverse population”, said Matt Haggman, Miami program director for the Knight Foundation. Over the past two years, the Knight Foundation invested in over 90 projects in Miami aimed at helping grow the start-up ecosystem. In addition to funding start-ups, the Knight Foundation is the major sponsor of eMerge Americas, a major tech conference aimed at establishing Miami as the tech hub that connects industry leaders and investors throughout Latin.
Miami based Venture Hive, an incubator for tech start-ups; AdMobilize, an advertising analytics company as well as Rokk3r Labs, a Miami Beach based company that helps start-ups turn great concepts into sustainable, successful businesses. Rokk3r has launched 21 companies (eight of which have reached second-stage funding) and boasts more than 80 employees.
Grisette Roque Marcos, Executive Director, MBVCA says that, “Miami Beach is on the precipice of a tech disruption. We’re a gateway to Latin America, we’re attracting talent from New York, Boston and other big cities who are choosing Miami Beach and South Florida to build their tech businesses or work for a tech company.”
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