Miami is a Latin American tech hub in the United States, a fact not fortuitous. The Florida peninsula belonged to the Spanish Empire until the crown decided to sell it in 1819. The city is one of the favorite destinations of the Latin American upper class and refuge of many Cubans who took advantage of the “wet feet, dry feet” policy. Miami is linked to Latin America historically, linguistically, and culturally.
In recent years, Miami has become one of the most important tech hubs in the United States. In 2017, this city of Florida had the highest activity of startups in the United States, according to the Kaufman index. That same year, the city also was the scene of the largest acquisition of e-commerce in history, when PetSmart bought Chewy.com for 3.5 billion dollars.
Investments in Miami have allowed him to break into the technological scene in this way. Miami ranks fourth in dollars of private equity in the United States, while it is in the seventh position of venture capital.
These conditions have caused Miami to become the second fastest growing city in the United States and one of the favorite destinations of Latin American digital entrepreneurs to do business, who consider it a city with a strong economy.
Miami: a city that understands LatAm
Entrepreneurs often describe Miami as “a city that understands Latin America.” The city is now one of the main points where networking events are held that facilitate the connection between entrepreneurs and investors, such as eMerge Americas. Endeavor, a renowned non-profit accelerator, opened a Miami office in September of last year with the support of $2M from the John S. and James L. Foundation, while SoftBank, a Japanese conglomerate, chose this city to direct its operations in Latin America.
In Miami, Latin American entrepreneurs can connect not only with the United States but also with Israel and Europe, while also opening business opportunities for North American entrepreneurs to expand into new markets. However, not everything is rosy.
Although Miami has positioned itself as a city with an abundant number of startups, there are very few companies in this area that have managed to grow. Rob Wile compares the city with Austin, where there is also a large number of startups. Miami startups aren’t scaling up.
“What we can see in Austin is that there is a favorable environment not only to experiment but also to have access to talent, capital and markets, which is what you need to grow over time. “Arnobio Morelix, research analyst at Kauffman
Although Miami startups have not managed to take off, most have survived more than five years. The entry of new actors can help them to give the push they need to scale.