Last week brought familiar faces, industry leaders and new Latin American companies to an exciting week-long series of events. eMerge Americas was founded by Manny Medina of Medina Capital and Knight Foundation among other South Florida leaders. As I attended different keynotes and witnessed mind-blowing technology, I realized that South Florida is on target to become a real force in the next wave of tech innovation and company creation.
Places like The Lab Miami located in the #Wynwood Arts District allow this blooming community to share ideas and create an environment that allows young companies to flourish. Celebrities like Pitbull, Mr. 305, are using their celebrity to shine a bright light on this movement and it seems to be working!
Foreign Startups And Tech Investors Are Looking For A Home In The U.S.
Last week Miami played host to eMerge Americas, a conference that brought together the South Florida and Latin America tech communities. Over 6,000 participants registered representing players from the tech scene in South Florida and around the U.S., along with companies and investors from Latin America. The countries of Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Columbia were particularly well represented since they are leading markets for mobile and social spending and have the most developed startup cultures in Latin America. They were there to plug into Miami, the unofficial capital of Latin America. But more importantly, they were looking for a platform to launch their companies onto the world stage.
Investors came out in force as well. I talked to several people representing family offices in Brazil and they told me that the moneyed class in their country is operating on a clock. First there is the World Cup this summer and then the Summer Olympics in 2016. By the time the Olympics wind down they expect to have a significant portion of their wealth shifted to the U.S.. Historically this has meant purchasing real estate, most often in Miami. The strong flow of capital from Latin America to Miami helped soak up the huge surplus in residential and business property and reverse the plunge in prices after the 2008 financial meltdown.
The Miami construction cranes are out in full force once again but savvy Latin American investors have taken a lesson from the....
I look forward to seeing the evolution of Miami and South Florida become a leading emerging market.
Michelle Farber Ross