WSJ official: Miami has a tech scene

BF-AH513_MIAMIT_G_20140530140348We’ve been talking about it for awhile: Miami has a tech scene that’s just simmering under the surface. But now that the Wall Street Journal has said it, it’s official: Miami has a real tech scene.

Miami isn’t just a hotspot for real estate and tourism anymore – the budding tech hub is already showing signs it’s here to stay.

Miami’s location sets the city up as the logical technology capital of Latin America, given the country’s expanding technology market and a growing number of Latin American entrepreneurs hoping to establish themselves in the States. This year, the city became host to the first eMerge Americas conference, aligning closer with this goal.

Between the years of 2010 and 2013, venture-capital investment in Miami-area companies more than tripled to reach $369 million, according to VentureSource, a unit of News Corp’s Dow Jones. And a number of groups are still pouring funds into the cause.

But Miami will have to overcome a few challenges before reaching the levels we hope for. Entrepreneurs have had difficulty finding local funding sources, candidates to fill senior-level positions and local mentors.

Photo 5However, coworking spaces and tech accelerators, such as Pipeline, UM Life Science & Technology Park (UMLSTP) and Venture Hive are all aiming at changing that. Pipeline Brickell creates an environment where entrepreneurs can work together, allowing them to exchange ideas and find solutions to common challenges. UMLSTP does the same, but focus on biology and the sciences, as well as technology and medical research. Lastly, Venture Hive, a DDA initiative, provides grants to a slate of new tech startups annually, along with year-long programming that supports their efforts to launch their product.

Miami attorney and entrepreneur Juan Cappello said he thinks now the timing is right.

“We have a great opportunity, but we have to keep doing the hard work,” Cappello said. “We don’t need to oversell or overhype. If we have a chance, it will be as a niche player in the tech ecosystem.”

Read more from the Wall Street Journal.