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We are connecting the Dots

As made famous by Steve Jobs, the dots can usually be connected looking backwards, and Miami is no exception. The last few years have kept the local ecosystem busy with the starting of many initiatives.

Angel investors got organized and created groups educating an increasing the number of local investors in tech, co-working spaces popped up in every district — such as and the recently opened by the succesful .CO crew — and coding schools started taking over the city.

Universities are now teaching entrepreneurship, VC funds are coming from outside the city and soon we’ll see accelerators arrive as Miami’s number of startups soars — up 46 percent — accounting for 1,600 companies (according to the Kauffman Foundation).

Hopefully current players will get together in a joint effort to connect the dots.

AGP Miami, the largest local angel group, is proof of how rapid change is happening in the city; it has quadrupled the number of its members, up to 80 investors, in the past two years. The group has invested in 14 firms, for a total of $2.8 million, and is actively looking to increase that number with both companies from Miami and those attracted to the city.

“Miami does not have a capital problem: We need family offices to trust new funds to leverage the power of Miami as a gateway. That is a tremendous opportunity,” said Nicolas Berardi, AGP Miami’s managing director.

One of the newcomers is European accelerator Startup-bootcamp. Looking to benefit from Miami’s top positioning as a healthcare and talent hub will bring 10 companies a year to Miami for the next three years, and support them with its six-month acceleration program.

Christian Seale, Startup-bootcamp Miami founder and managing director, believes Miami can become a global center for healthcare innovation. “Miami is the second largest healthcare hub in the U.S., with 8 hospitals, over 33,000 beds, three globally recognized research universities and a legacy of successful healthcare companies,” said Seale.

Many of these dots — not to say all — have a strong debt to the Knight Foundation’s efforts. But bigger questions now arise on how to make this a sustainable ecosystem. Knight is still very much needed, but hopefully current players will get together in a joint effort to connect the dots and build a stronger and bigger community.

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