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Miami’s royalty

As the city consolidates its place as one of the hottest entrepreneurial spots in the country,Miami has become a strategic market for one of the most valuable startups in the world, Magic Leap, and others, such as CareCloud, Open English and more. Altogether, these Miami royals have so far raised more than $763 million in venture capital, attracting talent and gaining attention from international investors.

In less than two years, LaunchCode, the non-profit organization from St. Louis, Missouri that received $1.2 million funding from Knight in 2014 for its first expansion city, has teamed up with more than 120 companies to hire through The Idea Center tech apprentices who don’t necessarily have a traditional degree.

As for Magic Leap, the virtual reality startup that raised $542 million in venture capital from Google and Qualcomm, among other tech giants, has chosen to relocate its headquarters to the Design Center of The Americas (DCOTA) in Dania Beach, Florida.

“Magic Leap’s move to DCOTA is an investment in the future, ensuring that we have the very best creative environment and resources to support our rapidly growing team,” said Russell Burke, Chief Financial Officer at Magic Leap, in a press release. “It’s also a pretty big statement about where we think we will be in the months and years ahead.”

There is, indeed, a right time to catch a good wave.

Another example of Miami’s thriving startup ecosystem is Andres Moreno and Wilmer Sarmiento’s Open English. The company raised $120.25 million in venture capital, and took advantage of Miami’s strategic position to launch an online English-learning business that serves more than 400,000 students in Latin America and the Spanish-speaking community within the U.S.

While Miami’s royals provide proof of success and business opportunities for startups and investors in South Florida, venture capital remains a weak link in the ecosystem. In 2014, the Miami metro area attracted $656.83 million of the $867.6 million in 36 venture capital deals that took place in Florida.

These figures pale in comparison to venture capital investments drawn by the states of California, with $26,840.6 million (San Francisco accounted for $10,948 million) or New York, with $4,510.9 million, with 1,631 and 422 deals, respectively (according to data from CB Insights).

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