When people think about doing business in Miami, they often imagine the beautiful beaches, the vibrant art scene, as well as the nucleus of the business world when it comes to international trade, fashion and travel. But over the past few years, Miami has also become the center of a rapidly growing entrepreneurial scene – as a result of a merger of the dynamic creative community and the opportunities of access to Latin American markets. Recently, I had a chance to visit the area and become acquainted with the exciting startup happenings at one of its brand new entrepreneurship hubs.
Some of the most interesting startup activity in the area has been taking place at The LAB Miami, started in 2012 and funded by the Knight Foundation. The LAB is a co-working space in the up-and-coming area of Miami’s Wynwood District. Matt Haggman, Managing Director for Knight Foundation, says – “…as I looked around, it seemed to me that there was a real opportunity to focus on helping build the startup and entrepreneurial community. Miami has always been highly entrepreneurial in terms of starting new businesses.”
Today, the LAB Miami has already more than doubled in size with over 100+ members from startups to freelancers to VC’s all sharing the space. Designed as a co-working space with over 10,000+ sq. feet, The LAB Miami is already a true hub of the tech startup community here.
The LAB has some exciting startup members from a variety of cutting edge fields, such as:
YellowPepper – leading mobile banking solution for the Latin American market.
LiveNinja – a platform to allow you to do a video chat with an expert anywhere in the world. The inspiration behind this platform for Will, founder of LiveNinja, was to help eliminate unemployment.
Flomio – enables NFC (near-field communications) on your iPhone. Started by Richard Grundy, Flomio was a member of the TechStars Cloud accelerator class.
“LAB has the best vibes and provides unparalleled access to resources,” says Richard Grundy, founder of Flomio.
The goal is to keep local talent local and bring innovation to the LAB. The LAB has a remarkable feeling of community. It provides access to education, mentorship, resources, as well as access to investors. Most recently, The LAB hosted the Rokk Miami event with Brad Feld that was thrown by Rokk3rLabs, as well as a number of exciting hackathon events.
“The idea behind The LAB was to create a physical place for talent in the tech space to get together,” says Boris Hirmas Said, Entrepreneur-in-Residence of Miami Dade College and of Chairman Tres Mares SA (Chile).
The key to a lasting startup ecosystem is hubs like LAB Miami, and it is very exciting to see the kind of community enthusiasm generated by initiatives like this.