When you think about top startup hubs, cities like Miami or Fort Lauderdale may not come immediately to mind. Instead, you might think of places like Silicon Valley, New York City, and Los Angeles as regions that are most closely associated with entrepreneurial activity.
However, what you may not know is that the South Florida region is quickly making waves in the international startup scene. That’s right - a location most known for its sun and beaches is becoming a home to more and more startups every year, and the number of tech companies only continues to rise.
Because of this increase in startup activity in South Florida, it’s no wonder that the Founder Institute is launching a South Florida program in the region to help local aspiring entrepreneurs launch their dream companies.
But don’t just take our word for it. Below are some of the biggest reasons why South Florida is primed to become the next Silicon Valley.
In the Inc article, “Why Entrepreneurs Are Flocking to South Florida to Start Companies”, Kerry Close outlines some of the benefits founders have when starting up in South Florida. For example:
South Florida is cheaper to live in compared to other major metropolitan areas. Because Florida lacks an income tax and has a lower cost of living, relocating to the region makes more financial sense than relocating to Silicon Valley or New York, making it an especially attractive place for young entrepreneurs.
A diverse culture means more diverse ideas. South Florida’s position as a gateway to Latin America has brought in a multitude of talented immigrants and, with them, new ideas.
That mixture of different cultures breeds ideas, and that doesn't happen in a lot of cities.” - Aaron Lee (president-elect of the South Florida chapter of Entrepreneurs' Organization)
South Florida’s climate and culture is perfect for young people. Whether you’re a millennial yourself or you just have an idea for a company that caters to tech-savvy millennials, South Florida is home to a large demographic of young and talented people, which makes the region even more ideal for a young startup.
Numerous local educational institutions promote entrepreneurship, like University of Miami and Florida Atlantic University. So if you’re a college student looking for a school that will help you get started in entrepreneurship, or you’ve got a startup and are looking for young talent, South Florida is home to a growing number of institutions that foster young entrepreneurs to help your company succeed.
South Florida is especially ideal for those looking to start up in the financial technology industry, as the region is a veritable hotbed of fintech companies. In the Miami Herald article, “Technology on the money: Fintech startups take root in South Florida”, Nancy Dahlberg discusses how South Florida’s thriving banking sector, both domestic and international, and its unique proximity to Latin America makes it perfect for companies focused around mobile payments, bitcoin technology, personal finance management, lending, and crowdfunding.
And then there is of course Dania Beach-based Magic Leap, "the world's most secretive startup" according to Wired. This fast growing VR company may be a secret to your average consumer, but it is certainly no secret to some of the most prestigious Silicon Valley-based venture capitalists. In fact, at the beginning of this year, investors like Andreesen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins participated in what may be the largest C-round of financing in history: $793.5 million. To date, Magic Leap has now raised $1.4 billion, and the company is growing at an astronomical rate.
The time is right to build a technology company in South Florida, and savvy entrepreneurs will take advantage of this opportunity and jump on the wave.