What has made Miami such a great environment for growing a startup culture is its strong entrepreneurial ethos and the lack of restrictions. It’s the kind of place where if you have an idea, no one is going to tell you it can’t be done. Over the last 20 years, I have enjoyed working alongside many who have laid the groundwork for putting Miami’s tech ecosystem on the global technology stage. Now, we are ready to take it to the next level, as several of our top tech entrepreneurs have embarked on multiple rounds of creating transformative technologies and thriving businesses.
Consider the following South Florida success stories:
- Manny Medina founds IT infrastructure and cloud provider, Terremark Worldwide, Inc. in Miami and sells it to Verizon in 2011 at a $2 billion enterprise valuation. He then forms the private equity consortium that in 2017 utilizes a $3 billion acquisition to create Cyxtera Technologies of Coral Gables, one of the world’s largest providers of secured IT infrastructure.
- Rony Abovitz co-creates Mako Surgical, a leader in robotic-assisted surgery, which is sold to Stryker for $1.65 billion in 2013. He then creates Magic Leap, an augmented reality provider in Plantation that becomes one of the most talked-about technology companies in Silicon Valley.
- Marcelo Claure creates Brightstar Corporation in Miami, the world’s leader in wireless distribution and services, and sells it to Sprint in 2013 for a multi-billion-dollar valuation. He becomes executive chair of Sprint and CEO of Softbank International in 2013. This year, he announced the creation of Softbank’s $5 billion Innovation Fund with a focus on Latin America, based out of Miami and São Paulo.
- Online pet retailer Chewy.com in Dania Beach sells to PetSmart in 2017 for $3.35 billion, which at the time was the largest-ever acquisition of an e-commerce business; HR software creator Ultimate Software of Weston sells to a private equity firm in 2019 for $11 billion; and Miami’s newest unicorn, IT management software provider Kaseya VSA, raises $500 million, giving the company a $2 billion valuation.
One or two of these stories could be dismissed as anomalies. Having this many represents a trend of success for Miami and South Florida’s tech startups. There is something special happening here.
To accelerate this scaling and momentum, we need to source new talent and effectively deploy the significant capital Miami and South Florida have at their disposal. We also need additional external sources of capital, which includes more integration of global Super Angels. These are the investors in early-stage technology ventures who are more than simply writing a check.
In addition to cash, they bring sophistication, insight, and connections. Miami’s history of impressive startups boasting massive exits makes this community an attractive proposition for them.
Bringing together Miami’s successful entrepreneurs, capital resources, and the strong academic community, we have the three tiers of the stool we need to accelerate the ecosystem’s continued growth.
As an integral part of the plan to keep growing Miami’s global prominence, we at Greenberg Traurig are ready to help write the next chapter of our city’s tech ecosystem success story.
Jaret focuses his corporate and securities legal practice on domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, capital markets transactions, and large financings. For over a decade, he has led Greenberg Traurig’s Miami office and helped spearhead the firm’s efforts to be a dominant player in the global technology industry.
With the strong belief that startups and Miami’s established companies need to interact to succeed and grow, Jaret established the Connect & Grow initiative several years ago when serving as chair of the Beacon Council. The program is designed to accelerate the growth of existing companies and incubate disruptive ideas by connecting startups with strategic players who can provide capital and contacts.
Jaret also brokered the partnership between Startupbootcamp, the leading accelerator in Europe, and Miami Children’s Health Systems, whose board he chairs. This led to the launch in 2016 of a program specifically designed to bring top digital health startups to Miami, which has resulted in the city’s becoming a hub for healthcare technology businesses.