Refresh Miami

Its mission—to educate, inspire, connect and grow South Florida’s tech and startup ecosystem

In 2006, Brian Breslin saw untapped potential in South Florida’s fledgling startup ecosystem and quickly realized there lacked a support system for the tech and startup community. From this idea, Refresh Miami was founded. Its mission—to educate, inspire, connect and grow South Florida’s tech and startup ecosystem. Over a decade later, Refresh Miami now unites over 10,000 entrepreneurs, developers, designers, investors, and tech lovers right here in our own backyard.

As the oldest and largest tech & entrepreneurial community in the state, Refresh Miami serves as the hub of Miami Tech. Refresh Miami members get a front-row seat to learn from top-notch founders, innovators and technology professionals from across the country. They expand their skills through Refresh’s in-depth workshops, hear what other local entrepreneurs are working on through Refresh’s News articles, and explore the helpful resources available to them through Refresh’s Resource Directory. Pulling it all together is Refresh’s weekly email newsletter which keeps the ecosystem “in-the-know” on all things tech and startups in South Florida.

The team at Refresh believes what’s happening in Miami is truly special— from the diversity of its ecosystem (the majority of the entrepreneurial support organizations and gatekeepers are women), to its thriving immigrant population (42% of Refresh members were born outside of the United States and 56% are ethnically diverse). South Florida is now home to some of the world’s newest unicorns, including Magic Leap, REEF Technology (formerly ParkJockey), and JetSmarter—all within the last 5 years! Refresh Miami is proud to serve this community, amplify its stories, and help it continue to grow.

Milestones

  • Featured in Inc. Magazine (July/Aug 2019 issue) – “Poolside Co-Working
    Spaces and a Bustling Art Community: Your Ultimate Guide to Miami’s
    Hot Startup Scene”
  • Featured in TNW (July 19, 2019) – “An entrepreneur’s guide to Miami’s
    startup ecosystem”
  • Authored 2015 and 2019 Miami Tech Ecosystem Report for the Miami
    Downtown Development Authority (Miami DDA)
  • Miami Dade Chamber of Commerce, Technology Association of the
    Year (2014)

Meet our Team

Brian Breslin, Founder and Chairman:

Brian founded Refresh Miami in 2006 after identifying a lack of technology and entrepreneurial resources available in South Florida. Brian has been involved in a number of local startups, as well as local charities. He is the founder of Infinimedia, Inc., a software consulting firm focused on logistics solutions. Brian is co-founder of SimCase, an educational gaming company focused on higher-ed.Brian has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Virginia in 2004, and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He is also a Miami native.

Maria Derchi, Russo, Executive Director:

A long-time member of the organization, Maria formally joined Refresh Miami as its Executive Director in November 2015. Prior to joining Refresh, Maria had a long career in Marketing—running her own consulting practice, leading Marketing for recent Miami unicorn ParkJockey (now REEF Technology), and spearheading various Marketing programs for online travel site Travelzoo. In addition to her work at Refresh Miami, Maria serves as Campus Director for TheVentureCity and is the founder of Women in Miami Tech (WIMT), a group dedicated to supporting and advancing women in technology in South Florida. Maria has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Boston University and a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She’s also a proud Miami native.

Peter Martinez, Director and Board Member:

Peter Martinez is a senior software engineer, community organizer, and serial entrepreneur. Over the last eight years, Peter has been an integral part of the South Florida technology and startup community through his efforts co-organizing Refresh Miami. Peter’s day job is at the University of Miami working for Academic Technologies developing and implementing tools/ services that improve teaching and learning through the use of technology.

In his nights and weekends, he builds the infrastructure for InvestReady, the most advanced crowdfunding compliance solution on the market with close to $1B in verified collective capital amongst its members. Peter has his Master’s in Electrical Engineering from Florida International University, with a focus on biosignal processing and VLSI, Undergraduate in Computer Engineering and a Minor in Mathematics.

Josh Martinez, Events Assistant:

Josh joined the Refresh Miami team in 2008 while pursuing a degree in Computer Science at Florida International University. He is CTO for On The Map Marketing, an internet marketing and web/mobile development company, as well as for Local Staffing, a job search aggregation platform and SaaS company.

Mollie Cole, Project Manager:

The newest member of the team and only non-Miami native, Mollie joinedRefresh Miami in June 2019. While originally from Atlanta, Georgia, she found her passion for working with startups through internships in the Israeli & Chilean tech ecosystems. When she’s not working on marketing and program development projects for Refresh, she enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling, and exploring Miami. Mollie is a senior at the University of Miami pursuing degrees in Economics and Judaic Studies.

Testimonials

When deciding whether or not to move back to Miami in 2011, Refresh Miami’s existence was a signpost of this city’s potential. Refresh offered an open community, friendly collaborators, and a learning platform. Miami’s startup community wouldn’t be where it is today without this pillar of an organization.
—Wifredo Fernandez, Co-founder of The LAB Miami

Refresh is Miami Tech’s connector. From the events they host to the individuals who run Refresh they are continually working to make connections and build the network. Wyncode made its official launch announcement at a Refresh event back in 2014. It was an important starting point for us to have a platform and audience to get the word out.
—Johanna Mikkola, Co-founder of Wyncode

Refresh was how I was introduced to Miami’s tech scene. I was working as a developer in advertising and started attending Refresh events where I was exposed to people building products and companies. Fast forward 6 years and I have now built two businesses and exited one, both of which I pitched at Refresh’s Demo Days.
—Juan Bermudez, Founder of NightPro & CoachHQ

We turned to Refresh when we needed to fill a crucial role on our Product team. We found the ideal candidate (who was living in NYC) through the Refresh newsletter promoting our job post. There’s no doubt that Refresh has built the strongest tech community in South Florida!
—Linda Koritkoski, Classic Motors

 

Refresh Miami

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