The perfect storm that made Miami a new tech mecca

Editor’s note: Silvina Moschini is an entrepreneur specialized in the digital transformation of the world of work. She is the founder and president of TransparentBusiness, a platform that allows remote teams to be managed transparently. In addition, she is the founder and CEO of SheWorks !, an online store for recruiting professional women with flexible models. The opinions expressed in this comment belong exclusively to the author. See more op-ed articles at CNNE.com/opinion

(CNN Español) — Any surfer knows that catching a good wave depends largely on where you choose to wait for it. It is about being close to the break and being encouraged to surf it when it arrives. The city of Miami has been a technological vortex for years, but during the pandemic it is finally consolidating itself as the new digital hub and base of operations for the most promising companies in the US and Latin America.

I moved to Miami in the late 1990s, when I was part of the Patagon.com team, the Argentine company that was later sold to Banco Santander for a historic US $ 585 million. Those were the times of the first wave, the dot-com wave, when the technological pioneers landed in “the magic city”. Starting in 2012 there was a second wave, marked by the acceleration of ventures such as Endeavor, Venture for America, The Lab and companies such as Open English, which was born in Venezuela, but grew up in Miami.

But covid-19 was the perfect storm that consolidated the trend. When remote work became the norm, Miami became an ideal destination to move, because its traditional climatic benefits were added economic incentives, less taxes and a more accessible lifestyle than that of other large cities. The movement deepens thanks to the fact that the mayor of the city, Francis Suarez, was very proactive on social networks as soon as he saw this new transformative wave loom on the horizon. Offering facilities benefits the city but also the new settlers, who arrive after a breath of fresh air, just what the business world needs to reinvent itself after so many paralyzing months.

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Being prepared is everything. When I decided to bet on remote work, I could not foresee that the covid-19 pandemic was going to consecrate this way of working forever. But we were ready to surf it when it came. Something similar happened to me with Miami: when I decided to start a business in this city, nothing made us suspect the heyday it is experiencing today, although there were some signs. Miami is a port that connects with business opportunities around the world, and is located in an optimal time slot between the west coast and Europe.

One of the things I like the most about Miami is its strong connection to Latin America (72.7% of its population is of Latino and Hispanic descent), which makes everything much friendlier and sometimes also more chaotic, like was in evidence with the riot of the last “spring break”. But not because Latinos are chaotic, but because –in this case- the exponential growth of recent months coincides with the exhaustion of confinement.

Miami is currently the fourth host city for Latino entrepreneurship in the United States, according to Startup Genome, and has one of the highest percentages of businesses founded by immigrants. It is a melting pot of races and a source of multiethnic and multicultural talent, which also makes it ideal for startups that want to test their services in front of a wide range of clients.

Perhaps this boiling climate is temporary, and when the sea calms down, everything will go back to how it was before the pandemic. Personally, I think the freshness of Miami is everything an entrepreneur needs to dream big. I have lived here for 20 years. Here I put together a team and here I developed SheWorks! It is true that we have worked tirelessly for years to achieve this, but I am convinced that Miami has the best waves. You just have to learn to feel the tide, and stroke hard when the opportunity comes.

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