Miami’s Startup Community: Next Steps for Growing the Region as an Innovation Hub – Knight Foundation

Miami’s Startup Community: Next Steps for Growing the Region as an Innovation Hub

To ground the insights from the “Miami’s Startup Ecosystem” report and to discuss next steps, we hosted a conversation with community leaders, “The Miami Opportunity: Expanding Access and Advancing Equity” (above).

When we look back on 2020, we expect to see it as a turning point for our community.  As such, we must use this time to take stock of our journey to date in order to inform our future. Miami’s transformation over the last decade goes well beyond the city’s skyline. At its core, it is a story about people—those who are choosing to build and create in the Magic City. From its vibrant cultural landscape to its burgeoning startup community, Miami is home to a wide array of creators with a unique perspective. 

In 2019, Knight Foundation partnered with Startup Genome to take a closer look at Miami’s startup community. This report is based on data that was collected then. At the time, it confirmed Miami’s upward trajectory while showing us that much remains to be done to catapult Miami into the echelons of the world’s best startup ecosystems. 

We share this report as 2020 has brought new opportunities and challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated conversations about the future of work, especially where people will choose to live should the professional opportunities available to them become less tied to specific geographies. With tremendous urgency, the reenergized dialogue about racial inequities in America calls on us to acknowledge and amend the reality that the tech and innovation sectors often do not look like our communities. Creating pathways for access and prosperity for all is essential if Miami’s startup community is to flourish.

The insights drawn from this assessment are as relevant as ever. As Miami continues building the talent, funding and culture that drives its innovation ecosystem, this report reminds us of all we have built thus far and offers a roadmap for our community’s next steps.

Key insights

  • By placing entrepreneurs at the center and better supporting their ability to build community with other founders, investors and experts, Miami would improve the ecosystem’s sense of community and retention of entrepreneurs.
  • In 2019, Greater Miami attracted a record amount of venture capital, with $2.4 billion flowing to the region.
  • Increasing the amount of funding available to early-stage startups would have positive effects downstream, closing funding gaps at the Series A stage and beyond.
  • Among global ecosystems, Miami ranks 7th for share of female founders at 19%.
  • Growing the number of employees who receive equity compensation (e.g. stock options) could help with talent retention and give Miami the opportunity to grow more talent with startup growth experience.
  • Globally connected ecosystems achieve greater reach, more fully realizing their potential. Diversifying Miami’s global footprint beyond Latin America and growing ties to top ecosystems would improve the flow of global knowledge coming to the region and increase overall scale up potential.

Image (top) by Alejandro Luengo on Unsplash.