Knight Foundation supports Tech Cocktail, a national media and events organization, to promote Miami as a place where ideas are built. Below, Tech Cocktail co-founder and CEO Frank Gruber writes about the partnership. Photo credit: Michael Bolden.
Welcome to Miami!
We’ve got the late-’90s Will Smith tune playing loudly as our company, Tech Cocktail, has just announced that we’ll be working with Knight Foundation to shine a national spotlight on all the incredible startup and entrepreneurial activity that’s happening in the Miami area. A $150,000 grant from Knight will help make that a reality. The ultimate goal of the effort: to keep people more informed and engaged by cross-pollinating Miami’s tech startup story through ongoing online and offline events and content.
We’re attracted to Miami for several reasons: its emerging startup community; local universities turning out talent; growing investor interest; and its unique role as a gateway between startups from Latin America and the United States. It’s not just a gateway for entrepreneurs, though; it’s a technological gateway for information. Miami is home to a 750,000-square-foot data center that serves as a “network access point” to the Internet: the NAP of the Americas. This six-story building, full of computers, servers and cables, handles a majority of the top-level Internet traffic going from Latin America to 148 countries around the world. Oh, and let’s not forget the beaches.
We announced the news Tuesday night at Tech Cocktail’s Miami Startup Showcase, our first Florida event. We hosted some of the area’s hottest early-stage startups who were competing for a spot at our national startup competition and conference, Tech Cocktail Celebrate. Since 2006 we’ve been going to cities around the United States and abroad—more than 35 of them—looking for great startups, providing space for them to demo to local audiences and writing about them on our national blog to increase their exposure and reach.
To strengthen our editorial coverage and event footprint in key markets around the United States, we’ve created hubs in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Las Vegas, and now we’re adding Miami. Our new hub will bring us closer to activity around the Southeastern United States and Latin America, broadening our footprint and perspective. And we’ll be able to share it all through our national, online media publication.
In 2014, Miami can expect to see even more of our events: startup showcase pitch competitions, educational speaker series and social gatherings to better connect the community. We’ll be beefing up our editorial coverage to share the stories of emerging companies like .CO, Batanga, OpenEnglish, Gui.de, Kairos, Flomio and many more, while also offering entrepreneurial resources to help anyone navigate the startup journey. To do so we’ll be looking for additional local ambassadors and contributors while also hiring a full-time writer/community manager based in Miami.
Tech Cocktail’s addition to the Miami entrepreneurial community fits in nicely with Knight Foundation’s support of Refresh Miami, the tech meetup group; The Lab Miami, a co-working space in Wynnwood; the launch of Endeavor in Miami, which is the entrepreneurial nonprofit’s first U.S. outpost; NewME Accelerator’s Miami pop-ups; and educational initiatives like Girls Who Code and Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.
This is another new chapter in what is proving to be a busy year at Tech Cocktail, which included our funding investment in May by Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project, launching Tech Cocktail Celebrate, and now an additional hub in Miami. We’ll continue to shine a spotlight on local startup communities and up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Their stories are a guide to others making the journey, and we’re here to help them find their way.