Wifredo Fernandez is announcing today that he is transitioning out as CEO of The LAB Miami. His co-founder, Danny Lafuente, will be transitioning out as CFO as well. As part of this move, Wifi, as he is known in the community, will join The LAB Miami board and both he and Danny will become Ambassadors in Residence at The LAB. A search will formally begin for a new day-to-day leader. Here is the job description: http://thelabmiami.com/careers/.
I have covered The LAB since its beginning, learning about Wifredo and Danny's plans through their Business Plan Challenge entry back in early 2012. While they did not win that year (judges thought Love-Art-Business -- the original name -- sounded more like a nonprofit, as I recall, and it was perhaps too early, as Love-Art-Business did not have funding or a space or even a potential space then), I followed up several months later when they moved into their first 720-square-foot location in the striped Wynwood building. I fell in love with their hand-built furniture -- and their space already taking shape.
Here is one of the first stories I wrote about them. Following up a year later, and what progress they made! Read it here. Of course, because of the sheer number and scope of events and projects that The LAB Miami has hosted, from idea jams and hackathons to coding workshops to a magnificent Maker Faire -- my personal marker that this movement has legs -- The LAB Miami is by far the most-often cited organization on the Starting Gate.
No doubt these entrepreneurs as well as the new leadership at the LAB will continue to make waves with new ideas and projects. "This shouldn't be a sad moment, but an exciting one to challenge a new leader in the community to lead the next iteration of the space in Wynwood. It's a LAB. It's an experiment in its own right and a place for others to experiment with new ideas, " Wifredo told me. "Danny and I are also excited to get more hands on with our youth tech programs and maker education through MIAMade, Mini Maker Faire, Wynwood Maker Camp, etc."
I wish this dynamic duo -- Wifi and Danny -- the best of luck in their new adventures but am glad they are staying on as LAB ambassadors. I want to thank them for all they have done -- and will continue to do -- for the LAB and in the tech and entrepreneurial community. See Wifi's blog post here.