November 07, 2016

Büro Group chooses South Miami for 5th co-working location

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Büro Group, a South Florida co-working company, is expanding again.

Büro Group has leased 13,000 square feet of office space in the recently completed SOMI Center building in the heart of South Miami, making it the fifth Büro location in South Florida, following openings in Midtown, Sunset Harbour, MiMo and most recently Coconut Grove.

Like its other locations, Büro SOMI will offer stylish communal spaces and a variety of flexible workspace options for individuals and teams. Members of Büro SOMI will also benefit from monthly networking events, workshops, and exclusive discounts at popular Miami restaurants and shops.

“The building itself is iconic, and we love the local vibe and amenities of the neighborhood. There’s a lot of action in South Miami these days,” said Büro founder and CEO Michael Feinstein.

Leonard Boord, managing partner of SOMI Center, said Büro will fill a need in the neighborhood for office space, particularly flexible space that appeals to startups and creatives. Büro SOMI is scheduled to open in the spring of 2017.

Büro Group is part of a competitive wave of co-working spaces sweeping into South Florida, and it is one of the local pioneers that is building a network of centers that attract entrepreneurs, freelance workers, creatives, small businesses and local outposts for larger corporations. Its locations serve about 800 members from 350 companies, including Airbnb, Gilt Group, Glamsquad and Lyft, Feinstein said. The company was recently awarded “Best Coworking Space” by Miami New Times.

 

October 25, 2016

Knight invests $1.1 million into The LAB Miami expansion; new CEO named

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By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

The LAB Miami, one of South Florida’s co-working pioneers, on Tuesday announced expansion plans that include the launch of two entrepreneurship programs and a new CEO. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is investing $1.1 million to support The LAB’s evolution.

With the new funding, The LAB Miami will launch a venture builder called LAB.Ventures, which will work with entrepreneurs, engineers and designers to test and build promising business ideas. The program aims to incubate several technology startups by 2019, the majority of which will be run by women and minorities. The LAB Miami announced it will also launch LAB.ID, which will use educational, community programming to encourage greater collaboration between startups and established businesses.

“The LAB is evolving to match the growing needs of our community. For more than three years, it has played an integral part in connecting innovators and forging new collaborations,” said Matt Haggman, Miami program director for Knight Foundation, on Tuesday. “[The LAB] will now also work to close gaps that still exist in our startup ecosystem by helping entrepreneurs foster relationships with business players and find the funding they need to scale and grow.”

TIGRE_WenrIchThomas “Tigre” Wenrich will be the new CEO. Wenrich is an active angel investor and startup mentor who helped Open English, a online English language education company, raise over $120 million in venture capital funding while serving as its founding CFO/COO. Prior to Open English, he was a partner at The Boston Consulting Group, a leading strategy consultancy to the world’s largest companies, where he worked for 16 years. Over the years he has been a mentor for Venture Hive’s startups and he is an investor and on the board of Miami startup LiveNinja.

The LAB Miami, co-founded by Wifredo Fernandez and Daniel Lafuente, opened its 10,000-square-foot center at 400 NW 26th St. in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood in late 2012, with $650,000 in initial funding from the Knight Foundation and a group of local investors. It offered co-working space and community programming at a time when there were few resources for entrepreneurs in Miami and co-working was coming alive in other cities. Over the years, the LAB has attracted a diverse membership of entrepreneurs, techies, nonprofits and artists, hosted hundreds of events, including its monthly Brainfood speaker series, and is the home of Wyncode, a coding school (a Wyncode Pitch Night is pictured above). The LAB currently has about 150 members, Wenrich said.

But since 2012, a wave of co-working spaces have swept in, including the global WeWork chain that has in the last year opened two 40,000-square-foot centers in Miami Beach, a 62,000-square-foot center at Brickell City Centre and has a 100,000-square-foot downtown Miami facility on the way and plans for more. The LAB has also gone through a number of management changes since Fernandez, then CEO, and Lafuente, then CFO, stepped down from the top management jobs in 2014. Wenrich replaces Ricardo Mesquita who came aboard as CEO in August 2015 and left the position about a month ago to return to Europe.

Wenrich said co-working will continue at The LAB but “we don’t view that as something we want to grow – we think that market is well served. We asked, what can we do next and how can we leverage what has been built there?”

LAB.Venture will not be an accelerator, which works intensely with startups for a set period of time to get them to market or the next level. Instead, the LAB.Ventures team, which includes Marco Giberti and Juan Pablo Cappello, will focus on solving problems for local industries and “will bring together educational resources and our own experiences building businesses to help build other successful businesses in Miami,” said Wenrich.” “We’re looking for big problems to be solved and bring them together with capital and great entrepreneurs guided by us and turn them into big companies.”

The LAB.ID will build on progress The LAB has already connecting corporations with startups. Over the years, a number of large companies have had offices at the LAB and have hosted events and workshops. This programming will be increased, and corporate partners will help LAB.Venture startups do pilot testing, Wenrich said.

“We’ll find an opportunity, invest a small amount of capital to build an initial minimum viable product and take it to our corporate partners and try to do a proof of concept. When we find something that we think has legs, we’ll invest in hiring a team to scale it up and take it to market,” said Weinrich. “Eventually we will look for outside capital for these businesses at a later stage.”

Wenrich said The LAB is in the process of raising several million dollars from private investors. Over the past three years Knight has made more than 200 investments in entrepreneurship in South Florida.

 

September 14, 2016

Palm Beach Tech awarded $150,000 in grants to open entrepreneur workspace

The Palm Beach Tech Association has been awarded $150,000 to open a collaborative workspace for emerging entrepreneurs and early stage startups at 313 Datura Street in Downtown West Palm Beach.

“This innovative project is a great example of how the City of West Palm Beach is not only open FOR business, but it is open TO business as well.  Our entrepreneur class is quickly becoming a cornerstone of our growing business economy," said Mayor Jeri Muoio.

The PalmBeach Tech Space is currently operating in its soft opening with options for part time, full time, and 24/7 access. There will also be dedicated desks, private offices and perks like discounts at local businesses and free in-house Subculture Coffee. They expect to be fully operational by October 3rd.

"This is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs," said Clay Williams, CEO of Achieve and Palm Beach Tech Board Member. "The workspace offers everything a start-up needs, and this collaborative environment will ultimately result in greater and more innovative ideas."

Led by a $100,000 matching grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the City of West Palm Beach CRA ($25,000) and several private companies including Achieve ($25,000) have also stepped up to support the non-profit initiative.

“Creating public spaces that connect the community and add to neighborhood life is essential to building more successful cities. The workspace will help to do just that by supporting local talent and encouraging more collaboration between idea makers of all kinds,” said Lilly Weinberg, Knight Foundation director for community foundations.

They’ve also partnered with Palm Beach Atlantic University, the Palm Beach Code School, and FAU Tech Runway to offer students free access to the facility and its programming.

The Palm Beach Tech Association will host its next Meetup on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at Palm Beach Tech Space. For more information and to join, visit www.palmbeachtech.org/space/

- Submitted by Palm Beach Tech Association

September 12, 2016

WeWork Lincoln Road launches entrepreneur support program with partners

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By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com
 
Co-working center WeWork Lincoln Road launched a new initiative offering Miami area entrepreneurs a chance to receive support to achieve their missions, while at the same time giving back to their local community.
 
The new program, called Mission Possible, offers  Miami area companies of all sizes, stages and industries a chance to be selected for 3 to 12 sponsored months of membership at WeWork's Lincoln Road workspace free of charge, along with other services to help them grow their companies. This is a significant value as memberships at the Lincoln Road location begin at $220 a month.
 
"It is a specific way to support Miami locals who want to impact change but also may not have the resources to join the WeWork community otherwise," said Anna Prisse, WeWork's Miami community manager for Miami. 
 
In addition to the collaborative work space, the selected companies will receive:
 
 * Programming from partners such as Refresh Miami, South Florida's largest entrepreneur and tech meetup group, Mentor Day, a new initiative offering entrepreneurs mentorship sessions with experts in their needs; and AGP Miami, an active South Florida angel investor network;

 * A chance to participate in community Demo Day pitch competition and other events;

 * Mentorship and professional advice from members and industry experts;

 * Access to a global community of over 65,000 members through WeWork's mobile app for members;

 * Reduced rates on healthcare, payment processing, accounting/legal advice, and more offered by WeWork's global partners.

What's the catch? Give back.

"We ask that Mission Possible Members donate five hours per person to a nonprofit of their choice for each month that they are part of the program," Prisse said.

More info on the program and where to apply: we.co/missionpossiblemiami 

There is not a deadline for applications, as participants will be chosen on a rolling basis but applications are open so  "the sooner the better,"  Prisse said. There is not a specific number of participants WeWork is looking for. 

"We want the program to be inclusive, not exclusive. We are going to be selecting the members based on how much we can accomplish together during the time of the program," said Prisse. WeWork and the community partners have an outline of what they would like to accomplish but they will will evaluate the needs of each applicant  and tailor the program appropriately, she said.

Mission Possible was inspired by a WeWork program in  Brooklyn called "Take Your Business to New Heights" but will be unique to Miami, particularly because of the entrepreneurial partners involved, Prisse said.

"WeWork has been a valuable partner of Refresh Miami since they entered the South Florida market in 2015," said Brian Breslin, founder of Refresh Miami. “We're very excited to extend our partnership to now include the Mission Possible program. As an organization, providing our community with the tools and resources needed to build innovative businesses is our upmost priority." 

Part of a wave of co-working spaces rolling into South Florida, WeWork Lincoln Road opened last summer and is currently at 85 percent capacity, a WeWork spokesman said. The New York-based company recently opened its WeWork South of Fifth location. At least two more South Florida locations are on the runway: WeWork has recently leased four floors in Brickell City Centre and the entire Security Building in downtown Miami.

Founded by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey in New York City in 2010, WeWork is a privately held company with over 1400 employees. Worldwide, Wework has  65,000 members at more than 100 locations in 12 countries. "The mission of this program is aligned with our own mission where people work to make a life, not just a living," Prisse said.

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

 

August 30, 2016

WeWork to open in Brickell City Centre

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By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

WeWork, the fast-growing global co-working company, will be leasing four of the 12 floors at Two Brickell City Centre, one of the new massive urban development’s two office towers, Brickell City Centre’s developer Swire Properties confirmed Tuesday.

In total, WeWork @ Brickell will encompass 62,000 square feet in the tower, set to be complete by the end of the year. Details on the WeWork location and its timeline were not released. Like in its other locations, WeWork will offer its members access to private offices, dedicated desks, shared work spaces, conference rooms, kitchens, event spaces and other amenities.

“WeWork is the ideal partner for Brickell City Centre. Both share a long-term, global vision to redefine the blueprint of urban living and create a cultural shift toward a more accessible, shared and connected community,” said Gonazlo Cortabarria, senior vice president at Swire, in an email.

WeWork has been expanding rapidly in the Miami area and it’s part of a wave of new spaces for entrepreneurs opening in South Florida. The company entered the Miami market last summer with WeWork Lincoln Road. It opened its South of Fifth location, at 429 Lenox Ave., in July. The 54,000 square foot space can accommodate very large teams -- is even has an office for up to 66 -- and it includes a rooftop area for co-working and events.

WeWork recently leased the historic Security Building in downtown Miami, but the 100,000-square-foot space has not yet open. “We have no further details to share at this time,” said WeWork spokeswoman Hillary Klein. WeWork co-founder Miguel McKelvey has said five to seven locations are planned in South Florida over the next couple of years.

“We are a global business but we are also a local business. Our vision for Miami is bold and the upcoming space at Two Brickell City Centre, along with our current locations at Lincoln Road and South of Fifth, reflects our commitment to companies of all sizes who want a new way to work,” said Adam Wacenske, WeWork general manager for the Southern Region, in an email.

WeWork, founded in 2010, has raised $1.4 billion in financing and is currently valued at $16 billion. The has 65,000 members spread across more than 100 buildings in 30 cities around the world. WeWork recently began launching WeLive “co-living” spaces, with locations in New York and the Washington, D.C., area.

Brickell City Centre, a 5.4-million-square-foot mixed-use development with luxury condos, open-air retail, entertainment, office towers and a hotel, has been opening in stages.

August 17, 2016

Pipeline Workspaces opens Fort Lauderdale co-working location

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By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

 Pipeline Workspaces is on the move again.

Thea national shared workspace company that started in Miami opened its fifth U.S. location this month in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Pipeline occupies a floor at One Financial Plaza at 100 SE Third Ave., marking its entry into the Broward market and expanding Pipeline’s presence in South Florida. The 28-story office tower is one block off of Las Olas Boulevard and home to the popular dining spot Tower Club.

Pipeline Lauderdale is the company’s fourth location in South Florida; it previously opened in the Miami's Brickell neighborhood, Coral Gables and Doral. Part of a wave of co-working spaces opening around the Miami area, all the spaces offer sleek open co-working space, tech-enhanced conference rooms, phone booths, dedicated desks and private offices designed to foster productivity and collaboration.  Each space has a different theme or feel fitting with the neighborhood; Pipeline Lauderdale has a nautical theme, and it was designed by architecture firm Gensler and built by high-end interior specialists Amicon Construction. 

 “The opening of our Fort Lauderdale workspace is a natural next step in our growth strategy given the established and growing high-tech, legal and international business community in Downtown Fort Lauderdale,” said Todd Oretsky, who co-founded the company with Philippe Houdard, in a news release.  “Our goal is to create a business and social network that makes it possible for individuals in different stages of the business cycle to have access to each other’s talents and resources to build meaningful connections that will help them prosper.”

Pipeline also runs a Pipeline location in Philadelphia.

 

March 08, 2016

Construction underway at CIC Miami; Venture Cafe selects executive director

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Dynamic duo: Natalia Martinez Kalinina, left, leads CIC Miami; Leigh-Ann Buchanan leads Venture Cafe.

 

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@maimiherald.com

Construction and renovation are well underway at the new Cambridge Innovation Center in Miami, and the large new space for entrepreneurs aims to open fully this fall at the University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park. Meanwhile, the co-working center's nonprofit arm, called the Venture Café, is moving ahead with building out a full roster of community events at CIC Miami.

Leigh­-Ann Buchanan has been named executive director of Venture Café Miami. Although directing separate entities, she and Natalia Martinez-Kalinina, general manager of CIC Miami, are working in partnership to create a hub for innovation at the Overtown location.

Venture Café Miami will offer weekly networking and educational events as well as support programs for entrepreneurs, investors, students and innovation and educational organizations. “The success of CIC as a physical platform relies on our ability to converge the kinds of stakeholders, programming, and collisions that will turn Miami into a mature ecosystem. Venture Café Miami is a core piece of that puzzle,” said Martinez-Kalinina, who also founded the  Miami chapter of the Awesome Foundation and most recently was chief innovation and technology officer of Roots of Hope, a nonprofit.

With a thriving event scene already in Miami, Buchanan said a big focus of Venture Café will not be to reinvent the wheel but rather to amplify the impact of existing institutions, open the door for new players and increase collaborations. “Connecting innovators to make things happen ­ -- that is what is at the heart of Venture Café,” she said.

For instance, Venture Café will have weekly Thursday events called “The Gathering,” which will run from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at CIC Miami. It will include concurrent programming in various breakout rooms, often put on by South Florida organizations, as well be a place for networking and meeting new people, Buchanan said. That’s a cornerstone of all the Venture Cafes, which launched in Boston at District Hall, and now is also in St. Louis, Missouri and Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Gatherings at other locations have typically drawn 400-plus people, Buchanan said.

Typical programming might be an investor sharing knowledge with startups in one room, while an educational organization holds a session on coding in another while a new entrepreneurial organization introduces its services in still another. Buchanan has attended a Gathering in St. Louis and said one interesting detail is that nametags display the number of times the person has been to a gathering. That helps break the ice, particularly for newcomers. What the Gathering is not about – pitching your own business. In fact, that practice is intentionally banned so that real human connections are made, Buchanan said.

In recent years, Buchanan founded the International Human Factor Youth Leadership Program, designed to expose youth from underserved communities to social entrepreneurship and international cultural exchange and is a founding member of Get Linked Miami, which helps diverse youth acquire STEM­ based skills. In addition to other leadership affiliations, she is currently a member of the Executive Committee of Friends of the New World Symphony, and appointed Chair for the American Bar Association’s Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice.

 “Miami is already a beacon for entrepreneurs globally, but we still have room for significant growth. I am eager to advance our mission to facilitate greater connectivity within Miami's burgeoning innovation community, to catalyze new startup and investment activity, and to meaningfully engage diverse and underrepresented groups who historically have not been included in the innovation movement,” said Buchanan.

CIC Miami, which will have spaces and offices for entrepreneurs to work and collaborate, has already opened in a limited way as design and buildout gets underway; a full opening is planned for the fall, adding an additional 80,000 square feet. During a recent tour of the space, Martinez-Kalinina explained that the sixth floor will be an event space and hub for Venture Café, as well as offices.  There will also be redesigned public space, event and co-working space on the first floor and offices on the third, including the state-of-the-art wet labs that are already part of the facility. There are hopes to expand into the second building in the life science park when it is completed. Venture Café will begin its full slate of programming at CIC Miami in the fall but plans to have some events around town this summer.  

 “This is about thinking hyper­local but also hyper­global,” said Stas Gayshan, managing director at CIC. “Miami is a young, dynamic, and evolving city at the crossroads of the Americas. Our goal, and Venture Café’s mission, is to empower the local community of innovators, and weave it together with the global innovation ecosystem.”

Read more: CIC makes big bet on Miami

November 17, 2015

Büro Group opens Coconut Grove co-working center, its fourth location

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Miami-based Büro Group has opened its fourth co-working location, a 10,000-square-foot center in Coconut Grove, following openings in Midtown, South Beach and, most recently, MiMo.

Located above Harry’s Pizzeria, Kit and Ace and Panther Coffee in the recently renovated Engle Building, Büro Coconut Grove features a mix of private suites and open workspaces for entrepreneurs, freelancers and creative companies, with host of host of services and amenities including meeting and event spaces, monthly workshops and discounts at local restaurants.

“There is a new buzz in Coconut Grove these days and it’s really exciting for local residents and businesses. The addition of Büro should only accelerate this creative and retail resurgence, just as it did in Midtown and Sunset Harbour,” said Ray Fort, a designer at Arquitectonica and managing partner of the building housing Büro Coconut Grove.

Büro's growing community now includes over 750 members across 300 companies. In addition to local startups and creative firms, Büro is home to popular national brands such as Airbnb, Gilt Group, Postmates and Barry's Bootcamp. Over 30 companies have already moved into the new Coconut Grove space since its opening earlier this month, said Büro founder and CEO Michael Feinstein. For additional information: http://www.buromiami.com.

The new space is part of a wave of co-working centers opening in South Florida, particularly outside Miami’s urban core from Brickell to Midtown. Recently, TamboWorks opened in South Miami and Pipeline opened a space in Coral Gables.

October 21, 2015

WeWork co-founder reflects on Miami market, company vision

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Leigh Sevin of Zeel, an on-demand massage company, and Frederic Prisse of Labelium, a digital marketing agency, chat in a lounge area at the WeWork co-working center on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach. PATRICK FARRELL pfarrell@miamiherald.com


By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com / @ndahlberg

As WeWork officially celebrates the opening of its first South Florida location in Miami Beach, the New York-based co-working company has already put plans into motion for several more centers in the greater Miami area.

WeWork co-founder and Chief Creative Officer Miguel McKelvey got his first look at the completed space on Lincoln Road on Wednesday, when he flew into town for launch events. In an interview in one of the WeWork conference rooms, he expounded on the WeWork vision for South Florida and globally.

WeWork’s decision to open in Miami Beach came down to the “right time and right location,” McKelvey said. The 40,000-square-foot location spanning four floors above TD Bank at Lincoln Road and Washington Avenue began opening in stages in July and has more than 500 members, said community manager Anna Prisse. At capacity, it can hold about 750.

Miguel mckelvey of WeWork (1)While Miami Beach may be more synonymous with tourism than business, “we’ve attracted a really great membership who is very enthusiastic about being here,” said McKelvey (pictured here), who co-founded the company with CEO Adam Neumann. For the first location, with views of the ocean from the top floor, WeWork wanted a signature location: “We don’t always want to do the most obvious thing from a brand perspective.”

Once inside, the layout is purposeful and designed for interaction, said McKelvey, a serial entrepreneur with a background in architecture. For example, he said the reception area shares space with the common area — often used for community events — a coffee bar and work spaces. “When you walk in, you can’t help but run into something happening,” he said.

Each floor has its own common area and a variety of offices and communal work areas, phone booths and conference rooms, some with tables and others with lounges. Neon signs and local artwork adorn the walls. With a passionate entrepreneurial membership of startup entrepreneurs and small businesses, freelancers and service providers, the space itself needs to respond to that kind of passion, McKelvey said. “To me, building spaces that people feel good in is crucial to what we are doing.”

WeWork plans multiple locations in the Miami area – it’s part of a wave of new spaces opening in South Florida. WeWork recently leased the historic Security Building in downtown Miami, with plans to open it early next year. The next location will be nearly 100,000 square feet, almost 2 " v:shapes="_x0000_i1025">1/2 times the size of the Miami Beach center. And because WeWork has leased the entire building, expect more engagement at the street level, with a large entrance and cafe, McKelvey said. The narrow 16-story building, built in 1926 with high ceilings, also will allow for creativity in the layout, McKelvey said.

He said besides the SecurityBuilding, WeWork is currently in talks with two other Miami area locations and also is looking into a new construction opportunity. “This is just the start,” he said, reiterating that the longer term strategy is to have at least five to seven locations, including a possible second location in Miami Beach, because a network of locations is more valuable to members. With $1 billion in venture capital backing and a track record of opening locations, WeWork now has the profile developers desire, he said.

WeWork, founded in 2010, now has more than 25,000 members at 56 locations in 17 cities around the U.S. as well as Israel, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Its next big challenge is more international growth, including Latin America, McKelvey said. “Our motivation is to create cool spaces with cool energy; our motivation was never to grow as fast as we can.”

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October 12, 2015

Cambridge Innovation Center makes big bet on Miami tech

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

A vision of Miami as a technology hub is coming into focus.

The Cambridge Innovation Center is the latest high-profile startup-centric organization to bet big on Miami’s future. The company chose Miami as its second U.S. expansion location, and its center will eventually house more than 500 tech startup companies.

LSTPThe new center, modeled on its successful spaces in the Boston-Cambridge area that house and support startups, will be in the University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park in Overtown. Organizers aim to open in the fall of 2016; some of the space may open in the spring. Initially it will take up 70,000 square feet in offices, co-working and event space for entrepreneurs, but plans call for an expansion of at least another 50,000 square feet. The CIC team hopes that it will help anchor an innovation district that will serve all of Latin America.

“Miami is the Hong Kong of Latin America. I lived and worked in Hong Kong and it is a place that emerged as the focus point for an entire continent’s business. We think that Miami has that potential. It’s an amazing opportunity,” CIC founder and CEO Tim Rowe said in a phone interview. “We are trying to build the infrastructure in the cities that have the potential to make an impact on the world.”

That’s just what community leaders, including Knight Foundation Miami program director Matt Haggman and eMerge Americas founder Manny Medina, like to hear.

The well-known startup center joins a number of outside players that have begun to place bets on Miami, including the giant WeWork co-working chain, which recently opened a 40,000-square-foot space in Miami Beach and leased the entire 96,575-square-foot Security Building in downtown Miami with plans to open early next year. Silicon Valley’s 500 Startups brought one of its accelerator programs to Miami this fall, and last week Founder Institute announced it is launching startup programs in both Miami-Dade and Broward, joining existing accelerator programs such as Venture Hive. Talks to bring other organizations to the region are ongoing.

All are betting on the future. Miami is still in the early stages of becoming a true center of tech innovation. But numbers of startups are growing rapidly, along with the support system: the Knight Foundation has made 164 investments committing about $16 million in the last three years, funding programs ranging from the weekly “Waffle Wednesdays” to Miami Dade College’s extensive Idea Center. The second annual eMerge Americas conference doubled attendance of its inaugural year, attracting more than 10,000 people as well as international media attention fostered through by its partnership with NBCUniversal.

CIC’s Rowe and Stas Gayshan, managing director, visited Miami periodically for the past two years to study the area. It was an inaugural eMerge event, a hackathon held at the UM Life Science Park that attracted more than 150 techies to develop apps for social good, that helped Gayshan understand Miami’s potential.

“I remember being in that room and thinking this is an interesting slice of Miami that’s here on a weekend, not outside, but getting together thinking about what’s a better way to make the world a better, more interesting place,” said Gayshan, who served as a hackathon judge. For CIC, “That was a defining moment. Miami got it,” Rowe said.

For Rowe, a meeting at The LAB Miami, one of the original Miami entrepreneurial co-working centers, also helped crystallize the vision. “I walked in and thought ... this is exactly what I was hoping to see there, the energy, the sense of collaboration that we are growing something together, it’s all there.”

But beyond warm and fuzzy feelings, the life science park and surrounding area needed to meet CIC’s criteria. That included available space for the innovation district’s expansion well beyond CIC to create a district serving all of Latin America. The location needed to be central with links to universities, particularly those involved in the life sciences — that’s provided by the University of Miami’s programs in the life science park and the health district that surrounds it. The CIC would need to be close to an airport — check — and near future modes of public transport, such as the proposed All Aboard station and TriRail hub. The numbers worked, too: Miami has well under 200,000 square feet of existing startup spaces (such as The LAB Miami, WeWork and Venture Hive) while the Boston area has about 700,000.

Haggman, who has led the Knight Foundation’s efforts to support and propel Miami’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, visited CIC’s spaces in Boston and Cambridge over the summer and was impressed with the thriving environments for entrepreneurs. “But what I especially liked is seeing how they are such collaborative, community-focused leaders aiming to help build the broader startup ecosystem, too. Their leadership in not only creating a world-class co-working space, but also in continuing to grow and shape Miami’s young but rapidly evolving startup community, will be invaluable,” he said.

The nine-acre University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park, adjacent to the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is owned and operated by Wexford Science + Technology, a BioMed Realty company, and sits on UM-owned land. Wexford was an early adopter of the thesis that Miami could someday be a technology hub, opening the life science park in 2011. With CIC’s long-term lease, the park’s first phase is now 98 percent leased with more than 50 companies, said Bill Hunter, Wexford’s director of leasing.

“We see Miami as a true melting pot of innovation that is at the intersection of technology and the life sciences,” Hunter said. “It’s a big win for Wexford, the UM Life Science & Technology Park, and especially for Miami overall.”

CIC Miami plans to open officially in early fall 2016, with preliminary space becoming available and events commencing in spring/summer of 2016. CIC Miami will launch in Building 1 of the life science park, creating public space on the ground floor, co-working on the third floor and premium flexible office on the sixth floor. CIC will also be launching its nonprofit arm, the Venture Cafe Foundation, to run events and initiatives, collaborate with existing innovation organizations and run a public innovation space. In its other CIC centers, events and programs have typically included youth entrepreneurship programs, education fellowships, pitch events, regular Thursday meetups and a visiting investor program.

Natalia Martinez-Kalinina will be the general manager of CIC Miami. Martinez-Kalinina, a Harvard and Columbia graduate who attended high school in South Florida, returned in 2012 to serve as product strategist for Ultimate Software. Known as a community builder, she founded the Miami chapter of the Awesome Foundation and most recently has been chief innovation and technology officer of Roots of Hope, a nonprofit.

Natalia“I envision CIC becoming an engine and accelerator of innovation and technology in this city, a hub of collaboration, binding together a lot of entities that are siloed or dispersed. I imagine us as playing a role in deepening the ecosystem, including in the Overtown area, and creating a more well-versed investor community,” said Martinez-Kalinina, who is familiar with CIC from her time in Harvard and working in Boston after graduation. “One of the things that excites me most about CIC in Miami is the philosophy that CIC has about community impact and economic impact. They’ve proven their case in Boston, Cambridge and St. Louis.”

St. Louis was CIC’s first expansion outside the Boston area, opening one year ago in 120,000 square feet of space. “We just informed our landlord we need more space,” Rowe said. CIC also recently opened in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

CIC was founded in 1999 in Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as a place for Rowe and his MIT buddies to work on their startups, but the concept evolved. Rowe calls his model “an innovation concentrator.” CIC spaces are more than shared office space and not an incubator, though they may have incubators inside. Some founding teams move in and stay, growing to dozens or even more than a hundred employees. Today, CIC houses more than 1,000 companies in 500,000 square feet of office and co-working space across its locations. The densest concentration is in Cambridge, with about 750 startups, Rowe said.

“When you create an intense cluster ... it creates a beacon effect, as this large collection of companies becomes a destination,” Rowe said. “If you are making it more visible to the rest of the world, then more people will pay attention. That’s important because what you need is investors to come and start hunting there.”

When CIC opened in Cambridge, there was only one small venture fund in the area; now there are 15 funds with $7 billion under management, said Rowe, who is also a venture capitalist. “Miami is awash in cash, but how much is flowing into startups in Miami, creating jobs in Miami? Not much. There is an opportunity to link those resources together.”

High-profile companies started at CIC include marketing automation startup Hubspot, which employs more than 1,100 people and raised $125 million through its initial public offering in October 2014. Greatpoint Energy, a company revolutionizing the global energy industry, was founded at CIC; in 2012 it announced a $1.25 billion deal to build 34 nuclear reactors in China. Android co-founder Rich Miner built his portion of Google Android and established Google’s New England headquarters at CIC; Google now employs 800 people in the neighborhood.

CIC in Cambridge also has been a leader in supporting entrepreneurs in the life sciences and biotech areas. Positioned in the UM life science park, the Miami center has the potential to better connect the startup community with the the healthcare and life science industries.

“This will be a game changer,” said Norma Kenyon, chief innovation officer at the Miller School of Medicine who often works with startups at the life science park and UM’s medical school. “The high-collision environment created among innovators, investors and others will have a positive impact on the ability of the University of Miami and others to bring their ideas and inventions to market.”

Nancy Dahlberg: 305-376-3595, @ndahlberg

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