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Nurturing an entrepreneurial ecosystem: Voices of the tech community

TechhubimageAs part of a look back -- and look ahead -- at community-wide efforts to build or accelerate a technology-entrepreneurial  ecosystem in South Florida, I asked a sampling of entrepreneurs, investors and service providers for their views with a variety of questions. I’ll put a sampling on this blog all week.

Find the main stories here: fundraising and progress/challenges

In coming days I will include comments on talent, fund-raising, progress, challenges and more. What's your view? Add your comment on this post or email me at ndahlberg@miamiherald.com. 

Today: If you could add one ingredient to the ecosystem right now, what would it be?

“1,000 rockstar developers. Seriously, we need a lot more tech talent here in S. Florida. I think the local mayors should give first class tickets for the world’s best CTO’s to come here for Art Basel. Once they experience what the rest of us know (and why we love it here) they will never leave.” - Barry Stamos, Videoo

“Investors with backgrounds in tech and B2B / Development - there are maybe 1-2 here locally but that's changing for the better.” - Michael McCord, LearnerNation

“It all starts with promising entrepreneurs who have great ideas and can execute on them.  When they emerge, the money follows, the developers gravitate to the companies, quality executives get hired, and successful companies grow.  Great cities know that they have to attract and retain extraordinary people and companies, making their presence a big deal, working hard to make them happy.  We have to do that because everyone benefits from their success.  The rest will follow.” - Philippe Houdard, Pipeline Brickell

“I think if we saw one or more world-class technology companies in the South Florida area have significant impact in a specific industry, it would spur innovation in other sectors. I think a great example of this is salesforce.com. They took on much larger incumbents in their industry, had a successful IPO, hired leading talent that has gone on tostart companies and drive innovation in other industries – we need that to drive our technology ecosystem and South Florida.” - Albert Santalo, CareCloud

“I would add two ingredients: more funding and more positive energy. There’s a vision of the future that some of our leaders see and others may just be opening up to. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez shares the vision and is committed to growing this industry. We have all theessential elements, the infrastructure, the universities and the innovators. The Beacon Council is ready to tell the world our story and to provide the groundwork to build a global innovation ecosystem.” - Larry K. Williams, Beacon Council

“A couple of VC funds who are more South Florida centric and signing Series A+ checks. I think that these sort of investors will allow us to keep growth companies in Miami instead of losing those companies going to places like NY or Silicon Valley.” - Marco Giberti, AGP

“A unified message.  The rest of the world understands the important part Miami plays in the world economy. Most of the US does not. Miami needs to be focused on explaining to other US cities what makes us integral to the flow of capital, talent, and information. That leads to mutually beneficial partnerships.” - Richard Schuchts, UM Life Science and Technology Park

“More diversity.” - Derick Pearson, Code Fever

“I would add a dash of optimism and a hint of evangelism. Ok, that’s two ingredients – but we first need to truly believe that we can become a tech hub, and then we need to tell the world.” - Dan Cane, Modernizing Medicine

“The one ingredient I would add to our ecosystem would be a coherent communications strategy, so that every great tech company in the region that succeeds can count on being known far and wide so that their successes help raise the game for all those still here trying to make it.” - Will Silverman, The Launch Pad at UM, Accredify

“A centralized resource hub to help anyone with entrepreneurial interest in South Florida navigate the entire tech eco-system.” - Andrew Quarrie, Jurnid

“High-caliber technical talent - we need to get computer engineering students to intern and apprentice under world-class technical people so they understand the difference between theory and practice in a high-growth global play.” - Susan Amat, Venture Hive

“A top-down road map that includes the allocation of financial resources, educational partnerships, knowledge sharing and facilities to increase the number of women and blacks in technology entrepreneurship.” - Christine Johnson, DiversiTech

“On a global scale, technology has become crucial to address the biggest social and environmental problems by, for example, leveraging solutions across the base of the pyramid (i.e. mobile based solutions, access to education through online platforms). It would be incredible to see in Miami all these newborn ventures considering the triple-bottom line and making a stronger push on social innovation. It wouldn’t be about creating technology for the sake of it, or even for the profit, it would be about addressing a need, creating a solution, and changing a pattern." - Maria Escorcia, Ashoka Miami

“Bring the cruise industry to the table.  Can you make the introduction to Micky Arison?” - Ricardo Weisz, NorthVest, Miami Innovation Fund

 “I’d like to see one story per week on the Starting Gate announcing a $1mm or higher funding round for a Miami-based company from a Miami-based lead investor.  Does that count as one ingredient?” - Bradley Liff, Fitting Room Social

 “Smart money: Miami needs successful people to commit their time to help companies strike deals, manage legal work, secure funds, offer advice, help companies overcome obstacles and accelerate their growth.” - Cory Hoffart, Hair Construction

Tune in each day this week for more responses on this topic and others. What's your view?