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Voices of the tech community: Part 2

Tech eggAs 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 throughout the week.

Find the main stories here: fundraising and progress/challengesSee Part 1 here.

 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's questions:

What will it take to develop a stronger investor network here?

"As leaders within Miami’s technology ecosystem, it’s important that we come together and focus on the strengths of the community to help showcase to investors the growth and potential that is coming out of our region. There is a solid base here, and it’s a matter of us going out and telling this story to investors and influencers, allowing them to experience the benefits, especially those seeking to tap Latin America’s expanding technology market.' - Nabyl Charania, Rokk3r Labs

"More good companies. The more startup founders focus on building businesses that create real value with solid metrics, the more investors will come. At the end of the day, investors want to see returns and invest in scalable startups that generate revenue in a large enough market. ​In my opinion, this could mean going less for 'cool & sexy' consumer startups and more for b2b startups that provide real value for businesses in a very specific market and charging for a portion of the value generated. Good examples are Modernizing Medicine, Carecloud, Everypost, Kipu, Choose Digital and Learner Nation to name a few." - Ivan Rapin Smith, Idealy

"Miami needs 3-5 venture capital firms that do A and B rounds to bridge the funding gap between local angel and seed investors and the later money available from the major markets such as New York and Atlanta." – Robert Hacker, GH Capital

"More deals and more high net worth individuals and families making venture a part of thier overall investment portfolio." - Ed Boland, Scout Ventures

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

"I think the city should embrace the tech commununity and create an online space that helps foster this growth by showcasing local tech startups and connect these companies to potential job candidates that are looking to relocate to Miami. Minneapolis has a great site, MinneADpolis.com, where they promote the advertising community by featuring their work and bios of firms across the city. It would be great to have the city of Miami promote the local tech community." - Adam Boalt, LiveAnswer 

"We need to ensure greater inclusion of opportunities for disenfranchised and impoverished communities.  They purchase goods and services as well and deserve opportunities to reach their fullest potential and to build wealth." - Marlon Hill, delancyhill

"Cooperation and collaboration between tech organizations, the education community, and the tech ecosystem to establish a common set of goals and measure the effectiveness and progress.  There are many initiatives and much excitement in South Florida.  Let's take it to the next level." – Lenny Chesal, Host.net, SFTA 

"A prestigious accelerator program associated with Techstars or Y Combinator." - Darren Atinsky, WedWu  

"Strong public sector support and engagement at the state, regional and local level. We need targeted investments to transition our economy to a knowledge economy and take advantage of the corporate base that we have in Miami that is actively supporting Miami as a Tech Hub." - Diane Sanchez, Americas Council for the Creative Economy 

"I would love to see more tech leaders and startup entrepreneurs from other parts of the country and world visiting us and speaking at events. This benefits us not only through their thought leadership, education, and contacts, but also because they become our best ambassadors when they return home and talk about South Florida's tech scene. - Alex de Carvalho, FIU Knight Innovator in Residence

"Although funding is always on top of every entrepreneur's mind, in every interview we have conducted via Our City Thoughts and even from my personal experience, meaningful mentoring is the most important piece missing. Meaningful mentoring equates to smart navigation for a startup, is what I think will help this ecosystem blossom." – Binsen Gonzalez, Our City Thoughts  

"I wish there was more around building a solid business vs just the 'start up hype.' I'm concerned that with one downturn in the market, the startup landscape could change significantly and quickly. There is a lot of talk of raising funds, building apps and exits but less around solid business practices." – Eric Dosal, BrightGauge 

"A major operations center for one of the world's most important technology companies. That kind of a move would elevate our global profile as a technology hub, help stimulate hundreds of employment opportunities, attract other companies to make a similar move, and increase the economic impact of the technology sector in Miami all at the same time." -Manny Medina, eMerge Americas, Medina Capital

 "We REALLY need more coders." - Jeff Brown, Palm Beach Angels

Posted Oct. 6. 2014