‘Start-up City: Miami’ Coming in February

Richard Florida, an urban affairs expert and author of Rise of the Creative Class is curating and organizing a one-day conference called Start-up City: Miami on Feb. 13.

Richard Florida. Photo by Emily Michot, Miami Herald Staff

Richard Florida at Panther Coffee, Wynwood. Photo by Emily Michot, Miami Herald Staff

Local efforts to accelerate an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Miami got a big lift last week when Endeavor, the global nonprofit that selects, mentors and supports high-impact entrepreneurs, announced it is setting up its first U.S. affiliate in Miami.

What Endeavor will bring is an important layer to the ecosystem because the organization focuses on early-stage companies that already have significant revenues (typically $500,000 to $15 million) and are at an “inflexion point” — they are ready to scale in a big way, Linda Rottenberg, the CEO and co-founder of Endeavor, told me. There are a lot of services for startups but not so many for this stage of company, she says.

Endeavor may ultimately help fill another need in building and sustaining an entrepreneurial hub: more success stories to shine brightly on Miami.

“We’ve got to find two or three or four companies and help turn them into massive successes so we can tell the rest of the world we can get it done here,” Peter Kellner, the co-founder of Endeavor who is now living in South Florida, told me. “The credit goes to Knight Foundation [which is investing $2 million to help bring Endeavor here] and the wonderful people in Miami who are committed to making it happen. We have a lot going for us — if we can’t make it happen, shame on us.”

Also helping in community-building: Atlantic magazine and Richard Florida, the author, urban affairs expert and a part-time South Florida resident, announced they are bringing a one-day conference called Start-up City: Miami to Miami Beach on Feb. 13 to explore how to build a tech hub here, building on the area’s success with the arts and urbanization. With nationally known experts like Tony Hsieh of Zappos, Steve Case of Startup America and Brad Feld, who wrote the book on building startup communities, as well as a dozen or so local leaders such as Manny Medina, Adriana Cisneros, Matt Haggman and Susan Amat, it is sure to be a thought-provoking day.

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