If you think the next week is all about art, you may be surprised to learn there are also six entrepreneurship events vying for your time.
And that is all by design.
In much the way that Art Basel helped put Miami’s arts community on the international map, organizers of the first Innovate MIA hope their weeklong grouping of events will shine a light on the city’s growing tech startup community and its position as the gateway to Latin America.
Many of the events — ending with Florida International University’s Americas Venture Capital Conference — are after Art Basel. That’s also why the third annual AVCC was moved to Dec. 13-14 from its previous mid-November dates.
“Our message is come for Art Basel, and stay for AVCC,” said Juan Pablo Cappello, a lawyer, entrepreneur and investor who is on the steering committee of the venture capital conference and several other Innovate MIA events. And all week, there will be plenty of opportunities for Miami’s entrepreneurs, creatives and investors to mingle with their counterparts from all over the Americas and beyond.
In addition to the AVCC, there’s Incubate Miami’s DemoDay, where its class of startups present their companies, the martial arts-inspired TekFight and HackDay, which dangles a $50,000 cash prize. Endeavor, the global nonprofit that promotes high-impact entrepreneurship in emerging economies, is bringing its two-day International Selection Panel to Miami, and Wayra, an international accelerator, is holding a one-day event to showcase its promising startups from Latin America and Spain. It’s all part of Innovate MIA week: “I don’t think anything like it has ever been organized here in South Florida,” Cappello said.
The AVCC will be the big draw, with about 300 people expected to attend the two-day event at the JW Marriott Brickell. The conference, themed “Data, Design & Dollars,” will feature thought leaders from all over the world, particularly Latin America, and presentations by 29 selected companies. This year, the format has been overhauled and energized, with lots of short talks and more time for question-and-answer sessions and networking, said Jerry Haar, associate dean of FIU’s College of Business, director of the Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center and AVCC co-chair.
The AVCC’s 36 speakers include Martin Varsavsky, Argentine tech entrepreneur, investor and founder of Viatel, Ya.com, Jazztel and FON; Hernan J. Kazah, co-founder and managing partner at Kaszek Ventures and co-founder of Mercadolibre; and Jason L. Baptiste, CEO and co-founder of Onswipe. There’s also Michael Jackson, former COO of Skype and now a venture capitalist; Albert Santalo, founder and CEO of Miami-based CareCloud; and Bedy Yang of 500 Startups.
Chosen from more than 100 applicants, the 29 presenting companies hailing from all over the Americas will be giving either two-minute or five-minute pitches, fielding questions from a panel of judges and competing for prize packages valued at about $50,000. Eight of the startups are from South Florida: itMD, Kairos, Trapezoid Digital Security, Esenem, LiveNinja, OnTrade, Rokk3r Labs and Zavee.
The presenting companies have “proven innovation, proven management teams and the ability to scale well and be a pan-regional player,” said Faquiry Diaz Cala, president of Tres Mares Group and co-chair of AVCC. “The word is out this is a great place to come and pitch to great investors in addition to potentially being one of the prize winners.”