Tech groups with specialized appeal take root

In perhaps another sign of a maturing tech community, industry-specific technology networking groups and programs have been putting down stakes in South Florida.

While Miami is not exactly synonymous with clean technology (yet, anyway), the Cleantech Open expanded and rebranded its Southeast regional program, and considers the Magic City one of its regional hubs. Kicking off its accelerator and business competition for 2013 late last month at the UM Life Science & Technology Park, Joshua Greene, co-founder and regional director of Cleantech Open Southeast region said Miami’s connections with the Caribbean and Latin America make it a natural regional hub city and added that Miami is growing an exciting ecosystem “we would like to be a part of.”

ProjectLift Miami, a new healthcare accelerator that will be located at the University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park, is closing in on selecting its first class and has been hosting events. One recent one was the ImpactObesity hackathon that brought doctors and researchers from the University of Miami together with hackers to come up with solutions for the obesity crisis in South Florida communities. Some of the teams are pursuing their projects at the park.

Same idea, different industry: On May 10-11 at Pipeline, several groups are coming together to hold Legal Hackathon Miami, calling for the brightest minds from law and technology to develop applications that benefit the legal profession. Technology in the legal sector has needlessly lagged behind other industries, the organizers say, and the hackathon will give development teams access to top attorneys to brainstorm concepts and ideas as they design these valuable applications. Find out more here:

And some established groups are looking south too, including LST (Life Science & Technology) HUB, a non-profit networking group for the life sciences and technology industries. The two-year-old organization, which often draws 50-100 people to its monthly Palm Beach Gardens events, has expanded its reach, holding its first event last week in Miami and plans to continue meeting at Gordon Biersch on Brickell the first Tuesday of every month. It’s a welcoming group, said founder Michael Gregson at the event. “We look for people to help people.”

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