Next year, Venture Hive will be adding a Knowledge Partners program with 10 hand-picked corporate partners from a range of industries and specialties. Venture Hive will also be continuing its incubator, which accepts companies from all industries. As of now, about 100 entrepreneurs from 28 companies call the 35,000-square-foot Venture Hive home; about a third of the teams are from Latin America. Amat expects to host about 50 companies in about four months.
Amat is also talking to universities both locally and abroad and will be announcing some international partnerships in the coming months.
“Venture Hive is really about full ecosystem development,” said Amat. “Everything we do here is really about changing lives.”
The eMerge Americas conference is just one part of the vision of the Technology Foundation of the Americas, the nonprofit started by tech entrepreneur Manny Medina earlier this year to help accelerate the tech hub movement in South Florida.
“There is this transformation, this wave going on ... What I want to do is get Miami in front of this wave,” said Medina at a recent tech talk at Pipeline Brickell.
Medina says he wants South Florida to take advantage of one of its greatest assets — as the gateway to Latin America — and eventually be the technology hub of the Americas. The first step in the battle is to put on a great conference that shines a light on everything going on here. eMerge Americas is scheduled for May 4-6 at Miami Beach Convention Center, and organizers hope for attendance of 5,000 or more.
Medina and Diane Sanchez, CEO of the Foundation, say many more details about the conference will be coming out over the next couple of months. But they have said dozens of tech giants — including Cisco, Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and Univision — have expressed interest in participating, and already Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, Guatemala, Colombia and Chile are committed. The team also has been working with Latin American organizations, including 21212 in Brazil, 500 Startups and Angel Ventures in Mexico, INNpulsa in Colombia and Start Up Chile, to showcase the “best and brightest” emerging companies from the region, Sanchez said recently from Bogota, where she was meeting with companies.
Most important, the conference will be a showcase for South Florida’s tech corridor — one that embraces Latin America but also encompasses all three counties and their many assets. “Our strength is tri-county. We’ll be showcasing 40 or more local emerging growth companies, many will be from Broward and Palm Beach. The idea is to bring VC interest to invest in these companies. This is bigger than we are,” said Sanchez.
There will be pavilions with themes like healthcare, smart cities and media and entertainment. Through the efforts of the TFA, local industry advisory groups have formed to help guide the conference and the greater tech hub movement. “What we are finding is that the stakeholders are rallying behind creating centers of excellence. No one wants to be left out. That’s a great problem to have,” said Sanchez, using the example of the recent HealthTech Showcase at the UM Life Science & Technology Park as an example of public-private partnership success. The TFA is also partnering with the South Florida Technology Alliance on some initiatives.