Julian Castro, the U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development, will be a keynote speaker at eMerge Americas, the South Florida technology conference taking place May 1-5. Castro will deliver his address during the main conference May 4 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Castro, who joined President Barack Obama’s Cabinet last summer, gained national attention in 2012 when he was the first Hispanic to deliver the keynote address at a Democratic National Convention. The 40-year-old former mayor of San Antonio — who was in his third term when he got the Cabinet post — has been mentioned as a potential running mate for Democrat Hillary Clinton, who has not yet announced her presidential candidacy.
Castro’s “vision and success in positioning San Antonio as a leader in the new energy economy and now as the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development makes him an ideal speaker for our eMerge Americas attendees,” said Manuel D. Medina, managing partner of Medina Capital and founder of eMerge Americas.
Now in its second year, eMerge Americas’ goal is to attract 10,000 attendees. Other keynote speakers include author Deepak Chopra; Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square and LaunchCode; and entertainer Armando Christian Perez, also known as Pitbull.
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In addition, eMerge will include eGov Government Innovation Summit, a two-day private event for dignitaries from around the Americas and Europe, and a Startup Showcase involving about 100 early-stage companies, which includes a one-day bootcamp and a pitch contest with a prize pool of $150,000. There will also be country pavilions and a Women, Innovation & Technology summit, as well as a fashion show, a STEM tech showcase, a hackathon and networking.
Last week, NBCUniversal announced a group of programs that will be filmed at eMerge Americas.
Medina said eMerge also needs to be fun, so a number of parties and other surprises are planned. Music-tech entrepreneur Derrick Ashong, also known as DNA, said that his startup Amp will be announcing the winner of its Take Back the Mic: the World Cup of HipHop, a contest to find the next hip-hop star, at eMerge Americas.
Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.