Sime MIA announces conference dates, focus on big data, fintech

Ola Ahlvarsson is the host of SIME MIA, a tech conference with some only in Miami twists.
Ola Ahlvarsson is the host of SIME MIA, a tech conference with some only in Miami twists. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Sime MIA, the conference that has explored technology trends by bringing in speakers from Singularity University, Hollywood and the Oslo Freedom Forum, is returning to Miami Beach for a third year with an expanded format focusing on big data and fintech.

MIA Collective, an organization that produces digital business and technology events in Miami, announced Sime MIA will be Dec. 1 and 2, leading up to Art Basel, and that it now has an equity partnership with Miami-based Rokk3r Labs, a Miami Beach cobuilding company. Sime MIA 2015, which is a joint-venture between MIA Collective and Stockholm-based Sime, will seek to develop more events in 2016, in addition to the already established Sime MIA and MIA Music Summit.

The main event will be Dec. 1 at the New World Center in Miami Beach and will be called Sime MIA | Converge. At Converge, Ola Ahlvarsson, founder and host of Sime, Northern Europe’s largest conference about the Internet and digital opportunities, will take the audience of 700 people through a journey into the latest tech and media trends shaping the future. On the second day, there will be custom designed half-day “summits” that will dig deep into the themes of fintech and big data. As in the previous two years, Sime MIA 2015 is supported by the Knight Foundation.

“It’s a very unique event. I remember people crying when Yeonmi Park of North Korea [who defected as a teen] spoke. It was a very eye-opening and inspiring but we felt we needed to add a tangible business angle. Now with the very business-focused summits on the second day, we can even go a little more crazy on day one with speakers and themes that are surprising,” said Demian Bellumio, co-founder of MIA Collective. That would be a high bar: In addition to Park, brought by the Freedom Forum, previous years’ speakers and themes have included futurist Salim Ismael of Singularity; the screenwriter of Crash and Million Dollar Baby; a Jordanian comic book writer and gamer using the power of his mediums to fight extremism; and live “biohacking” on stage. Bellumio said 2015 speakers will be announced in coming months.

Each of the half-day summits – fintech and big data – will have a co-host, a company globally recognized in the field that will work with the MIA Collective on the agenda, which will include keynotes, workshops and plenty of networking time. The summits will take place at The LAB Miami in Wynwood. More themes may be added on a third day, Bellumio said.

Rokk3r Labs will apply its cobuilding methodology to help MIA Collective strengthen its marketing and sales capabilities in order to scale its strategy and operations to support more events.

“We felt that this was the right fit with people who had the right vision and wanted to raise the caliber of events that are happening in Miami with focus and flair,” said Nabyl Charania, CEO of Rokk3r Labs. “Given the growing success of the last two years, we thought bringing our team into the mix would provide the team and resources to formalize the operations and help grow the Collective and Sime to be bigger and better.”

Bellumio said the MIA Collective plans to bring back and elevate the MIA Music Summit during the week of the Winter Music Conference and create or bring in additional events in 2016.

Tickets for Sime MIA | Converge are $499 and each individual summit is $299, but early-bird pricing is $299 and $149, respectively, at

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