Linking venture capitals with tech entrepreneurs

Marc Billings, president of Digiport, describes the annual TED events in California as sort of a "mecca'' for West Coasters, so he hopes that hosting an event here will bring a similar shine to Miami's tech community.

TedX Brickell, which began Thursday evening, features Silicon Valley executives from IBM, Digg and Intel Capital. It's being paired with Miami Startup Weekend, where the executives will be on hand to offer their expertise to anyone who wants it.

Digiport's offices in downtown Miami will host Miami Startup Weekend events beginning on Saturday.

The idea is to help create a culture of colloboration and to match up venture capitalists with entrepreneurs.

"We have great, smart guys that just need a little bit of capital and some mentoring," said Eric Oetjen, interm director of Incubate Miami, which helps entrepeneurs translate concepts into businesses.

While the vast majority of venture capital money is devoted to businesses in California, just under than 1 percent of venture capital money comes to Florida, on par with West Virginia, Billings said.

Startup Weekend isn't just limited to the tech community, organizers said, encouraging anyone with an idea for an iPhone application or other tech ventures to come out.

"Someone can walk in and say ‘Hey, I'm a lawyer but I have an idea, I'm a soccer mom but I have a great idea, I work at a corner store but I have a great idea," Oetjen said.

For more information about Miami startup weekend, visit