The startup scene brings to mind images of dudes in Silicon Valley wearing Patagonia vests, driving Teslas, and talking crypto. However, Miami is changing that stereotype as the U.S.’s new startup and technology hub. With year-round summer, no state income tax, and brilliant minds leading the charge, is this boom temporary? Or does Miami have staying power?
It started with a billboard in San Francisco. Resembling a tweet, Miami mayor, Francis Suarez asks the city, “Thinking about moving to Miami? DM me.” With the majority of tech companies adapting to remote work and downsizing their expensive office spaces, many are moving out. And, according to a study by the California Policy Lab, net domestic exits from SF “have increased 178% compared to pre-pandemic trends. With a 9% increase in departures and a 21% decrease in entrances in the last three-quarters of 2020 relative to the same period in 2019.”
In fact, this isn’t Mayor Suarez’s first interaction with the tech world.
Earlier this year, he appointed a VC-in-Residence with the goal of “support[ing] Miami’s founders, investors and community leaders.” Suarez also personally invests in cryptocurrency and has supported paying employees with Bitcoin. Florida has welcomed many high-profile techies this year, too. Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, billionaire activist/investor Carl Icahn’s Icahn Enterprises, and Blackstone, which is opening an office in downtown Miami.
And it’s not just the local mayor luring people in from the west coast. In addition, Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s notoriously lax response to COVID-19 drove many New York-based entrepreneurs south. In the Sunshine State, they take advantage of open restaurants, warm weather, and a bounty of golf courses.
Above all, these pandemic moves redistribute coveted tech workers across the country after being so heavily concentrated in just a handful of cities for years. According to LinkedIn data, more workers in the software and IT services sectors moved into Miami, Houston, Dallas, L.A., and Denver between March 2020 and February 2021 than in the previous year. Meanwhile, more left San Francisco, New York, Seattle, and Boston. Consequently, this is great news for smaller to midsize cities and is expected to help spread wealth, job opportunities, and startup creation.
However, many concerns and uncertainties remain:
- Regulations: Firstly, financial regulators could step in if they decide Miami’s experimental investing practices are “too volatile.”
- The IRS: At the same time, government employees could also face a complicated tax bill with part of their paychecks in Bitcoin. Digital assets are usually converted into U.S. dollars first.
- Crypto’s staying power: Just last week, Bitcoin prices spiraled down more than 50% from its April peak, amid another bout of turbulence in the digital asset sector.
- Community stress: It’s unclear how Miami’s schools and real estate market could adapt to an influx of new residents.
- Weather: Furthermore, many of these new startup founders and entrepreneurs haven’t experienced a south Florida summer yet. We’ll see how many stick around after six months of humidity, mosquitoes, and thunderstorms.
The next year, specifically the next few months, will tell what’s coming for Miami’s new startup and technology hub. As well as whether young professionals will continue to leave their coastal elite bubbles to explore the rest of the U.S.
Bonus: Top Miami advertisers and advertising agencies, per Winmo, by media spend and client media spend.
- Telemundo Communications Group Inc.
- Burger King
- TracFone Wireless
- Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (turns out they’re not based in Louisiana…)
- ADT Security Services
- Sandals Resorts
- Yahoo! en Español
- Royal Caribbean Cruises
- Bacardi USA
- Carnival Corporation
- the community
- Zimmerman Advertising
- Loud and Live
- Marca Miami
- Team Enterprises
- Conill Advertising