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Miami as new tech startup hub?

Miami as new tech startup hub?

Posted by Liliana Castaño on May 13, 2014

Silicon Valley need have no fear, but look out for the latest upstart to enter the tech arena: Miami.

A south Florida millionaire investor is seeking to turn the city into a science and technology startup hub with a focus on the Americas, leveraging the region's better-known assets - beach condos, low taxes and capital flight from all over Latin America - to attract a new generation of Hispanic entrepreneurs.

More than 5,000 people have been lured to a pitch this week by Manny Medina, attending a five-day tech conference he founded titled eMerge Americas. More than 150 speakers discussing everything from serial entrepreneurship in Latin America to groundbreaking medical technologies, organizers said.

Medina, who left Cuba in 1965, sold Miami-based info-tech company Terremark to Verizon in 2011 for $1.4 billion. He hopes the conference will boost the profile of the city's nascent startup scene and position it as a place for Latin American entrepreneurs looking to get a foothold in the United States.

"If you're a Latin American company and you go to Boston or New York, there's a prejudice," said Medina, who now heads his own private equity firm, Medina Capital. "In Miami you feel more at home, you have your same culture."

A long way from rivaling California's high-tech corridor, the "Silicon Beach" concept, as some have dubbed it, faces big challenges.

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