Miami, FL Startup Scene and Roots for Hope Hackathon

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Being that I am originally from Miami, I am ecstatic to see startup culture begin to spread to this historically non-tech city. And I’m not saying that the community is going to be the next silicon valley, however there may reasons why Miami could become a startup hub; primarily due to the Latin American influence, dominant Hispanic demographic, as well as the healthcare vertical. There are plenty of startups popping up in Latin America that could headquarter or have their U.S office in Miami. Miami is also known for it’s large retirement community and healthcare facilities. Healthtech is currently a hot space around which the market will see great innovation around moving forward.

A few weeks ago I met a gentleman by the name of Tony Jimenez who it turns out is a fellow Cuban-American living in San Francisco. Tony and I began to chat and he updated me on the growing startup culture in Miami, and mentioned specifically a hackathon that his non-profit Roots of Hope was hosting in Miami in late Jan 2014.

Over the past few years there have been startup workspaces popping up like The Lab, located in Miami’s art district of Wynwood, and Pipeline located in the downtown area of Brickell.

What’s even crazier to see is how the neighborhood around The Lab has been transformed over the past few years. When I was growing up Wynwood was known as being some of the most dangerous areas in Miami and now is blossoming as Miami’s art district.

Wynnwood

The photo on the left shows the typical outdoor art that Wynwood has become famous for. It was all started by real estate developer Tony Goldman. Tony commissioned artists to paint the walls of buildings in the area.

After a few designs went up, artists flooded the area claiming walls, and creating beautiful pieces of artwork. Artists have become famous for their pieces and the area feels like an outdoor gallery.

Now days, it feels like almost every wall is covered in street art and this has set the stage for an innovative, creative revolution in the neighborhood.

Check out these photos of the neighborhood and The Lab: 

Wynwwood

Wynwood 3

Wynwood 4

Wynwood 5

Today, Feb 1st, 2014 Tony’s non-profit hosted a hackathon at The Labs, geared at developing new ways for Cuban’s on the island to connect via legal technologies such as SMS, MMS, email, etc.

Roots of hope 2

Entry to The Labs during hackathon

Roots of Hope

Roots of Hope Volunteers

Roots of hope hackers 1

Roots of Hope Hackers

Roots of Hope Hackers 2

More Roots of Hope Hackers

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The Labs idea board

Roots of Hope Staff Natalie Martinez

Roots of Hope Chief Innovation Office Natalie Martinez and volunteer hacking away.

For more information on Roots of Hope initiatives or to get involved, check out there website.