Happy Monday! 💃 Here's what everyone was talking about last week...
Tech entrepreneurs are leaving Silicon Valley and heading to Miami, where temperatures are high and taxes are low
Silicon Valley is no longer the essential hub it once was, and a new generation of technologists are shirking off yesterday's baggage and taking advantage of new opportunities to be inventive.
Many are headed towards the 'Magic City' of Miami.
There are lots of reasons why Miami could be called 'the Magic City'. Wikipedia suggests that the name "came from its rapid growth, which was noticed by winter visitors who remarked that the city grew so much from one year to the next that it was like magic." But according to Miami historian Dr. Paul George, it was coined by writer E.V. Blackman who was instructed to write a "strong, positive story" about Miami to attract northerners to the southern city. Blackman took inspiration from Birmingham, Alabama’s nickname of “The Magic City of the South."
Last week, a 2020 Migration Trends study by U-Haul ranked 50 states by migration growth. Tennessee, Texas, and Florida took the first, second, and third spots respectively.
Aside from high temperatures and low taxes, it appears that one of the most significant driving forces behind the influx is Miami Mayor, Francis Suarez, who has been working to "make Miami a centre for innovation and talent.".
"Miami wants to attract the country’s brightest, most driven minds to build their careers here and add to our vibrant community and robust economy," Suarez said in December.
So, we've compiled a list of some of the most prominent figures in the tech industry that are headed over to Miami. 👇
The Blackstone Group, the world's largest private equity firm
Back in October, Blackstone, the world's largest private equity firm, built a tech office in Miami.
Blackstone's chief technology officer (CTO), John Stecher, joined Blackstone in February after working as CTO at Barclays. He said the location was chosen as a result of its talent pool, lifestyle, and proximity to New York.
"The ability to recruit and retain this kind of top-level tech talent was the top priority for Blackstone as they explored potential sites for their advanced FinTech center,” Stecher told Miami Herald. “As a global city with a strong base of highly qualified Tech talent, Miami enjoyed a distinct competitive advantage.“
The decision will create approximately 200 new tech jobs in the area, and staff are expected to move into the new office this summer.
David Blumberg, Founder, Managing Partner, Blumberg Capital
Early-stage venture capital investor, David Blumberg, who founded and manages Blumberg Capital, has also recently relocated to Miami.
According to the San Francisco Business Times, Blumberg wrote:
“Big news, bittersweet news, but for the best. As of last night, we have moved out of California, and are now happier residents of southern Florida. Poor governance at the local level in San Francisco and statewide in California has driven us away.
"We recognize the amazing and unique natural gifts that G-d and geology bestowed on California, but enough is enough.
"We certainly hope and pray that California will take action to remedy the disastrous self-inflicted political situation and restore its former luster and quality of life, but for now we are voting with our feet.”
Matteo Franceschetti, CEO, Eight Sleep
Franceschetti is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and advisor. He is the founder of Eight, a sleep fitness company that produces smart mattresses.
In December, Eight announced it was partnering with Miami mayor, Francis Suarez, to "bring better sleep to Miami" and encourage more tech entrepreneurs to relocate.
Harry Hurst, Founder and co-CEO, Pipe
Pipe is a new kind of marketplace that enables entrepreneurs to grow their business on their terms. Hurst, who was living in Los Angeles, and co-CEO, Michal Cieplinski, decided to relocate to Miami in August, and moved in September. In October, they opened the startup's first microhub in Wynwood.
"Microhubs offer the flexibility of working from home with the ability to still interact with your team in an office. For smaller groups, meeting in public places like coffee shops might work; but with larger groups, and especially during a pandemic, investing in an office space that can be kept clean and socially distanced may be well worth it." Hurst wrote in Forbes back in December.
Alexis Ohanian, Co-Founder, Reddit, Initialized Capital
Alexis Ohanian is an internet entrepreneur best known for co-founding Reddit. He also co-founded early-stage venture capital firm Initialized Capital, and was a partner at Y Combinator.
Ohanian resigned from the board of Reddit amid the BLM protests in June 2020 and asked to be replaced by a Black candidate in protest. He has since been working on building a venture firm, called SEVEN SEVEN SIX -- which describes itself as 'a reminder to make great advancements but not to repeat great mistakes' -- from the ground up.
“There needs to be — and there is not yet – a story around Florida Tech," Ohanian said in an interview back in December 2019 when asked about the tech scene in Florida. “An unfair advantage of this city is around healthcare, the fact that 10,000 boomers a day are retiring,"
Keith Rabois, General Partner, Founders Fund
Rabois is an early executive at companies including Square, LinkedIn, Yelp, and PayPal.
In November, he revealed that he would be moving to Miami. “I think San Francisco is just so massively improperly run and managed that it’s impossible to stay here,” he told Fortune.
More recently, in an interview earlier this month, Antonio García Martínez asked Rabois if he could really "see startups blooming" in Miami.
"I think there's a lot of healthcare innovation here, which I actually like, I like to fund healthcare. So that alone might be an area where I can double down without any complete transformation of Miami," Rabois said.
"I think building engineering culture will be harder. I’m less convinced though we need a massive engineering culture here in the short term. I do think you can get designers to want to be here. This is a much better place for designers.
"The sense of art, style, and design here is so much better than Silicon Valley. It's why I wanted to move here personally, as it’s something that's important to me. And there's none of it in the Bay Area. So I’m pretty excited about that. And if you can get designers here, you can certainly build iconic companies like Airbnb or Square, which are more design driven than engineering driven."
Edward Lando, Co-Founder, Goody, Pareto Holdings
Lando left France for the United States ten years ago for college. Since then, he has been very curious to explore American cities and has lived in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Charleston, New York, and Savannah.
Now, he's in Miami.
"I love New York but don't like the way the city is run right now. It is obvious that it is mismanaged and it's painful to watch. Miami is much more open to business at the moment," said Lando. "I also like to look for great people where fewer people are looking. Everyone is looking in SF and NY. Almost no one here. I think there are a lot of talented people here who could be great additions to the companies I work with."
Remote work was always going to be the future of Silicon Valley -- and now it's here
Despite their best efforts, no city has ever been able to replicate the success of Silicon Valley. At this point, it's unlikely that anywhere ever will -- not even the Magic City.
Already, some of the biggest tech companies, including Twitter, Square and Slack, have given employees the option to work from home indefinitely.
And while it's still unknown which trends will continue once the vaccine becomes more widely available, one thing is for certain: it no longer matters whether you're in Miami or Silicon Valley. Remote working has never been so accessible.