Mayor Francis Suarez: “I see Miami as a place that has no limitations”

The mayor of Miami tells us what makes South Beach a great destination for tech, how it compares to Austin and the best place for a cafecito.


January 14, 2021

On December 4th, investor Delian Asparouhov tweeted “ok guys hear me out, what if we move silicon valley to miami”. 

Miami’s Mayor Francis Suarez crafted a reply heard around the tech world: “How can I help?”. Many founders mock that phrase as an investor cliche that often does not come through.

But in the weeks since, Suarez has been on a tireless mission to attract talents of all types to South Beach.Our Alex Garcia — a Miami native (LETS GO!) — recently spoke with the Mayor about Miami’s tech opportunity:

***

On Dec, 5th you sent out at Tweet that quickly turned Miami into a startup hotspot. What has changed in the last month?

When you have Jack Dorsey DMing you, when you have Peter Thiel reaching out to get lunch, Dave Portnoy in City Hall doing a #cafecitotalk, the Winklevoss Twins, then you can see things have changed a little bit.

Right now, we have a moment that we’re trying to turn into a movement.

What’s special is that it’s not just VCs, angel investors, and founders from SV.

It’s also private equity and hedge funds from NY coming together.

This combined could be a huge differentiator for us.

What’s industries is Miami trying to attract?

I think Healthcare, biotech, fintech, government tech, climate related tech, but I see Miami as a place that has no limitations.

I don’t think we have to pigeon hole ourselves into that.

What’s interesting about Tech is that it’s really a subcomponent of every industry.

As it its own industry, Tech revolutionizes every industry as it becomes its own industry.

What’s the pitch when trying to convince someone to pick Miami or Austin?

I don’t think it’s a very difficult sell but for starters, Miami is an international city.

So if you’re trying to build a global company, this is one area where Miami would stand out. The entertainment, culture, and quality of life in Miami has changed drastically [for the positive] in the last 10 years.

One of the main things we’re trying to do is to prevent people from ever leaving or getting people to come back, knowing that they have the recourse around them to make it.

How has your social media strategy changed?

I used to see social media as a toxic place before that tweet.

And so I rarely would even tweet But what I found that was super refreshing is that the people in the tech scene are very positive.

I didn’t even realize what I was doing at first, but once I got an understanding I knew I had to capitalize on this and it quickly turned into a positive feedback loop.

This tech community is shocked by someone who wants to help them, help facilitate the growth of business, who wants to invite doers, innovators, and creators to their city.

The more I lean into this the more positivity comes with it.

What’s the main goal for Miami in 2021?

We have a set of 10 people that are here.

5 are all in and are going to help build an ecosystem here.

But then we have the other 5 people who are dipping their toes in the water, so my job is to create the infrastructure to get those 5 people to commit all the way.

This was it can build itself.

Most importantly, where is the best place to get a cafecito?

Miami city hall.

You’re getting the best cuban coffee and exposure.

What person gets to come get a coffee and basically have a press conference when getting their coffee.

It’s the best.

***

Author’s Note: I’m personally think the best cafecito is from La Carreta, but will happily take the Mayor up on his offer.

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