- The Knight Foundation announced more than $1 million in funding to spur innovation in Miami and accelerate the development of a startup culture.
- Nine projects will receive portions of the funding to build deeper connections between local startup founders, investors and high-potential talent. The funding recipients are the University of Miami, Venture for America, The Venture Mentoring Team, eMerge Americas, Just Dinner, Creators Council, American Jewish Committee, Las Olas VC and Miami Angels.
- In a blog post, the Knight Foundation said this funding stemmed from a months-long survey and research that uncovered a significant finding: The most fruitful startup communities are those where founders, investors and talent are strongly connected to each other and supported by the greater community.
The Miami-based Knight Foundation said the city has room to grow when it comes to connecting startup founders, investors and talent, and also in the amount of community support it provides to startups. The local founders who were surveyed wanted to build meaningful working relationships with other founders but were not sure how best to connect, and the results were similar for investors and talent.
"Through these projects, we hope to forge a deliberate path to growth for Miami’s startups, the impact of which will reap wider benefits for our city as a whole," Raul Moas, Knight Foundation program director for Miami, said in a statement.
The Knight Foundation has invested more than $30 million since 2012 in advancing Miami's startup community. Last year it took a slightly different track than investing directly in the startup community; it granted $1 million to the Harvard University Graduate School of Design for a three-year study to create solutions to some of the sustainability and resiliency challenges facing Miami and Miami Beach, with a focus on urban mobility, housing affordability and climate change.
Although Miami is earlier in its transformation to a smart city than some others of relatively the same size — such as Atlanta and Minneapolis — investments in innovation such as those by the Knight Foundation have the potential to accelerate its progress.