Last week, SDSol exhibited at the 2nd annual eMerge Americas event, held at the Miami Beach Convention Center. It was our first year attending – we waited too long the prior year to register, and wanted to make sure that we didn’t miss the opportunity to support Miami’s Tech Scene this year. Also, to be honest – we love these kind of events, and it’s exciting to see what’s happening in our community.
And we saw a lot. For those who weren’t able to attend, or aren’t familiar with the event, it really serves as the defining annual Tech Event in South Florida, bringing together a diverse group of entrepreneurs, startups, investors, mentors, and folks showing off really cool stuff. The format offers lots of opportunities to engage the tech scene – there’s a central stage, in the middle of the convention hall, that has events running nonstop both days of the expo. Most presenters are startups who get up on stage and pitch their ideas to audience members seated around the stage, with a panel of experts who are hearing and judging the pitches. Some of these brave startup folks were even still in high school, and it was really cool to see young folks get up there and get practice delivering their messages, products, and ideas to an engaged audience.
Bordering the central stage area, in a circle, was the Startup Pavilion and Hiring Expo. There were over 120+ Startups in this area, each with a small table, a few chairs, and a dream. The products and ideas were pretty diverse – a portable, 1000 watt Smart Generator that only weighs 12 pounds and runs on alcohol . A platform for Bartering and trading small services that folks are passionate about. Rooming and Housing situation for elderly folks that need someone to keep an eye on them or help with basic tasks, but may not yet require fully assisted living.
We were particularly excited and proud when one of our Startup Clients who were in the Startup Pavilion –MyPark – won an Amazon “Wild Card Startup Award”. MyPark is a uniquely exciting project for us because it reflects the intersection of hardware and technology, bringing both together to create what we like to refer to as the ‘Uber of Parking’. Here’s how it works: MyPark installs their small parking gate in an existing parking space. It’s battery and solar powered and has a small gate that pops up to prevent unauthorized vehicles from parking in a particular space. The mobile software app allows users to locate, reserve, and pay for parking inside the app. Using near-field communication technology, the MyPark device knows when the correct driver is nearby, and lowers the gate so they can access the parking location. This creates an ideal solution for parking lot owners, or in garages where parking spaces may often be taken or traded amongst residents. SDSol is proud to have worked on both the hardware / device side of the project, as well as being the developers that created the entire software platform.
Outside of the Startup Pavilion were a variety of more traditional booths and tables reflecting a cross-section of Businesses, Schools, or Government agencies in the South Florida area. We had a booth, and used our booth to explain what we do as well as showcase a MyPark device. It was great to meet with businesses and entrepreneurs who are seeking development and technology assistance.
And then there were the Summit events. Each day during the eMerge event, these educational events were running all day long in 3 spacious conference rooms. The topics available covered everything from Mobile Technology in Cities to Startup Capital with special focuses on topics related to bringing more women into the I.T. space and how Government can deploy technology more effectively. With 3 topics running concurrently on the schedule at any given time, there was plenty to see and learn – it would have been nice in fact to have the event last an extra day without any Summit events, as it almost felt like there was way too much to absorb and in order to enjoy the Expo floor, one had to miss out on Summit events.
Our view of Miami and South Florida in general remains the same – we are beginning to put ourselves on the map as a center for the tech industry. Events such as eMerge, supported heavily by Manny Medina (founder of Terremark), will continue to attract the right mix of talent, innovation, and capital. We’ll continue to see growth here as some of Miami’s unique geographic and cultural advantages get recognized more widely. And SDSol is uniquely positioned to be part of this movement. With 16 years of experience creating Tech projects in South Florida, a team that can handle software and hardware solutions, and award-winning startups in our portfolio, the sky is the limit. eMerge 2016 – here we come!