In 2014, eMerge Americas first opened its doors in South Florida, with the mission of establishing Miami as the tech hub of the Americas, and from the onset, that is something that UDT has been happy to be a part of. As a leader in the technology industry, with headquarters in Miami, backing a tech conference like eMerge is a no-brainer for us. We pride ourselves in the advancements we have made in our own backyard, most notably working with MDCPS this school year to distribute tablets to all 9th and 10th grade students. For UDT, supporting and attending eMerge is an incredible opportunity to meet like-minded entrepreneurs, developers, and designers that also think Miami is a pretty special place for technological innovation. Here are the biggest takeaways from this year’s event.
- There is an abundance of local talent. Florida International University, the University of Miami, and Nova Southeastern University all showed up to the event with exhibits showcasing the latest innovations conceived by the schools. FIU presented a construction safety forecasting program created with an oculus virtual reality headset. UM designed an algae-growing display for building facades that serves as a design element and is able to cleanse both the water and air systems within the building. Nova demonstrated new, real-time video technology that allows for 360-degree views while conducting research or job interviews.
- Miami-based startups are developing. There were an estimated 110 startups present at this year’s eMerge Americas. The conference is organized in a way that allows a lot of space on the expo floor for early-stage startups to give one-on-one live demonstrations, which means instant access to a worldwide network of potential investors and venture capitalists looking for the next big thing. With Miami already serving as the financial hub for Latin America, new tech companies looking to serve Latin America are also establishing their roots in South Florida.
- The business world is listening. Earlier this month, eMerge announced that they had secured a major investment from New York-based Orkila Capital, who joined the ranks of entrepreneurs as varied as rapper Armando “Pitbull” Perez, baseball player Alex Rodriguez, and South Florida billionaire Mike Fernandez, all who have made investments in eMerge. And as if to cement the event’s power within business and financial circles, founder Manny Medina and several supporters rang the Nasdaq closing bell remotely from the Miami Beach Convention Center on the first day of the event. Nasdaq was also a presenting sponsor of the Startup Showcase Bootcamp.
- eMerge is growing. In only its’ third year, the two-day event was completely sold out. 13,000 attendees from 60 countries flooded the Miami Beach Convention Center to see the latest in technology innovations and listen to keynote speakers as diverse as former Secretary of State Colin Powell and professional skateboarder Tony Hawk. Conference founder Manny Medina said in a press conference that they did not want to close registrations early, and hope to expand into the rest of the Convention Center. With the momentum and engagement eMerge has shown in just three years, it’s just a matter of time before it becomes the new South by Southwest.