Foreign Startups And Tech Investors Are Looking For A Home In The U.S.

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Author: Alan McGlade
Publisher: Forbes
Date: May 15, 2014

Last week Miami played host to eMerge Americas, a conference that brought together the South Florida and Latin America tech communities. Over 6,000 participants registered representing players from the tech scene in South Florida and around the U.S., along with companies and investors from Latin America. The nations of Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Columbia were particularly well represented since they are leading markets for mobile and social spending and have more highly developed startup cultures. They were there to plug into Miami, the unofficial capital of Latin America. But more importantly, they were looking for a platform to launch their companies onto the world stage.

Investors came out in force as well. I talked to several people representing family offices in Brazil and they told me that the moneyed class in their country is operating on a clock. First there is the World Cup this summer and then the Summer Olympics in 2016. By the time the Olympics wind down they expect to have a significant portion of their wealth shifted to the U.S.. Historically this has meant purchasing real estate. The strong flow of capital from Latin America to Miami helped soak up the huge surplus in residential and business property and reverse the plunge in prices after the 2008 financial meltdown.

The Miami construction cranes are out in full force once again but savvy Latin American investors have taken a lesson from the past real estate boom and bust. They don’t want all their money parked in one asset class in a single city. The tech economy offers an exciting alternative and increasingly they are trying to figure out how to participate. According to Diane Sanchez, the CEO of Technology Foundation of the Americas, “Miami continues to be an attractive destination for tech startups and investment from Latin America.  We are advocating for an investment model for companies that have a regional play where talent, capital and markets can be connected and that can also compete in the United States.” Read more here.