110: Jorge Cortes (MIA Ventures)

Jorge Cortes on Innovation City

“Building the right team is one of the hardest lessons [for a startup], but learning how to build the right team is something to focus on [for scaling up].” — Jorge Cortes

Welcome to Innovation City—powered by Venture Cafe—where Tyler Kelley and Michael Johnson, Co-Founders of SLAM! Agency, interview innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in cooperation with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community. Venture Cafe is the largest combined gathering of entrepreneurs and innovators anywhere in the world. Events are held every Thursday in St. Louis, Miami, and other leading innovation cities around the globe.

Today’s guest is Jorge Cortes, Founder of MIA Ventures. MIA Ventures’ mission is to engage startups to solve urban, social and environmental challenges through an accelerator program and transform Miami into a global hub for social enterprises. Jorge joins the team to discuss his entrepreneurial journey, his passion for tech innovation, organizing Startup SAFARI Miami, the innovation boom in Florida, his advice to Latin American startups, and much more!

They discuss:

  • Holding a key to the city of Miami
  • Coming to Miami at 16 years old from Columbia
  • Wanting to help bring technology and innovation to Miami
  • Technology isn’t just an industry anymore…it’s now a part of the socioeconomic spectrum
  • Miami is a melting pot of cultures and ideas
  • Just 10 years ago, Miami was lacking innovation, technology, and jobs
    • The city was known for partying and vacations
  • Today, Miami upholds a rich culture of collaboration and innovation
  • It took hundreds of people to take hold of the initiative to make Miami a hub for innovation and entrepreneurial success
  • Startup SAFARI Miami
    • A 2-day event that gives attendees a look behind the scenes of Miami’s startup ecosystem through 100+ sessions at various co-working spaces around the city
  • Florida is seeing a boom in innovation everywhere, not just Miami
    • Gainesville, Tampa, Orlando, and Cape Canaveral (to name a few) are doing exceptionally well in different areas of innovation
  • Building the right team is difficult but of the utmost importance if you want to scale up quickly
  • Many entrepreneurs are coming to Miami from Latin America
  • There are companies like MIA Ventures who can offer capital to startups in Miami
  • Other entities like SoftBank, a Miami based venture capitalist, has created a $5 billion tech fund for Latin American startups and is searching for companies within Latin America and Miami
  • Jorge’s advice to Latin American startups looking to make it in the US:
    • Don’t go to Silicon Valley
    • You’ve already made it in your home country, so you can make it in the US, too
    • Start in Miami and build your network
  • If you start in Miami, it’s easier to expand to Latin America
  • Connect with Jorge on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and email