Miami and South Florida are having a moment. We’ve seen an influx of founders, business leaders, and investors to the region. Endeavor connected with several of our city’s leaders on what this means for our ecosystem. Through this series you’ll hear from founders, investors, and ecosystem builders on what their hopes and dreams are for Miami Tech + Innovation in 2021.
Our fourth interview – Sylvain Dominici, Partner at EY and trusted Endeavor mentor and friend.
Fast forward to December 2021. Where do you hope Miami Tech is then?
Setting aside the tragedy of the global pandemic, COVID has been an accelerant for technologies of distant activities (online learning, remote work, etc.) and Miami has benefited from this trend with hordes of talented professionals and influential personalities moving to South Florida. We have also seen many large companies, particularly financial investment firms, opening offices in South Florida in the past year and joining organizations already well established in Miami, like 500 StartUps and SoftBank to name a few. In particular, the later stage PE investors are expanding remarkably. Talent and money will fuel and accelerate the growth of Miami Tech and I expect to see more successful Tech companies emerging. We have seen a few unicorns in recent years, such as MagicLeap and REEF Technologies (formerly known as ParkJokey), but, better yet, the number of successful tech entrepreneurs and investors reinforcing the echo-system is growing fast. Stories like NearPod (an Endeavor company) is a great testament. We are seeing growth across various tech sectors; Ed-Tech, Fin-Tech, Insure-Tech, Med-Tech, etc. to name just a few. At EY, we have experienced firsthand the growth in numbers of tech entrepreneurs applying to the Florida Entrepreneur of the Year program and hope to see this number continue to rise. Miami Tech in December 2021 will have greater density but, maybe more importantly, will have stronger momentum for future, sustained growth.
As a large corporation in Miami, what business trends is EY seeing for the coming year?
Generally speaking, digital innovation continues to drive economic growth and we think that a broader set of technologies will continue to power the human augmentation. However, it is also interesting to see that companies are paying better attention to diversity, equity and inclusiveness and environmental concerns. These are particularly interesting as the new generations (Millenials and Gen Z) are on the rise and seem to be following new socio-economic norms. These factors are changing economic priorities; companies are no longer just focused on the immediate bottom line; they are taking a longer view to identify what they need to do today to remain successful tomorrow. The beginning of 2021 is also marked by an acceleration in deal making across the maturity spectrum; seed, series A and B, private equity transactions, IPO and SPACs activity is through the roof! This too fuels entrepreneurship. Lastly, we have many discussions with our clients on the return to work and what will be different in coming years.
How can entrepreneurs leverage corporations like EY to facilitate their growth?
EY has always promoted and supported ambitious entrepreneurs as well as recognized the tremendous impact entrepreneurs have on our community. I mentioned the Entrepreneur of the Year program which EY started 35 years ago! We also have similar programs focusing on women entrepreneurs (“Entrepreneurial Winning Women”) and on Black and LatinX founders (“Entrepreneurs Access Network”) that provide additional coaching and support for entrepreneurs who may not have the same level of access. We have also developed a framework to help entrepreneurs of fast growing companies accelerate their growth; the Velocity program focused on seven drivers of growth. Obviously, beyond the support to the entrepreneur ecosystem, EY offers a wide range of services to help entrepreneurs throughout their growth journey. Our audit and tax services are well-known but we offer so much more, including strategy, innovation, digital transformation, new economic constructs (e.g., blockchain), transactions, etc..
What is your favorite part about Miami?
It is hard to select only one as the city offers so many, from its pleasing weather, pristine waters, cultural diversity and vibrant city life to its tremendous economic growth. If I have to choose one, I would say the realm of possibilities in front of us. I lived in Silicon Valley during the dot com era and the energy I am sensing in South Florida today reminds me of the electrical vibes I felt then. The two regions are very different, but the excitement has a few similarities. Miami and its economy still have a long way to grow, but I am excited by the path we are on and seeing amazing things happening!