Would You Believe It? Miami Has a Real Tech Scene Now

Would You Believe It? Miami Has a Real Tech Scene Now

Tech companies flock to Miami to reach Latin America. Tech accelerator Venture Hive opened in downtown Miami last year and houses 31 companies from 18 countries, says founder Susan Amat. Cristobal Herrera for The Wall Street Journal MIAMI—This city is well known for its coastline, club scene and condo-building crazes. Now it is adding a new distinction: tech hub. A startup scene is stirring here, driven in part by U.S. companies seeking to tap Latin America’s expanding technology market and a growing crop of Latin American entrepreneurs hoping to gain a foothold here. “We are the logical point to be the technology capital of Latin America,” given the city’s long-standing commercial and cultural ties to the region, said Manuel Medina, founder of Terremark, a Miami data-services company acquired byVerizon Communications VZ -0.34% for $1.4 billion in 2011. Already, Miami can point to several successes. Open English, an online English-language school launched in Venezuela in 2008 and now based in Miami, has grown to 2,000 employees in seven offices across the hemisphere. The company has raised roughly $130 million in venture capital over the years, said founder Andres Moreno. Last month, .CO Internet, a Miami company that operates the top-level domain assigned to Colombia and has grown to include more than 1.6 million Web addresses, was sold for $109 million to telecommunications firm Neustar Inc. NSR -0.15% Not all the companies are tied to Latin America. CareCloud, which helps doctors run their offices using cloud-based services, counts roughly 6,000 physicians around the country as clients and has raised more than $45 million in venture backing. Venture-capital investment in Miami-area companies jumped to $369 million in 2013 from $102...