A Sunny Outcome: Why Florida's Startups Are Soaring High

Florida has the U.S.’s second-highest rate of new business production, it ranks high on Fundable’s VC rankings, and Startup America says it’s the No. 3 state for annual revenue per startup, with $1.2 million. Here’s what else helped it hit No. 1:

1. Ambition has a local focus.
Long-standing local economies can spark an innovation gold rush. Miami's tourism industry, for example, has birthed new hospitality IT startups. In Orlando, startups are focused on medical innovation. And the state's immigrant community connects back home. "Top companies in the tech scenes in Buenos Aires or Sao Paulo are in Miami now," says Miami-based serial entrepreneur Susan Amat, chair of Startup Florida.

2. The collaborative calendar is full.
If business-minded locals find others to learn from or work with, they're more likely to take the plunge themselves. That's why leaders encourage so many community events. "We have code camp, health camp, startup bus, startup weekend, hackathons," says Tonya Elmore, president of the Tampa Bay Innovation Center. "These things didn't take place even three or four years ago."

3. Money is being spent locally.
Florida has no shortage of wealthy people and beachfront mansions, but there's been a problem: "If you're a rich guy retired in Palm Beach, your family office is investing in funds based elsewhere," says John Duffy, CEO of Boca Raton-based 3CInteractive. "So there's been a lot of emphasis on attracting good investors to this area." Now that's starting.

[Image: Flickr user Paul Reynolds]

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  • Great to hear Florida as a shinning spot in the start up scene. I've been planning to go back in the next few years, perhaps that will be the place of my new startup.

  • We couldn't agree more. Today we had the Head of Developer Evangelism of PayPal in our office talking about this very topic. From idea through launch in just under a year we hosted West Palm Beach's first Startup Weekend and opened our doors (February 15th 2014) with 6 full time startups operating out of the Startup Palm Beach Incubator. Amazing things to come in the great state of Florida!

  • Christopher R Callahan

    The energy in Florida is palpable. There's a a strong sense of community and a thriving collaborative environment. People talk about "Silicon Beach"... we don't want to model after California. We have our own identity. FL shines bright!