June 2016, Volume 20, Number 3

Powerful Partnerships

Lessons From the ‘Startup Nation’

Leading the charge to connect Miami with the world’s top tech and entrepreneurial ecosystems, The Idea Center presented the inaugural Startup Nation Conference, gathering hundreds of leading and would-be entrepreneurs at MDC’s Wolfson Campus.

The focus of the groundbreaking conference was on Israel’s rise to become one of the top startup communities in the world and how those lessons can be applied to Miami, which ranks second nationally in startup activity and is on the verge of becoming the next great hub where new ideas give birth to successful ventures.

Meeting of the Minds

The conference explored the four stages of the life of startups: ideation, launch, growth and exit. Keynote speakers, panel discussions and mentoring sessions featured leading entrepreneurs from around the globe in fields including cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, aerospace technologies, venture capital, telecommunications, environmental engineering, mobile apps and health care.

Among the keynote speakers were Dani Forman of OurCrowd, one of the largest crowdfunding organizations in the world, and Dr. Maurice R. Ferré, chairman and CEO of Insightec, named by Forbes as one of the top 10 innovative companies to watch this year. Ferré is no stranger to successful startups, having previously sold the robotic surgical company he co-founded to GE in 2013 for $1.65 billion.

A Miami native, Ferré commented on the “remarkable transformation” that has occurred in Miami, as well as the city’s potential to serve as a gateway between Tel Aviv and Silicon Valley, the world’s leading cities for entrepreneurship and innovation.

Building Bridges

The Startup Nation Conference was born from a partnership between MDC’s Idea Center and StarTAU, the renowned entrepreneurial center at Tel Aviv University. Their leaders, Their leaders, Leandro Finol of The Idea Center and Oren Simanian of StarTAU, met in March of last year when a delegation of tech community leaders from Miami traveled to Israel thanks to a collaboration between the Knight Foundation and the American Jewish Committee Project Interchange.

As a result of their meeting, the two institutions pledged to build bridges between their communities through a combination of education, networking and investments. The Startup Nation Conference was the first step in accomplishing that goal, and many exciting initiatives are planned for the future.


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