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Rewind: Opportunity Miami x Refresh Miami Startup Series

This is the August 2, 2022 edition of the Opportunity Miami newsletter written by Matt Haggman, which we send every Tuesday. Click here to subscribe to get our weekly updates in your inbox.

Featured Content

Opportunity Miami x Refresh Miami Startup Series
Part 1: Meet the Miami entrepreneurs building Living Seawalls to help combat rising sea levels

Part 2: Miami startup Career Karma is upskilling workers and uplifting communities along the way

Part 3: Code/Art paints a more equitable tech future for Miami

Part 4: Papa, the eldertech unicorn, stands on shoulders of pioneers to help build Miami into ‘the epicenter of healthcare’

Over the last four weeks, in partnership with Refresh Miami, we profiled Miami startups working to solve problems critical to our economic future — from reskilling workers to sustainable building practices, closing the gender gap in computer science to leading in healthtech.

Here’s a recap of the remarkable, forward-thinking entrepreneurs and companies we caught up with for the Opportunity Miami x Refresh Miami Startup Series.

To start, we featured Anya Freeman, CEO and co-founder of Kind Designs, who is producing Living Seawalls. A former lawyer turned entrepreneur, Freeman said it’s projected that Florida alone will need 10,000 miles of seawalls by 2040.

To meet that demand and build a product that aligns with a sustainable future, she’s developed a process to 3D print seawalls more cheaply and quickly. Not only that, the seawalls mimic the underwater environment and are constructed with recycled materials that come with sensors to monitor water conditions.

“I strongly believe that Miami will become an example for the rest of the world,” said Freeman, “based on how we can address the challenges of climate change in a way that is fantastic for the environment and fantastic for the local economy.”

Read the story here.

We then featured Ruben Harris, CEO and co-founder of Career Karma. The World Economic Forum projects that more than half of all employees will require significant reskilling. Career Karma helps workers navigate the increasingly complicated world of tech bootcamps and education programs to help them find the upskilling path best for each person.

“My goal is to help a billion in the next ten years,” said Harris, who moved to Miami earlier this year.

Read the story here.

We then drilled down on the need to address the wide gender gap in tech. Women account for slightly more than half the workforce, yet only 14 percent of software engineers. To change that, Amy Austin Renshaw founded the non-profit Code/Art with the express aim of getting many more young girls interested in computer science and using art to stir that interest.

“I wanted to do what I could to reverse that trend, and, for a whole host of reasons, I thought art would be the perfect hook to make coding more widely appealing to girls,” said Renshaw, a self-taught coder who earned three MIT degrees.

Starting six years ago, Code/Art has reached some 7,000 girls in grades 3 to 12 through its coding clubs, community outreach events, and teacher training programs.

Read the story here.

Finally, we profiled an entrepreneur and company in one of Miami’s most important and fastest-growing industries, healthcare. Andrew Parker launched Papa five years ago, which provides “Papa Pals” who offer support and companionship to elderly adults.

Late last year, Papa raised $150 million in venture investment to fuel growth. Today, the Miami company is a unicorn, valued at more than $1 billion. Like many startups, Papa has trimmed its ranks due to concerns about the economy. Still, long-term prospects remain bright, and Parker thinks Miami can be a standout leader in healthcare.

“I do believe Miami can be the epicenter of healthtech across the country and across the globe,” Parker said.

Read the story here.

We would love to get your feedback on the series with Refresh Miami. A big thank you to Nancy Dahlberg and Riley Kaminer for writing the stories, Executive Director Maria Derchi, Brian Breslin, and all of our friends at Refresh Miami.

As always, we want to hear from you. You can email us at next@opportunity.miami or engage with us on social media. Please invite friends to subscribe to the newsletter here.

Hope your summer is continuing to go well.

Matt Haggman



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