Venture Miami’s Erick Gavin shares his thoughts on Miami and MiamiCoin
We recently spoke with Erick Gavin, Executive Director of Venture Miami, an organization working to make Miami the “capital of capital” by promoting a diverse, world-class, and thriving Web3 ecosystem in Miami.
Erick shared his thoughts on Miami’s burgeoning reputation as the center of Web3 and blockchain, and the role MiamiCoin plays in that narrative.
Can you tell us about the work Venture Miami is doing?
Venture Miami has four functions: the concierge service, and then the tech, education, and talent components.
The concierge service helps people come into Miami through relocation, helping people find places to live, even finding schools for their kids. We want to ensure Miami is a home for everyone, and that, as people are thinking of coming to Miami, they have an easy access point to understand what Miami is going to look like for them when they do end up moving.
The other three (tech, education, and talent) are outward-facing and focus on the community itself. They’re supposed to help overlap the tech ecosystem in Miami with the local ecosystem that doesn’t generally interact and deal with technology.
How does Venture Miami’s work improve Miami?
We’re making a smarter city. Right now, we’re establishing which problems are most challenging for the people of Miami that can have some sort of civic action or technology created to resolve it.
We’re preparing for Miami for Everyone: an open hackathon with non-technical tracks, so people can have better points of education and other access points to better build out the ecosystem. The goal of Miami for Everyone is to create solutions for our community, by our community, by leveraging web3 tech.
This is where talent and education go hand-in-hand. We’re not an education institution; our role is not to educate people from zero to a certification or a degree. But we want to create better on-ramps for communities to go into these institutions and certification programs. So if there are pilots or partnerships we can create, those can guide people to opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise.
That links directly with talent. We don’t have a talent gap, but talent here can’t connect with the companies coming down here. So we try to make sure that the talent here is in front of all the companies finding a home here in Miami.
What role does education play in Venture Miami’s work?
Education is foundational. If you can't help people understand how they can participate in this innovation, this movement, the connection doesn't happen, and nothing resonates. There’s no hook for them to figure out how this fits into their everyday lives.
When you tell someone crypto will give them more ownership over their funds, allow them into investing, something starts to bubble there. You've got their interest, but you haven't created the whole hook.
Education is the number one thing we should be focusing on as an industry to get more people interested and involved. Education provides a hook. Not rote education, sitting in a classroom, but the active education that involves engaging people with "let me show you."
How does MiamiCoin fit in with Venture Miami’s work?
As we prepare for Miami for Everyone, foremost in my mind is ensuring the community is involved in how we create technology to serve them. We don’t want to be in this glass bubble just throwing out technology solutions. What can we do to make sure the technology is solving real problems for everyday people?
When we think of a pinnacle smart city, we think of Seoul, Tokyo, where you see people using technology to solve their problems. That’s what I envision Miami slowly transitioning into, but we have to play to our strengths.
There are a lot of migrants. The majority of people, somewhere between 50% and 60%, aren’t from Miami originally. So how do we have people meld and call Miami home in a way that we can have shared ideals and experiences? Technology can do some of that, but it shouldn’t do all of that.
So let’s think of concrete things. We have a Chief Resilience Officer who’s dealing with how climate change affects Miami. Can MiamiCoin play a role in that? I think so.
Is that in people’s behavior changing? If people start to clean up, take better care, use less energy, can we reward them with MiamiCoin? Energy use can move the needle, but it only requires slight changes in behavior. Turn off a couple lights. Pay attention to how much water you’re using. Those things matter.
What other things can people do differently where MiamiCoin can create an incentive?
Can you tell us more about Miami for Everyone?
I asked the community to come together, and Miami for Everyone became an impetus to decide on which problems it’ll be best to use MiamiCoin for.
We want it to be extremely open, get out as many people as possible. “How would you like to be engaged?”
For those who come and say “I just want to learn, I don’t know enough yet,” that’s fine. Then there are contributors and stakeholders, who help decide what the problems may be, what solutions we should try or stay away from, the types of scopes we can have and audiences we can focus on.
Moving forward, we want every meeting we do, every conversation we have, to be more and more open to the public.
How are Web3 companies integrating into Miami?
Because the industry is so new, we're starting to see how Web3, blockchain, and crypto are influencing other industries and enriching the soil in Miami for other industries to pop up.
We have a huge healthcare system down here in South Florida. I expect to see health tech companies start to take advantage of that, because people see there is investment down here. But that investment wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for those blockchain and Web3 companies that are doing so well.
How is Venture Miami connecting talent to these new opportunities?
On April 14th, we held a job fair with 74 companies and more than 2,600 available positions! To prepare for the scale of this employment fair, we looked back at last year's fair and noted improvements we could make to better serve Miami students and job seekers.
One large point of feedback was that the "tech" part of the name Venture Miami Tech Hiring Fair did not signal to many participants that there was anything other than technical positions open. At this year's fair, over 60% positions were non-technical and perfect for individuals looking to transition careers.
Our goal is to improve the accessibility of Miami's talent ecosystem over time to promote a #MiamiforEveryone.
What’s your vision for Venture Miami?
I want it to ease the financial burden of citizens in Miami. If what we do helps people have greater economic mobility or greater personal wealth, then I think we've succeeded in our task.
I'd love to bring down more companies, I love to see the ecosystem grow. But at the end of the day, I want to bring more companies into town because I think it enriches the ecosystem so that more people can follow those pathways and do those things.
So when that undergrad that thought Miami was never a place they could actually stay and become a top technologist or financier, Miami is a place for them to stay and do that.
Follow Venture Miami on Twitter to stay updated on their mission to make Miami the "capital of capital."