Matt Haggman on five years building a startup scene

Five years ago, Miami was still known primarily as a winter haven. Tourism and real estate were its main industries.

As Matt Haggman stepped into his role as the Knight Foundation’s Miami director in late 2012, he had an idea for how Knight could help change that.

Haggman, a former journalist, decided to steer some of Knight’s Miami resources away from its traditional areas like arts and journalism and focus them on entrepreneurship.

Today, the fruits of that work can be seen in places like The LAB Miami, and in successful organizations and events like Endeavor Miami, BlackTechWeek, and NewME Accelerator — not to mention all the other startups and tech centers that those successes directly or indirectly led to. The city and broader South Florida region have gained a national reputation for having an entrepreneurial spirit and fostering a tech hub.

We gave Haggman an “exit interview” on what he felt he’s accomplished, and what obstacles remain.

Editor’s note: This video was done independently by The New Tropic and has no connection to Haggman’s campaign for U.S. Congress.

By Rob Wile
Rob Wile, the curator for Startup.Miami, is a writer and entrepreneur living in Miami Beach. He’s a former staff writer for Fusion and Business Insider. His work has also appeared in Slate, Newsweek, Money Magazine and The New Tropic. He writes a newsletter on tech, business, and the South Florida economy called The Heatwave.