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6 things to know about Miami startups this week

In case you missed it, a new startup fund and accelerator is under construction in Miami. Several years ago, Jorge Cortes, a Miami native whose family came to America from Colombia undocumented, launched Momentum International Accelerator as a way to build bridges between Miami entrepreneurs and investors.

After temporarily shelving the project, it’s being brought back with the help of Mordi Klein, a Miami-based design studio startup founder who wants to use what is now known as Momentum International Accelerator to tap into Miami’s significant wealth to make sure Miami based startups know that they don’t have to leave the area if they want to be successful.

Click here to read more about “MIA.”

Mayor meets with Miami innovators

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez met with nearly two dozen members of Miami’s startup and tech community Wednesday to discuss how the city can strengthen and grow the city as an innovation hub. Among those in attendance were representatives from Wyncode, CIC Miami, The LAB, and Miami-Dade College.

“The Mayor was very engaged and receptive to our ideas to diversify and strengthen our local economy, and genuinely wants to continue the conversation, both through the Beacon Council and with us individually,” Lauren Harper, director of Social Venture Partners, who was also in attendance, told Startup.Miami in an email.

Miami beats Atlanta for Silicon Valley investment

New data from Pitchbook shows Miami tallied 15 total investments from Bay Area venture capitalists in 2016, compared with just 10 for Atlanta, good enough for 12th place among large metros. It’s also up from 13 in 2015. It’s the first time Miami has beaten out Atlanta since Pitchbook started tracking such investments.

Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge receives 234 entries

The 19th annual Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge drew 234 entries this year. The Challenge allows Miami entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas to leaders in Miami’s entrepreneurial community for the chance to receive a major profile in the newspaper and compete for hundreds and thousands of dollars in prizes.

They will now go to 24 judges, who will announce the first round of finalists on April 10. A “People’s Pick” video contest will launch April 17 and winners will be announced and profiled in a Business Monday special section and on miamiHerald.com/challenge on May 8.

Miami stock-trading startup is latest 500 Startups company

Alta5, a Miami startup that seeks to bring algorithmic trading to the masses, has been named to the latest 500 Startups fund and accelerator cohort. The Miami Herald’s Nancy Dahlberg reported Alta5 received a $150,000 investment from the organization.

Miami Beach startup is building its own Alexa-style home assistant

Miami’s Matrix Creator, which built a platform using the Raspberry Pi coding language for self-styled makers to create their own Amazon Alexa-style home assistant, got a shoutout from tech site CNET this week.

“If you don’t like Amazon’s speakers, there are third-party or homebrew options to choose from, like the Matrix Creator, an add-on board for Raspberry Pi,” the site says.

If you have a basic knowledge of Raspberry Pi, Matrix Creator can turn your Amazon Echo into a system that can let you pilot drones, detect emotions, and create self-balancing robots. Follow Rodolfo Saccoman for the latest Matrix updates. Matrix is a member of the Rokk3r Labs portfolio.

SpareDesk launches in Miami

SpareDesk, a company that locates open desks at coworking spaces, has launched in Miami. They currently have two desks available for rent: One at StartHub for $25 a day, and one at The LAB for $50. Keep checking this link to see what other desks are available.

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.