Rosa Jiménez Cano is a tech journalist turned communications expert for startups in Latin America, like quick-commerce startup Jokr and currently, Jeeves, a fintech company tailored for small businesses.

What has drawn so many people from Latin America’s tech world to Miami in recent years?

Because of its location, the city has always been a good hub to build relationships between Latin America, New York, San Francisco, and Europe. During the pandemic, Florida was one of the U.S. states with looser Covid restrictions. Then there was the appeal of tax exemptions, like the Homestead Exemption, and the cost of living: You can have a higher standard of life with the same amount of money you earn in San Francisco, New York, or even some Latin American capital cities. 

The city has become a destination for the tech-related crowd from the U.S., but there are plenty of founders from Latin America coming from places with hyperinflation, like Argentina, or from countries where the political environment makes them feel uneasy, like Mexico or Colombia. CEOs of startups serving the Latin American market, like New York-based fintech Jeeves or Ontop, which has Colombian founders, have moved to Miami. SoftBank, Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, and other VC firms have also opened up offices there. All that has built a really interesting pool of people living in the city. 

Europe and most of Latin America have a shared language and culture. Although they do have differences in how their tech ecosystems have developed, how dynamic is their interaction? Is there a flow of investors and talent?

Latin America’s regulatory framework is much more complicated for business because each country has its own economy, currency, and rules. If you’re going for a single market, the U.S. is friendlier. 

In terms of technology, there needs to be a stronger connection. Companies like Colombian edtech startup Platzi have done a good job; it has a strong presence in Spain because its content is in Spanish. If you look at it the other way around, Madrid-based ride-hailing company Cabify launched in Latin America, with moderate success. Quick-commerce startup Glovo, founded in Barcelona, tried to make it in Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Uruguay, but it failed. Rappi hasn’t been able to launch in Europe. So those types of opportunities between the two regions are still largely untapped.

You’ve been working with startups for more than a decade. How have you seen Silicon Valley’s influence in Latin America evolve since?

Having companies like Platzi and Rappi getting into Y Combinator made many people in the region think “I could do it, too.” Rappi has created a pretty solid ecosystem from Colombia that has influenced other countries, like Mexico. Argentina also has the case of MercadoLibre. There has always been impressive talent nurturing startups that go well beyond their local geographies. 

Now that the pandemic is over and the rush for Miami has calmed down a bit, do you think the city will still be as appealing to Latin American talent?

I don’t know. People’s interest is definitely not as intense as it was two years ago, but I think the city is staying relevant and interesting people are still moving there. I see it in happy hours and other networking events: They still manage to gather at least 200 people every two weeks or so, 25 of whom are new to the city. I think that there’s room for improvement in terms of attracting tech talent that’s not only founders — Miami is also a good place for remote workers that serve the Latin American market.