Launch Pad Tech Accelerator announced in Miami
Another day, another accelerator announcement. This one actually happened a couple of days ago -- the Launch Pad Tech Accelerator was recently announced by a group made up of the Miami Downtown Development Authority, Miami-Dade County, and The Launch Pad at the University of Miami. The focus will be on tech businesses related to the health care, hospitality and tourism, and creative sectors such as design, music, art, fashion, and film. Applications have opened; the last date for applications for the first cohort is November 5. One appealing feature is that companies get to stay at the accelerator for up to 12 months instead of the usual 12-13 weeks elsewhere. Another is that companies don't have to give up any equity to participate.
Miami-Dade County has commited $1M spread over four years, and the Miami Downtown Development Authority will contribute $460k over 2013 and 2014. Their aim is to attract 10 promising companies to downtown Miami from around the world in the first year, with 10 additional companies recruited in each of the following cycles. Selected companies get $25k and --this will appeal-- they don't have to give up any equity to get the money. The usual features of mentoring and free office space (for 12 months) are also part of the package. The accelerator will be located at the Terremark NAP (Network Access Point) of the Americas in downtown Miami.
“The Launch Pad Accelerator will spur a vibrant start-up culture that complements the residential, commercial, and hospitality growth under way in downtown Miami,” said City of Miami Commissioner and Miami DDA Chair Marc Sarnoff. “This will be a catalyst for attracting forward-thinking companies that bring new ideas, new ways of doing business, and new jobs to Miami. The Launch Pad Tech Accelerator is a real-world example of the public sector empowering private sector entrepreneurship and innovation.”
The new program was developed by The Launch Pad at the University of Miami, which was started in 2008 by a team that has helped students and alumni launch more than 80 businesses. The Launch Pad (the original one at Miami U, not the new accelerator) is targeted at students and alumni of the university.
I wish that they could have been a bit more innovative with the name -- here we are reporting that the Lauch Pad is launching the Launch Pad, when of course there have also been other Launch Pads launched elsewhere. Oh well, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, I suppose. I like that companies get to stay for 12 months. That's much more sensible than the more common (and unreasonable) " in and out in 12 weeks" approach taken by the large majority of accelerators.
Their website is here and their twitter handle is @LaunchPadTech.
You can read their press release here: http://www.miami.edu/index.php/news/releases/accelerating_entrepreneurship/