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Transforming Miami into the tech hub of the Americas

Sebastian Valverde, Danny Navarro, Storybook cofounder Francisco Cornejo, Felice Gorordo and Melissa Medina onstage at eMerge Americas.

As the “gateway to Latin America,” it’s no wonder more entrepreneurs from around the world are choosing to build and grow their businesses in Miami. Florida added 119,000 jobs in the tech and e-commerce industries between 2017 and 2021, and Miami startups raised close to $1 billion in venture funding in 2020 alone.

Ever since establishing local operations in Miami more than ten years ago, Google has been proud to help make tech entrepreneurship accessible in the Sunshine State. In 2021, Google helped provide $31 billion of economic activity for hundreds of thousands of Florida businesses, hosted a Sales Academy for Florida entrepreneurs, and most recently, announced a partnership with Miami-Dade County to help train low-income residents for in-demand tech jobs.

While Miami is quickly establishing itself as a global tech hub, we need to continue bridging divides to build a sustainable and inclusive startup community. Yesterday at the annual eMerge Americas summit — which, along with Miami Tech Summit, is the cornerstone of the ongoing Miami Tech Week — Google for Startups announced it is partnering with eMerge Americas over the next year to deepen Google’s support for the Latino founder community across the Americas. eMerge Americas is a leading organization growing the South Florida entrepreneurial and tech world through year-round executive summits, innovation challenges, startup pitch competitions, masterclasses and webinars. Our partnership will bring the best of Google’s products, programming and expertise to eMerge startups, and will help connect the Latin American and U.S. markets by combining our networks of support.

As part of our announcement, I was personally honored to name two of the first recipients of the Google for Startups Latino Founders Fund, an award we introduced last year as part of a $7 million commitment to the Latino startup community. Dani Vega and Francisco Cornejo, co-founders of Storybook, an app that helps parents combine bedtime stories with infant massage to improve sleep in babies and children, will receive $100,000 in non-dilutive cash funding. Originally from Ecuador and now both Miami residents and active members of the eMerge community, Dani and Francisco will also receive Cloud credits and hands-on Google programming and support to help bring Storybook resources to families around the world. We look forward to working with Storybook, and are excited to announce the other recipients of the Google for Startups Latino Founders Fund later this year.

By connecting the dots — between talent, capital, partner organizations like eMerge Americas and entrepreneurs like Dani and Francisco — we can foster the kind of diverse startup communities that fuel innovation and create opportunity, in Miami, Latin America and beyond.

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