University ventures into South Florida’s emerging tech ecosystem

The Miami skyline at night
By Amanda M. Perez

The Miami skyline at night

University ventures into South Florida’s emerging tech ecosystem

By Amanda M. Perez
The University of Miami appoints Kelly Montoya to the City of Miami’s Venture Miami team with an aim to help expand the mayor’s efforts to enhance Miami’s innovation economy and tech ecosystem.

It's being called a “tech exodus.” A growing number of prominent companies and investors are making the decision to relocate their businesses from established tech hubs around the country to Miami—a now emerging marketplace for big tech. As the City of Miami continues to see unprecedented momentum on this front, the University of Miami is onboard with supporting Mayor Francis Suarez’s vision for building and sustaining an innovation and technology ecosystem.

In partnership with Venture Miami, the mayor’s initiative to help guide the “Miami Tech” movement, the University has appointed Kelly Montoya, a key member of the public affairs and communications team, to represent the University and assist with moving these efforts forward.

Kelly Montoya
Kelly Montoya

Montoya joins the Venture Miami team as senior advisor for strategic engagement. “This is an opportunity for us to embrace the moment as an institution during a time when Miami keeps on growing and thriving,” she explained. “There is a large influx of tech opportunities and resources in Miami right now, and this new collaboration will help the University of Miami develop strong, enduring relationships with the city’s existing players in this space, as well as engage with newcomers looking to invest in the region.”

The Venture Miami portfolio team was assembled by and reports directly to Suarez. Their focus is making Miami the “capital of capital” with an innovative technology ecosystem and economy that delivers for everyone.

“Venture Miami officially has its newest member, and I’m so glad to be bringing on another perspective to the team—especially through adding a voice from the University of Miami. This team is the bread and butter of what homegrown talent looks like,” said Suarez.

The Venture Miami team seeks to provide concierge support for funders and founders; connect talent to jobs; meaningfully promote diversity, equity, and inclusion; bridge connections between new to market entities and the existing innovation ecosystem; and support regional collaboration among other local governments, economic development agencies, and organizations.

University President Julio Frenk said the University is committed to playing a stimulating role in the city’s rapid development.

“We applaud Mayor Suarez for bringing together the intellectual capital and interdisciplinary resources to elevate the region’s visibility and impact in this exciting frontier by placing education at the heart of technological innovation and implementation,” said Frenk.

Rudy Fernandez, senior vice president for public affairs and communications and chief of staff to the president, said that he thinks this new opportunity is a great way to leverage the University’s intellectual capital.

“UM is already doing so much in the innovation space, and we embrace the opportunity to showcase the amazing talent, research, and outreach that is happening at the U and throughout our greater network of alumni around the world,” Fernandez said. “Creating these synergies in the community and helping forge these relationships will enhance our institution and the City of Miami.”

As the University’s representative with Venture Miami, Montoya will work closely with university partners to strategically align university tech efforts under the public affairs, communications, and Office of the President umbrella. Other partners in the Venture Miami team include Florida International University, Miami Downtown Development Authority, Krillion Ventures, and the City of Miami.

Montoya is proud to have this opportunity to represent the University, which is also her alma mater.

“Having diverse generational representation at the table helps everyone. I am honored to play a meaningful role within Mayor Suarez’s initiative and support his vision to propel Miami into the city of the future,” she said. “The city’s potential in the innovation and tech space had been underrated and seeing this type of exposure is exactly what we needed for Miamians to thrive.”

Montoya wants to use her skills as a communicator and connector to bridge the gap between the University and all the new career opportunities that are continually coming to the city.

“My goal is to always deliver a thoughtful approach to the ideas and opportunities that arise, so they are inclusive and accessible to everyone. I want to deepen our sense of community around tech and create an inclusive atmosphere for all,” Montoya pointed out. “There’s a common misconception that this realm is only for people with certain skill sets. But in fact tech is for everyone, and it’s here to stay.”

To discuss opportunities for engagement and collaboration, connect with Montoya via Linkedin, Twitter, or email at k.montoya@miami.edu.