We have plenty of activity and zeal and some real success stories – Ultimate Software, Citrix, and Magic Leap come to mind quickly, but there are others.  We need more, more of everything and better everything –  startups, exits, angel groups, seed funds, exits, talent, cooperation throughout South Florida – everything

– – Bob

Bob Fitts, producer of The Startup Expo and President of the Gold Coast Venture Capital Association, relocated from Manhattan to Miami as a management consultant and soon became entrenched in the South Florida entrepreneurial community.

Former structured finance guy for Goldman and Prudential who wanted to do something more entrepreneurial, so helped start a resort community development business in 2005, just in time for the real estate world to blow up in the CMBS/subprime mortgage crisis in 2008.  That pushed me out on my own. Started as a management consultant and moved from Manhattan to Miami for some sunshine.  I went to a few angel group meetings to check them out and bumped into the Gold Coast Venture Capital Association, a 30 year old organization that had had better days.  So I got involved in turning it around.

– – Bob

After acclimating to Miami and getting Gold Coast Venture Capital Association back on track, Bob decided to double down and further support the South Florida entrepreneurial ecosystem. He took a giant leap and decided to personally produce and finance an international conference aimed at entrepreneurs, investors, and related service providers –> The Startup Expo

When asked to briefly explain this ambitious effort, Bob stated:

I’m producing a two day international conference for startups called SUP-X: The StartUp Expo.  It’s February 16th and 17th at the Broward Convention Center in Ft. Lauderdale.  We’re expecting 1500+ attendees from throughout North America. PBS “Startup” TV Series Host, Gary Bredow, is our emcee and we have keynote addresses by Jim Jensen of Ultimate Software and Serial Entrepreneur Rachel Braun Scherl. We also have 50 Startup Exhibitors from 27 North American cities competing for $50,000 and 12 Panels comprised of successful investors and entrepreneurs discussing relevant topics of interest.  Additionally, we have a Special half-day forum for women entrepreneurs and women investors and over 100+ exhibitors.  It’s not an expensive event and that’s on purpose so that it is accessible to startups and entrepreneurs and the learning and networking opportunities are tremendous.  

– – Bob

Bob has been quite involved with the South Florida entrepreneurial ecosystem for a while, and is one of its biggest supporters. We queried Bob as to what he thought about South Florida and its entrepreneurs. He replied:

We’re making progress.  We need more depth in all aspects of the ecosystem and more cooperation between the participants.  And FYI, I’m talking about the South Florida ecosystem: too often the folks here in Miami only think of what is going on in Miami-Dade County, but there are good things going on in all of South Florida and some great resources – particularly capital – north of here.  The Broward County line does not require a passport by the way.

– – Bob

Bob’s words of wisdom to his younger self:

  1. He stated: “I was too cocky and stupid to have listened.  What I’d tell someone not so hard-headed is that your parents are right:  hard work, kindness to others, good habits and who you surround yourself with are 95% of it.

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