By Riley Kaminer
Artificial intelligence may not initially come to mind when you think of #MiamiTech, with verticals such as web3 and fintech playing such a prominent role in our local ecosystem. But increasingly, AI is enabling the innovation of local startups – with various community players supporting these efforts.
Community is powering Miami’s AI prowess
Convening plays a critical role in ecosystem development. And in a highly-technical space like AI, bringing experts together is especially important.
In September, top data scientists and AI enthusiasts descended upon Downtown Miami for the PyData conference. Speakers included IBM executive Noelle Silver Russell, Lightning AI founder William Falcon, and University of Miami visual journalism professor Alberto Cairo.
PyData is part of NumFOCUS, a nonprofit that has a community of over 200 chapters promoting open practices in research, data, and scientific computing. In Miami, this data science community gets together regularly through the Miami Machine Learning meetup group, which currently has around 1,800 members.
AI was also in focus at last year’s Smart City Expo Miami, which showcased the technology enabling the next generation of urban spaces. This included a presentation by Raimundo Rodulfo, Coral Gables’ chief innovation officer, which showcased data science initiatives around smart lighting, parking sensors, and a partnership with Google’s Waze app to better understand traffic flows in this 50,000-person city that has one million cars pass through it every day.
There is also an economic development aspect to AI. Miami Dade College opened its 13,000 square foot Artificial Intelligence Center last year in an attempt to prepare tomorrow’s AI workforce and upskill today’s professionals through classes, workshops, lectures and connections.
“We are so proud to open the doors to MDC’s AI Center, where students and the community can gain the critical skills to ascend within the current job market,” said MDC President Madeline Pumariega, who cut the ribbon. “The fast evolution of technology has increased the demand for trained AI professionals across virtually every industry. MDC is leading the way to fill that gap.”
The AI Center, three years in the making and the product of strategic partnership with industry giants such as Microsoft, Intel and IBM, is just the beginning, the College reports. This initiative aims to ensure that workers can take advantage of future AI developments without getting left behind.
Social impact, powered by AI
A handful of startups are also leveraging artificial intelligence to accelerate their social impact.
Take Palm Beach startup DeLorean, which applies AI to medical records to predict and improve healthcare. The startup’s algorithms enable health insurance companies to analyze the data they already have, forecast the course of diseases for patients, and notify doctors to order tests and treatments. Health insurance giant United Healthcare now is applying DeLorean’s algorithms to its in-house records on 35 million patients.
Miami’s EVQLV leverages AI for the discovery and design of therapeutic antibodies that could transform the pace, cost, and scale of drug development. It’s a company to watch: CEO Andrew Satz’s pitch won the $150,000 grand prize at the Synapse Summit in Tampa last week.
AI is also central to Deepblocks’ platform, which aims to make site selection more efficient and effective for developers. There is also a clear environmental aspect to Deepblocks because it helps users better understand and mitigate climate change. So far, the startup has secured $5.2 million in early stage venture capital – with another fundraise on the horizon.
British scaleup Exscientia has recently doubled down on its Miami presence. The company develops new drugs and proprietary drug-discovery technology right in the Magic City. Since Exscientia opened their Wynwood office last year, the company has recruited 15 people. Co-founder Adrian Schreyer reported that he had no problem attracting top tech talent to Miami from places like New York and Chicago – and even as far afield as Europe and Asia. He said he was also able to lure a few native Miamians back home after long stints in other parts of the U.S.
Miami-based NOOZ.ai is aiming consumers with the tools necessary to identify and combat misinformation in online news sources. The startup’s AI-powered tool scores articles based on its amount of persuasive language – analyzing sentiment, propaganda, opinion, revisions, and ghost edits.
B2B AI can create efficiencies behind the scenes
Chances are you are probably overspending on your cloud services. One AI-powered startup can help though: CAST AI enables businesses to rightsize their cloud bill by optimizing the amount and type of machines they use at any given time. According to the CAST AI team, their system is able to reduce their client’s bill by an average of 65% – all without compromising performance.
Businesses also waste a lot of time in their employees logging onto their devices. Miami startup Hummingbirds lets users log into their computers using an AI-powered financial recognition system. Serial founder Nima Schei told Refresh Miami that the company is focusing on three markets: public safety, healthcare, and banks.
Meanwhile, Miami startup Overproof is helping bars commercialize their POS data, while providing alcohol brands with data around who is drinking their products where and when. “I’m really excited about bringing this to market because it is a completely unique service – no one else is doing it,” founder and CEO Marc De Kuyper told Refresh Miami.
And Prescient AI has developed a marketing simulation and prediction platform that helps eCommerce and direct-to-consumer companies more accurately forecast demand and optimize marketing efforts to target their most valuable customers.
AI as a B2C play
Of course, individual consumers will also benefit from some of this AI innovation. As a16z consumer partner notes, the adoption of AI tools has outpaced every consumer tech trend of the past decade – and this is just the beginning. This is certainly reflected in the Miami tech ecosystem.
Take Ravi.ai for example, which helps creators and small businesses create high-quality video content. The idea is that Rav.ai can replace a freelance video editor. Users can upload clips to Rav.ai’s web-based app, or record themselves directly using the app. Instead of going back and forth via email with a video expert, Rav.ai users simply insert notes about what they want the video to look like right in the app. They click submit and presto: in less than a day, Rav.ai produces a draft of their edited video.
In the EdTech space, Flo-Ops brings together students’ social and academic lives to improve their performance inside the classroom. The startup is working to leverage artificial intelligence to further personalize the experience for students by better understanding their individual needs.
Looking for your next big startup idea? Paperade uses AI to sift through 100 million research papers to uncover commercial opportunities for startups – all based on just a few keywords.
And Amadei is pioneering AI in the music industry, helping indie artists to master songs – essentially, making them sound the same no matter how you listen to them. This process enables artists to master their songs within as short as five minutes, compared to the hours or days it might take a human.
What South Florida-based startups are doing the best job at leveraging AI? Let us know via Twitter @RefreshMiami!
READ MORE ON REFRESH MIAMI:
- For artist platform Amadei, it’s all about supporting the next big musicians
- Deepblocks is using AI to make site selection more efficient and effective
- EdTech Flo-Ops brings together students’ social and academic lives to improve their performance inside the classroom
- Rav.ai’s automated video editing platform enables small businesses to up their content marketing game
- Exscientia expands AI-powered drug discovery in Miami
- Ditch your password with Hummingbirds AI’s facial recognition login system
- AEXLAB team launches VAIL VR, part of VR game engine for multiplayer games - February 22, 2024
- UK-born Connectd brings startup networking platform stateside, with Miami as hub - February 20, 2024
- eCommerce education platform smartBeemo secures $6M fundraise - February 15, 2024