Miami Mayor Francis Suarez would very much like Miami to be the next hub of high-tech innovation. He’s so serious about attracting startup companies and the deep-pocketed investors who dump money into them that he’s taken out cheeky billboards in San Francisco that encourage anyone thinking of moving to Miami to DM his Twitter account. No idea if any billionaire investors have actually DM’d the mayor but his campaign to make Magic City the next Silicon Valley is proving quite effective.
Whether fed up with the divisive politics, frustrated by high taxes or just looking to escape the hyper-insularity of Silicon Valley, there is a definite and increasingly brisk exodus from the Bay Area. For some years now Austin has been the favored city of high-tech California expats — Elon Musk has officially moved Tesla’s headquarters to the Lone Star State — but Miami, with its constant sunshine and pristine beaches, sophisticated food and art scenes, diverse and educated workforce, and, perhaps most attractively, lack of state income tax is quickly pulling up from the rear and overtaking Austin as the go-to city for tech investors in search of the next unicorn.
Reddit co-founder and tech investor Alex Ohanian moved to South Florida several years ago — it didn’t hurt that his tennis icon wife Serena Williams has long made her primary home in the Sunshine State — and many others have followed. Early-stage startup investor Keith Rabois, general partner at Founders Fund and a former executive at a slew of startups including PayPal, LinkedIn and Square, made a lot of noise when he relocated to Miami last year, as did billionaire Shutterstock founder and CEO Jon Oringer, who just about a year ago plunked down $42 million for an ultra-modern Miami Beach mansion once owned by Alex Rodriguez. (Oringer’s oceanfront home in the Hamptons was for sale earlier this year but failed to sell with its $52 million price tag.)
Up-and-coming young angel investor and serial entrepreneur Edward Lando, 29-year-old co-founder and CEO of the New York- and Miami-based gift-giving mobile site Goody — the 2020 startup has received $32 million in funding over the last year, has also recently made the move to Miami where he’s partnered with Oringer on Pareto Holdings, an incubator fund to invest in Miami businesses.
A few weeks ago, all the SoFla property gossip columns reported that tall and lanky Lando had dropped a very serious $15.1 million on a waterfront home on Miami’s Venetian Islands, where some of the other tech investors who have recently acquired homes include Peter Thiel — he paid $18 million in 2020 for two adjacent waterfront mansions — and Keith Rabois, who shelled out almost $29 million for a Venetian Islands mansion last December.
Lando’s Venetian Islands purchase is, in fact, a substantial upgrade on the much smaller and far less expensive, though by no means inexpensive Miami Beach starter home he’d acquired earlier in the year for $3.344 million and lickety-split now has back up for sale, with few if any changes, for $4 million.
Nipped behind a fastidiously clipped hedge and secured entry gates on the landward side of one of Miami Beach’s most prestigious streets, a sinuous ribbon of road that runs along the Intracoastal Waterway, the circa 1925 home was designed by prominent early Miami Beach architect Russell Pancoast. It is described in listings held by Oren Alexander and Isaac Lustgarten, both with The Alexander Team at Douglas Elliman, as a “classic Miami Beach residence” done in “a traditional style echoing the flaire of the art deco avant garde.”
There are polished coral stone floor tiles throughout much of the open-plan living and entertaining spaces on the main floor that include a foyer with elegant, curved staircase, a living room with a minimalist fireplace between walls sheathed in smoked mirrors, a separate dining room, and a step-down Florida room-slash-family room that spills out to the backyard.
Custom-crafted mill work is found throughout the house, particularly in the kitchen and walk-in closet of the main bedroom, and there are hurricane impact windows and doors, as well as advanced lighting, sound, and security systems. At just under 2,900 square feet, the comprehensively updated home is modest in size, with three bedrooms, three bathrooms plus a one-bedroom and one-bath pool side guesthouse.
The front yard is simply landscaped with evergreen AstroTurf and sculpted plantings, while the lush backyard and crystalline swimming pool are surrounded by stone terracing, narrow strips of real grass and meticulously clipped hedging that verdantly blots out neighboring homes.
As good as Lando seems to be at ferreting out and investing in promising startups and attracting lots of funding for his own projects, the veteran seed investor lost a bundle when he sold a two-bedroom condo in New York’s trendy Chelsea neighborhood this summer for $2.046 million, more than a quarter million bucks less than the $2.3 million records show was paid in 2017. No doubt, he’s hoping for a more lucrative, or at least less costly result in Miami Beach.