Miami Tech & Startup News

Top technical talent descends upon Miami Beach for South Florida’s first React conference

Top technical talent descends upon Miami Beach for South Florida’s first React conference

News announced, too: Mueshi raises $3.3M round

This Miami Tech Week has marked another first for our local tech scene, having held the first-ever React conference in the Magic City.

React, a free JavaScript library maintained by Meta, is the most widely-used framework for JavaScript, the most widely used programming language in the world. Chances are that you’ve come into contact with React if you’ve used websites and apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The conference was held at the Miami Beach Conference Center alongside eMerge Americas. React’s 450 attendees were also given access to eMerge.

React Miami co-organizer Michelle Bakels, who in her day job is Program Director at Delray Beach-based React hiring platform G2i Inc., told Refresh Miami that the origins of the conference stem from Mayor Suarez’s “How can I help?” tweet.

“And so as a software developer down here in South Florida, I travel all over the place for React conferences and software development conferences,” she said.

The tweet was an ah-ha moment, said Bakels: “I realized that we can do this here, and we should do this here.”

Fast forward to the present day, and developers from all over the world – five continents, to be exact – have flown to Florida to attend the conference and see what the #MiamiTech movement is all about.

Approximately 60 of the participants received a scholarship to attend React Miami. Bakels said that these scholarships, many of which sponsors purchased in a multi-pack, ensure that there is a diverse and inclusive mix of participants, including local talent.

Sunrise yoga, networking drinks – and some coding in between

The attendees started their day with an opening day brunch at the Marseilles Hotel on day 1 and a sunrise yoga session on day 2. They then attended the eMerge opening keynote presentations from Alexis Ohanian, Serena Williams, and OKCoin CEO Hong Fang before moving on to a full slate of React-related programming.

React Miami attracted some of the highest-profile speakers in the global React community, including Lee Robinson, Director of Developer Relations at front-end platform Vercel; Kent C. Dodds co-founder of web development platform Remix (who also provided a much-needed stretch break); Jenn Creighton, a senior software engineer at Netflix; and Nader Dabit, a Developer Relations Engineer at web3 firm Edge & Node.

The conference also featured a handful of local names, including Gregory Johnson from DataGovs and Rick Blalock from Fishbrain. Co-MCs Amanda McDermott of Coinbase and Damien Montero of Florida JS made a splash – especially Damien with an ever-changing display of headwear. And of course, there was an afterparty at Sola Miami Beach.

Mueshi announces $3.3M seed round

Another local name on the React Miami roster was Ariana the Techie from Mueshi, a fine art NFT marketplace. The young founder shared her journey, including dropping out of college during her sophomore year before founding the startup.

It was at the end of her talk that Ariana broke the news of Mueshi having just raised a $3.3 million seed round led by Harlem Capital. “One of my investors actually called this morning and told me that I’m probably the first black woman to do this as a solo founder. So I’m pretty excited.”

Mueshi’s platform, which will enable users to buy, sell, and fractionally invest in fine art NFTs, is set to launch in June with work from local emerging artist Mark Delmont. Ariana also announced that alongside the launch, Mueshi will be presenting a 30-day fine art NFT exhibit in Miami.

Ariana also challenged the audience, composed mostly of developers, to work to create technology to help artists prevent their work from being forged or stolen. “What ways can you help artists and art collectors? How can you ensure that a person doesn’t waste 500, 1,000, 10,000, 20,000, or a million dollars on forged artworks? How can you help prevent artists from stealing other artists as well?”

Ariana the Techie and Michelle Bakels. Photos by Riley Kaminer.


Riley Kaminer