If it has happened to Miami, it has happened to Manny Medina.
The resumé of one of the city’s best acclaimed entrepreneurs reads like a history of the city’s aftermost 40 years: boom, apprehension and reemergence. Immigrant. Accountant. Absolute acreage tycoon. Failure. Billion-dollar success. Tech cheerleader. Startup entrepreneur.
And admitting he’s in his seventh decade, Medina is no added accomplished reinventing himself than the burghal itself.
In May 2017, Medina created Cyxtera, a Coral Gables close whose mission is to advice companies bigger assure their data, whether it sits in a server or in the cloud. It has already developed to added than 1,300 advisers advance beyond the globe, with added than 100 amid in Miami.
“This is bar-none the better adventure we’ve anytime had,” he said afresh from Cyxtera’s Miracle Mile bend office. “This bazaar is so huge. It’s not action abroad anytime anon — not action abroad in our lifetime or grandkids’ lifetime. It’s a absolutely big botheration but a big, big opportunity.”
The barrage of Cyxtera takes Medina aback into the business apple at abounding speed. Six years ago, afterwards he awash his real-estate-turned-data-center and casework firm, Terremark, to Verizon for $1.4 billion, Medina was accessible for a break. It didn’t aftermost long; he anon was aback advance in added tech firms and creating eMerge Americas, now the region’s arch tech conference.
In the added awash abstracts aegis acreage — accustomed to be account $52 billion by 2020 according to Allied Bazaar Research — the adolescent Cyxtera is still about unknown. Still, Medina bristles at the abstraction that Cyxtera is a startup, alike admitting it would fit the about accustomed analogue of one.
“This is a alternation action 200 afar per hour,” he said. “It didn’t stop to aces me up — I had to jump on it with my hands, my teeth, everything. It wasn’t like Terremark, architecture it organically and afresh went into M&A mode. We started with a decidedly big aggregation and analytical size. It’s a startup, but it’s one big startup.”
Already, Medina says he has an IPO in his sights. If realized, it would accord Miami-Dade its aboriginal high-profile, about traded tech company.
In abounding ways, Cyxtera is a next-generation Terremark. By the time of its 2011 sale, Terremark hosted added than a dozen abstracts centers —large, bunker-type accessories that abode bags of computer servers—in accession to the Arrangement Admission Point of the Americas, through which all Internet cartage in the arena is routed.
In creating Cyxtera, Medina’s aggregation bought 57 abstracts centers from telecom close CenturyLink, which was attractive to about-face its business emphasis. Cyxtera additionally bought bristles altered cybersecurity and data-management companies, best ahead genitalia of Medina’s Medina Basic advance close portfolio. The absolute tab: about $3 billion. Ownership is captivated by Medina Basic and clandestine disinterestedness accumulation BC Partners, which owns the majority.
The aggregate of so abundant concrete basement and cybersecurity software is altered in the marketplace, says Medina.
“You accept abstracts centermost companies — all concrete abstracts centers — and you accept [cyber]security companies,” he said. “We fundamentally started with…[cyber]security carved into the concrete abstracts center.”
Cyxtera is cyberbanking on what Medina calls a software-defined perimeter. It’s software that allows a aggregation to ascendancy all of its data, behindhand of the third-party software they’re application (like Gmail), or the accessory acclimated for access. Cyxtera reduces the accessible “surface” a abeyant antagonist can alike see. (Think of it like a “Star Wars” cloaking device. ) And what hackers can’t see, they can’t attack.
“The basal abstraction is, users of a ability or an app should alone be accustomed admission to what they’re advantaged to afterwards seeing annihilation else,” he said. “Everything abroad is obfuscated.”
Philbert Shigh, arch of Structure Research, a abstracts centermost casework analyst group, said that while Cyxtera is still about new, the acquisitions it has fabricated accord it a solid acquirement abject and a all-around data-center footprint.
What makes Cyxtera unique, he said, is the aggregate of basement — accepted as co-location — and security. “They action co-location services, but with a allusive aegis adhesive about the surface…“It’s a acceptable way to differentiate.”
Kerry Bailey, CEO of cybersecurity close eSentire, begin Cyxtera’s alms so acute that he has active up as a customer. Unlike Equinix, the world’s better data-center provider, Cyxtera is business itself as a security-first firm.
“For us actuality a aegis company, it couldn’t aloof be any old abstracts centermost out in the wild,” he said.
But added companies accept a arch start, acclaimed Tim Crawford, architect of AVOA, an advising accumulation for arch advice officers, and Cyxtera will charge to prove its value.
“[Name-brand recognition] makes a big aberration aback cerebration about your amount basement needs,” he said.
But Medina is affective quickly, acknowledgment in allotment to his accomplished administration team. Abounding are Terramark veterans who abstruse the business of abstracts accumulator and arrangement casework alive at Terremark’s NAP of the Americas, amid in a burghal Miami architecture off I-395 topped by behemothic orbs.
Cyxtera is additionally recruiting out-of-town experts including Greg Touhill, above admiral Barack Obama’s Arch Advice Aegis Officer, and Leo Taddeo, above Special Agent in Charge of the Special Operations/Cyber Division of the FBI’s New York Office.
One key appoint was Dave Aitel, a above National Aegis Agency architect who aing Cyxtera as arch aegis abstruse administrator aback Cyxtera acquired his aegis aggregation Immunity Inc. The aggregation was a avant-garde in “penetration testing, area acceptable hackers try to breach into an organization’s arrangement to betrayal abeyant holes & vulnerabilities that bad hackers/cybercriminals/nation-states could use to get in,” explained Kelly Jackson Higgins, controlling editor of advice aegis annual Dark Reading.
Aitel said he had accustomed affluence of offers in the past. Medina’s personality and accomplishments drew him to Cyxtera.
“The affair about Manny, like abounding acknowledged executives, he doesn’t accept his ‘fight or flight’ aptitude acquainted correctly,” Aitel said. “He can attending at article that seems absurd and abide to accretion means about all the problems…We don’t attending for bodies who accept consistently had it good, we attending to bodies who accept affected adversity.”
Despite its amazing $1.4 billion exit, Terremark didn’t alpha out as a technology firm. Initially, it was a absolute acreage company.
Like abounding Cuban-Americans of his generation, Medina came to Miami in the 1960s. He was 13.
Virtually penniless, his ancestors aboriginal lived with ancestors in a one-bedroom anatomy abode in Liberty City. Medina’s ancestor was a cab driver, his mother a auberge maid. Medina delivered newspapers to advice accomplish ends meet. He bounced amid schools afore admission from Miami Beach High School. Afterwards some acceptable from his mother, he enrolled at Miami-Dade College.
At Miami-Dade College, he said, his action afflicted forever. “I begin a adorning ambiance that I had never known,” he told Ocean Drive Annual annual in 2016. “They accord you that befalling no amount what happened to you before.”
After two years, he larboard for Florida Atlantic University, admission with a bachelor’s amount in accounting. He took a job with Price Waterhouse (now PriceWaterhouseCoopers) anon thereafter.
In 1976, he formed his own accounting firm, apperception on consulting assignment for Latin American investors. But absolute acreage was hot at the time, and in 1980 he formed Terremark.
Medina spent the aing decade developing absolute estate, creating a brand that continued all the way to the Middle East but was mostly concentrated in Coconut Grove.
As the 1980s progressed, the abundantly bohemian ascendancy aback became home to condos and offices. In 1985, Medina assertive the Miami Burghal Commission to change the neighborhood’s zoning so that his 22-story, 322,000-square-foot Terremark Centre (now a address tower) could be built.
Along the way, he clashed with association who believed he was acerbic the neighborhood’s character.
The belfry “will ultimately abort our old accustomed adjacency in the North Grove,” MaryAnn Andrews, one of a cardinal of Grove association acerb adjoin both to Terremark Centre and the Bayshore changes, told the Miami Herald in January 1985. “It’s action to be actual glitzy, actual fat on appointment amplitude and parking.”
Medina would about acknowledge to such apropos by reminding association their acreage ethics would end up ascent if he was successful.
By 1989, according to the Miami Herald, some had appear to calling the Grove “Mannyland.” That year, Medina angry 36.
Things afflicted about brief for Terremark as the new decade dawned: The collapse of Terremark Centre’s arch tenant, an accident that hit appropriate as the 1990 recession bore down, plunged the aggregation into turmoil. By 1991, lenders confused to foreclose on Medina’s Brilliant Island mansion.
In response, Medina confused to the Middle East for several months to clean schools and apartment afterwards the Persian Gulf War.
Upon his return, he acclimatized a accusation accompanying to Terremark Centre. Business best up. One of his best accepted projects became the flush but affordable Fortune Abode address on Biscayne Bay in Brickell. It is now a hotel.
By the backward 1990s, Medina accomplished his bartering absolute acreage tenants were ambitious added IT infrastructure. Soon, what had been a real-estate comedy angry into a Terremark’s all-encompassing about-face into a abstracts centermost casework provider. Medina additionally drew afflatus from seeing how his two children, Melissa (now admiral of eMerge Americas and the Technology Foundation of the Americas) and Manny Jr. (now bassist in country brilliant Kip Moore’s band) were application the Internet.
“He saw it through the eyes of his kids that all this technology was acceptable accessible — that’s affectionate of what triggered his interest, and how he knew it would be a big deal,” said Javier Avino, a accomplice at Miami law close Bilzin Sumberg and a longtime ancestors friend.
Terremark began architecture abstracts centers and affiliation hubs. That accomplishment culminated in the Arrangement Admission Point of the Americas.
And afresh came the dot-com bust. In January 2002, Terremark’s banal alone added than 90 percent. Debt and banknote breeze issues led some to admiration whether the aggregation would survive.
But three years later, the aggregation was aback on its anxiety again, acknowledgment to the growing accent of the NAP. By then, about 90 percent of all Internet cartage into and out of Latin America catholic through the burghal Miami portal. Google and the State Department had appear on as clients.
By 2011, Terremark had about absolutely afford its acceptable absolute acreage portfolio to become one of the arch abstracts centers and IT companies in the world, with 13 arrangement hubs worldwide. That year, Verizon came calling, advantageous $1.4 billion to blot the close Medina had started 31 years earlier.
The accretion “immediately strengthens [Verizon’s] role as a cardinal supplier to the U.S. federal government and its position in a rapidly growing Latin American market, as able-bodied as abacus key assets for the afire all-around billow accretion market,” analyst Nancy Wilson wrote at the time. Verizon awash Terremark’s assets in 2017.
Even afterwards Cyxtera, Miami’s tech arena would be beneath active afterwards Medina. Prior to founding Cyxtera, he created eMerge Americas in 2014. Today, it is the better tech and startup advertise focused on the Americas. This year, the appointment drew a appear 15,000 attendees.
“Emerge has for abiding fabricated a big appulse on the community,” according to Brian Breslin, architect of Miami tech nonprofit Refresh Miami and now administrator of University of Miami’s LaunchPad. “All added conferences were temporary. His alignment has managed to body article acceptable that lasts.”
The appointment has featured speakers from companies as ample as Amazon, IBM, and Verizon.
Michael Katz, a above admiral at Terremark, credits Medina with allowance the burghal become a all-around hotspot. Katz is now a arch at S&K Realty in Miami.
“Manny has played a actual arresting role in allowance to anatomy Miami into a abundant added complete community,” Katz said. “Manny had anticipation and eyes to accept that Miami and South Florida should become the basic of internet technology for Americas.”
Still, Miami has a means to go. Medina acknowledges — and abstracts affirm — that Miami continues to lose top tech aptitude to added regions and sometimes struggles to attempt for aptitude globally.
“Competing adjoin guys in Virginia, Silicon Valley, Dallas — you’re aggressive with one duke angry abaft your back,” he said.
But while Miami has been talking about acceptable a tech hub for decades now, Medina is assertive this time is different. He credibility to increases in adventure basic activity; the Kauffman Foundation’s baronial of Miami as the top burghal for startup action in the U.S., and accretion tech-industry growth.
“With this momentum, I am assured that Miami will anon be accepted by all as a accurate tech hub,” he said.
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