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Why a Mark Cuban-backed tech firm is moving to Miami from Silicon Valley

Fireside Co-Founders Mark Cuban and Fallon Fatemi, pictured in 2021.
Business Wire
Fireside Co-Founders Mark Cuban and Fallon Fatemi, pictured in 2021.

A company backed by one of the most well-known and outspoken tech entrepreneurs is moving its headquarters to Miami. Fireside is an interactive video streaming platform co-founded by Mark Cuban.

Yes, he of Shark Tank and owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team.

Cuban is famous for having an email address that is not hard to find. So, WLRN emailed him to ask about the move to Miami for one of his technology investments. He responded within two minutes, writing, “That was all Falon. I wasn’t involved.”

Falon is Falon Fatemi, the co-founder and CEO of Fireside. She previously founded an AI-service company and was the youngest employee of Google when she was hired when she was 19 years old. Fatemi was cc’d on Cuban’s response.

Fireside features all kinds of channels — from the inspirational to homemade crafts to true crime. It invites viewers to be part of each live stream. It was started during the pandemic and counts reality TV stars and Silicon Valley venture capitalists among its investors.

READ MORE: From moment to movement: the technology industry in South Florida

The move is not bringing a bunch of new jobs or employees to the region — yet. For now, it’s just Fatemi and her growing family. She told WLRN part of the decision to move was personal. She is pregnant with her first child.

But that’s not the only reason. WLRN’s Senior Economics Editor Tom Hudson spoke with her about the tech scene in South Florida and the thinking behind relocating the company from San Francisco.

HUDSON: Was this solely your decision to move headquarters from Silicon Valley to Miami? 

FATEMI: Yeah. What I kept experiencing was a pull to Miami. Some of the smartest people I knew in San Francisco, in Silicon Valley, moved to Miami. The people that moved — it's like they are more well-balanced people than they ever were.

What do you mean by well-balanced?

They're much more social. They're healthier. They're actually enjoying the weather. I think that's something that Miami brings just from an overall community perspective. Not only is there incredible diversity, but it is a very welcoming community. And they want you to be here and they want you to succeed.

The tech industry here in Miami and South Florida in general has garnered a lot of attention. It grabbed your attention and has brought you here. It's been outsized, perhaps, compared to its actual presence in the regional economy. From your eyes, how does it live up to the hype that you were hearing about?

I think it's actually even better.

How so? 

It's almost like Miami was becoming the place for crypto when crypto was really hot. That drew some really incredible talent because to work with blockchain technologies, you have to be very technically savvy. It's complicated tech. It's not just building a website.

• started in 2021
• raised $30 million from investors
• $138 million valuation
source: TechCrunch

That also attracted some of the most brilliant investors and minds who were exploring building companies, investing in companies, too. It created an ecosystem that was quickly accelerated.

From my perspective, I didn't just see it as a crypto capital. I saw it as, 'This is where the smartest people are going and they want everyone here to succeed no matter what they're working on.'

What do you expect Miami and South Florida to provide Fireside that perhaps you were not seeing in the Silicon Valley area? 

Well, I'm actually pregnant with my first child.


Thank you. We're also surrounded by people who are also building their families who are also building businesses as well.

Are you pursuing any financial incentives for the move of Fireside headquarters to Miami? 

That wasn't the initial reason why we moved, but I've been approached with a lot of opportunities I didn't even know existed.

Such as what?

Incentives for building an office or getting grants – things like that. I had no idea. I'm still learning. [I’ve been here] like two or three months.

Fireside co-founders Mark Cuban and Falon Fatemi (right), pose with Real Housewives of Orange County cast member Heather Dubrow. Dubrow is one of the contributors to the interactive video streaming platform.
Business Wire
Fireside co-founders Mark Cuban and Falon Fatemi (right), pose with Real Housewives of Orange County cast member Heather Dubrow. Dubrow is one of the contributors to the interactive video streaming platform.

Have any of the local economic development groups reached out to you?

I've been overwhelmed with the outreach. I haven't had a chance to go through all of it yet. Some of the the property owners [in] Wynwood [and] other places [have reached out] for office space.

Perhaps not compared to San Francisco pre-pandemic, but Miami has one of the highest costs of living in the United States. How does a company like Fireside grow in that kind of environment? 

Well, San Francisco has an extremely high price of living – just the whole Silicon Valley and Bay area. The amount of dollars we're spending here, it's definitely less overall than what we are spending in California.

Obviously, there's the tax benefits, too. If you want to build a business and invest in a place, where you decide to do that really matters for your company's success. And here, at every level, you're encouraged to be here and to succeed. Everyone’s asking how they can help.

What do you expect the footprint to be for Fireside, say, in another year or two?

We're still working through some of those details. We do have some employees in Florida. Our company was born during the pandemic so we are sort of set up to support fully remote. But while fully remote is great for productivity, you make more progress when you're actually sitting down with your team in person. I have a pretty big team in New York. I have a big team in L.A.

As we look towards our headcount growth in the next year, because we are on the cusp of getting to break even in profitability, we take a much more measured approach than most companies do around driving efficiency. So it's less about the number of people and it's more about building products and systems to scale. But we definitely do anticipate growing here.

What is the employment count now?

We’re about 40.

And outside of you, any of those also in South Florida?

We have like one or two. [We are] definitely looking at exploring the talent down here.

What are you looking for from the South Florida market? Beyond the quality of life, beyond starting your family here. You brought the company here. What does that mean?

There's a lot of media franchises that are based in Miami. There's a lot of talent here, including what might have been traditionally called influencers who are really building brands. A lot of people moved here from New York – one of the hubs for media and entertainment.

Also, if you look at the hospitality and culinary spaces - [they are] flourishing here. There is so much business opportunity here that it really makes sense for us to also be on the ground here, especially me.

Your co-founder, Mark Cuban is not particularly fond of Miami. This traces back to the Miami Heat beating his Dallas Mavs for the NBA title back in 2006. So how has your co-founder taken this decision to move the company headquarters to the hometown of the Miami Heat? 

He's extremely supportive of what we think makes the most sense for the business, but also from an overall quality of life perspective. That puts me in a great position to be able to do that [while] building my family.

Tom Hudson is WLRN's Senior Economics Editor and Special Correspondent.
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