Is Miami’s tech scene the new Silicon Valley? A Northeastern grad and entrepreneur thinks so

headshot of Dan Trostli
Northeastern graduate Dan Trostli for a portrait at the Experience Powered By Northeastern event in Wynwood, Miami. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

MIAMI—The tech scene in South Florida reminds Northeastern graduate and Miami resident Daniel Trostli of boom times in Silicon Valley.

“It feels to me like San Francisco did in 2013, when everything was possible,” says Trostli, who graduated from Northeastern with a degree in mechanical engineering in 2012 and moved to Miami in 2020.

“You can pretty much get a meeting to talk to anybody you need to,” he says. “People just want to help, and it doesn’t seem to be in a transactional way.”

For Trostli, Miami has been the perfect location to expand his “passion project,” an audio sample sharing platform called Sample Focus that currently has more than 1 million registered users.

Trostli, who staffed an entrepreneurs booth at the Feb. 21 grand opening of Northeastern’s new Miami campus, says he’s met “smart, ambitious tech founders” at programs such as On Deck, which holds weekend summits to help founders build an online community and find investors.

The tech scene in Miami feels “Goldilocks size,” not too big and not too small, says Trostli, who has a full-time job working for an expense management company.

Trostli says Northeastern nurtured his interest in entrepreneurship by encouraging student participation in new product contests, making lab equipment available and building student confidence.

While an undergraduate he and Julian Jung, who also lives in Miami, created a cigarette smoking tracker called Layla that won them a second place at Angel Hack in Cambridge and an all-expenses paid trip to Palo Alto, California, to meet tech experts at

“I was the engineer behind it,” Trostli says. He says he used a 3-D printer at Northeastern to create a case to fit cigarette packets that kept track of how many cigarettes smokers were using over the course of time.

After graduation, he worked for a year and a half for a startup in South Boston before being laid off and heading to San Francisco to take a coding boot camp course.

Trostli ended up working for a few different startups and says he learned a lot—including the harsh reality that even companies with millions of dollars of invested funds weren’t immune from going bankrupt.

If anything, his experiences encouraged him to go ahead with his own plans to create a library of audio samples for music and film producers, teachers and game developers.

Trostli calls Sample Focus “the world’s most organized sound library,” with samples including everything from haunting female vocals and funky bass lines to the sounds of wild animals calling or roaring.

“I created it for myself originally,” Trostli says. “The flywheel behind it has gotten to be fairly successful.”

“I wouldn’t have done any of this if I didn’t have the experience of creating Layla” at Northeastern, he says. 

Trostli says the Sample Focus, which he compares to Youtube, has more than 1 million users. But Trostli says what he values most is when users “tell me how much they love it or how important it is to their work.”

Deciding to move to Miami was a smart move, Trostli says.

“As time went on, San Francisco became more and more of a monoculture,” he says. “I felt it had lost its magic.”

While tech is booming in Miami, so are other industries, Trostli says, adding that he thinks it was a smart decision for Northeastern to start offering graduate-level courses in project management, IT and health care in the city.

Originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Trostli says he and his girlfriend, who is from Belgium, “love the lifestyle here. It’s much more Latin. The weather doesn’t hurt, either.”

Cynthia McCormick Hibbert is a Northeastern Global News reporter. Email her at or contact her on Twitter @HibbertCynthia