Miami-based Nabyl Charania is a leading force in the tech world, serving as CEO of Rokk3r, a unique venture builder that provides the next generation of innovators with the resources they need to grow. Nabyl Charania works to shape the vision, direction and expansion of the company. Nabyl has since co-built numerous startups and guided them to successful exits; developed R&D teams; and managed more than 200 direct reports as Director of Engineering at Convergys Corp. His legacy also includes developing and deploying SMS billing platforms, among other innovations in the fields of technology and telecommunications. Here, he shares his haute secrets to Miami, where he calls home.
Where were you born: I was born in Nairobi, Kenya, which is in the eastern part of Africa. I lived there until I was a teenager. My family then moved to Toronto, Canada.
How long in Miami: One of the first companies I started after graduating from the University of Waterloo ended up being acquired by a company headquartered in Florida. I’ve been in Miami for the past 13 years.
Neighborhood: I have always lived on Miami Beach, but for the last few years since we’ve moved our offices to Wynwood and we have settled in Midtown Miami, which has been an awesome experience.
Occupation: I am Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer at Rokk3r Inc. (ROKK). From as far back as I can remember, I’ve always been fascinated with technology and its potential to change the world. That’s been a key driver of why I do what I do. Rokk3r is making it possible for anyone, anywhere to participate in a public market-based, blockchain-driven, exponential company-building ecosystem. In a nutshell, we’re creating the infrastructure to help entrepreneurship work in today’s age of exponential technologies, no matter who or where you are. In addition to my role at Rokk3r, I am Founding and General Partner of Rokk3r Fuel ExO venture fund, and I sit on the board of various exciting companies, such as machine learning company AdMobilize and location-based marketing company Hyp3r.
Favorite restaurant: Miami’s food scene is such an important part of this city’s fabric. I have many favorites for different occasions. I have to shout out Chef Bee at Naiyara. He’s created an exceptional experience that’ll wow any foodie.
Best sushi: Makoto at Bal Harbour Shops. Sometimes you’re looking for something special, sometimes it’s the simple things done well, when it comes to sushi and Japanese cuisine. Makoto satisfies all sushi cravings in a great atmosphere.
Best Italian: Prime Italian on Ocean Drive is hard to beat. Their Kobe meatball is a winner.
Best new restaurant: Hiden. A big part of this is the aura of exclusivity surrounding the place, but the food is world class. In the foodie city of Miami, it’s always hard for a restaurant to stand out when it first comes on the scene. Hiden has been able to do just that.
Best hidden gem: The Design District is home to many hidden gems. Ghee Indian Kitchen, a modern take on traditional Indian cuisine, is the best of them.
Best vegan/vegan-friendly restaurant: The stigma around vegan food is slowly disappearing as chefs have begun showcasing the amazing flavor palette present in vegan cuisine. I’m slowly coming around to the trend! Planta has been responsible for that. For vegan-friendly desserts, Bunnie Cakes in Edgewater is my go-to.
Best waterfront dining: Kiki On The River and Seaspice both provide impeccable experiences.
Best wine list: Allison de Leo, the lead sommelier at Scarpetta in the Fontainebleau is the oracle when it comes to wine and always has the best wine list.
Best place for a romantic date: Casa Tua in Miami Beach is the perfect spot for date night.
Best nightclub: Miami has a world-famous nightlife that has inspired quite a bit of pop culture across decades. LIV, Rockwell, STORY and Saxony Bar are among my favorites in the city.
Best Sunday brunch: The changing variety of the Michael’s Genuine menu makes this brunch spot in the Design District hard to beat.
Best place for a power business meeting: The Rokk3r Boardroom at our headquarters in Wynwood remains my favorite place to get things done. Outside the office, Soho Beach House and Zuma provide the right atmosphere for those types of meetings.
Best rooftop (pool/restaurant): The rooftop at Juvia has a panoramic view of Miami Beach that matches perfectly with its eclectic menu.
Best hotel for out of town guests: Fontainebleau and the Epic provide that ‘Miami’ experience that out-of-towners are yearning for when they arrive.
Favorite shopping venue/boutique: Style is an extension of who you are, and we all get quite picky when it comes to the places that help us express this style. Boutiques like Mark Chris, Duke & Dexter, SneakersnStuff, and Kith are my go-to’s. I also enjoy the Design District where I can always find something to match my style.
Favorite place to buy jewelry/watches: As someone who is fascinated by technology, but loves great style, the Hermes Apple Watch 3 is a standout.
Best spa: Eau Spa provides the right touch and ambiance to melt the stresses away.
Favorite charity event: Irie Foundation’s Irie Weekend. The work the Irie Foundation does in seeking to empower at-risk youth to lead productive lives through cultural experiences, educational mentorship programs, and scholarship opportunities is helping a lot of kids get on the right track and attain successful futures.
Favorite cultural event: Art Basel is a reflection of the soul of Miami, while at the same time brings inspiring people from around the world to our doorstep. It’s one of the world’s most recognized events for a reason. There is a sense of creativity and inspiration that radiates from this event that continues for the rest of the year.
Favorite cultural institution: The Pérez Art Museum Miami blends architecture, exhibitions and programming in a very inspiring way.
Best steakhouse: Prime 112, Red and a host of others stand out. However, Meat Market on the beach always seems to win out for me – the Tomahawk is a must.
Best pizza: Lucali and Mister-O1 are my go-to’s. If you haven’t tried the Nutella pizza at Mister-01, you’re missing out!
Best lunch: The Korean fried chicken and roasted cauliflower at KYU make their lunch menu unbeatable.
Best gym/athletic facility: DBC Fitness with trainer Paul Vincent for personal training and their focus on movement and biometrics is amazing, and Orange Theory Fitness in the Design District for group classes.
Best massage: Cowshed Spa at Soho Beach House.
Best museum/exhibit: Frost Museum of Science/The Body Shop Experience. The Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science inspires dialogue across science and culture in a profound way. The Body Shop Experience in Wynwood is a treat for the senses.
Best weekend getaway/staycation: Tulum’s coastline in Mexico or Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic provide the perfect weekend getaway experiences, while Eau Spa in Palm Beach makes for the best staycation.
Describe your city in three words: Inspiring, resilient, misunderstood.
Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore: Calle Ocho in Little Havana and Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Coconut Grove are both excellent places to explore.
All-around favorite spot in Miami: As someone who has always loved the sun and water, the beaches in Miami are my favorite spot.
Best aspect of Miami: Since moving to Miami, what’s stood out most to me has been the people. I’ve met the most inspiring, driven and happy people in Miami. The humanity and the drive present in this city is what makes it so popular on a global scale.