Where is StartUp Filmed?

The crime thriller series ‘StartUp’ is a heady mix of tech startups, gang violence, and financial fraud. It follows a fiercely independent Cuban-American hacker who builds a digital currency, only to end up joining forces with a gang lord and a desperate banker. The gritty show takes place in the narrow back alleys of the culturally diverse neighborhoods in the Southern United States, an unlikely but nonetheless fitting backdrop for the violent, tech-fueled show. Would you like to know where the areas that feature in ‘StartUp’ actually are? Here’s where the show is filmed!

StartUp Filming Locations

‘StartUp’ is set in Miami, Florida, and takes place largely in the dangerous neighborhood of Little Haiti in the city. However, the show is completely shot on location in Puerto Rico, where the production team chose locations that look like present-day Miami. The fact that Florida has a large population of immigrants made Puerto Rico a relatively convincing stand-in.

Principal photography for season 1 began in February 2016 in Puerto Rico, and the show filmed its next two seasons on the Caribbean island as well. Season 3 started production in January 2018, and each season took somewhere between two to three months to shoot. Let’s take a closer look at the specific filming locations of the show.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

‘StartUp’ is filmed predominantly on location in the capital city of San Juan in Puerto Rico. Though the show portrays the narrow streets of Miami’s Little Haiti, with some cosmetic changes and set dressing, various neighborhoods of San Juan provide a convincing stand-in. The municipality of Rio Grande in the San Juan-Caguas-Guaynabo metropolitan area also serves as a filming site. The shooting of the thriller series also takes place at the picturesque beaches of Isla Verde (east of San Juan) and Balneario del Escambrón.

Many of the buildings and streets of the Puerto Rican capital are inspired by vintage as well as present-day Miami, making it harder for audiences to spot the differences between where the show is filmed and where it is based. Moreover, the fact that San Juan does not have a lot of the glamour and sparkle of the glitzy Florida party destination does not prove to be a problem, as the show focuses on the grittier parts (and people) of the city.

In conversation with Miami Herald, creator Ben Katai said, “It feels like a dark and honest love letter to Miami. Most shows feature the blue-skies South Beach version.” Talking about basing his multi-cultural, modern-day crime show in Miami, Katai went on to say “This is really the only place you could tell a story like this. There’s this burgeoning tech community, and you have all these diverse cultures and neighborhoods and different people living on top of each other.”

However, because of Florida’s unfavorable tax credit on film productions, the team had to move to Puerto Rico, which, at the time, offered a “competitive 40% tax credit.” Despite already scouting locations in Miami and being excited to portray a dark, modern-day side of the city, Ketai said that at the end of the day, it came down to budget. The writer-creator further added, “We wanted to give the most bang for our buck.”

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