What to know about Synapse Summit 2022 and Florida’s vibrant innovation economy

Jhe 5and The annual Synapse Summit 2022 returned to Tampa’s Amalie Arena in February, bringing together Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, which consists of startup founders, funders, tech talent, executives, business institutions, education, support organizations and local/regional/state government entities, especially economic development councils. Synapse Florida, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, expertly designs the annual event to celebrate, discover and engage Florida’s innovation community. Acting as a powerful catalyst, Synapse brings everyone in the community together to enable chance encounters, meaningful dialogues, opportunities to brainstorm, be inspired, and learn from speakers and panelists.

This year was another resounding success as 5,662 attendees, 185 speakers, 311 exhibitors and 51 sessions came together in one large community of practice dedicated to transforming Florida from Sunshine State to Startup State and becoming a hub of innovation. prominent in the country. The event was an opportunity to shine a light on the wide range of startup efforts happening across the state, hear from cross-industry innovation leaders, and educate through small-scale sessions. groups on hot innovation topics including AI (artificial intelligence), blockchain, cybersecurity, FinTech, metaverse and NFT (non-fungible tokens).

According to Crunchbase, seed funding for Florida startups exceeded $1 billion in 2021. It’s no secret or surprise that Florida attracts major investors, experienced founders and a wealth of talent to energize and support the growing momentum of the state’s innovation economy.

Some highlights from the Synapse Summit:

FinTech: solutions for every age and every stage – The panel explored what makes Florida’s innovation ecosystem uniquely suited to the explosion of the FinTech industry. One panelist in particular, MacGardner, founder and educational director, FinLit Tech and a Certified Financial Planner, discussed his passion for the importance of financial literacy and his efforts to make financial literacy a technology to create the tools and resources to bring financial literacy to more people of all ages around the world. Moderator Michael Wiemer, Director of the FinTech Center, The University of South Florida discussed its efforts to create a center of engagement and activity for business students employing cutting-edge research, world-class teaching, business engagement, experiential learning and industry internships in the FinTech sector by engaging in the center’s business incubator and accelerator. activities as part of their educational journey with USF.

How Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are Disrupting Legacy Industries – It was a panel discussion on how industries such as insurance, healthcare, finance and security are spending billions on data, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to meet the demands of users and remain competitive. Moderator Linda Olson, CEO, President and Founder of TampaBay WaVE, a 501c3 nonprofit that has supported more than 300 tech startups since 2013 with an accelerator program, coworking, and other services, spoke with select Florida businesses to find out how they’re using these new tools to shape the future of their business. Specifically Bruce Lucas, The founder and CEO of Slide, a comprehensive insurtech company, explained how they use technology that leverages artificial intelligence and big data to hyper-personalize, optimize and streamline every part of the insurance process.

The new world of blockchain for business – The session went beyond the issue of viability, multiple blockchain integration, interoperability, enterprise node staking and real-time payments. Business interest in blockchain is now evident with 81 of the top 100 public companies using the technology. Moderator Rosa Shores, CEO and co-founder of Blockspaces, a B2B integration platform connecting business applications to blockchain networks, discussed the many ways major banks and institutions are leveraging blockchain to enhance their legacy systems.

Drivers of Prosperity: The Role of High Tech Corridor Universities in Florida Innovation – Florida is home to a powerful state university system. The University of South Florida, University of Central Florida, and University of Florida and their signature partnership approach are at the forefront of innovation. Together, these institutions form the Florida High Tech Corridor, an organization designed to amplify the impact of higher education on the regional high-tech economy by building meaningful relationships between industry, academia, and community. Paul SohlCorridor CEO, moderated a discussion with the presidents of the three universities on the role of universities in Florida’s economic development and how universities prepare the next generation of innovators.

Demystifying Decentralization: The New World of Web 3.0 – A panel comprised of Florida’s leading digital thinkers, investors, and advocates discussed the need to demystify the next evolution of our digital transformation. Comprised of Florida’s leading digital thinkers, investors, and advocates, including Michael O’Rourke, CEO of Pocket Network and Gabe Higgins co-founder of Blockspaces, these experts have crafted a vision for the future of our digital world as decentralized technology becomes ubiquitous.

Metavers: It’s so meta – With “metaverse” potentially becoming the word of the year in 2022, this session reviewed what metaverse is, how it is created, and how it can transform the fabric of our virtual world. The panelists were Joe Hamiltonresponsible for Network of Metacity, a virtual platform that overlays and logically connects to a physical city, Kyle Morrand, CEO and Technologist at 302 Interactive, which develops tools and creates XR experiences that are not only entertaining, but also focused on building apps and Jason Warke, Head of Global Digital Experiences at ACCENTURE, leading Accenture’s experience agenda across various business functions, processes and key stakeholder groups, including developing their own global virtual campus for The Nth employees Floor.

Navigating the Metaverse: Your Guide to Limitless Possibilities in a Web 3.0 World – Cathy Hackl, dubbed the “Godmother of the Metaverse” and the CEO and Director of the Metaverse of the Futures Intelligence Group delivered an insightful speech illustrating that while sounding unreal and having a sci-fi madness, the Metaverse has many practical business applications for the corporate branding and to create new economic and engagement opportunities. She exemplified by discussing the strategy behind her launch of an NFT art collection titled Boss Beauty Models with Boss Beauties, a global women-led initiative.

“Don’t just create NFTs for the buzz…create an NFT with a mission,” Hackl said. “NFTs are long-term commitments.”

In the spectacular setting of the Tampa Hockey Stadium with robots, Oculus VR headsets, virtual dodgeball games and visionary companies like metaverse startups VEDX and The Dilemma Exhibit, mental health support innovators and emotional Cope Notes and so many other amazing cross-industry startups, the Synapse Summit has once again opened up a new world by forcing us to rethink what’s possible.

the Institute for Innovation Development is an educational and business development catalyst for financial advisors and growth-oriented financial services companies determined to lead their businesses in an operating environment of accelerating business and cultural change. We position our members with the necessary continuous innovation resources and best practices to drive and facilitate their growth, differentiation, and unique next-generation community engagement strategies. The institute was launched with the support and foresight of our founding sponsors – Ultimus Fund Solutions, NASDAQ, FLX Distribution, Pershing, Fidelity, Voya Financial, Advisorpedia and Charter Financial Publishing (publisher of Financial Advisor and Private Wealth magazines).

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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