Shining a light on the ‘unstoppable’ Florida tech growth, Synapse draws record crowd

February 18, 2022

Momentum, Metaverse and Miami take center stage at Tampa tech conference

The chatter at the daylong Synapse Summit in Tampa this week was equal parts a celebration of how far Florida has come to become an emerging player in the tech and startup world and the massive opportunities that lie ahead for the Sunshine State.

Certainly, there’s opportunity in healthcare-related tech, including brain-computer interface, AI and in space tech, all key technologies Florida is playing a role in. But much of the talk at Synapse was also about another frontier: the metaverse.

“Silicon Valley feels very web 2.0 and very old to me,” said Cathy Hackl, a keynote speaker (pictured above). “With Web3, innovation will be decentralized .., and that’s when Florida becomes this opportunity to be the place for metaverse innovation.”

Hackl is tech futurist and a prominent advisor in the emerging field who works with a number of large brands. The former Florida resident who earned her master’s degree at FIU and formerly worked at Magic Leap said the state already has a head start, citing “the fact that Magic Leap could become what they have become and do that from Florida.” Hackl worked with their then-chief futurist, Neal Stephenson, who coined the phrase metaverse in the 1990s,  “and it was one of the best experiences coming down to Florida and innovating there.”


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