Andy Hafer has had a long career in technology and has founded several startups and non-profits, including Dynamic Communities, DCE Productions, Cornerstone Community, and Village of Hope – Haiti. Andy was instrumental in the start-up of Synapse and holds a position on the board. He has seen, first-hand, the opportunities for ecosystem players to collaborate together in a world-class way.
I use this analogy: Think of the Florida Early Stage Ecosystem as a hay wagon. One of those old-fashioned, horse-drawn hay wagons. Imagine it is piled high with hay. That pile of hay represents the abundance of resources that we have for innovation in Florida, including Entrepreneurs, Investors, Talent, Capital, Higher Education, Enablers, Support, and a willing Government.
Now imagine that that hay wagon, loaded with abundant resources, has hundreds of ropes tied to the hitch. A rope that each of us can grab hold of and pull toward our goal. As we each eagerly grab our rope, put our heads down, and start pulling, we notice that we aren’t making great progress. We look up and see that we are pulling in a direction different to the person next to us. And the person next to them is pulling in yet another direction. Then we yell in unison: ‘Hey guys! Let’s all pull in the same direction!’ And that’s where Florida is now on our journey toward being one of the world’s most thriving Early Stage Economies.
“Last year at the Synapse Summit 2018, I had a moment on stage to share my thoughts of the status and the trajectory of the Early Stage Ecosystem in Florida. What I said then, is what I say now - Florida has all the elements in place to be one of the world’s most thriving Early Stage Economies. Are we there yet? Not quite...
I am grateful to all the voices who have been part of the dialog of figuring out how best to pull in unison. I’ve founded and grown several companies and nonprofits in Florida and have relied on many for mentoring, capital, know-how, and everything else. I know that much of that has been luck and serendipity. Watching the Synapse phenomenon help to organize the wagon-pullers has been exciting. I feel the wagon moving more smoothly now and I plan to keep pulling!”