It is hard to believe that it’s been two years since the launch of Synapse. Every day since then has been a validation of our mission: to connect Florida’s innovation communities in a meaningful, purposeful way. As I’ve traveled the state I’ve seen first hand the passion and creativity that have created an incredible tapestry of innovation and opportunity in Florida. The proof lies on every page of this book.
Together we are shaping our own destiny. Together we are demonstrating that “Innovation Lives Here”.- Marc Blumenthal, Co-Founder, Synapse Florida Partner, Florida Funders
Florida has a lot to celebrate: a population growing by nearly 2,000 people per day; business-friendly laws that support innovation; research institutions producing innovation ready for commercialization; some of our country’s best universities and colleges with hundreds of thousands of students ready to build their careers; innovation in industries from biotech to cybersecurity, from manufacturing to virtual reality, from space exploration to egaming; and a growing cadre of serial entrepreneurs who continue to reinvest both by building new businesses and by paying it forward as mentors to the next generation of entrepreneurs. Major companies and organizations have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to build manufacturing centers, innovation spaces, Fab Labs, wet labs and simulation centers available to innovators and entrepreneurs, hackers and makers.
Individually, these are great resources. Together they are a powerful engine of growth. In so many ways, Florida has more to offer innovators and entrepreneurs than most anywhere else in the country. The challenge is enabling the talent and resources anywhere in the state to easily find each other.
Synapse is meeting that challenge by bringing innovation partners together within a thoughtful framework. We are building a community that enables these resources to collaborate and accelerate success across our state by making these people, companies, and resources more visible and using our events, challenges and digital tools to find and connect with the ones who can help you grow your business.
We’ve already demonstrated that by working together, the rising tide really is lifting all boats.
The 2018 Synapse Summit was a tipping point when more than 3,300 innovators, entrepreneurs, and community members, along with 250 companies, came together to celebrate, educate and inspire each other. The impact was real. Investors found deal flow. Founders met partners. Companies found talent. Students saw a path to a career. The Synapse Summit made it clear that innovation does, in fact, live here.
Synapse Challenges are igniting the innovation ecosystem and fueling the talent pipeline, as hackers and makers from coast to coast participate in solving real-world problems. Like designing a chatbot so that Metropolitan Ministries can help the homeless and hungry in urgent need who reach out on social media. Or the juniors at Florida Polytechnic University, whose solution to a blockchain challenge resulted in an unexpected prize: a job. Or the enthusiasm from SunTrust Bank Foundation, Guidewell Florida Blue, Grow Financial Federal Credit Union and others that will launch Synapse Challenges in 2019 because they see the value they have for their own companies and for inspiring the innovation community.
Synapse Connect will continue to become the primary online space for innovators to quickly curate meaningful connections, reducing the degrees of separation between what you have and what you need. This platform will continue to expand enabling the incredible number of people, organizations, and resources to find and be found, think Match.com meets Netflix purpose-built for Florida’s innovation communities.
We are so thankful to the enthusiastic and generous community that has come together to make the Synapse movement possible. The companies and community partners that have stepped up to be on the Synapse Board represent our most passionate advocates and important leaders that will shape our movement’s future.
But, this is only the beginning. We still have work to do.
Synapse is building bridges – in person and online – connecting innovation communities, shrinking the state and making resources visible and accessible, turning the vastness of our geography into our greatest asset.
Florida is one of the best places to build a life, career, and company. Together we are shaping our own destiny. Together we are demonstrating that “Innovation Lives Here.”