Tampa Synapse Column

Tampa Synapse Column

A tech conference in Tampa might have represented a positive development for Orlando, and it’s just in time.

The speaker list for Synapse Summit 2022 in Tampa included one Orlando person on a stage every hour. These speakers included CEOs, tech experts, and professionals in more niche industries like esports and the metaverse. UCF President Alexander Cartwright even stopped by for a university president roundtable for Florida High Tech Corridor universities. It was a great display of the variety of industries that not only exist but could thrive in Orlando.

However, before we get into that, let’s give props where they belong. The Tampa-based Synapse organization hosted a hell of a show.

Just walking around the Amalie Arena showed off the energy that surrounded Tampa’s tech community. This is no exaggeration.

The buzz at the Tampa Bay Lightning’s home arena was palpable. It reminded me of the energy that surrounded the highest energy ecosystem I was involved in. That was the Des Moines, Iowa, ecosystem. That region had a sort-of startup rebirth in the early 2010s, and I had a front-row seat to its growth. The secret is that Des Moines knew what it was, and it knew what it wasn’t.

While the city itself had some buzz, that excitement amplified when it connected with others around the state. That’s what I think I’m seeing right now. Those from Orlando who made the short drive to Tampa for Synapse seemed proud to be representing The City Beautiful. One panel that drew a small crowd was essentially a recap of an Orlando-based hackathon. This was a partnership between the tech community and the military. But while attendance at that talk is sparse, it still manages to show off a group of clusters that thrive in Orlando: military, simulation, and gaming.

The pride in the city’s tech community has appeared to grow during the pandemic.

Let me be clear about this: Orlando’s technology community sits at what could eventually be recognized as a huge moment in its evolution. Naturally, most ecosystems are primed for a comeback as the historic pandemic way too slowly but surely transitions into our rearview mirror. But just before COVID halted the ecosystem, Orlando’s technology scene seemed poised for a breakthrough. So as the gears shake off the rust and formal, in-person events seem to be on the rise, an event like Synapse in Tampa serves as a fine way to reconnect.

Still, the next steps could be the most crucial Orlando’s tech community has seen in years. Only time will tell if city and business leaders can capture this momentum to push forth the city’s tech businesses and entrepreneurs.

Some smart startup leaders once said very clearly that ecosystems need to be driven by the people building in a city rather than the city itself. But perhaps a combination of the two will eventually become the formula that pushes Orlando’s tech community to a new level of cooperation and prestige.

Ready to be a part of this thriving tech ecosystem? Contact us today to explore opportunities for collaboration, growth, and success in Orlando’s tech community.

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