A buffet of Web3 and Florida tech at pre-eMerge brunch for early-stage investors

Ahead of the eMerge Americas 2022 conference, Florida Funders, Silicon Valley Bank, and the Florida Institute co-hosted a brunch event at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel with approximately 150 accredited investors in attendance.

The main goal: educate and inspire investors about the opportunity to get involved in early-stage tech companies.

Web3 community builder and expert Michelle Abbs, who organized last year’s NFT BZL event and recently dropped The Tuttle Tribe NFTs for her organization Web3 Equity, provided a 101 session on web3 to help investors get their heads around some of the hottest buzzwords in tech. 

Her message to investors was ultimately an empowering one: “Anyone who comes from whatever background can enter this space and become a leader, educator, and investor quickly just by learning the basic elements of Web3.”

Abbs emphasized that some of the most exciting web3 innovations have not even been considered yet. Therefore, she asserted that it’s important to keep a keen eye open to interesting innovations. She highlighted three use cases that she finds particularly compelling these days: music, real estate (music to the ears of many a traditional Florida investor), and the metaverse.

Attendees then heard from a panel of web3 experts – Florida Funders startup founders Rodolfo Saccoman of Web3 community investing platform CryptoLeague, Jared McCluskey of metaverse building platform The Mirror, and Jonathan Gibbons of play-to-earn trading platform vig.io – who shared stories of web3 technology in action.

Saccoman, a #MiamiTech OG, praised the city for being “packed with diversity and immigrant hussle.” He said that “the game has really changed over the last year” when it comes to the local tech scene. 

McCluskey, who moved to the Magic City after witnessing the hype on Twitter, echoed these sentiments. He argued that Miami is at the forefront of the web3 wave. “This is the best place to build a web3 company,” he said.

Gibbons defined web3 as participatory, decentralized, and the wild west. He expressed excitement about both the “ginormous” potential upside to investing in web3 coupled with the idea that this tech trend is “unstoppable.” That said, he asserted that the future of web3 will depend on three factors: friction (the ability to innovate in the space), liquidity (access to capital), and government regulation (potential compliance headaches).

Finally, the event concluded with a conversation with Falon Fatemi, co-founder and CEO of Mark Cuban-backed interactive media platform Fireside. The app, which enables creators to easily distribute their live and virtual shows across the internet, has garnered attention for onboarding major talent to the platform including Jay Leno, Michael Dell, Entourage creator Doug Ellin.

Fatemi was at one point the youngest employee at Google, starting work there at age 19 while she was still in college studying full-time. The decade she spent focusing on Google’s go-to-market strategies and expansions informed the work she would go on to do in the startup world, including as a founder of AI-as-a-service platform Node. Fatemi signaled that there are more exciting announcements to come from Fireside in the near future, including an endeavor in the metaverse.


Riley Kaminer