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Catching up with Brian Kornfeld: From Satellites to Synapse

Joe Hamilton

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Brian Kornfeld

Brian Kornfeld’s brain runs hotter and faster than an average person’s. Some serious organizations have put that brain to serious use for things like making sure very expensive satellites don’t float off into deep space. As it turns out, this rocket scientist wasn’t engineered for cogdom in large organizations. After years of generating ideas and releasing them to the wind like umbrella hairs from a dandelion, Kornfeld built his first company. And it failed miserably.

Like all good entrepreneurs, that first failed attempt was simply fertilizer for his next company, Popkorn Apps. Really an incubator disguised an an app development firm, Popkorn inserted Kornfeld into dozens of startups which benefited from his insight and his budget-friendly efficiency. The company was also unique among small dev firms in that he was happy to take equity in lieu of cash when it made the best sense for both parties.

Next stop, Jeff Vinik. Kornfeld attended a talk given by Vinik at the USF MBA program. The two agreed to meet in the coming weeks. Kornfeld’s preparation for that meeting took his understanding of the needs of the Tampa startup ecosystem to a new level – a level that impressed Vinik and forged a lasting bond between Kornfeld and the Vinik apparatus.

A chance meeting with Marc Blumenthal at a wedding finally provided the opening through which Kornfeld could express his entrepreneurial voice and drive solutions for the problems he saw in the region. Blumenthal is an ideal partner with a tireless passion for building and elevating the region. The rest, well it’s not yet history, but it’s a great beginning to the story of Synapse – a story you can hear more of by clicking play below.

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