Renown technologists, Rony Abovitz and Guy Gilliland will lead this crucial conversation at Soaring City’s blackboXXcelerator

TAMPA – As the integration of virtual and physical spaces accelerates, individuals, companies and whole economies that do not adapt are at risk of being left behind. The Metaverse also presents an opportunity for leadership in a multi-billion dollar industry realm. That is why the Soaring City Innovation Partnership is hosting a breakfast discussion called “Building the Metaverse City” to be led by two experts on the subject.

Rony Abovitz, founder and CEO of Sun & Thunder

Rony Abovitz and Guy Gilliland will co-present and lead the discussion. Abovitz, founder and CEO of  Sun & Thunder and known widely for founding the augmented reality company, Magic Leap, will be participating remotely. His colleague, Guy Gilliland, former CEO at NUBURU, Inc. and Senior Partner and Managing Director for Boston Consulting Group is expected to  be in-person at the event. Dozens of tech entrepreneurs and innovators, researchers from Tampa Bay’s leading medical and educational institutions, and officials responsible for digital infrastructure will take part in the conversation. 

“Soaring City Innovation Partnership is working with Florida Blue on the Growing Resilient Communities program in Uptown and capitalizing on the opportunities presented by the Metaverse is a crucial factor in Uptown and the Tampa Bay region’s future as a resilient community and economy,” said Soaring City !p Executive Director, Mark Sharpe. “As with the existing digital divide, those who don’t have equal access will be challenged to keep pace educationally and professionally. However, if the Metaverse is leveraged well here in Tampa Bay and Uptown specifically, it can be a great tool for spreading opportunity and prosperity.”

Guy Gilliland, CEO of NUBURU, Inc. and Senior Partner & Managing Director of the Boston Consulting Group

This event will take place on April 1st from 8:00 – 10:00 a.m. at the Florida Blue blackboXXcelerator, a new facility at RITHM@ Uptown – formerly University Mall – designed to foster collaboration and innovation in Tampa’s Uptown Innovation Quarter. Breakfast will be provided and pre-registration is required. Visit for registration information as well as information about viewing the conversation on-line. 

At 10:30 a.m., following the breakfast discussion, the Uptown Chamber of Commerce will hold an official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the blackboXXcelerator and Florida Blue will join Soaring City for the official launch of the Growing Resilient Communities program in Uptown, which is a strategy for battling generational poverty in zip codes 33612 and 33613.