By Riley Kaminer
Turkish native Pinar Oncu never thought much of Miami. She had vague, if not pleasant memories of enjoying Miami on vacation close to a decade ago – but the city did not leave a major impression on her.
That was until two years ago, when Oncu went to NFT LA to showcase the startup she co-founded, Atlas Space, which creates metaverse environments for enterprises. “At the exhibition, probably five hundred people asked us if we were going to Miami next week,” Oncu told Refresh Miami, referring to Miami Tech Week.
Oncu’s response: “What’s going on in Miami?” She had to see firsthand.
And what did she find? A thriving ecosystem of web3 enthusiasts, builders, and investors. “Instead of me returning to Istanbul, my co-founder came back to Miami,” Oncu [pictured above] recalled.
Fast forward to today, and Oncu is in South Florida – alongside a handful of Atlas Space’s 60 full-time employees. Oncu, who is the company’s COO, cites Miami as a “very peaceful, happy place to be,” on top of being beneficial from a business perspective. Co-founder and CEO Burcin Gurbuz visits Miami often from Instanbul, she says.
Atlas Space is an immersive web3 platform for businesses of all types: from the most conventional to more cutting-edge enterprises. Atlas Space’s platform is unique in a few respects. For instance, it offers global health insurance plans and retirement accounts for distributed workforces.
“We call it the truly decentralized lifestyle platform,” she said. “We want everybody to be able to freely travel the world, without having any concerns about their retirement or their health. Because we believe that when you thrive, the world thrives.”
Decentralization is more than a buzzword for Atlas Space: it is an overarching philosophy that touches everything the company does. It’s also not just about NFTs or tokens or blockchain layers – although Atlas Space is dipping its decentralized toes into all of those aspects as well.
Oncu emphasized how their platform makes it easy for employees to detach from physical locations and live more fulfilling lives. “We offer an immersive business operating system that lets people be comfortable while spending their time wherever they happen to find themselves.”
Currently, Atlas Space reports that its platform is used by more than 50 enterprise customers, including some big names such as Pepsi and Vodafone. Now, half a decade into building the company, the company is growing in other areas, including creating virtual environments for employees and staff members to engage with a company’s services.
For many, the future of web3 seems uncertain. But for Oncu the success of web3 is all but inevitable, noting the broad applications and technologies involved in the movement – with a particular focus on the metaverse.
“We have got a tremendous amount of solutions that can improve our lives,” she explained. “The metaverse is a bridge to improve the quality of your real life.”
Back on a micro level, Oncu is most excited about being able to improve peoples’ lives through Atlas Space’s offerings. “I feel like Bill Gates 30 years ago – with all the tools need to be able to touch a lot of lives.”
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