When it comes to tech, the Tampa Bay region is developing a highly sophisticated, and robust, ecosystem to attract top tech talent and nurture forward-thinking startups that make impactful contributions to the industry.
After Forbes Magazine named Tampa as the leading emerging city for tech, it seems the world took notice of the tech innovation illuminated by the Florida sunshine.
Tampa Bay Wave is a nonprofit that is an influencer in the Tampa Bay tech scene. The program helps entrepreneurs transform the ideas of tomorrow into the real-world solutions of today and build scalable businesses in the process that benefits the economy.
In April, the Tampa Bay Wave and the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business kicked off its FinTech|X 2022 Accelerator program, an inaugural cohort consisting of 16 high-growth global fintech startups.
“Tampa Bay Wave is proud to launch this new Accelerator program that will not only provide support to innovative fintech startups throughout the United States, and beyond, but also showcase the talent and growing network of innovators and capital resources already in the Tampa Bay region,” says Linda Olson, president and founder of the Tampa Bay Wave.
The FinTech|X 2022 Accelerator is a strategic entry point for USF into the fintech sector, providing students with valuable resources and industry-leading mentors to make a difference in the community. The university is establishing a new FinTech Center and offering degree programs at the Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance on the USF St. Petersburg campus.
The goal of the Accelerator is to provide the opportunity for entrepreneurial advancement and access to tech education in St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay region. Another supporter of the initiative is the St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corp. which studies, and promotes, the economic impact of entrepreneurs and overall business growth in the region.
“Partnerships like this, with Tampa Bay Wave, will help entrepreneurs do just that,” says Moez Limayem, the Lynn Pippenger Dean of the Muma College of Business. “The USF Muma College of Business, and particularly the Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance, is becoming known as a place where FinTech leaders come to learn and launch businesses.”
The Accelerator is a three-month business accelerator program that offers participating companies strategic resources to successfully scale businesses. Program benefits include a dedicated accelerator managing director, mentoring with the best-of-the-best fintech industry veterans, sales training, introductions and coaching resources. On June 29, the Accelerator cohort will participate in Tampa Bay Wave Demo Day to pitch their companies to a panel of investors, venture capitalists and fintech leaders.
The FinTech|X 2022 cohort includes fintech startups from across the U.S. and countries such as Israel, England, Saudi Arabia and Germany.
Embracing diversity, equity and inclusion in the program is an intentional focus for the Wave, and USF, via this program. Research has shown that diverse teams tend to perform better and deliver more innovative solutions as a result of the cross-pollination of views and experience. In an ecosystem such as the Accelerator, which is vitally important to success. The cohort has significant representation from military veterans, LBGTQ+ founders, minority founders and women entrepreneurs.
The inaugural FinTech|X cohort is as diverse as it is impressive. The cohort includes many serial entrepreneurs, and founders, who graduated from top universities such as Harvard, Cornell, Cal-Berkeley and Notre Dame. Some founders have had prior exits and other participants include executives from notable companies such as Huntington Bank, Cognizant, Kabbage, Techstars, Deutsche Bank, Oracle, Wells Fargo, UBS, Truist, CIBC, Accel-KKR, Comerica and PNC.
It is an exciting time for the Tampa Bay region with programs such as the FinTech|X 2022 Accelerator that are redefining a new generation of fintech companies. As the Tampa Bay community embraces its moment in the spotlight, the region is excited to witness what the powerful combination of education with industry training can accomplish for the future of fintech on a global scale.[image_slider_no_space on_click=”prettyphoto” height=”300″ images=”17194,17193,17192,17191″]