Startup founders are always looking for ways to grow and scale their businesses. Ideas need cultivating, creators need mentoring, and new companies need funding. This is where Tampa Bay Wave -- an accelerator program that helps tech-enabled startups build, launch, and thrive – comes into play.
In January, Hancock Whitney awarded Tampa Bay Wave a $25,000 grant advancing economic development for underrepresented populations through the bank’s competitive grant process.
An accelerator is a mentorship-driven program that provides resources to help entrepreneurs make rapid progress with their startups. Tampa Bay Wave connects tech entrepreneurs with mentors, and helps them make other important relationships, including with investors.
The organization also runs specific initiatives to help entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups such as ethnic minorities, women, veterans and the LGBTQ community. As one example of these programs, Tampa Bay Wave offers specific programs for what it calls its TechDiversity cohort, a group of 15 startups that requires members to be at least 51% owned and operated by a woman, minority, LGBTQ, veteran or disabled person.
Hancock Whitney recently awarded Tampa Bay Wave a $25,000 grant supporting diversity, equity and inclusion advancing economic development for underrepresented populations through the bank’s competitive grant process. The annual Hancock Whitney Competitive Grant Awards are part of the bank’s larger commitment to our Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) program.
As part of this involvement, I had the pleasure of attending “Pitch Night”, which was hosted at Tropicana Field. This friendly setting of business leaders, Tampa Bay Wave board members, and mentors allowed the start-ups to practice their pitches that will ultimately be presented to prospective investors. The vision, creativity and passion of this group was a special thing to witness.
Here is a sampling of the 15 startups we heard from:
• GoManda, a Texas company, developed an app to help autistic children learn vocabulary based on their individual learning styles.
• Rehametrics, a company based in Spain, develops software to improve physical and cognitive rehabilitation across all care settings.
• SafePush LLC, a Virginia-based company, develops medical devices to make patient care safer.
• SageSurfer, a California-based company, developed an app that provides support for people struggling with mental health and substance use disorders between visits.
• UzeLink, a New York-based company, developed a mobile application that allows users to receive notifications when there is a change in their health and activity patterns.
Tampa Bay Wave TechDiversity cohort on the pitch night event at Tropicana Field.
More about Tampa Bay Wave
Tampa Bay Wave has supported more than 400 tech startups, and a number of them have made successful exits through acquisitions by larger companies, or have continued to grow with the help of capital raises. Member companies have raised more than $300 million in capital and created more than 2,800 jobs since 2013.
Even in the midst of a global pandemic, Tampa Bay Wave has continued to serve entrepreneurs, supporting more than 161 startups in 2021 that collectively raised nearly $100 million and created over 500 new jobs. And for startups caught in the crosshairs of the pandemic and ineligible for state and national relief funding, Wave launched a Rising Tide Relief Fund to support member companies via microloans.
Tampa Bay Wave’s continued success in driving opportunity and prosperity stems from their tiered framework of build, launch and grow. Tech startups at any level can take advantage of Tampa Bay Wave’s other programs, tools and resources to help maximize potential.
To support Tampa Bay Wave, visit https://www.tampabaywave.org/