Tampa Bay's growing community of high-tech entrepreneurs gets a boost tomorrow with a new "accelerator" for startup tech businesses. The Tampa Bay Wave Venture Center will hold its grand opening, occupying the entire second floor in Tampa's round Rivergate Tower office building.
The accelerator will provide office space and educational resources to help selected high-tech startup companies grow.
Combining tech and 'Survivor'
The accelerator's first "class" includes eight startup technology businesses. They're required to share creative ideas with others in the accelerator. They can be "voted off the island" if they don't meet the expectations of other members.
They can also sign up for classes, entrepreneur "boot camps," and mentoring from volunteers who have experience building and running businesses.
New jobs for a new economy
The program is funded for two years with a $1-million Department of Commerce grant, along with matching local funds. The funding was spearheaded by USF. Rivergate Tower's owner, In-Rel Properties, is providing the space.
Entrepreneurs who are not in the accelerator program can apply to use shared workspace in the 16,000-square-foot Venture Center.
Backers, including Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn, believe the Venture Center will grow companies that will create high-paying jobs.
Program clients include:
SHOOTRAC: Provides organizations of all sizes a simple way to capture big data on its customers, assets and workforce and use the information to leverage these resources for maximum efficiency and customer service using a cloud-based, scalable Software as a Service solution.
Cartooga: Through its proprietary e-commerce platform and expert staff, Cartooga, Coracent offers shopping cart hosting and a variety of conversion optimization features designed to help businesses open an online store, drive traffic and increase conversion rates.
Secondhand Living: An e-commerce site where consignment, antique and thrift shops, as well as architectural salvage material suppliers promote their businesses and offer their products for sale. There are thousands of these independently owned shops in North America (even more abroad) and the majority of them have no online presence.
Drawer: A technology product expressed initially through a mobile application that provides a framework for capturing and cataloging real-life recommendations between friends and acquaintances. Drawer helps to catalog across various verticals – places, movies, music, products, books, etc. – in order to provide a comprehensive and centralized place for storing this information.
Commendable Kids: It is a community of children striving to be the best they can, as they work toward earning badges that can then be proudly displayed and shared with their supporters. Commendable Kids helps encourage and challenge children to learn new skills and reach new milestones.
Confy.co: Confy.co helps track and organize an event from start to finish by providing targeted solutions and management tools to conference organizers, sponsors, hosts and other event-related personnel to successfully manage the myriad of data, requirements and essential organizational needs.
Kite Desk: A personal cloud information manager that lets users connect their cloud service accounts and automatically links and organizes their messages, contacts, files, events and more into useful streams of information. Kite Desk provides the unique value of personalized, contextual computing to both web and mobile clients.
SavvyCard: A mobile web platform for actively referring business transactions. It combines features of an online business card with an intelligent referral system that generates measurable leads and sales. SavvyCard offers a convenient way to pass "warm" referrals from any web enabled device, track and respond to referrals in real time, reward referral behavior and build mobile-friendly referral networks.
Applications are now being accepted for the next round of FirstWaVE Accelerator clients. The deadline to apply is April 1, and the new class will be selected April 11. Apply at: https://tampabaywave.wufoo.com/forms/m7p2m7/
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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