Jan 26, 2021 - News

Scoop: Weatherford Capital's huge Tampa tech bet

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Family-owned Weatherford Capital is putting $22.5 million into the Tampa-based tech company SOMA Global, the private investment firm told Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: It'll likely be one of the Tampa Bay area's single-biggest funding deals of the year, if 2020 was any indication — and it involves a local investor backing a local company.

  • Area startups collectively pulled in nearly $441 million in funding last year, but $300 million of that came from a single, massive deal for cybersecurity company ReliaQuest, per the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
  • This deal would have been the area's fourth-biggest if it took place last year — and the three that landed above it were led by global investment giants like KKR and Goldman Sachs.

Driving the news: The investment in SOMA Global, which provides cloud tech services for law enforcement and fire departments, is Weatherford Capital's third outlay in government technology.

  • "We believe that taking the friction out of government systems will lead to happier citizens, ultimately building trust in government," managing partner Will Weatherford told Axios.
  • Weatherford served as a Republican in the Florida House of Representatives from 2006 to 2014, capping off his tenure with a term as speaker.

The big picture: We're starting to see a trend toward growth in tech and cybersecurity in Tampa Bay — illustrated in part by that ReliaQuest deal mentioned above. Some others:

This story first appeared in the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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