Scoop: Weatherford Capital's huge Tampa tech bet
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:
- Clearwater-based KnowBe4 expanded to its 10th country last year.
- Tampa's Deepwatch reeled in a $53 million funding deal.
- San Francisco-based OPSWAT announced earlier this month that it would move its headquarters here.
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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