Sep 3, 2021 - News

The women changing tech in Tampa Bay

Celest Austin presenting her app GoManda at a recent Tampa Bay Wave pitch night. Photo: Selene San Felice/Axios

As Tampa has risen to the top of the tech world, the Tampa Bay Wave is making sure minority innovators are rising to the top with us.

State of play: The business development service's TechDiversity cohort pitched their products to local investors earlier this week — and these companies are literally changing the game.

  • The companies come from as far away as Spain and Canada, but all 15 are looking to plant roots in Tampa Bay.
  • To get in the cohort, companies must be majority-owned and managed by people who identify as women, minority, LGBTQ, veterans or disabled.

A few that wowed us:


  • The leader: Celest Austin, M.D., Ph.D., of Austin, Texas.
  • The product: An app tailored to the learning style of children with autism, using games to help them with language comprehension.
  • The intrigue: Austin was inspired by her sister, Amanda, who has autism. She's working with one of the largest autistic student populations in Texas, and she's hoping to get GoManda to be free for educators nationwide.


  • The leader: Rebecca Dixon, of New York City.
  • The product: A social network and media platform made by and for women — who face constant harassment in the gaming world.
  • The intrigue: Dixon already has investments from big names like Riot Games and works with organizations like Black Girl Gaming. We're excited to see how she incorporates trans and non-binary people — who face similar harassment while gaming — into the platform.


  • The leader: Tonia Aiken, a nurse, attorney and biomedical entrepreneur in New Orleans.
  • The product: A micro-hydraulic system that stops medical workers from pushing IV medications and fluids into a patient's body too fast.
  • The intrigue: That tiny piece of medical equipment could stop potentially fatal mistakes caused by human error, making hospitals safer.

Go deeper: Read about the rest of the cohort in Tampa Bay Inno.


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