Nov 4, 2021 - Business
Influential startup accelerator announces USF partnership
Illustration of a light bulb with the filament twisted to spell St P.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Tampa Bay Wave is strengthening its tech influence across the bay.

Driving the news: The startup accelerator announced a partnership with the University of South Florida's business school yesterday, laying the foundation for huge tech industry growth on both sides of the bridge.

  • The first cohort for the new FinTech|X Accelerator will be selected in 2022 and will focus on startups blending technology and financial services, like online banking, crypto and crowdfunding.
  • Starting in mid-April, in-person programming and events will take place primarily on USF's St. Petersburg campus during the 90-day accelerator.

Why it matters: After Forbes named Tampa the nation's top tech city, St. Pete is getting its moment in the tech spotlight.

  • ARK Investment Management just moved its headquarters to St. Pete and will create a business incubator expected to have a regional impact of $28 million and 1,265 direct and indirect jobs, per ilovetheburg..

Worth noting: After Wave ran its Cybertech accelerator last year, two companies — Refactr and Castle One — were acquired within four months after the end of the program, CEO and founder Linda Olson tells Axios.

  • Wave worked with 161 companies last year, mostly in fintech, cybertech and health tech.
  • Over the last four years, 85% of companies that have come through the program have been led by underrepresented founders, she says.

What they're saying: J. P. DuBuque, head of the Greater St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corporation, tells Axios the opportunity to bring Wave to St. Pete will make the Sunshine City unstoppable.

  • "This partnership is another step in planting our flag as a place where entrepreneurs can grow and succeed."
  • "Don't blink. You'll miss it. We're going fast and I can't wait to see what the future looks like."
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