Tampa’s Tech Culture Is Driving Groundbreaking Innovation:
Are You Ready?

Ground breaking innovation across the bay.

Think Florida is just for beaches and spring break? Think again. Thanks to the strategic work of key innovation drivers like Florida Funders, Synapse, Tampa Bay Wave, the Tampa Bay area has earned a national reputation as a growing technology hub. Having been part of the Tampa Bay tech scene since the dot com era when downtown would turn into a ghost town by 4:00 p.m., we are amazed to see our entrepreneurial community today bursting with investors, innovative founders, and tech leaders who are building high growth companies.

Growing the Tampa Bay Tech Sector

Among these leaders is renowned investor Cathie Wood, Founder and CEO of ARK Invest. In 2021, she pulled up stakes from her headquarters in New York City and signed a lease in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. She also bought naming rights for the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, which will focus exclusively on entrepreneurs.

Wood told the St. Pete Catalyst that she was attracted to Tampa Bay because of its innovative vibe, and she’s not alone. Startups and growth companies have found Tampa to be an ideal environment for creating, growing, networking, and partnering with investors.

At CFO Alliance, we’re not at all surprised to see Tampa coming into its own as a bona fide tech center. Last year, we helped our clients close $60M worth of deals, and that’s just a drop in the bucket of how much investment capital is flowing through the city. We have enjoyed a front row seat for 20 years, admiring the ever-innovative founders who have successfully broken down barriers and cultivated a spirit of growth and progress in our entrepreneurial ecosystem.  

What’s Happening in the Innovative Tech Community?

Tampa isn’t the only place where tech startups have experienced explosive growth over the past five to ten years. As economic conditions have become less favorable in established tech hubs like Silicon Valley, Seattle, and New York, major tech players and new startups alike are looking for fresh venues that offer a lower cost of living and favorable talent landscapes. Cities like Austin, Texas, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Denver, Colorado have seen exponential technology growth in the form of new startups, more tech jobs, and billions of dollars in venture capital.

Tampa Bay Innovation Cover 3

What kinds of businesses are gaining the attention of investors? Here’s a quick look at some of the most exciting developments we’re seeing here on our home turf.

FinTech

If your lawn care guy has recently started asking for payment via VenMo rather than your usual check, then you know how disruptive FinTech innovation has already been. Digital wallets, decentralized finance, NFTs, distributed ledger technology, and other innovations are recalibrating tried-and-true financial protocols, paving the way for innovative FinTech companies like Wise (formerly TransferWise), Fast, and Allison. Beyond Tampa, another notable player in the FinTech space is Pipe, a Miami-based startup that received $250M at a $2B valuation in 2021.

Blockchain

Tampa is quickly earning a reputation as a blockchain hub as a broad spectrum of startups and developers hang out their shingles. BlockSpaces, a platform that integrates business applications with blockchain networks, raised nearly $6M in seed capital in 2021 and promises exponential growth moving forward. Pocket Network is also a company to watch this year, with $56M in monthly revenue as of December 2021 and a recent round of strategic funding totaling $10 million.

Other Tampa-based startups in this space include RB Technologies (food and dietary supplement supply chain), Real Random (cybersecurity), and eNotaryLog (online notarization).

Tampa Bay Theater Innovation

Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin is celebrating its 13th anniversary this year (how is that possible?) and early predictions about widespread relevance and application are proving true. But cryptocurrency encompasses much more than just Bitcoin these days. Tampa is home to some of the most promising players, including Celsius Network, a London-based company that recently opened a local office in Tampa and has received $843.8M in funding over seven rounds

Cybersecurity

With cybercrime skyrocketing during the pandemic, cybersecurity tech is among the fastest-growing innovation sectors around the globe. ReliaQuest, founded in Tampa in 2007, recently reached a $1B valuation with new funding and anticipates 50% revenue growth in 2022. Tampa is also home to Abacode, a cybersecurity firm that saw record growth in 2021, well-known cybersecurity provider A-LIGN, and Tampa native ConnectWise.

HealthTech

Tampa’s healthcare landscape includes four leading global biopharmaceutical companies and several premier healthcare facilities, making it a natural center for HealthTech innovation. Tampa General Hospital, for example, makes direct investments in healthcare developments through Innoventure, its venture capital fund. The abundance of world-class healthcare organizations operating in Tampa also makes it exceptionally favorable for HealthTech companies like Healthesystems, a platform that simplifies workers’ comp and medical benefits; DAS Health, a provider of Health IT and management solutions; M2Gen, an oncology-focused data solutions provider that started as an offshoot of the Moffitt Cancer Center; and many others.

EdTech

Spurred by urgent needs during the pandemic, educational technology use in grades k-12 has increased by a whopping 52% over pre-pandemic levels. If you’re a parent who had to juggle virtual school, work, and everything else over the past two years, that figure won’t surprise you. You also won’t be shocked to learn that a flood of new technology companies have stepped up to meet the demand. Tampa is home to some of these new companies as well as plenty of established providers offering everything from distance learning management (Astria Learning) to syllabus management (Simple Syllabus) and screen-time free early childhood education tools (Tembo Education).

InsureTech

Need a risk management solution for your insurance life cycle? Try TrustLayer. How about a platform that will compare insurance plans? Benefytt may be the tool you’re looking for.  Or maybe you need a solution to build a custom homeowners insurance policy. Slide is eager to fill that gap, and it’s seeing notable success to the tune of $100M in funding for 2021.

We know that we’ve barely scratched the surface with this list. The tech community in Tampa is vibrant, brimming with growing companies, talent, and the valuations and investment this community deserves. And we’re thrilled to be at the center of it all.

What’s Next?

There’s no question that the pace of innovation & evolving technology will bring major changes for the day-to-day functions of the business. The question we continue to ponder is this:

How will we all embrace new technologies and business models while maintaining necessary strategic imperatives?

Investors will still expect cold, hard, high-caliber data for valuations and growth investments. Without it, you won’t be able to close the deal.

That’s why CFO Alliance is committed to staying on the front edge of innovation as we help our community and clients prosper. We closed millions in deals for our clients last year and we’re ready to hit the ground running as we step into 2022. No matter where you are on the growth and innovation spectrum, we’ll provide the financial leadership and support you need to take your next step. Give us a call to see how we can help!

That’s why CFO Alliance is committed to staying on the front edge of innovation as we help our community and clients prosper. We closed millions in deals for our clients last year and we’re ready to hit the ground running as we step into 2022. No matter where you are on the growth and innovation spectrum, we’ll provide the financial leadership and support you need to take your next step. Give us a call to see how we can help!

Say Hello Green 3

Related Post

Tampa Tech Innovation

Tampa Tech Innovation

Tampa’s Tech Culture Is Driving Groundbreaking Innovation: Are You Ready?Ground breaking innovation across the...