Tampa Bay is Becoming the New — Blockchain — Silicon Valley Thanks to Tampa Bay Wave


As the Silicon Valley tech exodus continues, Tampa Bay is becoming one of the more fertile lands in the nation for tech startups. One of the reasons why Tampa Bay is seeing such substantial growth is the work by Tampa-based tech accelerator, Tampa Bay Wave

The group has been dedicated to helping tech startups grow, working with over 300 startups that have raised a collective $300 million since 2013. One way Tampa Bay Wave accomplishes this is through its series of cohorts. The group recently saw success with its TechDiversity cohort, one that focused on companies that were at least 51% owned by either a woman, minority, member of the LGBTQ community, disabled person, veteran, or any combination of the aforementioned groups. 

Its focus of the 90-day program was to “provid[e] greater opportunity for diverse entrepreneurs to build, grow, and expand their businesses and influence in the tech sector,” according to cohort sponsor Nielsen’s executive director of grant-making, Andrea Bertels. The cohort was widely celebrated as well as successful. 

Like the TechDiversity cohort, each program that Tampa Bay Wave facilitates has a specific focus, although they are not all in the same vein. Another major cohort that the group put together was the 2018 Post-Accelerator cohort which focused on tech companies in the later stages of development that already had significant traction. The companies involved spanned a variety of specialties in the world of tech, including virtual reality, cloud-based platforms and data analytics.

After a series of successful cohorts with different focal points, Tampa Bay Wave has announced their newest endeavor, the CyberTech|X Accelerator. 

The CyberTech|X Accelerator has big things in store for the tech industry and the Tampa Bay Area

Formed with the vision of establishing Tampa Bay’s reputation as a nationally-recognized hub for cybersecurity talent and innovation, the  new cybersecurity program was created with help from a $100,000 gift from local entrepreneur and ConnectWise founder, Arnie Bellini and his wife, Lauren Bellini, through their foundation, Bellini Better World. Other key funding partners include A-LIGN,  KnowBe4 and EY; plus strategic partners: Aditum, Bank of America, Cyber Florida, Jabil, Raymond James, SYKES Enterprises and University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business.

The CyberTech|X Accelerator is made up of fifteen cybersecurity firms from across the United States as well as the United Kingdom. The virtual 90-day program is another major step for Tampa Bay Wave and will go a long way towards enhancing the Tampa Bay Area’s reputation in the world of tech. 

Tampa Bay Wave Cohort Director Dr. Richard Munassi MDMBA spoke to the importance of the group’s newest cohort, saying, “The launch of the Cybertech|X Cohort at the Tampa Bay Wave is yet another validator showing how the Wave and the region are gaining national recognition as a hub for startups. These cohort members, who come from throughout the United States and abroad, bring cutting edge technologies solving some of the biggest problems in cybersecurity today, and we are honored to be able to support them as they continue to build, launch, and grow their tech startups.”

In addition to helping the companies involved continue to grow, the cohort will continue to bridge the gap between Tampa Bay and the international tech community as well as increase the development of the area’s cybersecurity workforce development efforts. The city is home to the University of South Florida, a school with highly reputable cybersecurity degree programs and with its own branch of The Florida Center for Cybersecurity, also known as Cyber Florida

Expanding on Dr. Munassi’s point, Tampa Bay Wave President and Founder Linda Olson said, “Tampa Bay Wave is proud to launch this new accelerator program that will not only provide support to innovative cybersecurity startups throughout the US and beyond, but also showcase the growing cluster of cybersecurity firms already in the region. Programs like the ​CyberTech|X​ Accelerator ​can go a long way to further cultivate and develop tech and cybersecurity talent here in Tampa Bay.​ “

What companies make up the CyberTech|X Accelerator?

The group organizers’ excitement regarding the scope of the accelerator and its potential impact on the Tampa Bay Area is by no means unwarranted. Out of the fifteen companies involved, only two are based out of Florida while one is based out of the UK. It is also very interesting to note that only one is based out of Silicon Valley, which is perhaps another testament to the shifting tides of the tech industry. 

Each company manages cybersecurity in one form or another but much like Tampa Bay Wave’s other cohorts, each company brings something different to the table. Gridlock, Cervais, and Arcanum Technology all have a blockchain-focused approach to cybersecurity. Even then, they have different applications. 

Gridlock uses blockchain technology for cryptocurrency transactions and streamlining the connections between consumers and blockchain services. Cervais on the other hand is a security platform that uses “blockchain technology for scalable seamless auto-provisioning, CAPA (continuous authentication and predictive analytic) engine, security architecture and design and penetration testing.” Arcanum Technology is almost a hybrid of the two, using tokenized values to provide authentication solutions for financial institutions, banks and online merchants.

The rest of the cohort is made up of: Arch Access, Castle One, Elroi, EveryKey, Foretrace, Hook Security Inc, Outpost Security, Phylum Inc, Refactr, SmarterD, Tauruseer, and Tenacious


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