In June 2008 a group of 20 tech entrepreneurs gathered in a conference room at Foley & Lardner's Tampa office to meet local peers, share their personal stories, and find solutions to the challenges that can be unique to tech startups.
Four years later, WaVE has
Did you know….
- Our members' tech ventures range from initial development stage all the way up to post revenue stage (some with millions of users, revenue and/or funding)
- The average age of our tech venture founders is between 35 and 40 years old
- Five of the six Gazelle Lab startups, the local TechStars network accelerator, were also WaVE member ventures
- Many WaVE member ventures are also members of TBTF and Tampa Bay Innovation Center
- One of our members' ventures, Wufoo, was acquired last year for $35 million, and the most outside capital they took in was $118,000 (not a bad return, huh?)
Recently, a group of WaVE members were asked what is WaVE's proudest accomplishment? It was not easy to answer, especially since there were so many to choose from.
As you may know, our initial meeting back in 2008 was simply a gathering of peers, like-minded tech entrepreneurs who not only had challenges in their startups to tackle but also were eager to share their personal experiences and pearls of wisdom for the benefit of other tech startup founders. Yep, it was that simple. There was no other agenda, and certainly no expectation that an organization would be formed.
However, as the years progressed, these passionate founders stuck together, forming bonds that will last a lifetime. It was more than just a community, more like a fraternity or family.
In 2010, WaVE decided to launch a website simply to give its members and their ventures a little more exposure. We knew our members were working on the area's future break-out tech companies, and we did not want to keep it a secret any longer. Soon after, people did start to take notice, and opportunities to provide more benefits to our members began to emerge.
Thus, in 2011, it became clear that formally organizing as a non-profit would allow us to do even more for our members, their ventures and the greater local community. That was February 4, 2011.
What a pivotal decision that was.
Since then, our membership has more than doubled – each member being a founder of another great local tech venture (the next Facebook? next Groupon? next Foursquare? You name it…).
"I am constantly amazing at the variety of tech ventures that make up Tampa Bay WaVE," said Linda Olson, Chair and Executive Director of Tampa Bay WaVE. "There is almost no industry or application our members' ventures do not touch: healthcare tech, restaurants, local shopping & coupons, pets, parenting, telecomm, pay-per-click analytics, virtual worker matching services, recruiting and HR, education, dating, etc. Tampa Bay is truly a hotbed of innovation."
So what do the next four years look like for WaVE?
It's hard to say. There is tremendous momentum right now, so we expect big things.
Stay tuned… a little birdie tells us there is some very exciting news for Tampa Bay WaVE on the horizon too!
Happy 4th Birthday, WaVE!