Frequently Asked Questions

The answers to all the things our Accelerator Program has to offer.

An accelerator is a mentorship-driven program run over a fixed period of time. Accelerator programs are designed to provide startups with essential resources that help entrepreneurs make rapid progress on business, product, and customer development. Entrepreneurs typically have a prototype when they join an accelerator, but they may not know the path they should take or the next steps to create a viable business model around their product.

Yes, we work with companies that, at a minimum, have reached the “problem-solution fit” stage. This means that the startup team has identified a real problem worth solving in the market and has done the necessary customer research to initially validate their solution.

Our program is best suited to support technology startups that are:

  • Web & Mobile
  • Highly Disruptive
  • Scalable with potential for significant growth
  • In new innovative markets
  • Based in Tampa Bay

We do not accept hobbyist/lifestyle businesses or corporate spin-outs into the Wave Accelerator Program. If you are a larger company interested in getting involved at Wave, please contact us about our corporate programs.

No, Tampa Bay Wave does not currently take equity in any startups.

Tampa Bay Wave Accelerator runs multiple “classes” throughout the year. Learn more about the next class application deadline here.

  • Access to our network of some of the best experts in the tech industry
  • Mentorship from seasoned tech entrepreneurs
  • Introductions to growth-driven investors who are passionate about helping tech entrepreneurs build, launch, and grow their businesses
  • Coaching and support to navigate the fundraising process
  • Exclusive access to Wave’s innovative events, including invite-only pitch nights with investors, mentorship sessions, and more
  • Access to coworking space
  • Technology perks (like Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, Microsoft BizSpark, legal discounts, and more!)

We educate entrepreneurs on Lean Startup methodologies, customer development, testing your critical assumptions, creating a viable business model, and effectively communicating and pitching to investors.

Wave started with a “for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs” culture that is one of our core values we strongly stand by. You will learn just as much from fellow entrepreneurs in the program as you will from Wave’s mentors, advisors, and investors. Tampa Bay Wave is a tight-knit, innovative community of tech entrepreneurs who will motivate you to continue growing your business, hold you accountable so you can accomplish your startup goals, and push you towards success faster than you’ve ever imagined.

Another unique aspect of our accelerator program is that it is strategically organized into three different phases (Build, Launch, and Grow), which is designed to help your startup in each unique phase of development. We don’t believe in the standard “turn and burn” model of accelerators where you are abandoned after three months. We are determined to provide you with the tools and resources to keep up the momentum in your business during the accelerator program and once you’ve completed the program.

After you fill out an application on our website, our internal vetting committee will decide which companies are the best fit for our accelerator program. These selected companies will be invited to conduct a 30-minute presentation to our vetting committee, which will include an in-depth Q&A session.

A collection of our board members, funding coaches, and Wave mentors are a part of our vetting committee for the accelerator program.

Wave has dedicated funding coaches on staff and their focus is to educate companies on the fundraising process, how to effectively communicate with investors, and ultimately connect them with the most compatible investors in our network.

We have yet to have two companies in our accelerator that are direct competitors with each other’s businesses. However, we do have companies that are in the same market and we find that this often creates opportunities for collaboration. No two companies are the same and if the market is big enough, there are plenty of customers to go around. On the off chance that a company applied and was a direct competitor with one of our existing companies, we would need to wait for the existing company to graduate from our accelerator program.

Absolutely! Come on down. We’d love to show you around our collaborative space, hear about what business you’re building, and show you how we can get you connected to the tech community in Tampa Bay. You can schedule a tour here.

No, you just need to fill out the application, where you will have the option to attach additional materials if you’d like.

No, we do not sign NDAs because we look at hundreds of business plans each year. However, we will work with you to find the balance between understanding your company’s unique advantage without requiring you to divulge proprietary information. In your application, please avoid disclosing any technical information that you consider to be your “secret sauce” or trade secret, but be as clear as possible about your competitive advantage.

One of the benefits of the Wave Accelerator Program is that you have access to a basic coworking membership, which allows you to use the shared tables in our open space. However, you are not required to work out of the Wave Venture Center on a day-to-day basis. You will be required to meet with mentors and attend monthly strategy sessions out of our space.

As entrepreneurs, we do not have a typical day at the Wave. Your day could range from working on your product and obtaining feedback from customers to playing ultimate frisbee in Curtis Hixon Park and freaking out about the latest “Game of Thrones” episode.

Although our Accelerator program is probably not the best fit for you, there are other ways to get involved in the Wave community. The best way for you to be exposed to potential opportunities for finding a cofounder or getting feedback on your idea is to join our Roundtable or attend the dozens of free events we host every month.

No, you can jump directly into any phase if you meet certain criteria set forth by our vetting committee.

One of the main values of Wave is that no two businesses are the same. Just because you have built a startup before does not necessarily mean you cannot benefit from the mentors, coaches, and other entrepreneurs within the accelerator program. Wave is a tech hub in the Tampa Bay community and can give your venture increased visibility and credibility. We can also assist in making strategic and significant introductions to potential partners, customers, and investors.

No, we have several legal partners that will offer discounted services and professional guidance to help you legally establish your business.

Yes, you may qualify for our “Launch” or “Grow” stage depending on what kind of funding you’ve received.

Although we love the ambition, unfortunately, the answer is no. You will have to choose one idea to apply for. We look for entrepreneurs who are 100% committed and passionate about an individual business concept. It’s a troubling indicator if we see more than one application from the same person. The good news is that if you go through the program with one idea and it doesn’t work out, you can always reapply with a different idea.

Accelerator program costs are often covered by our corporate sponsors so they are offered at no charge to startups. Please contact us for more information about a particular program.