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Seminole Heights, FLTemple Terrace, FLCarrollwood-Northdale, FLBrandon, FLBloomingdale-Riverview, FLWestchase, FLSt. Pete, FLSafety Harbor, FLLutz, FLClearwater, FLFloridaTop National NewsSee All CommunitiesTAMPA, FL — Embarc Collective, a nonprofit startup hub that helps entrepreneurs build their businesses, announced that it is now home to 100 member startups, making it the fastest-growing startup hub in Florida.
Beginning in March 2019 with just 25 member companies working virtually in its first phase, the organization expanded to 49 members after launching its 32,000-square-foot space in the old District warehouse at 802 E. Whiting St. in downtown Tampa in January 2020.
Despite the global pandemic, Embarc Collective has doubled its membership. Embarc Collective’s 100 member companies have added 234 team members and raised a total of $107 million in venture capital since 2019. Member industries range from ecommerce to pharma-tech to LGBTQ-friendly travel.
Find out what’s happening in Tampa with free, real-time updates from Patch.”The vision of Embarc Collective is to co-locate startups within a state-of-the-art facility and with access to top-rated individualized support to accelerate the rate of growth of our tech community,” said Lakshmi Shenoy, CEO of Embarc Collective. “Reaching this tremendous milestone sooner than we had projected demonstrates that Embarc Collective is officially a premier destination for tech entrepreneurs in Florida, and one of the most effective support models for startups looking to truly take their companies to the next level.”
Embarc Collective’s members celebrated several milestones of their own this year:
Find out what’s happening in Tampa with free, real-time updates from Patch.Ideal Agent, a real estate technology platform, became the organization’s first alumnus in April and grew a staff of almost 100 since first joining the startup hub.BlockSpaces, an integration platform that connects business applications to blockchains, became the first woman co-founded and -led blockchain startup in Florida to raise more than $1 million in venture capital funding.Pocket, a platform for developers working with blockchain to connect any app with a single line of code, is on track to generate more than $13 million in annualized revenue for users of the platform.TrustLayer, an AI-powered collaborative risk management solution working to digitize insurance verification closed a $15.1 million Series A round led by Craft Ventures. The stock-investing startup Grifin has been a member at Embarc Collective since its inception, and has been making waves in the personal investment industry ever since.
“Embarc Collective is a family of just genuinely good human beings that are not only incredibly smart, but are working together to make the world a better place,” said Aaron Froug, co-founder and CEO of Grifin. “Embarc is a meaningful and positive addition to Tampa Bay and the startup ecosystem in general. The team at Embarc has built a repeatable process that should be represented around the country. I’d recommend it for any startup. Embarc creates an environment that facilitates growth, well-being, inclusivity and belonging.”
In addition to local startups, Embarc Collective is seeing a surge in interest from transplants who relocated to Florida amid the shift to pandemic-era remote work, including JetBridge and TrustLayer. Both moved from Silicon Valley, the startup capital of the world.
Attracted by the centralized community and strong support Embarc Collective offers, including burnout prevention coaching, a venture capital database, an in-house talent acquisition specialist and a network of more than 100 partners across the country, the two companies now use Embarc Collective as their company headquarters.
Tampa Bay as a region continues to attract startups and technology companies, welcoming tech executives like HelloFresh co-founder Daniel Treiman, Wag! co-founder Brendan Rogers and Fast co-founder Domm Holland.
According to the latest “Scoring Tech Talent” report from the United States Commercial Real Estate Services, Tampa ranks ninth in U.S. markets for technical talent growth over the past five years, increasing 23.5 percent from 2016 to 2020, ahead of all other cities in Florida — including Miami — for new tech job openings last year.
In April, the Times of Entrepreneurship named Tampa as the “#8 Best City to Start a Business In After the Pandemic.”
And earlier this month, Forbes magazine named Tampa the country’s top emerging tech city.
Among the Tampa businesses leaders behind the nonprofit startup hub is Tampa Bay Lightning owner and Water Street Tampa developer Jeff Vinik, who committed $10 million to establish and create Embarc Collective.
Vinik served as the chairman of the board until March when Brian Murphy, CEO and founder of the Tampa-based cybersecurity company ReliaQuest and a member of the Embarc Collective’s Founders Circle, took on the role.
“I’m beyond excited to be stepping into this leadership role at Embarc Collective, to help its member startups win,” said Murphy. “We have the playbook for success: the right people, the right resources and the right experience. We’ve got a tremendous opportunity to grow something that’s very powerful.”
The new leadership structure positions Murphy and Vinik as part of a three-member leadership team with Lakshmi Shenoy, Embarc Collective’s CEO.
The facility includes private offices, flexible open collaboration workspaces, three event spaces, a members’ kitchen, a cafe, seven conference rooms and a content studio, quiet room, nursing room and prayer room.
In 2020, Embarc Collective delivered 1,300 hours of one-on-one coaching to its members as well as 65 group learning sessions.
The newest program is geared toward building the freelance community to help support the growing startups in the Tampa Bay area.
The Freelancer Program is a four-week workshop-style course led by the coaches of Embarc Collective designed for local freelancers to effectively learn how to serve the needs and challenges of startups.
Following this training, participants will become a part of Embarc Collective’s new Freelance Talent Directory that accessible to the member in Embarc and their national network of investors and partners. To receive notification of the 2022 freelance program, click here.
See related story: Tampa Becoming Magnet For National, Global Tech Companies
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