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Area’s biggest cyber companies back Tampa Bay Wave’s new accelerator

Margie Manning



Cybersecurity image. File photo.

Tampa Bay Wave wants to make the Tampa-St. Petersburg area a hub for cybersecurity talent and innovation.

That’s why Wave is planning a new accelerator program next year that will be a highly specialized 90-day initiative exclusively for innovative and disruptive technology startups focused on cybersecurity.

Wave is taking applications now; click here to apply. Companies selected for the accelerator will receive a dedicated and experienced mentor, one-on-one feedback with notable tech founders, pitch coaching, investment readiness programs and strategic introductions to investors and prospective customers, Wave said.

These companies will also participate in Tampa Bay Wave’s Demo Day at the conclusion of the program.

Tampa Bay Wave, a nonprofit that houses and services technology startups, has been growing its specialized accelerator programs. It currently has a program focused on women-led startups and just completed an accelerator for companies founded by diverse entrepreneurs

Related: Tampa Bay Wave will deepen corporate engagement in 2020

Linda Olson, Tampa Bay Wave CEO, called the new cybersecurity accelerator a game-changer.

“By coalescing around the cybersecurity industry sector at a time when Tampa Bay’s cyber giants are experiencing exponential growth, and demand for cybersecurity talent is growing at record pace, the region can better attract new talent and capital, ultimately creating many new high-wage jobs in the area,” Olson said.

Wave will launch the CyberTech|X Accelerator with help from a $100,000 gift from local entrepreneur Arnie Bellini, co-founder of ConnectWise, and his wife, Lauren Bellini, through their foundation, Bellini Better World. ConnectWise, a managed IT services provider and software developer in Tampa, sold last year to private equity firm Thoma Bravo in what is believed to be one of the largest sales of a locally owned, privately held firm.

Scott Price, CEO, A-LIGN

Other backers of the new Wave accelerator are cybersecurity firms A-LIGN in Tampa and KnowBe4 in Clearwater, as well as accounting and consulting company EY. Strategic partners are Sykes Enterprises, Jabil, Aditum, Cyber Florida and University of South Florida Muma College of Business. USF offers cybersecurity degree programs.

“The CyberTech|X Accelerator idea was created to address the essential need to cultivate and develop tech and cybersecurity talent here in Tampa Bay,” said A-LIGN CEO Scott Price. “We realized that to attract and retain this highly sought after workforce, we needed to expand our tech and cybersecurity ecosystem to one that welcomes and attracts innovative startups and provides them with the resources they need to be successful to reach the summit of their full potential.”

Stu Sjouwerman, CEO, KnowBe4

“The Tampa Bay tech ecosystem is one of the fastest-growing, and we are proud to support Tampa Bay Wave’s new CyberTech|X Accelerator program by bringing new tech startups to the area and providing them with the resources they need to be successful, scalable businesses,” said Stu Sjouwerman, founder and CEO of KnowBe4.

Accelerator applications are open through Nov. 30 and the program will launch in January 2021.


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