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Cybersecurity workforce gap widens, Tampa companies at Startup of the Year and 3 other things you need to know about Tampa Bay businesses

Margie Manning

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The Knack - Tampa Startup

Knack, a Tampa company with technology to connect students and tutors at colleges nationwide, made it to the top 15 in the Startup of the Year competition. Knack, along with another Tampa educational tech firm, PikMyKid, got a chance to showcase its technology at the competition in Boston. The winner, announced Wednesday afternoon, is Aperiomics, a biotech company in Ashburn, VA. The caliber of the 100 global startups competing at the event was incredibly high, said Lakshmi Shenoy, CEO of Embarc Collective in Tampa, and a judge in the competition. Embarc Collective, the Jeff Vinik-backed space for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and academic resources, plans to bring Aperiomics to Tampa Bay to experience the region and meet with strategic investors and potential customers, Shenoy said.

Demand for cybersecurity professionals continues to outpace the supply. A new workforce study by Clearwater-based (ISC)²  shows a widening of the global cybersecurity workforce gap to nearly three million worldwide. In North America alone, there’s a 498,000 worker shortfall.

Cybersecurity workforce shortfall

A substantial number of companies are planning to hire more cybersecurity staff in the next 12 months, but almost the same percentage expect either no change in staffing or possibly even a reduction, according to the study by (ISC)² , a nonprofit association of certified cybersecurity professionals.

Trxade Group Inc. (OTCQB: TRXD), an online pharmaceutical supplier in Tampa, has expanded into the consumer space with the acquisition of Community Specialty Pharmacy, an independent retailer in St. Petersburg.

Community Specialty Pharmacy at 1617 34th St. S. in St. Petersburg

Trxade paid $300,000 in cash and issued a promissory note for $300,000 along with warrants to buy stock, according to a regulatory filing. Trxade reported $2.9 million in revenue for 2017 and the acquisition will add about $2.5 million in annual revenue, the company said. Trxade currently serves 9,300 registered independent pharmacy customers who buy more than  $100 million in drug and product purchases annually.

 

The economic damages from red tide continue to grow. Through Oct. 10, 47 Pinellas County businesses completed the Florida Damage Assessment Survey and estimated their damages at nearly $1.6 million. Statewide, 233 businesses had completed the survey and estimated their damages at just under $130 million, according to Pinellas County officials. As of Tuesday, the county had collected 981 tons of red tide-related debris. On Friday, the  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will launch an online respiratory irritation prediction tool, which uses atmospheric and wind data, combined with the county’s monitoring results, to predict potential respiratory effects.

Florida ranks No. 4 among the 50 states in a new study from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University that looks at each state’s financial condition. The study measures how well states can meet short-term and long-term bills by examining their financial statements. Florida has between 4.8 and 5.8 times the cash needed to cover short-term obligations, well above the U.S. average, and revenue exceeds expenses by 7 percent, the study said.

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