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Meet the 15 startups in the Wave’s TechDiversity cohort

Veronica Brezina



A photo of the Tampa Bay Wave cohort on the pitch night event at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Wave.

Minority-owned startups spanning across the globe pitched their company earlier this week at Tropicana Field. 

The 15 startups that pitched are from the Tampa Bay Wave’s latest TechDiversity cohort, an accelerator that’s meant to support tech-enabled startups with ownership that reflects 51% or more from underrepresented populations. TBW received hundreds of applications throughout the world before accepting these 15 companies into the cohort. 

The startups pitched themselves to a roomful of investors, leaders and media members. 

The cohort members ranged from those in the artificial intelligence space to media platforms. 

Tampa Bay Wave CEO Linda Olson took the opportunity to announce a new program from TBW that would be focused on fintech. 

“When we do industry-focused programming, it acts as a powerful magnet. We have been continually approached by folks in the cybersecurity industry even as late as two weeks ago,” Olson said, explaining the interest in the cohort next year. 

“Because of the success of the Cyber X program and what that did, we have been having a number of conversations in the community about doing another industry vertical,” Olson said. “Did you know two of the top five fastest-growing wealth management firms that are fintech-based are based in St. Petersburg? Also, USF [University of South Florida] has been working on strengthening its finance degree program and incorporating it with the technology department so they can offer degrees in fintech out of the USF St. Pete campus.” 

Olson said the fintech program would launch in 2022 and that it’s in partnership with the USF St. Petersburg’s Kate Tiedemann College of Business, Encore Bank, MacDonald Ventures and Fiserv.

Meanwhile, here’s more on the 15 startups that pitched: 

Fan$aves Inc.: The Canada-based startup is a digital platform that offers sports fans discounts and deals from the sponsors of sports teams. The brands can then use the data to track return on investment and gain consumer insights. “It would be hard to miss all of the sponsor logos around the field … my question for you is which ones will you remember when you go home, better yet, how will you engage with any of them once you’ve left?” co-founder Shannon Ferguson said. She explained 90% of sports fans can’t name five of their favorite teams’ sponsors. Ferguson, who co-founded the company, was managing the sales of two minor league hockey teams and selling scoreboard ads; however, clients wanted to be able to track the ROI. Fan$aves, which looks to resolve that issue, works via fans downloading an app and scroll through discounts and deals. Every time a deal is redeemed, the user’s information is collected. Sources familiar with the startup said the company has been communicating with the Tampa Bay Rays. 

GoManda: The Austin, Texas-based startup delivers digital-based learning for those with autism. The founder Dr. Celest Austin was inspired to create the platform as her own sister has autism. “The number that really concerns me is 58% of children are struggling with reading comprehension,” Austin said. The company provides different revenue structures and is focused on school districts in Texas. The company’s team includes individuals who are autistic. The app is already available in the market. 

the*gameHERs: The New York-based startup that’s a media platform and social network for women who game. They are expected to launch an app. Rebecca Dixson, a co-founder and CEO, said the founders have a previous exit. Dixson said women account for 50% of gamers, who often experience hostility due to their gender. The revenue from the network would derive from in-app purchases and a subscription model and ads. 

SafePush: The biomedical device-startup was founded by medical malpractice attorney Tonia Aiken in Virginia Beach. The patented device was created as Aiken saw a major flaw in the health care system where injections are administered too rapidly, causing a human error that can lead to loss of limbs or the death of a patient. About 73% of medical errors are from IV pushes, she said. 

Otter Waiver: The Boulder, Colorado-based startup is a digital waiver and participant management software designed for the outdoor industry, whether for zip-line companies or indoor rock-climbing businesses. It works by sending consumers waiver links, which can then be tracked. 

AI Technology & Systems Inc.: The Memphis, Tennessee-based startup that develops software products train sensors through the use of AI. 

Sensfix Inc.: The Santa Clara, California-based startup that’s AI-driven. The startup focuses on the lifecycle management platform that digitalizes workflows and schedules. The Dallas, Texas-based startup was founded by a truck driver who was frustrated by the poor financial management of payment for truck drivers. The AI solution manages all the documents for owner-operators in the trucking industry through an app.

SageSurfer: The Sunnyvale, California-based startup focuses on communication between health providers and care managers to reach goals through unified communication and data to improve engagement, treatment adherence and care quality.

Canopie: The Washington, D.C. startup creates maternal mental health care services via an app. The startup has 650 users on its Beta product. The startup plans to pilot its products in OB clinics and is actively looking for other health care groups to partner with. 

Rehametrics: The Valencia, Spain-based startup is a virtual rehab platform that aims to lower the costs associated with traditional rehab programs.

Digital Leader Academy: The South Bend, Indiana-based startup provides curricula on technology, innovation and leadership to high schools all over the country​. The goal is to embrace technology in the classrooms. 

UzeLink: The New York-based startup is an application that allows users and others to monitor changes in health and activity patterns.

DeLorean Artificial Intelligence LLC: The Wellington, Florida-based startup uses AI to address business and economic challenges for large fortune 500 companies.  

Spontivly: The Edmonton, Canada-based startup is a platform for community building to help organizations understand how to grow their own communities. 

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