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Origin story: Tampa Bay Wave [Audio 20:17]

Margie Manning

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Linda Olson, president of Tampa Bay Wave, was an entrepreneur struggling with the challenges many start-up founders face when she decided to get everyone she knew together in one room one night back in June 2008, to talk about how they could help one another.

What emerged was “magic,” as at least 18 people doing cool things in the Tampa Bay area that were under the radar came together to share their experiences finding talent, investors and other needs, Olson recalls.

This informal meetup group coalesced into what is now Tampa Bay Wave over the next several years, with the launch of a name, a website and a strategic plan, followed by a transformational federal grant that led to Olson’s “I broke it, I bought it” moment.

Tampa Bay Wave since has ramped up from a zero-budget, all-volunteer organization to a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has supported more than 200 early-stage tech firms, including about 50 companies currently receiving accelerator services.

Find out how Olson navigated the funding and growth milestones, and what’s ahead for Wave, by clicking play below.

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