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Tampa Bay Wave welcomes 15 startups to latest accelerator cohort

Brian Hartz

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Tampa Bay Wave has announced the 15 startups that will be part of the 2021 TechDiversity Accelerator cohort.

Fifteen tech startups from across the country and beyond have been admitted to Tampa Bay Wave’s 2021 TechDiversity Accelerator.

Established in 2018 and funded by the Nielsen Foundation, the 90-day program works with high-growth, early-stage companies that are at least 51 percent owned by members of minority or other underrepresented groups, including veterans and people with disabilities.

According to a news release, Tampa Bay Wave received “several hundred” applications for the program from companies in 30 countries and 28 U.S. states. The 15 successful applicants will benefit from executive coaching and mentoring from industry experts, strategic introductions and guidance for preparing for investor meetings.

The TechDiversity Accelerator culminates in a demo day at which cohort members can pitch directly to an audience of qualified investors, business leaders and the media.

“There is tremendous opportunity to increase founder diversity and funding within high-growth technology startups,” Tampa Bay Wave CEO Linda Olson stated in the release, “and we’re proud to work with the Nielsen Foundation to continue to build this program and strengthen our commitments to advancing diversity and inclusion within the early-stage, startup space.”

Seven of the 15 TechDiversity cohort companies have women founders and four have Asian/Pacific Islander founders, while multiple founders are of LBGTQ+ backgrounds, the release stated. Fourteen are based in thriving tech cities outside of Florida. Cohort members operate in a wide range of sectors, ranging from health tech and fintech to education and artificial intelligence.

Thanks to the support of the Nielsen Foundation, the TechDiversity Accelerator is free to cohort companies, and it’s a zero-equity program.

“The Nielsen Foundation is excited to support the fourth year of the TechDiversity Accelerator to provide greater opportunity for diverse entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and influence in the tech sector,” said Andrea Bertels, president and executive director of grantmaking at the Nielsen Foundation, in a prepared statement.

“Covid-19 has shown the persistent inequalities across economies and the importance of inclusion in economic opportunities. We’re proud to be part of the solution by continuing to support the TechDiversity Accelerator.”

Members of the 2021 TechDiversity Accelerator cohort are:

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