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Tampa Bay Wave welcomes 15 startups to new accelerator program

Brian Hartz

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Tampa Bay Wave's inaugural CyberTech|X Accelerator program held a demo day on April 23.

Tampa Bay Wave’s CyberTech|X Accelerator kicked off this week with the unveiling of the 15 companies that have been selected to make up the program’s inaugural cohort. 

Linda Olson, president and CEO of Tampa Bay Wave

The 90-day program will be conducted virtually because of the Covid-19 crisis, but also because participating companies hail from across the United States and even the United Kingdom. It will culminate with a Demo Day, scheduled for April 23, that will give founders a chance to pitch their companies to an audience of accredited investors, venture capitalists and other cybersecurity industry leaders.

CyberTech|X Accelerator was created to help build on Tampa Bay’s already rapidly growing stature in the cybersecurity industry. The region is home to prominent data security and compliance companies such as KnowBe4, A-LIGN, ReliaQuest and ConnectWise, whose founder and former CEO, Arnie Bellini, contributed $100,000 to help launch the program. 

“We’re always trying to look for those companies that we think are the best fit for our program,” Tampa Bay Wave President Linda Olson said. “It’s about finding the companies that we thought were the most promising in terms of the technology, innovation and their founding team.” 

One of the CyberTech|X Accelerator companies, Tenacious, is homegrown. Based in Tampa, it created a technology called CySkor that determines the security of devices on a network, suggests solutions to secure devices and delivers cyber-attack alerts based on Department of Homeland Security information. It also delivers notifications when employees’ personal information is leaked by a third party. 

While some of the CyberTech|X Accelerator startups are in early-revenue stages, others are currently generating more than $1 million in annual recurring revenue. Regardless of the size and scope of their business to date, they will enjoy access to Tampa Bay Wave’s network of more than 130 mentors, many of whom are current and former tech founders. 

Tampa Bay Wave, Olson said, is a strong recruiter: It has welcomed 23 previous cohorts of startups via its other accelerator programs, and 12 companies have either relocated or established a presence in the Tampa Bay region.

“I don’t want to put words in the mouth of the startups,” Olson said, “but anecdotally speaking, what I hear from them is that they recognize that Tampa Bay is not an overcrowded, over-busy ecosystem like San Francisco. They can cut through the noise a little bit easier here … they feel like they get good exposure here. They feel like the talent and the mentorship they get here is phenomenal.” 

Another sign of strength, Olson said, is that many members of the new cohort were referred by companies that participated in other Tampa Bay Wave accelerator programs. “Not that we give them preference,” she said, “but when they’re referring their friends to us, that means something.” 

In addition to Tenacious, the inaugural CyberTech|X Accelerator cohort includes: 

Arcanum Technology, Athens, Ga.

Arch Access, Pittsburgh

Castle One, Madison, Wis. 

Cervais Inc., Ashburn, Va.  

Elroi, Detroit

EveryKey, Cleveland

Foretrace, Woodbine, Md.

Gridlock, London

Hook Security Inc., Greenville, S.C.

Outpost Security, Madison, Wis.

Phylum Inc., Evergreen, Colo. 

Refactr, Seattle

SmarterD, Santa Clara, Calif. 

Tauruseer, Jacksonville

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