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Tampa Bay’s culture makes it a great place for Innovation Summit, organizers say

Margie Manning



Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

Cutting-edge technology in healthcare and commercial real estate will take center stage in Tampa next week, when Dreamit and Bisnow present the first-ever DxB Innovation Summit.

The two-day program, Nov. 6 and 7, will focus on how tech startups can help established companies keep up with innovation, said Steve Barsh, managing partner at Dreamit, an early-stage venture fund that accelerates young companies involved in healthcare, real estate and the built environment, and security.

Dreamit is based in Philadelphia, but has close ties to the Tampa area because Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik is an investor and a member of the board of directors.

Portrait of Jeff Vinik. (Scott Iskowitz/TBL)

That’s one reason the Innovation Summit will be in Tampa but there are others, Barsh said.

He cited Water Street Tampa, the $3 billion mixed use project in downtown Tampa being developed by Strategic Property Partners. SPP is the real estate development company Vinik controls with Cascade Investment, the investment fund of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Water Street is the No. 2 urbantech project in the U.S. right now, second only to Hudson Yards, a $6 billion development in New York.

“That’s why we originally started coming to Tampa. Then we found a very receptive environment for innovation,” Barsh said, citing Dreamit’s work with SOFWERX, BayCare Health Ssytem, Tampa General Hospital, University of South Florida, Adventist Health and A-LIGN, among others.

Tampa is “less crazy cut-throat and a little more chill” than many other cities, he said. “Tampa is a little bit more open and people are receptive to new ideas. It’s a culture thing.”

The main anchors for the Innovation Summit will be Dreamit’s healthtech and urbantech verticals. Healthtech focuses on digital health, medical health and diagnostic start-ups, while urbantech focuses on real estate, construction and smart cities start-ups. Dreamit also has newer securetech vertical that focuses on logical, social and physical security start-ups, and while there will be some programming on securetech it won’t get top billing, Barsh said.

Vinik will give the opening keynote Tuesday morning — one of three keynote presentations — with panel discussions on urbantech and healthtech over the course of the two days.

Those who are moderating and speaking are people who are “on the front lines, doing this every day,” Barsh said.

For instance, there will be a panel on cutting-edge hospital design, such as a medical facility in Austin, Texas that recently opened with no waiting room.

“It’s a new design philosophy. Waiting rooms are inefficient and a waste of space,” Barsh said. “Instead they have a café. They activate the space where people can wait, and take a cost center and make it into a revenue center. More importantly, they are not designing inefficiency into the hospital.”

About 350 people have registered for the summit, which will be held at Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina. More details are here.

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