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TIETAN awardee: Arnie Bellini is Super Entrepreneur of the Year

Veronica Brezina

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Arnie Bellini. File photo.

Local philanthropist and former CEO and founder of the IT powerhouse ConnectWise Arnie Bellini has helped back Tampa Bay startups and has donated millions to ensure the community has a growing talent pipeline. 

This year, Bellini will be named TIECON Tampa Bay’s Super Entrepreneur of the Year as part of the Sept. 8 TIETAN awards. 

When he founded ConnectWise, Bellini was a pioneer as he was one of the original founders and visionaries responsible for the rise of the Managed Service Provider (MSP) industry. He co-founded ConnectWise as an MSP in 1982 and, in 1998, transformed the company’s best practices into an integrated business management platform for technology solutions. Under his guidance, ConnectWise has been at the forefront of helping individual MSPs become successful businesses by building recurring revenue around technology services, according to ConnectWise. 

In 2019, the Bellinis (Arnie and his wife Lauren) sold ConnectWise to Thoma Bravo, a technology-focused private equity firm, for a reported $1.5 billion. ConnectWise, an employee-owned company, said more than 70 of its employees became millionaires in the deal.

The deal also made ConnectWise the area’s first company with a billion-dollar valuation. 

Since the deal, Bellini stepped down from his role as CEO and serves as managing partner of Bellini Capital, an investment firm based in the Tampa area.

He has backed numerous companies, including Omnivore, a startup also backed by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, that was acquired by a New York firm. The Clearwater-based startup is known for its tech that allows restaurateurs to sign up to have their point of sale data transferred to the cloud.  

Bellini also led a $15 million Series C round for St. Petersburg-based 3D virtual reality firm Marxent. 

Recently, the Bellinis donated $10.6 million to the University of South Florida to open the Bellini Center for Talent Development at the Tampa campus. The center is intended to further increase career opportunities for USF graduates while providing Tampa Bay businesses with a talent pipeline of employees uniquely prepared to meet their needs through a three-year-plus certification program, according to USF

The Bellinis, which have received many awards and recognitions, will receive the new award during the TIECON Tampa Bay 2022 event, which will be held at Julian B Lane Park in downtown Tampa on Thursday, Sept. 8, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

At TIECON, TIE Tampa Bay will also recognize and present the TIETAN awards to the following groups/individuals: 

  • Peerfit as Startup of the Year 
  • Mitchel Laskey of DeepWork Capital as Angel Investor of the Year
  • Project Prosper Executive Director Faye Steinhauser as the Social Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Ashok and Kavita Bagdy, co-founders of the Dr. Kiran C. Patel High School, as the Community Champion of the Year
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