TAMPA BAY, Fla. (October 17, 17) – Tampa Bay Wave, Inc. (Wave), a nonprofit dedicated to building, launching and growing tech companies in Tampa Bay, is proud to announce that it has partnered with Stage 1 Ventures (Stage 1), an institutional early stage venture capital firm, in order to provide critical early stage seed fund capital to local startups. This new seed fund, exclusive to startups participating in Wave’s accelerator program, will provide the Tampa Bay tech ecosystem with its first professionally-managed seed fund and will help to further foster a more vibrant innovation-driven economy in the region.
“With Stage 1’s expertise and national reputation, we expect this fund will be very attractive to local investors who want to support the growth of local startups while seeking a return on investment,” says Linda Olson, President of Tampa Bay WaVE. “As this fund grows and makes a significant number of investments, we expect it will also help our community attract more funding options too.”
This new seed fund is a highly innovative model for other communities to use because it is designed to provide a for-profit investment vehicle for local investors while also providing a new funding mechanism for the local nonprofit accelerator by outsourcing a large portion of its due diligence work and post-investment monitoring to Wave. Stage 1 also plans to donate a portion of its share of proceeds from exits to Wave to ensure continued funding and sustainability for Wave in the future and will encourage its limited partners to do the same.
In late 2016, Wave was awarded a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (US SBA) to develop a seed fund, and Stage 1 worked with Wave to develop a viable solution. Stage 1 was drawn to Wave’s successful accelerator program and its extensive mentor and investor networks, which helped Wave become a go-to organization in Florida for tech startups. Wave’s programs are specifically designed to guide founders through the investment process, transforming early-stage startups into fundable companies and ensuring steady deal flow to the seed fund while Stage 1 manages the fund’s operations.
Stage 1 Managing Director, Jonathan Gordon, is the catalyst behind this funding initiative. As a founder of Stage 1, Mr. Gordon specializes in de-risking and prepping early stage startups for investment. An experienced entrepreneur and investor in his own right, Gordon specializes in the high tech global economy and, until recently, has sat on the board at Wave for more than four years.
“Stage 1 Ventures is thrilled to be working with WaVE to assist in accelerating their high-growth companies with this seed fund. The goal is to make the first round of investments by the end of 2017,” says Jon Gordon, Managing Director of Stage 1 Ventures. “Furthermore, I am thrilled that my longtime involvement as a Tampa Bay WaVE board member has evolved to managing a fund that directly supports WaVE companies.”
The fund is unique in its local focus and has attracted some of the most prominent investors in the area and avid champions of the growing Tampa tech community. Additional accelerator programs such as DreamIt, focusing on urban tech solutions to the Water Street Tampa development, are setting the region apart in terms of attracting and maintaining high quality tech talent.
Current Wave startups who serve a global tech need will be selected for the program, focusing on industries in which Stage 1 Ventures has operational or investment experience. Startups of all sizes and stages are encouraged to apply to WaVE’s ongoing accelerator program, gaining access to the WaVE investor network. Applications are currently open until November 1.
ABOUT STAGE 1 VENTURES:
Stage 1 Ventures is an early stage venture capital firm seeking to build partnerships with great entrepreneurs who want to build meaningful companies. Stage 1 spans the “Capital Gap” for early stage entrepreneurs with capital efficient fund models for Limited Partners. Stage 1’s management team has invested in more than 100 leading companies over the last twenty years, roughly half of them in the mid-Atlantic region, and has produced almost $1 billion of investment proceeds. For more information, visit www.stage1ventures.com
ABOUT TAMPA BAY WAVE:
Tampa Bay Wave, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing local entrepreneurs with facilitated access to the resources, expertise and capital they need to grow vibrant technology-based companies in Tampa Bay and create high wage tech jobs, thus fostering an innovation-based economy for the region. Since March 2013, Tampa Bay Wave has supported more than 200 tech startups in Tampa Bay thanks to grant funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), plus support from its economic development partners Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa. Tampa Bay Wave also receives support from corporate partners such as Bank of America, Florida Blue, Foley & Lardner, Sourcetoad, Spectrum, Sykes Enterprises, Tampa Bay Rays, TECO, Trenam Law, and Tribridge. For more information, visit www.tampabaywave.org.