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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Here's something that Tampa does better than Charlotte



It can become tiresome to continually write about how Charlotte is growing in ways that Tampa is not.

There are all those car-free options. During big events, it can show itself off better than Tampa. There have been all of those Chamber of Commerce field trips, too.

So it's refreshing to read about one area where Tampa outshines Charlotte.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Tampa, Nashville and Atlanta are far ahead of Charlotte in "attracting venture capital and nurturing start-ups, according to a recent study partially funded by the city."

Observer reporter Steve Harrison writes: 

It's no secret Charlotte is built on big banks and other large companies.
But, the study explores the link between the area's lack of higher education and a medical school with its small number of inventions and patents, as well as venture capital, research and development money.

From 2011 to 2013, for instance, Charlotte averaged 42 inventions and 12 patents. By comparison, Atlanta averaged 494 inventions and 100 patents. Nashville had 178 inventions and 37 patents a year.

For a four-year period starting in 2011, about four Charlotte companies received venture capital annually, for $8 million. That's $3 per capita. By comparison:

▪ Austin, Texas's per-capita venture capital funding was $312 per resident.

▪ Tampa's funding was $18 per person.

▪ Atlanta did 55 deals for $391 million total. That's $70 per capita.

"It was shocking to me how low Charlotte really was," said Paul Wetenhall at UNC Charlotte's Ventureprise Inc., a non-profit that helped conduct the study at the request of the City of Charlotte and the Foundation for the Carolinas. "If you talk to an entrepreneur, they would say, ‘Gee, Charlotte doesn't have any venture capitalists.' The capitalist would say, ‘I'm not here because there aren't any start-ups here.' "

While Tampa hardly feels like its crawling with venture capitalists, it comes out on top in this study. So that's something, right?



[Last modified: Monday, November 2, 2015 12:58pm]


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