Make us your home page

A brief history of entrepreneurship in Tampa Bay

LARA CERRI   |   Times (2004)

LARA CERRI | Times (2004)



What is now the biggest multilingual free-content encyclopedia on the Internet is founded in St. Petersburg by Jimmy Wales, left. Moved to California in 2006 in search of a greater geek culture.


Tampa startup Blue Ocean Software is bought by Intuit for $170 million. In 2005 the same company, renamed Numara Software, is then sold to TA Associates for $200 million. Both sales are among the biggest for a startup company based in the Tampa Bay area.


Tampa Bay Innovation Center

Initially called the STAR Technology Enterprise Center, the Largo business accelerator's early startups included ImagiNail, a company whose machine could print customized designs on fingernails. Now the center is Pinellas County's veteran business incubator.


Tampa Bay WaVE Started as a "by entrepreneur, for entrepreneur" nonprofit, the group wins fierce loyalty in its goals to help startups and promote innovation.


Wufoo Founded in Tampa in 2006, the online maker of forms is acquired by SurveyMonkey, moving Wufoo to its home base in California. The $35 million price tag cements Wufoo's "we made it" reputation as this area's most recent startup that proved its value via a hefty sale.

Gazelle Lab Tampa Bay version of "TechStars" business accelerator runs its first six area startups through 90-day program up to "Demo Day," live pitches at Mahaffey Theater. Program since put on hold.

Startup Weekend Tampa Debuted in July 2011 as a local version of a global grass roots movement of entrepreneurs who gather for a 54-hour "frenzy" of learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. (The latest Startup Weekend Tampa Bay was held in St. Petersburg last weekend.)


Princeton Review The university ranking service names Tampa's University of South Florida graduate interdisciplinary entrepreneurship program and its Center for Entrepreneurship one of the top 25 programs in 2012 in the United States, the latest in a series of annual awards.


USF St. Petersburg College of Business Named "outstanding emerging entrepreneurship program" in the United States by U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

FirstWaVE Venture Center opens its doors backed by $1 million federal grant and by Tampa Bay WaVE and USF expertise. Business accelerator housed in Rivergate Tower, or downtown Tampa "Beer Can" building.

St. Petersburg Technology Incubator, backed by $400,000 state grant and expertise of Tampa Bay Innovation Center, is announced. When it opens, it will be housed in downtown St. Petersburg and focus on marine science and health care/medical innovation and startups.


A brief history of entrepreneurship in Tampa Bay 06/15/13 [Last modified: Monday, June 17, 2013 10:21am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies


    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  2. Miami woman, 74, admits to voter fraud. Does jail await, or will she go free?

    State Roundup

    MIAMI — An 74-year-old woman pleaded guilty Monday to filling out other people's mail-in ballots while working at Miami-Dade's elections department.

    Gladys Coego
  3. Bigger ships carry Georgia ports to record cargo volumes

    Economic Development

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — Bigger ships arriving through an expanded Panama Canal pushed cargo volumes at Georgia's seaports to record levels in fiscal 2017, the Georgia Ports Authority announced Monday.

    The Port of Savannah moved a record 3.85 million container units in fiscal 2017, the state said, benefiting from the larger ships that can now pass through an expanded Panama Canal.
  4. Dragon ride in Harry Potter section of Universal closing for new themed ride


    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019 — sending wizard fans into a guessing game with hopes for a Floo Powder Network or the maze from the Triwizard Tournament.

    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge on Sept. 5 for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019. The ride, originally the Dueling Dragons roller coaster, was renamed and incorporated into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when the hugely popular area opened in 2010.
  5. Would you let your company implant a chip in you?

    Working Life

    Would you ask an employee to get a chip implanted in her hand? Sounds invasive and intrusive. But come Aug. 1, one company in Wisconsin will be giving it a try.

    Three Square Market - a developer of software used in vending machines - is offering all of its employees the option to get a microchip implanted between the thumb and forefinger. [Photo from video]