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. Trigaux: For Class of 2016, college debt loads favor Florida graduates


    Florida college graduates saddled with student debt: Take heart. The average debt Class of 2016 Florida grads must bear is less than students in most states.

    University of South Florida undergraduates gather at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa for last fall's commencement ceremony. A new survey finds their average student debt upon graduating was $22,276. Statewide, 2016 Florida grads ranked a relatively unencumbered 45th among states, averaging $24,461 in student debt. [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  2. After Hurricane Irma, many ask: How safe are shelters?


    NAPLES — Residents of the Naples Estates mobile home park beamed and cheered when President Donald Trump and Gov. Rick Scott strolled amid piles of shredded aluminum three days after Hurricane Irma to buck up residents and hail the work of emergency responders. But almost nobody had anything good to say about …

    The Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Area opened its doors to anyone seeking temporary shelter during Hurricane Irma. Evacuees were housed in the Istaba multipurpose building and was quickly at capacity housing over 500 people. [Saturday, September 9, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  3. When elders are in peril, who do you call — 911 or Rick Scott's cell?

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Twelve hours after Irma blasted through South Florida, conditions at Larkin Community Hospital in Hollywood were miserable.

    Police surround the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, which had no air conditioning after Hurricane Irma knocked out power, on Sept. 13 in Hollywood. So far, nine deaths have been blamed on the incedent. [John McCall | South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
  4. Report slams Pinellas construction licensing agency and leaders

    Local Government

    LARGO — The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board mismanaged its finances, lacked accountability and disregarded its own rules, according to a scathing report released Wednesday by the county's inspector general.

    Rodney Fischer, the executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board, resigned in January.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  5. A meatless burger that tastes like meat? Ciccio Restaurants will serve the Impossible Burger.

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA — The most red-hot hamburger in the nation right now contains no meat.

    Ciccio executive chef Luis Flores prepares an Impossible Burger Wednesday at the Epicurean Hotel Food Theatre in Tampa.