Friday, August 17, 2018
Business

Here’s why Waze and other Israeli tech companies are keen on Tampa Bay

TAMPA — Most people think of Waze as a GPS navigation system.

But the Tel Aviv-based tech firm, now owned by Google parent Alphabet Inc., is trying to be much more — such as when it partnered with the city of Tampa and the state a few years ago for its Connected Citizens Program, a two-way data exchange for government officials to implement transportation and mobility policies based on traffic data.

Tampa Bay — with its growing infrastructure and startup needs — is an ideal place for Waze to find new, creative partnerships for using its technology, company executives said.

"There’s a lot of innovation in new companies here," Aron Di Castro, the company’s head of global business development, told a group of 500 Wednesday morning at a tech networking conference in Tampa.

"The need for infrastructure directly applies to Tampa’s Waze but also to the need for startups and the economy. This is going to increase the challenges this area is going to face for mobility and structure."

The second-annual Innovation Fusion event at the Bryan Glazer Family Jewish Community Center was organized by the Tampa-based Florida-Israel Business Accelerator, which provides a launch pad for Israeli tech companies to operate in the bay area. Wednesday’s meeting featured eight Israeli companies looking to establish headquarters and investors in the U.S. and hire locals in the Tampa Bay area.

RELATED COVERAGE: Jeff Vinik invests in Israeli-Tampa Company that makes radiation protection wear

In addition to Di Castro, Danny Brigido, customer solutions site manager in Miami for Israel-based website development company Wix.com, also gave a keynote address.

Brigido graduated from the University of Tampa in 2001 and lived here until 2008. This week was his first time returning to the area.

"It makes me very happy to know that fellow students from UT and USF can look forward to a bright career here in Tampa," he said in an interview with the Times. "If we have businesses staying here and we have a city that has the infrastructure that can maintain the structure here, it would give these new companies a pool of qualified individuals."

The state presented FIBA with a $750,000 economy opportunity grant during the event. FIBA and Florida Funders also announced a new joint venture to help potential investors identify Israeli companies of interest.

FIBA Executive Director of Marketing Rakefet Bachur said that the organization hopes to build relationships in the upcoming months similar to last year’s event which prompted a $6 million investment in military technology company StemRad that included Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik.

RELATED COVERAGE: Jeff Vinik invests in Israeli-Tampa Company that makes radiation protection wear

The eight startup companies featured were BetterCare, ECOncrete, Nucleon, UC-CareMedical Systems, WiseShelf, Say, GlobeKeeper and Intervyo.

MORE: Go here for more Business News

Contact Hannah Denham at [email protected] Follow @hannah_denham1.

Comments
Dear Penny: How can I tell my boss to stop making fun of my old car?

Dear Penny: How can I tell my boss to stop making fun of my old car?

Dear Penny,I’m a recent college grad who’s been working an entry-level job for the past year. I only make about $33,000 a year, but I’m doing OK. I’m able to pay my bills without taking on more debt. One of the reasons I’m able to do so is that I dri...
Published: 08/17/18
SunPass users with overdraft fees can now request reimbursement

SunPass users with overdraft fees can now request reimbursement

If you’re a SunPass user and you’ve seen overdraft fees on your account, you can now ask for that money back.Florida Department Transportation spokesman Ed Seifert announced today that Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise has launched a system to process ov...
Published: 08/16/18

Nature’s Food Patch brings organic offerings to Dunedin

DUNEDIN — Nature’s Food Patch recently opened a new downtown location at 966 Douglas Ave. The new store will stock much of what is offered at the Clearwater location, including organic produce, grass-fed meat, a fresh juice/smoothie bar, organic and ...
Published: 08/16/18
The self-proclaimed Uber of lawn care is expanding in Tampa Bay

The self-proclaimed Uber of lawn care is expanding in Tampa Bay

The lawn-mowing service GreenPal, which claims to be the Uber equivalent for lawn care, is extending its service across the Tampa Bay area.GreenPal, which already serves parts of Tampa, announced homeowners in Clearwater can begin booking professiona...
Published: 08/16/18
This week in deals: Pub subs on sale, and the best savings at Publix, Winn-Dixie for Aug. 16-23

This week in deals: Pub subs on sale, and the best savings at Publix, Winn-Dixie for Aug. 16-23

I’m going start with it: Chicken tender Pub subs are on sale this week. It’s like a Florida holiday when Publix chicken tender subs are $6.99. Suddenly, offices across the Sunshine State are filled with the aroma of Buffalo sauce as everyone brings b...
Published: 08/16/18
South Tampa apartment community sold for $40 million

South Tampa apartment community sold for $40 million

TAMPA — The 276-unit Pavillions at Ballast Point apartment community in South Tampa has been sold for $40 million and will be renamed Solis at Ballast Point. The buyer, California-based Investors Management Group, said it also plans significant inte...
Published: 08/16/18
Tampa gets its own Bodega in Seminole Heights

Tampa gets its own Bodega in Seminole Heights

St. Petersburg eatery Bodega has built a reputation for its Latin street food and now the fast-casual concept has expanded to a second location in Seminole Heights.Its name Bodega, which means grocery in Spanish, represents the owners, George and Deb...
Published: 08/16/18
Gander Outdoors rebounds under new ownership

Gander Outdoors rebounds under new ownership

The Gander sign is back up at Bayport Commons on W Hillsborough Ave. The 30,000 square foot space that once housed Gander Mountain has now reopened as Gander Outdoors.Marucus Lemonis, star of CNBC’s The Profit, bought Gander Mountain assets in bankru...
Published: 08/16/18
Finney’s Tiger-Rock Martial Arts moves to larger space

Finney’s Tiger-Rock Martial Arts moves to larger space

TAMPA — For 13 years, Finney’s Tiger-Rock Martial Arts co-owners Troy and Nikki Finney have provided more than just Taekwondo instruction for their students. The husband and wife duo have created a supportive, family environment that teaches valuable...
Published: 08/16/18
Walmart shares jump as earnings beat expectations

Walmart shares jump as earnings beat expectations

Update: The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 325 points, or 1.3 percent, early Thursday, driven by a jump in Walmart’s stock.Walmart’s aggressive push into groceries helped same-store sales in the United States grow more in the last quarter than t...
Published: 08/16/18