Make us your home page

Jeff Vinik among those investing $1 million in St. Petersburg startup

A group of startup investors that includes Jeff Vinik is investing $1 million in a St. Petersburg startup founded by a University of South Florida St. Petersburg graduate in entrepreneurship and rising player in local business startup circles.

The startup, called Check I'm Here, offers a software platform that helps universities and colleges manage organizations and events, track student involvement, assess engagement and reach more students. It will use its first significant investor funding to further its offerings in higher education technology. The startup says more than 80 institutions with 350,000 students in 30 states and three countries actively use its service. The firm's client list has grown by 25 percent every quarter.

Reuben Pressman, who founded Check I'm Here in 2014 and remains majority owner, runs the firm with 15 full-time employees. He's looking for more.

Here's how Pressman, 27, met Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning and a joint venture partner with Cascade Investment (which manages money for billionaire Bill Gates) in an ambitious 40-plus acres around the Amalie Arena in Tampa.

Commercial real estate executive Lee Arnold invited Pressman to appear on a panel of millennials to talk about this region at a meeting of the Florida Council of 100. Vinik was in the audience. They later met and, according to Pressman, Vinik liked what he heard and saw enough to invest. Vinik has invested in other area startups as well.

In addition to Vinik, investors in the $1 million funding for Check I'm Here include Ronald Schlosser, a former executive chairman of McGraw-Hill Education who recently bought a home in this area, and a California venture capital group called 500 Mobile Collective.

Check I'm Here recently relocated to more space in a building at 100 Seventh St. S in St. Petersburg.

Jeff Vinik among those investing $1 million in St. Petersburg startup 09/12/16 [Last modified: Monday, September 12, 2016 8:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus


    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park


    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers


    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]