Thursday, May 24, 2018
Business

Venture capital funding stays slow and steady for Tampa Bay area, Florida startups

The Tampa Bay metro market was home to 14 venture capital deals worth a combined $54.6 million, part of a VC funding effort statewide that backed 63 deals totaling $244.2 million in the first quarter of 2017.

The deals and the funding amounts continue to typify Florida and Tampa Bay's modest standing in venture capital activity in the country. Led by $8.3 billion in quarterly venture capital funding in California — the VC epicenter of this country and planet — Florida ranked 11th among states in total venture capital funding. And Tampa Bay landed at No. 20 among major metro areas based on VC funding amounts.

To appreciate the profound difference in funding scale, the San Francisco metro area alone attracted $5.1 billion in the first quarter. That's about 20 times the size of funding received in all Florida deals in the quarter. And it's nearly 95 times the size of Tampa Bay's funding in the first three months of this year, according to fresh data released Tuesday by Pitchbook and the National Venture Capital Association.

In the first quarter, Tampa's Avalon Healthcare Solutions, run by CEO Dr. Bill Kerr, received the largest VC funding commitment of just under $30 million in the bay area. The clinical and information technology company helps physicians, consumers and payers better manage the use of thousands of diagnostic laboratory tests.

Overall, the survey found that in the first quarter of this year, investors nationally deployed $16.5 billion to 1,797 venture-backed startups. The marked a slight uptick in capital invested over the fourth quarter of 2016, but the fewest companies to receive investment since the fourth quarter of 2011.

"After several consecutive years of elevated U.S. venture activity, it seems the industry is finally coming back down to earth," said Pitchbook CEO John Gabbert.

However, the survey added, the first three months of the year brought headlines for some prominent venture-backed exits, notably the initial public offering or IPO of Snapchat's Snap, Inc.

In Florida, several events suggested improving trends for startups seeking VC funding. First, a direct nonstop flight to San Francisco began operating out of Tampa International Airport, suggesting VC investors in California and Tampa Bay startups will find it easier to get to know each other in the future.

In addition, affluent Florida investors are becoming more active as "angel investors" in funding area startups. Such organizations as Florida Funders in Tampa and TiE Tampa Bay are also gaining higher profiles as area investors. And both Tampa Bay WaVE and the University of South Florida are taking steps to start seed capital funds to assist startups.

Comments
Behind the deal: $52 million boutique hotel coming to Ybor City started with cafe con leche at La Tropicana Cafe

Behind the deal: $52 million boutique hotel coming to Ybor City started with cafe con leche at La Tropicana Cafe

TAMPA ó Joe Capitano Sr. invested in the 1400 block of E Seventh Avenue in 1985, never doubting the huge potential of the property for Ybor City.But the deal to build a $52 million boutique hotel on the site didnít start to come together until six ye...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sprouts Farmers Market to open new store in Riverview

Sprouts Farmers Market to open new store in Riverview

RIVERVIEW ó Sprouts Farmers Market is opening a new location in Riverview, the chain announced Thursday. The new store will be located at Summerfield Crossing Shopping Center, though Sprouts did not have a specific opening date.The announcement comes...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Tampa Electric to shut down Big Bend coal unit that killed 5

Tampa Electric to shut down Big Bend coal unit that killed 5

APOLLO BEACH ó Tampa Electric Co. is taking a big step away from coal. The Tampa-based utility is spending $853 million to convert its coal-fired Unit 1 at its Big Bend Power Station to natural gas and retire coal-fired Unit 2 in 2021.Five workers di...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Hooper: More than a restaurant, Lee Roy Selmonís was a meeting place

Hooper: More than a restaurant, Lee Roy Selmonís was a meeting place

Itís where former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Doug Williams had lunch with current Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.Itís where University of South Florida fans often gathered to watch the programís biggest road games.Itís where folks showed up in...
Updated: 11 hours ago
An Amazon Echo recorded a familyís conversation, then sent it to a random person in their contacts, report says

An Amazon Echo recorded a familyís conversation, then sent it to a random person in their contacts, report says

A family in Portland, Oregon, received a nightmarish phone call two weeks ago."Unplug your Alexa devices right now," a voice on the other line said. "Youíre being hacked."Apparently, one of Amazon.comís Alexa-powered Echo devices in their house had s...
Updated: 11 hours ago
As home sale prices rise, a lack of homes makes it tough on buyers

As home sale prices rise, a lack of homes makes it tough on buyers

Home sale prices continued to rise both nationally and statewide in April as a prolonged dearth of available homes on the market is making it tough on buyers. A total of 24,804 single-family homes changed hands across Florida last month, up 4.1 perce...
Published: 05/24/18
Brink: A 25-cent hike in the federal gas tax is a rotten idea for Florida

Brink: A 25-cent hike in the federal gas tax is a rotten idea for Florida

No matter your politics, the proposed 25-cent hike in the federal gas tax is a lousy idea.Itís regressive, burdening the poor and working class more than the rich.Federal interference with state transportation projects can raise costs, layer on regul...
Published: 05/24/18
Tutor looks to empower athletes in Wesley Chapel

Tutor looks to empower athletes in Wesley Chapel

Rashay Hudson operates a tutoring business in Wesley Chapel, and NaDorian Hudson has played basketball his entire life, including in college and the ABA. Now, the husband and wife duo are combining their areas of expertise with a new program for kids...
Published: 05/24/18
Bar builder finds solid success in Tampa

Bar builder finds solid success in Tampa

TAMPA ó Ever since he was a little boy, Chris Davenport loved to build things with Legos and erector sets. As he grew older, he spent time working with his dad, a carpenter, and then took welding classes in high school. While in college studying engi...
Published: 05/24/18
Metro Diner brings fare to South Tampa

Metro Diner brings fare to South Tampa

Metro Diner, having already established several locations across Florida, including St. Petersburg, now brings its large portion-sized comfort food options across the bay.The local diner is slated to open Tuesday (May 29) at 4011 W Kennedy Blvd and w...
Published: 05/24/18