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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, May 18, 2018 7 months ago

After lucrative exit, Tribridge founder catches a new wave

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A Tampa tech accelerator adds two more high-profile leaders to its mentorship team.

Startup accelerator Tampa Bay Wave has added some all-star talent to its mentor ranks, with Tribridge founder Tony DiBenedetto and myMatrixx founder Steven MacDonald being named executive entrepreneurs-in-residence.

DiBenedetto and MacDonald are the first Tampa Bay Wave mentors who’ve successfully built and/or exited a $100 million-plus company, according to a press release. They join another recent high-profile addition to the business incubator: Alex Sink, the businesswoman and one-time gubernatorial candidate who is Tampa Bay Wave’s board chair-elect.

Steve MacDonald. Courtesy photo.

For DiBenedetto, it’s the perfect time to be a mentor. Since selling Tribridge to DXC Technology last year, he’s been content to spend time with his family while contemplating his next move. He tells Coffee Talk he keeps busy with his involvement with Tampa Bay Wave and Florida Funders, and he even slowed down enough to take a history class at USF.

“I’m clearing my head and looking for the next cool thing to get involved with,” he says. “It’s exciting to be around bright ideas and bright people. I’m doing it more as a giveback than building a company.”

DiBenedetto says he’s working with multiple companies but that he doesn’t have a financial interest in any of them. But that could change. “If there’s an opportunity and a round of investment and it fits, I’m open-minded to it," he says. "But that’s not why I’m doing this.”

Tampa Bay Wave didn’t specify a set term for DiBenedetto and MacDonald to serve as executive EIRs, but DiBenedetto plans to fill the position for at least a year and possibly longer. DiBenedetto is coy when asked whether being around so many bright ideas and bright people will inspire him to take another shot at entrepreneurship, but he doesn’t rule it out.

“The way I would put it is that it's encouraging me that it's a great time in Tampa to start a company, or be in that early stage between capital and talent,” he says. “Things are on the rise here. It’s certainly different than when I started Tribridge 20 years ago. I just love what I’m seeing locally.”

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