Some of the people behind Tampa Bay WaVE, a nonprofit that helps connect technology companies with capital, local experts and other resources, are heading out for a national tour.
The idea, WaVE founder Linda Olson says, is to meet with technology incubators and accelerators in other parts of the country, to see how they do it. The first stop is scheduled for Chicago, from April 28 to April 30. Olson says other cities will likely be added later in the year.
The WaVE contingent includes Olson, former Florida gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink and Kelly Bousman, a senior vice president at AVI-SPL, a Tampa-based video communications firm. Sink is on the board of the Florida Next Foundation, a nonprofit organization for entrepreneurs and small businesses, which has an office in WaVE's downtown Tampa center.
The group plans to chat with a bevy of technology support organizations and investor groups in Chicago. The list includes the i2A Fund, a startup technology investment entity, and 1871, a young entrepreneur incubator named for the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that led to a citywide rebirth.
Olson says she has a long list of questions for each organization, with a focus on seeking strategic advice. That ranges from the risks and opportunities with starting angel funds and angel investor networks to how to best corral tech investors from other areas, like commercial real estate or restaurants.