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Leading area tech exec named chair of startup nonprofit board

Brian Murphy replaces Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik in the role at Embarc Collective.

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  • | 7:40 a.m. April 1, 2021
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While not giving up his day job overseeing Tampa-based ReliaQuest, one of the nation’s largest cybersecurity firms, Brian Murphy is about to embark on an enhanced role helping other companies in the region.

Murphy was recently named chairman of Embarc Collective, a  nonprofit startup hub designed to help founders in the Tampa Bay region build bold, scalable and thriving companies. Murphy has been a member of Embarc Collective’s Founders Circle and board since 2020. In the chair role, according to a statement, Murphy replaces Tampa Bay Lightning owner and Water Street Tampa developer Jeff Vinik, who will continue to support Embarc as vice chair.

The new leadership structure positions Murphy and Vinik as part of a three-member leadership team with Embarc CEO Lakshmi Shenoy, the release adds. “I’m beyond excited to be stepping into this leadership role at Embarc Collective, to help its member startups win,” says Murphy, CEO of ReliaQuest, which has 600 employees in five locations globally and raised $330 million in funding from private equity firms KKR and FTV Capital. “We have the playbook for success: the right people, the right resources, and the right experience. We've got a tremendous opportunity to grow something that's very powerful.”

Murphy’s appointment follows a period of rapid growth for Embarc Collective. In March 2019, the organization began working with 25 early-stage startups, the release states. By January 2020, Embarc had doubled the number of startups it supported and completed construction of its 32,000-square-foot office near the new Water Street Tampa corridor. By the end of 2020, the startup hub had delivered more than 1,300 hours of one-on-one coaching to these member companies. Also, from January 2020 to January 2021, Embarc grew its member base to over 70 companies, in industries ranging from ecommerce to pharma-tech to LGBTQ-friendly travel.

“The Tampa Bay region’s economy is booming right now,” Vinik says in the statement. “There’s going to be nominal growth of at least 7% in the next five to 10 years, which is huge. With so much of this growth coming from inbound migration in the tech sector, Embarc Collective is perfectly poised to capitalize on this trend and turn it into more wins for the region’s startup community.”




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