The Rise of the Rest bus tour, a nod to the notion that tech companies can and do thrive outside Silicon Valley, New York and Boston, has made some stops in Tampa. Now, based on new report from the organization and investment fund Revolution, the city’s tech scene is going to need a bigger bus.
Using data from private capital research firm Pitchbook, the report shows a steady rise in both deal count and total amount of money invested in Tampa companies. Both Rise of the Rest and Revolution are projects backed by AOL founder and tech entrepreneur Steve Case. The bus tour began in 2014, and, according to the report, has since traveled 11,000 miles nationwide to more than 40 cities. The fund has subsequently invested in more than 170 early-stage startups — with more than 300 institutional co-investors. “Our analysis reveals that investor interest is increasingly tipping toward ‘rising cities,’” the report states.
One of those cites is Tampa. The report cites several individual examples including former Zynga executive Steve Parkis, who moved to town from San Francisco. Once here, the report says he “became an investor and advisor in Leasecake, Ideal Agent and DocClocker, three local success stories.” And Ty Blachly, former chief of staff at Snap in Los Angeles, joined the advisory board of Openly HQ after moving to Tampa.
On the data, at least 20 seed- and early-stage rounds have been closed each year in Tampa dating back to 2017. And those dollar amounts are becoming consistently higher. In 2019 and 2020, for example, seed-stage and early-stage startups hauled in $237.1 million in 47 rounds. Tampa companies recorded some $11 million in seed and early-stage financings in 2011.