Tech business owners blame USF talent pipeline for decision to expand and move to Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay is one of the fastest growing regions in the country and much of that success is associated with the talent pool created by the University of South Florida.

Over the past five years, the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council reports that it has recruited nearly 60 new companies that have relocated or expanded their operations to Tampa and Hillsborough County for the first time, creating more than 8,000 jobs and generating over $ 876 million in capital. investment. Among these newly hired companies are fast growing technology companies such as Drift, WebstaurantStore, OPSWAT and Fast.

“Technology has long been a target industry for the Tampa Bay EDC, but over the past few years we have seen a steady increase in interest from CEOs in technology, particularly in the areas of cybersecurity, fintech and healthcare technology, who are discovering that Tampa is a great place to grow their businesses, ”said Craig Richard, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council. “Access to a pool of highly skilled talent, fueled by USF’s strong pipeline of diverse technical talent, is the primary factor attracting CEOs and tech companies to our region. ”

Boston-based cybersecurity analytics firm Rapid7 announced the opening of a new office in Tampa, bringing with it 100 jobs. President and CEO Corey Thomas credits USF’s cybersecurity programs and its relationship with MacDill Air Force Base, as many Rapid7 employees are veterans. The company will initially move to Industrious at Sparkman Wharf, followed by a permanent location next year.

“The university ecosystem, both locally in Tampa and in the wider region, was extremely attractive to us as we began to search for our next office location,” Thomas said. “At Rapid7, we are committed to investing in our people early in their careers to help them succeed in technology. We have been deeply impressed by the leadership of USF, and its strong pool of talented young professionals is a tremendous asset to the community. We look forward to partnering with the university to continue to build momentum for Tampa as the next great tech hub. ”

TheIncLab, which moved to Ybor City from Washington, DC last year, is expanding its footprint in the region with 40 new hires on the horizon. The artificial intelligence and data visualization company is expected to work closely with the USF Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI + X), an interdisciplinary research and education center focused on the intersection of artificial intelligence and areas such as healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and cybersecurity. . The institute is also conducting research with a number of other AI companies.

“USF is playing a vital role in the emergence of Tampa as a magnet for entrepreneurs and innovative start-ups and growths,” said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. “USF’s talent pool and cutting-edge expertise in bio / life sciences, technology, cybersecurity and more are central to the attraction of Tampa Bay to business leaders around the world. ”

USF Muma College of Business has just entered into a multi-year partnership with Tampa Bay Wave to launch the FinTech | X accelerator. The program is designed to help startups in the FinTech industry, which includes areas such as online banking, crypto exchanges, and crowdfunding platforms.

“This program embodies St. Petersburg’s Grow Smarter strategy by focusing on the intersection of financial services and technology,” said JP DuBuque, president and CEO of St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corp. “We find that almost all of the financial services companies in our market are either technology intensive or genuine financial technology companies. FinTech | X will allow us to showcase our thought leadership in the space and attract innovative entrepreneurs and growing businesses to our region.

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