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Lakeland web company incentivizes people to get moving

Yes.Fit, the brainchild of Scott Parker and Kevin Transue of Lakeland, enables users to participate in virtual races.

“The user pays an entry fee to an event; then we can map their progress using exotic or historic routes,” Parker says.  “Whether someone walks a mile a day or runs 10 miles a day, every time you record a workout. We figure out a street view from Google, and can show you this is how far you went, and this where you went and here is a picture of where you would be. It’s a unique, interactive experience.”

In addition to the novelty of virtually running areas such as the Redwood forest and the Pacific Coastline, Parker says there is strong motivation component that users love about the application.

“Once you complete a race, a medal is shipped to you with a congratulations letter, and people celebrate with you on social media,” he says.

It is this type of motivation that Parker says has led to some dramatic transformation by some of his users.

“On our Facebook page we have a large community of support between our users in that group, there is story after story of people who have said they’ve never won an award, or they’ve never been able to lose weight, but now they lost 40 pounds,” he says. “We are truly making an impact on people’s lives, which we didn’t even know we would have when we started.”

Yes.Fit integrates with most fitness devices including FitBit, Garnett, RunKeeper, MapmyFitness by UnderArmor, Misfit, Jawbone and others. Parker says that he has seen his product increase steps and movement in these devices. He also points out that it doesn’t matter whether you walk, run or cycle -- any movement can be tracked.

To help get their product launched, Parker and Transue sought out advice from the Tampa Bay Innovation Center. Parker credits the advisers there for helping him and his partner grow their company.

“The Tampa Bay Innovation Center helped by high-level view of our organization while me and my partner were in the trenches, they have provided us with insight to think three months, a year and two years ahead, to think look at the big picture and forecast.”

The insight given has helped, as the company has grown quite a bit since it began a year-and-a-half ago. Today Yes.Fit employs six full-time employees, and five part-time employees. There are 55,000 users of the product, up from 19,000 in January of this year. Parker says this is just the beginning.  

“We still have a lot of growth coming, and many new exciting features on the horizon,” he says. “We’re just getting started.”

Tampa startup simplifies commercial videomaking

Tampa startup designed to make video production simple goes live.

Meet SurgeCurve, the brainchild of local innovator and University of Tampa graduate Matt Rutkovitz. The idea came to him after starting a digital media company, and seeing firsthand the growing popularity of video blogs.

“People are very responsive to videos, and I could see how this was positively influencing businesses I worked with,” Rutkovitz says.

He then set out to create an interactive platform which would allow companies to create personal videos, publish them and promote them seamlessly, without having to go through a designer or professional videographer.

The tool can be used for various purposes, according to Rutkovitz, from customer promotion and communication, recruiting and hiring, to project management.

“A brewery that has 10 different types of beer can use it to showcase a video of each type of beer explaining what makes it unique. Or an employer can send a private link to prospective job candidates where the applicant would make a video presentation, and the hiring managers could evaluate all the candidates using the platform.”

Exclaiming that SurgeCurve is a gamechanger, Rutkovitz points out the rise in peer-to-peer businesses, and the fact that at the end of the day people buy from people. He just makes the process easier.  

“It used to be so expensive to make a video,” he says. “Personal videos are becoming more popular, and we are helping companies make videos whenever they need easily. People who have never made a video or people who are experts at making videos are now the same playing field.”

Sound blocking company grows, plans to add 5 jobs in Tampa

When Walter Peek needed to reduce the level of noise exuding from the game room of his house, he searched the market for a product to help, but came up empty handed. Soon after, he set out to develop and patent a sound blocking curtain for windows and door openings reducing noise transfer up to 90 percent. Soon Residential Acoustics was formed.
 
The company quickly grew, and now has several products on the market.
 
“We have a manufacturing facility in downtown Tampa that creates custom AcousticCurtains™, AcoustiTracs™ and AcoustiDoors™, selling to over 50 countries, says Casey Hewins of Residential Accoustics. “Our sound blocking blackout AcoustiTracs™ have entered the hospitality market and can now be found within Residence Inn and Marriott locations. Our business has also expanded to commercial acoustics, specializing in unique soundproofing membranes and products for pre- and post-construction. With commercial acoustics we now work with architects and contractors on projects nationwide, and provide design-assist services and acoustical consultations.”
 
Recently the company teamed up with Baldwin Beach Capital (BBC), an investment firm, which will help take the company to the next level. BBC is known for investing in innovative, patented solutions, and has invested in several successful companies including Yogurtology, Fitlife Foods and SiteZeus.

Due to all of the business growth, Residential Acoustics plans for increasing headcount are in the works.
 
“With our growth rate and expansion plans, we’re looking to hire at least five employees in 2017,” says Hewins.
 
The company also plans on keeping its headquarters in Tampa long-term. Hewins attributes Tampa’s talented advisers and community of passionate entrepreneurs for helping Residential Acoustics get to where it is today.
 
“There are so many exceptional people in Tampa that want to give advice and mentorship to truly see you succeed, as well as educational programs and start-up initiatives to foster growth,” he says. “It’s a great feeling, and we are proud to be manufacturing in the USA, as well as hiring our valued team from the Tampa community.”

Citi seeks to fill 100+ new jobs at Tampa headquarters

Citi’s recent decision to move jobs from its offices in Hartford, CT to the Tampa Bay Area, means more than 100 local jobs for skilled workers. Positions vary from compliance analysts to various HR positions, management to IT.

The number of employees being recruited by Citi to work in the Bay Area will grow as the company creates over 1,100 jobs by 2018 in exchange for approximately $15 million in incentives from the state of Florida and Hillsborough County.

“Our commitment to Florida is underscored by our decision to locate more of our U.S. employees here than in any other state, after New York,” says Citi CEO Michael Corbat.

Several vital business operational units are run out of Citi’s Tampa offices, including HR and accounting, as well as the company’s anti-laundering department.

“4,500 employees provide client service and risk modeling at our center in Tampa, which is also a hub for our anti money laundering efforts,” Corbat says.

As part of the agreement Citi made with the state and Hillsborough, the jobs are expected to pay an average of $75,000.

Corbat says that he not only hopes to bring jobs to the area, but plans to help local residents as well.

“Last year we provided more than $400 million in loans for affordable housing just here in Florida, he says. “And we extended more than $200 million in credit and loans to thousands of small businesses across the state. We’re proud of all the things we’ve done and will continue to do for our customers, clients and communities across the U.S. and around the world.”

To view the open positions at Citi, click here.

Enhanced intern website designed to connect employers, interns

A new website aimed to help interns and employers alike has been enhanced.  
 
CareerSource Tampa Bay in conjunction with CareerSource Pinellas has created Tampa Bay Intern, a website that connects interns and employers. Originally launched in 2014, the site was recently upgraded with enhancements for a more user-friendly experience.
 
“CareeerSource Tampa Bay and CareerSource Pinellas analyzed the results from various sources including employer surveys related to workforce development, feedback from area partners and employers were work with on a regular bases, “ says  Jason Druding of CareerSource Tampa Bay. “As a result of the information gathered, it was determined there was a great interest from the business community with regards to internships. With that in mind, we moved forward with initial planning and eventual development of the site.”
 
There are two components of the Tampa Bay Intern site, the employer view and the candidate view. For employers, they can log on and create an employer profile, post open internships and search for candidates based on company needs. For interns, they can also log onto the site, create a profile, create a bio, upload their resume and search for internships that match their career interests.
 
“Candidates may also reach out to our staff directly for assistance,” says Druding “Students are also afforded the opportunity to join our professional talent of Tampa Bay networking group, which focuses on areas of professional development such as networking, resume development, interview skills training and more.”
 
According to Druding the internship experience is invaluable.
 
“For employers internships offer a unique opportunity for employers to identify talent and exposes students to the opportunities available within their organization,” he says. “For the intern, the learning outcomes and experience gained are invaluable. Interns are granted a chance to put their years of schooling into practical applications in real workplace environments. This often leads to gained insights into areas of professional communication, project management and other vital areas of the business world.”

Save the dates for upcoming Tampa Bay Area tech events

Want to get plugged into the Tampa Bay technology community? In the coming months, there are a plenty  of meetups, gatherings and events focused on technology and innovation.

83 Degrees has the scoop on where these tech-centric events are taking place and when, so get ready to mark your calendars because there is a lot happening in the Tampa Bay region.

Friday, June 24: HomeBrew Hillsborough
Tampa Bay WaVE-4th Floor
8:30 a.m.
500 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa
 
Homebrew Hillsborough is a monthly collaborative coffee networking group for techies and entrepreneurs. The group meets at different locations throughout Hillsborough County. In June, the group will have its monthly meeting at Tampa Bay WaVE. Known for helping startups, Tampa Bay WaVE, is an incubator accelerator that helps turn ideas into growing tech businesses.
 
Tuesday, June 28: StartUp Xchange
 
St. Pete Brewing Company
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
544 1st Avenue North, St. Petersburg
 
Presented by the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, this monthly networking event helps entrepreneurs, innovators and mentors connect.
 
June 30: Ignite Tampa
 
The Cuban Club
6 p.m.-9 p.m.
2010 North Avenue Republica De Cuba, Ybor City
 
This annual event best known for its fast, entertaining pitches, allows speakers the opportunity to share 20 slides in five minutes or less. The object is to tech, enlighten or inspire the crowd with your presentation.
 
Ignite is a production of Technova Florida Inc., a Tampa nonprofit, which is dedicated to creating inclusive tech communities that empower positive change. This all volunteer organization also produces the popular, Barcamp in Tampa Bay.
 
Wednesday, July 13: Build Your Own Mobile App
 
USF Connect-Oak View Room
3 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
 3802 Spectrum Boulevard, Tampa
 
Ever wanted to build your own app? Here is your chance. The event is presented by Chris Tanner, a patent and trademark attorney, as well as an entrepreneur himself. Using iBuildApp.com, this interactive seminar will help attendees learn how to create an app from scratch.
 
If attending, you must bring a device to build your app on and visit iBuildApp.com before the event to become familiar with the content. Knowledge of HTML is not required.  
 
Wednesday, September 7: Tampa Bay Technology Forum
 
Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront
8 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
333 1st Street South, St. Petersburg
 
This half-day event connects Tampa Bay’s best and brightest in the tech arena. The day features a morning of discussions on the region’s top technologies and its impact on the world by Tampa Bay’s top technology thought leaders and innovators. There will also be a lunch panel moderated by Ryan Dorrell, Chief Solutions Officer at AgileThought, and plenty of networking opportunities.
 
Are you, or an organization you know, hosting a tech-oriented event in the Tampa Bay area in 2016? Email us to have your activity included in a future 83 Degrees newsletter. 

Seeking new employment? Here's a roundup of summer job fairs in the Tampa Bay Area

Summer is upon us, and for job seekers that means sprucing up that resume and heading out to job fairs. For those looking for employment, job fairs offer the opportunity to learn more about which companies are seeking candidates for part- and full-time positions.

Job seekers pull up your calendars, and get ready to mark down these upcoming job fairs for summer 2016:

Thursday, June 23: Tampa Talent Career Fair
8:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.
Holiday Inn Tampa Westshore
700 N. Westshore Boulevard, Tampa
 
Talent Career Fairs is a national company that hosts hiring events in cities around the country. According to their site, some of the positions they are looking to fill include Director of Sales, Detention Deputy, Software Developer, Human Resource Manager and more.
 
The event is free, to register click here.
 
Saturday, June 25: G4S Youth Services
9 a.m.-3 p.m.
G4S
9508 E. Columbus Drive, Tampa
 
Have a desire to work with youth? G4S Youth Services provides safe, secure and effective treatment to at-risk youth. Children who find themselves in the juvenile justice system after committing crimes get help through the treatment, monitoring and educational services provided by the organization.
 
With over 50 positions open including the need for RNs, Mental Health Therapists, Case Managers and Youth Works, G4S is the third largest private employer in the world.
 
For more information, click here.
 
Thursday, June 30: Jobertising Job Fair
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
DoubleTree by Hilton Tampa Airport-Westshore
4500 W. Cypress St., Tampa
 
This job fair, known for bringing out diversity in both job seekers and companies, proactively seeks out employers who are diversity-minded. Since 2006, jobertising has been hosting hiring events around the country; employers expected in attendance include State Farm, LaSalle Learning Center and CyraCom.
 
To register for this free event, click here.
 
 Wednesday, July 27: Tampa Career Fair
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Doubletree by Hilton Tampa Airport-Westshore
4500 W. Cypress St., Tampa
 
This live job fair in Tampa is hosted by National Career Fairs. The event is free and open to the public.

To register, click here.
 
Thursday, July 21: Tampa Veterans Job Fair
11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Amalie Arena
401 Channelside Drive, Tampa
 
RecruitMilitary, a national military recruiting firm established in 1998, in collaboration with DAV, a major veteran service organization established in 1920, are hosting a job fair for veterans of all eras.
 
Anyone who has served on active duty, for the National Guard or in the reserves, as well as their spouses, is invited to attend this free event.,
 
For a list of companies in attendance to the fair, as well as to register click here.
 
Tuesday, August 23: Job News Job Fair
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
George M. Steinbrenner Field
One Steinbrenner Drive, Tampa
 
Since 2006, Job News Job Fairs have been connecting jobseekers and employers. Past employer attendees include Target, GC Services, HSS Security and Express Scripts. A list of employers attending the event will be posted on the Job News website on August 19.
 
To register for this free event, click here.
 
Employers, are you hosting an upcoming career fair in the Tampa Bay area? Put potential future employees on the right path by sharing the details of your upcoming job or career fair in Tampa Bay with 83 Degrees. Reach out over on Twitter (@83degreesmedia) if our job listings put you on the path to success. Also, follow Florida Jobs - 83 Degrees Media on Facebook.

Recent UT grad creates successful business concept

A new business created by a recent grad from the University of Tampa is already a success weeks after launching.

The idea came to John Publicover when he was a student at the University of Tampa, not too long ago. He needed a place to store his belongings over summer break. Looking into the conventional method of a storage unit, Publicover did the math; his possessions were not worth what he would pay for a storage unit.

Soon Storedby would be born.

“I looked at what investors were investing in, peer-to-peer platforms, like Uber or AirBnB,” Publicover says. “I thought there needed to be a similar platform where people could list spaces to rent.”

From there, Publicover connected with the Entrepreneurship Center at the University of Tampa, and started building his startup company.

“If someone has a closet, an attic, a basement, garage, basically any extra space in their home, they can rent it out on Storedby,” Publicover says. “In turn, someone looking for a place to store their items can browse the site and find an appropriate size space to rent.”

Storedby also offers parking listings as well.

The company, which just launched its site in April has users who have signed up from all over the world, according to Publicover. With a desktop and mobile browser version currently, an application platform is in the works and expected to be available in the coming months.

Publicover, who graduated from the University of Tampa in May, says he will continue his relationship with his alma matter.

“The entrepreneurship center has an incubator for businesses like mine, and as an alumni I can continue to work out of the university,” he says. “Moving forward as the company grows, I plan to keep the company headquarters here in Tampa.”

Tampa Bay WaVE offers more workshops with help from grant

Tampa Bay WaVE can now do more workshops with the help of a grant from Bank of America.
 
WaVE, a local nonprofit, that helps entrepreneurs with their start-ups, received $27,500 from the large bank to help them with their workshop series. The workshops will educate local entrepreneurs on a variety of subjects with the hope that the companies started here will stay and create high-wage tech jobs in the Tampa Bay region.
 
“The workshops are open to the public and are instructed by Tampa’s best industry experts,” says Gracie Stemmer of Tampa Bay WaVE. “They cover everything from marketing, CEO Leadership, design and development, accounting, legal and finance.”
 
To date, the nonprofit has supported over 70 startups and created over 300 jobs as a result of those new companies. Bank of America recognized the work Tampa Bay WaVE has done in a statement.
 
“Tampa Bay runs on the sweat and innovations of small business owners and entrepreneurs, and we're all lucky to have Tampa Bay WaVE growing this important part of our economy," Bill Goede, Tampa Bay president of Bank of America.stated in the news release "Supporting our future technology leaders and the economic health of our community is a no-brainer."
 
The Startup Workshop Series will have over 100 workshops over the next year. Each workshop is an hour long and are free to members, $25 for the public and $10 for students.
 
For more information, visit Tampa Bay WaVE’s website.

University of Florida prepares to launch Innovation Station in Sarasota County

The “Gulf Coast,’’ the “Suncoast’’ and the “Creative Coast’’ are just a few of the monikers for Sarasota and the surrounding cities along the west-central Florida coastline. Now, the region is gearing up to earn a new reputation as Florida’s “High-Tech Coast’’ with the launch of the first University of Florida “Innovation Station’’ in Sarasota County.

The University of Florida Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering will open the first physical extension of the college’s Florida Engineering EXperiment Station (FLEXStation) in Sarasota County later this year, bringing cutting-edge applied research, students and faculty, workforce talent and intellectual property to the Gulf Coast region.

“The purpose of the extension arm is to nurture high-tech industry -- and the one thing high-tech industry needs most is talent. We want to nurture the students who want to create businesses and hook them up with regions of the state where they can thrive. We also want to open up our researchers to companies: if they have issues that need to be addressed, or if they need access to experts in a certain field, we have a tremendous wealth of talent available to them,” says Cammy Abernathy, Dean of UF’s Wertheim College of Engineering.  

Abernathy cites the long-term success of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ (IFAS) partnerships with Florida’s agricultural industry as a model for the Innovation Station. As Florida’s Land-Grant School, Abernathy says UF has a special responsibility to help the state develop and strengthen its tech industry.

“We wanted to find a place with a nascent hi-tech economy and community; a place with expertise we can tap into, and a high quality of life. The arts community is one of the things that makes Sarasota a great place to live and attractive to young professionals. We also wanted to go to a place that we felt was underserved, and we felt that what Sarasota was missing was what we could bring in. We can fill a niche that Sarasota identified a long time ago as being crucial to future development. It looked like a perfect match,” Abernathy says.

A public-private partnership between the University of Florida, the Sarasota County government, the EDC of Sarasota County, the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation makes the development of the UF Innovation Station in Sarasota possible. A University of Florida investment of $1 million was met with a five-year, $980,000 grant from the Barancik Foundation and a $63,000 one-year grant from GCCF. A performance-based grant was also unanimously approved by the Sarasota County Commission to help launch the Innovation Station.

“One of the things [the University of Florida] was highly interested in learning about our community was about the existing infrastructural stakeholders -- Sarasota’s businesses and educational institutions -- in regards to whether they were willing and welcoming to having something like this in our community. ... The purpose on their part combined with the talent in our community made for a perfect match,” says Jeff Maultsby, Director of the Sarasota County Office of Business and Economic Development.

The Innovation Station will launch later this year in Sarasota County-leased office space, with a staff of 3-5 employees from UF, including a director and program coordinators focused on workforce development, industry and educational collaborations. 

The Innovation Station will partner with State College of Florida (SCF) so that students may begin course studies in computer engineering before physically matriculating as fulltime students at UF, a program Abernathy says is currently being piloted at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, with about 60 students enrolling annually. 

“I think one element of this project is to help to bring high tech type engineering personnel back to our community through a number of avenues -- one avenue being a matriculation through SCF, and then back into our community through internships and project-type work,” Maultsby says.

Abernathy adds that UF’s long-term goals include forming interdisciplinary partnerships with Sarasota schools such as New College and Ringling College of Art + Design, as well as reaching local K-12 schools in the Sarasota County School District to encourage STEM-stimulating programs.

“We’re interested in strengthening high-tech education across the board in this region, and hoping that we can help educate more people in the Sarasota area to keep skills up-to-date so they can continue to be competitive in today’s high tech world. … Once you get a critical mass of tech talent -- that’s how you sustain the tech engine,” says Abernathy. 

App created by Tampa developer plans to change the way you shop, share favorite brands

A new app created by a developer in Tampa could be a consumer choice game-changer.

MeSpoke, a social media app that gives power to the consumers, is set to launch this summer. The app allows members, known as "Speakers'' the opportunity to express themselves, while promoting their favorite brands and retailers. In turn, it offers brands and retailers an opportunity to follow a more cost-effective business model.

“MeSpoke really shifts all of the power from the business to the consumer,” says Sid Khurrum Hasan, co-founder of MeSpoke.

Hasan goes on to say that he has observed that while business to business commerce is down; consumer to consumer business is on the rise.

“If you’ve ever been out and see someone with a fantastic purse, or a beautiful bracelet, chances are you may ask where they got it from,” he says. "MeSpoke allows its Speakers to basically do the same, but take it a step further. It allows members to post an image and then whatever content is uploaded can be tagged, and other consumers can not only click on the content to see where the shirt is from, but take the consumer directly to the brand or retailer’s site to purchase.”

He explains that he wants MeSpoke Speakers to be brand ambassadors in the same way that sports figures and celebrities are today.

The developer on this innovative concept is Steve Tingiris of Dabble Lab who is also located in Tampa.

“We interviewed 24 development companies, but hands down Dabble Lab was the best decision,” Hasan says.

For more information, visit the company’s website

Who is hiring in Tampa Bay? May job news roundup

Jobs with some of the most well-known companies in the Tampa Bay area are yours for the taking if you can convince them you are the right candidate for the position. Read on to see who is hiring in May's job hiring roundup from 83 Degrees.

The Florida Holocaust Museum is looking for a Raiser’s Edge Development Specialist. This individual will report to the Director of Advancement. A bachelor’s degree is required for this position, along with two to three years of experience managing the Raiser’s Edge fund-raising database.

For more information on this job listing, click here

Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) is seeking a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to be a steward of its finances. The ideal candidate has a minimum of five years of related experience and previous supervisory experience. The CFO will be responsible for all aspects of the business, finance, accounting and payroll of the organization.

MOSI is also seeking a Director of Accounting. This person will be responsible for the oversight and supervision of all daily accounting functions. A bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance, along with three years of experience in bookkeeping or financial record-keeping is required. For more information on both of these positions, go to the museum’s website.

AAA, also known as The Auto Club Group (ACG), which provides travel, insurance, financial service and memberships to approximately nine million members and customers, is filling several critical roles in its Tampa office in the Westshore area.

One of these positions is a Social Media Marketing Specialist. A bachelor’s degree in marketing, advertising, business administration or computer science is required. Online digital marketing experience is also required, preferably in the social media environment.

Another opening at AAA is for an Accountant/Financial Analyst. This position requires a bachelor's degree in accounting, business or finance as well as experience preparing financial reports and analyzing data.

Other opportunities at AAA include various sales roles, support staff, travel agent and a customer service position. To view these opportunities, visit the AAA career website.

Airgas a distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gasses and hard goods in Tampa, is also hiring. Airgas is looking for a Safety Sales Specialist. The ideal candidate will have a bachelor's degree and 1-2 years of experience in business-to-business sales.

Other career opportunities at Airgas include a re-test technician, Director of HR, and a customer service position. To view these opportunities, click here.

Allegro, the senior independent living company, is seeking compassionate job seekers for positions at both of their Bay area locations.

At their St. Petersburg location, Allegro is seeking an Assistant Director of Nursing. A minimum of an associate degree in nursing is required, bachelor's degree preferred. Must have two years experience in long-term care, including at least one year supervisory experience.

In Tampa, Allegro is seeking a Senior Living Advisor. This person is responsible for building and maintaining high occupancy levels. Bachelor's degree preferred, and a minimum of one year experience in sales, geriatrics and/or other related background with a proven successful sales record.

To apply for these positions, or see all career opportunities with Allegro, click here.

Insight Global, an IT firm in Tampa, is actively seeking college graduates to work as an Recruiter/Account Manager with their company. In this role, the candidate will be expected to source, interview and place technical consultants and contractor candidates with clients, among other tasks. The Recruiter/Account Manager will be expected to entertain clients over lunch, dinner, concerts and sports events. Training will be provided, including training classes at the company's professional development center in Atlanta, GA. This is an entry-level position so no experience is required, other than the educational requirement of a bachelor's degree. To apply, click here.

Hiring in the Tampa Bay region? Send a note to tips@83degreesmedia.com. Hired? Reach out on Twitter @83degreesmedia if our job listings put you on the path to success.

50 tech jobs coming to downtown St. Petersburg

At least 50 high-tech jobs will be created in downtown St. Peterburg.

Inside Sales Solutions, which provides technology firms with sales consulting, training, recruitment and lead generation services, has established its national headquarters in St. Petersburg. The announcement of the new headquarters was accompanied with news that the company is projected to create 50 new jobs over the next two years.

“This is a conservative estimate though and we could be closer to 100 new jobs over this period,” says Aidan Snee, Principal at Inside Sales Solutions.

With offices in New York City and strong relationships with established brands such as HP and IBM, as well as next generation business-to-business technology companies, this announcement is a big win for the city of St. Petersburg.

So what was the draw to the area?

“As a service-based business, it's essential we're able to access the right people in the right environment,” Snee says. “They need to stay and grow with us as we grow and adapt to the rapidly changing tech industry we serve. We  looked at many different locations and did analytics on them all. The Tampa Bay region finished an easy first place in almost every category.”

The company considered locations in Austin, Atlanta and Kansas City before deciding that St. Petersburg was the best fit for their national headquarters.

The new positions being added at the national headquarters for Inside Sales Solutions in St. Petersburg are all IT sales and IT account management positions. 

Upcoming Tampa Bay technology meetups, coding events in spring 2016

Spring is officially here, Rays baseball season has begun in St. Petersburg, and members of the local technology and startup community are busy planning upcoming tech meetups in the Tampa Bay area.

To learn more about where to go and what to expect when rubbing shoulders with Tampa’s business leaders, entrepreneurs, and founders, check out the upcoming tech events listed below.

Thursday, April 7: USF Connect's Organize Your Business for Profitable Growth
3 p.m.
USF CONNECT
3802 Spectrum Blvd.
Tampa FL 33612

Learn how to grow a business from a retired Air Force colonel and business adviser. 

Saturday, April 9: Gulf Coast Maker Con
9:30 a.m.
Florida State Fairgrounds, Special Events Center
4800 U.S. Highway 301
Tampa FL 33610

See what can happen when innovative makers, crafters, inventors and artists come together to showcase their talents! The annual event has displays on everything from sustainable heritage to cutting edge drone technology.
 
Thursday, April 21: F***Up Nights Tampa Bay (FUN Tampa Bay)
6 p.m.
Rialto Theatre
1617 N. Franklin St.
Tampa FL 33602

FUN Tampa Bay started as a chapter of a national group with a meeting of successful entrepreneurs back in November 2015 at Ybor City’s Blind Tiger Café and CoWork Ybor. Led by organizer Maria Alithinos, who has a background in PR and marketing, the group is a little different from typical gatherings of business leaders. Rather than highlighting success, F*** Up Nights Tampa Bay brings well-known members of the business community together to talk about failures, losses and the trials of being an entrepreneur.
 
Monday, April 25: Tampa Bay Technology Forum’s Professional Women’s Network Luncheon
11 a.m.
Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront
333 1st St. S.
St. Petersburg FL 33701

Join local entrepreneurs and leaders to celebrate and recognize women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers, and to encourage female leaders in these industries to provide mentorship to girls and women.
 
Thursday, April 28: Geek Breakfast (recurring monthly)
7:30 a.m.
Jimbo's Pit Bar-B-Q
4103 W. Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa FL 33609

Join local self-described “geeks” as they enjoy breakfast BBQ and discuss all things technology. Recurring on the last Thursday of each month.
 
Friday, April 22: NASA Space Apps Challenge Hackathon
6 p.m.
Softwerx, at the corner of 19th Ave. & 13th St. in Ybor City, Tampa

Work together with attendees and sponsors from Tampa Hackerspace and Microsoft to develop code with the use of NASA’s extensive data files.
 
Thursday, June 2: Code-a-thon: Improve Medical records for Foster Children
12:30 p.m.
Adoption Related Services of Pinellas, Inc.
3941 68th Ave. N.
Pinellas Park FL 33781

Put your hacking skills to good service by coding for a cause.
 
Friday, June 3: Codapalooza, A National Day of Civic Hacking Event
7 p.m.
Peak 10
8350 Parkedge Drive
Tampa FL 33637                       

The theme of the weekend-long event is “Gimme Shelter,” a nod to the code fest’s goal of helping the homeless population in Tampa Bay. The event is co-hosted by the Tampa Innovation Alliance, along with Code for Tampa Bay and the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative.
 
Saturday, June 4: Pinellas Hack-a-thon, A National Day of Civic Hacking Event
8 a.m.-8 p.m.
The Iron Yard
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Tampa startups raise $2.9 million in seed funding

Anyone who has visited a laundromat knows the drill: bring coins to operate dryers and washing machines.

But in a laundromat in Tampa's Carrollwood neighborhood, there is a more streamlined method of paying for laundry services: through a smartphone application, Washlava.

“It’s a mobile application that replaces coin-operated laundry," says Washlava's Founder Todd Belveal, a serial entrepreneur.

The application's uses go beyond pre-loading payment, Belveal explains: "You can reserve a machine before you go, monitor the machine while it’s in cycle, and ultimately tender the payment in a fast, seamless way when you’re done.”

The company received $1.8 million in a 2016 seed funding round, so more Washlava-operated facilities may be coming. About a third of the funding that Washlava received came from a private investor in Tampa, Belveal says.

Tampa Bay WaVe, where Washlava spent some time incubating, was a “great environment for us to be in,” Belveal says. Startups and aspiring entrepreneurs should focus on building a business plan and preparing a pitch, but building relationships with potential investors is just as critical to securing funding in Tampa, Belveal, who grew up in Tampa, explains.

“I’ve raised money for a lot of startups,” Belveal says, “and it has very little to do with the ideas.”

Instead, the serial entrepreneur says, relationships are key.

On the south side of Tampa Bay, the St. Petersburg-based startup TAO Connect, Inc, has been accepted into the Florida Funders network. The mental health online management platform startup, developed in the University of Florida’s Innovation Hub, has been awarded $1.1 million in funding from Florida Funders, Florida Angels Network and New World Angels.
 
TAO's founders, who exclusively focused on college students in university settings initially, plans to use the funds to expand into offering the mental health platform's services to veterans, therapists and Medicare patients.
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