New fintech accelerator aims to quickly grow Tampa Bay Area tech companies

The non-profit Tampa Bay Wave is accepting applications for its new FinTech|X Accelerator, its fourth program intended to help entrepreneurs grow technology-based companies in Tampa Bay.

The Wave will be recruiting around 10 to 15 companies through Feb.28. The program will begin the week of April 11.

“Fintech as a whole is growing very rapidly,” notes Dr. Richard Munassi, the Wave’s accelerator managing director. “Financial giants in the region are recognizing that new fintech solutions are being demanded by their customers.”

The ideal candidate has an initial product or at least a working prototype. 

“We’re looking for companies with strong founders looking to solve real problems,” Dr. Munassi says.

Applications will be screened by staff and a selection committee.

Like the Wave’s CyberTech|X accelerator starting this week, which has six of 15 participants from outside of the country, this accelerator will be open to entrepreneurs from around the world. Participants will be expected to attend a portion of the program at the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg, where the event is being held.

“That [global interest] speaks to the growing reputation of both Tampa Bay Wave and the Tampa Bay tech community as a whole,” says Linda Olson, the Wave’s president and CEO. “We really hope that this fintech program can replicate that ... so we can continue to advertise the assets of Tampa Bay’s ecosystem.”

The three-month program, which is free to businesses with no equity taken by the Wave, offers mentoring with tech founders and fintech experts as well as sales training, pitch coaching and investor introductions. It includes a Demo Day June 29 where businesses can access national accredited investors.

Key partners who have made multi-year commitments to the program include USF, Encore Bank, and its processing partner, Smiley Technologies, Inc.
USF approached the Wave about the program as its Muma College of Business and Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance are gaining a reputation as a place for fintech leaders. It has made a three-year commitment to support the program.

Also sponsoring the accelerator are Steve and Lindsay MacDonald through their firm MacDonald Ventures, the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation, and Kyle Taylor, founder of The Penny Hoarder. The Wave additionally is partnering with the Greater St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corporation and the city of St. Petersburg.

To learn more and apply to the program, follow this link to Tampa Bay Wave.
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Read more articles by Cheryl Rogers.

Cheryl Rogers is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys writing about careers. An ebook author, she also writes Bible Camp Mystery series that shares her faith. She is publisher of New Christian Books Online Magazine and founder of the Mentor Me Career Network, a free online community, offering career consulting, coaching and career information. Now a wife and mother, Cheryl discovered her love of writing as a child when she became enthralled with Nancy Drew mysteries. She earned her bachelor's degree in Journalism and Sociology from Loyola University in New Orleans. While working at Loyola's Personnel Office, she discovered her passion for helping others find jobs. A Miami native, Cheryl moved to the Temple Terrace area in 1985 to work for the former Tampa Tribune