Startup Accelerator Spotlight: Tampa Bay WaVE


 WaVE employees a three phase process. Build, Launch and Grow. Through our goal system, we help startups reach the milestones necessary in order to move to the next phase in 6 to 12 months.

Name of Accelerator: FirstWaVEWaVE

Location: Tampa, FL


Accelerator ManagerDaniel McDonald

This article is part of our Startup Accelerator Spotlight Series featuring accelerators from around the world. We hope these spotlights will assist the entrepreneur should they consider attending an accelerator.

In two sentences or less, tell us about your accelerator and its objectives?

We help Entrepreneurs of the Tampa Bay area build, launch and grow breakout tech businesses. Our accelerator is designed to help “BUILD” early stage companies.

Why is your accelerator program unique? Please describe the benefits of participation in your program?

The Tampa Bay WaVE employees a three phase process. Build, Launch and Grow. Through our goal system, we help startups reach the milestones necessary in order to move to the next phase in 6 to 12 months.

  1. Build focuses on helping early stage, pre-revenue startups validate their assumptions, reach product/market fit and achieve the milestones necessary to become an investable company.
  2. Launch concentrates on launching the startup’s product and earning a revenue. The goal of this phase is to validate the business model and its ability to scale, all while iterating on the startup’s product and raising capital.
  3. Grow is for companies that have reached $ 1 million in revenue or investment. These startups are on the verge of breakout success and are navigating major partnerships and massive growth.

14 Startup Risks Entrepreneurs Should Consider Addressing as they Launch their Startup

What is the most difficult part of working with startups?

Keeping the Entrepreneurs motivated and on track. While we can help keep the startups on track, it is the Entrepreneur’s responsibility to stay motivated in their endeavor. There are times when an Entrepreneur’s idea is not liked by the public and they start to lose hope instead of pivoting.

What do you enjoy the most; what do you find most appealing about working with entrepreneurial startups?

The energy of the startup world is infectious. There is no better feeling than meeting an Entrepreneur who is really passionate about their startup idea. Their presence fills the room and you can feel confidence in the person when they are around.

Looking for an accelerator that matches your needs?  Check out our Startup Accelerator Spotlight.

Tell us about your success stories; which are the most interesting companies to have participated in your program?

A sample of our Grow companies:

  • iTrekkers connects customers to a network of independent guides serving the outdoor  adventure market.
  • SavvyCard rapidly and inexpensively mass produces customizable mobile web apps for almost any marketing or sales need.
  • PikMyKid provides real-time mobile app based dismissal management system for parents.

And a few of our Launch companies:

  • Harness helps non profits, alumni associations, religious organizations and political campaigns to effectively collect from and engage with their donors.
  • Lilypad utilizes sales technologies to improve your most valuable asset, your team, and the solutions they need to be successful.
  • UpValet enables automotive associates to increase dealer profits and reduce costs.

What are the three most important factors startup entrepreneurs should consider when contemplating attending an accelerator?

  1. Are they ready to put in the hours and energy necessary to start their own company?
  2. Is this accelerator going to help your specific startup as effectively as possible?WaVE
  3. Does the accelerator provide the necessary resources for your startup to succeed?

Are You Prepared for the Entrepreneurial Journey?

What else would you like to share?

The Tampa Bay WaVE Women’s Forum is a dedicated effort within the nationally recognized FirstWaVE Accelerator program designed to empower, support and learn from Tampa women entrepreneurs and business executives. These forums are a selected group of Tampa women entrepreneurs seeking coaching and support from other women entrepreneurs and business leaders. The forums are structured to promote the optimal environment for training and mentoring discussions. Each forum will consist of women startup entrepreneurs and a business in the startup phase, and seasoned women coaches. To create a sense of trust and intimacy, each forum will be limited in size to a group of no more than 12 women with a balanced split of women startup entrepreneurs and seasoned coaches.

Robyn Spoto is the champion and facilitator of this program and once a year, she organizes a Women-In-Tech event with panel presentations to inspire, motivate and advocate the women-owned business support efforts in Tampa. Plus, the event includes a special investor pitch opportunity to a targeted group of women investors. Contact Robyn if you would like to participate as an entrepreneur or a coach.

Can’t find the tools to guide you through the startup process?  Turbofunder can help map your path.

Are you familiar with other accelerators you believe should be spotlighted?  If so, we would like to hear from you.  Tell us about them, sharing your comments below!


Pam Goforth

Pam Goforth is Research Manager for FundingSage, which provides valuable information, tools and resources to entrepreneurs seeking to start, grow and fund a business.