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Embarc Collective’s First Phase of Launch is Live (for over a month)



4 min read · Apr 24

About The Author

Lakshmi Shenoy

This gif says it well.

My team has been heads down and focused—and in the thick of that focus, we’ve been slow to offer an update on the launch of Embarc Collective. In March, we began to roll out the first phase of our organization’s launch with support to 25 early-stage technology startups that are either based in Tampa Bay or are soon to be based in Tampa Bay. We refer to our March launch as Phase 1 Launch.


Seek Opportunity

The launch came after the team sought input from every technology-focused entrepreneur we could find in the region (500+ in-person interviews and 300+ survey responses) and worked to understand what gaps exist in our market to help Tampa Bay’s startup talent build bold, scalable, thriving companies.

We’re lucky to have great partners in our community. Our partners, such as Tampa Bay Wave, have built robust mentor networks to support its accelerator programs. Synapse has helped to include more people in the Florida innovation conversation through the Synapse Summit and other statewide events and programs. BlockSpaces has cultivated a blockchain community that is gaining global recognition. What we learned was that we didn’t need to recreate what already exists.

An Aside on Partnerships
It is not our intention to recreate the wheel, so our team has been aggressive about developing strong partnerships and collaborations with 30+ existing support organizations in Tampa Bay as well as others nationally to ensure that we can call upon each other’s resources as we work towards a common goal of building a strong startup community.

We needed to build on the foundation of this region’s support with a customized layer specifically focused on startup founder and team needs.

Both from working with startups in Tampa Bay and my experience working with thousands of startups in Chicago, it’s clear that each startup has different aspirations and goals for the business, different strengths to give their business a competitive advantage, and different challenges to address in order to make their business a success. Acknowledging all of those differences, we have built a non-profit model that puts the specific needs of each startup at the center of what Embarc Collective delivers.

Execute Swiftly

Applications opened in November and in short order, we had screened and accepted 25 early-stage technology startups to be a part of Embarc Collective. Since March, we’ve started to assign each accepted company an Executive Advisor. These advisors are on the Embarc Collective staff and have been selected due to their extensive startup operating experience. Each advisor is assigned a subset of the Embarc Collective portfolio and works with their assigned companies on a weekly basis.

In addition to advisors, each company has access to the rest of the Embarc Collective function specialists on-staff, which can be leveraged as an extended member of their startup team whenever they are needed. Our team looks similar to that of any startup—we have team members in engineering/product, analytics, talent, marketing/communications, business development and customer success roles. When startups need it, our specialists can come in and give the knowledge, tools and feedback needed to reach an upcoming milestone.

How Does This Differ From an Accelerator or Incubator?
We see our offering as complementary to that of traditional accelerators and incubators. In fact, we encourage startups to apply for other programs while maintaining their membership to Embarc Collective. Where we differ is that we do not operate in a cohort model, so each company’s experience through Embarc Collective will be specifically customized based on their strengths and needs. There is no start or end date; we jump in as an extended part of your team and start our support at wherever your company is in your startup growth journey.

Share the News

We have a very customized approach to supporting technology startups, an approach that is catching the eye of communities outside of our region, which should only help amplify the message that Tampa Bay is a great place to build a company.

Measurement is the cornerstone of our organization, and we’re proud of the traction we’ve made in our first 30 days:

  • 25 companies supported by Embarc Collective – Meet the Members
  • 81 startup team members from these 25 companies
  • 100 hours of coaching from 5 coaches
  • 6 hours average one-on-one support time to member startups
  • 5 interactive, function-specific sessions for the member community in April
    • 92 attendees for those events
  • 9 members of the Embarc Collective team – Meet the Team

What’s Next

Much of what’s been shared publicly about Embarc Collective revolves around our 32,000 square foot facility being built in downtown Tampa—what we’re referring to as Phase 2 of our launch. The state-of-the-art facility will be ready at the end of the year and will include public event spaces for conversations about technology, entrepreneurship and innovation as well as spaces that are dedicated to the technology startup members of Embarc Collective to build, collaborate and learn.

An Aside About the Space:
The teams from KWJ Architects and KreherBarna have made sure that when you experience the space, it will deliver a memorable, wow factor that will serve as a representation of the Tampa Bay Startup community, both locally and beyond. This space will showcase the resident startups at work while balancing the excitement and energy of the collaboration and learning spaces.

Startup progress happens fast, so use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and our newsletter, The Weekly Collective, to stay up to date.

And in the meantime, please reach out with your startup questions – we are here to help.

Meet Our Members

Meet the Embarc Collective member community of driven entrepreneurs who are building bold, scalable, thriving companies in Florida.