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The Spotlight is on Tampa Bay–It’s Time to Shine



3 min read · Apr 16

About The Author

Lakshmi Shenoy

On January 25, AOL co-founder Steve Case announced nationally on MSNBC that he saw the growth and momentum amongst new ventures in Tampa Bay and that he was going to visit to showcase the tremendous amount of progress here as part of his Rise of the Rest Tour. Now on his eighth tour, Rise of the Rest has become a key indicator that a community is on the rise, and now the spotlight will shine on our region.

Revolution & Rise of the Rest

Following his “you’ve got mail” days, Case has launched Revolution, a venture fund that invests in exciting, high-growth companies transforming traditional industries outside of Silicon Valley, New York and Boston. Revolution has discovered and supported companies that are becoming household names being built all around the country, including ClearSweetgreen and Framebridge.

Each year, the Revolution team selects a region to engage with and learn about, which they call “The Rise of the Rest Tour.” As they get to know companies during the tour, they can make seed stage investments in the region (the earliest stage of institutional investment in a startup).** Additionally, the Rise of the Rest team has a national megaphone about the state of entrepreneurship in the United States and can use that power to highlight the success stories emerging from a region. The regions that came before us benefited from the spotlight on their community. Now it’s our turn.

The Spotlight on Tampa Bay

The Rise of the Rest tour is coming to Florida and Puerto Rico on April 29 – May 3. They will stop in St. Petersburg and Tampa on May 1.

Over the course of a 12-hour day, the Rise of the Rest team will dive into our entrepreneurial community and meet founders & their teams, investors, corporate supporters, academic partners, entrepreneurial support organizations and government officials who all work tirelessly building Tampa Bay into a great place to build a business.

Let’s zero in on the word “building.” I’ve been struck by how apt that is a word to define our region. At our core, we are a region that is building. Whether it is literal buildings going up on both sides of the bay, or the building of strong new startup ventures, or building of a strong community to support those startups, we are a region that is building. Roberto Torres, founder of Blind Tiger Cafe, recently said: “What’s cool about [our region] is that it’s not done. It’s not New York, Chicago or Los Angeles; it’s not any of those places that have tremendous infrastructure. Ten years ago, it wasn’t cool to be in Tampa, but now it’s about taking it to the next level.” ¹

This is so true. We are building our region and taking it to the next level. Now we have a chance to share that message with everyone outside of Tampa Bay with the help of Rise of the Rest. 

Shining on May 1st

When the Rise of the Rest team arrives in Tampa Bay on May 1st, it will be a whirlwind. How do we ensure that we maximize our moment in the spotlight?

To shine, Tampa Bay needs your support – your awareness, your voice and your participation.

  • Read more about the power of the Rise of the Rest tour.
  • Tell your network about the tour – tell them something is happening in Tampa Bay.
  • Tune in to our Facebook Livestream, which will feature the evening celebration, including a fireside chat with Steve Case, Jeff Vinik2 and the Rise of the Rest Pitch Competition where 8 finalists will pitch for a $100k investment.

¹ Tampa Downtown Mar – April 2019 –

2 Jeff Vinik is amongst the investors in the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund 

About the author: Lakshmi Shenoy is a recent transplant to the Tampa Bay region and is the CEO of Embarc Collective, which will launch in spring 2019. Before moving to Tampa Bay, Lakshmi was the Vice President of Strategy & Business Development at 1871 in Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Chicago and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. @lshenoy

Originally published on Tampa Bay Inno.

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