STARTUP TAMPA BAY IS A NONPROFIT THAT EMPOWERS ENTREPRENEURS AND INSPIRES THE NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS IN TAMPA BAY.
Startup Tampa Bay was founded in 2016, but the non-profit spirit was born in 2010 when Tampa hosted its first Startup Weekend. Since then, hundreds of volunteers have come together to host events that have impacted tens of thousands of people. United by a common belief that entrepreneurs shape the future of their communities, the organizers, volunteers, and business partners of Startup Tampa Bay serve as a foundation for our community by creating opportunities, encouraging collaboration, and providing support to entrepreneurs from all walks of life. The organization believes these efforts will embolden entrepreneurs to solve meaningful problems, build innovative technology, create jobs, excite our systems, attract topnotch talent, and develop Tampa Bay into a national, entrepreneurial focal point.
Startup Tampa Bay’s cornerstone event is Startup Weekend. Known globally for its ability to cultivate innovation, this event brings together developers, designers, and hustlers to pitch ideas, form teams, and launch companies over the course of 54 hours. On the final day, the teams pitch what they’ve created to the judges, and then the top three return home with prize packages designed to jumpstart their companies. Two standout companies that have formed from Startup Weekend Tampa Bay since its inception include the ticketing platform Eventjoy acquired by Ticketmaster in 2014, and Zapier, which connects apps and automates workflows for businesses. In an effort to bring the lean startup lessons of Startup Weekend to a younger audience, Startup Tampa Bay hosted its first Startup Weekend Youth in 2014, which is a weekend-long crash course in creativity and entrepreneurship for children ages 10-12.
As a testament to the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Tampa Bay, Techstars selected our community to host Startup Week in 2015, now in its 5th year, which has empowered over 20,000 attendees so far. This community-curated conference packs over 100 free, public events into 5 days that cover a variety of topics. Past workshops have included coding boot camps, legal counsel for businesses, marketing, veterans entrepreneurship, pitch competitions, investor Q&A, one-on-one mentoring, graphic design and much more. Last year’s event brought in keynote speaker Gary Vaynerchuk! Entirely supported by local businesses and volunteers, Startup Week Tampa Bay is a crowdsourcing platform for knowledge sharing and community engagement.
Startup Tampa Bay launched Tampa Bay Hackathon in 2017, with the purpose of hosting hackathons that solve problems here in Tampa Bay. These hackathons are designed to allow partner companies to present challenges to a community of problem solvers, then over the course of a weekend, teams form to build new technology to address these problems. The winning teams then go home with some generous prizes. The organization also hosts startup socials, which are casual meetups that alternate between Tampa and St. Petersburg to create collisions that spark innovation.
The nonprofit exists as a platform for passionate individuals and businesses to get involved with the growth of Tampa Bay’s entrepreneurial
community. It was founded by Ryan Sullivan, Gracie Stemmer, and Trey Steinhoff, and has recently added Allison Barkley and JR Griggs to the board as well. This organization as a whole is both volunteer-driven and community-backed.
Recently, the organization has begun partnering with other events to bring even more to the community, making sure every industry and every individual has access to each event and resource. They welcome collaborations of all kind!