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Well-known brands such as Airbnb, Uber, Facebook, and Alibaba are just a few of the many startup success stories. Still, for every one successful startup, a vast number of ventures fail to evolve and scale. For those starting a new business, while startups have tremendous opportunities for growth, the probability of failure is similarly high. For a startup to thrive, the quality and availability of resources within the ecosystem are crucial. More often, founders lack access to resources that can propel their businesses to succeed. thankfully, as a newly established innovation hub in Tampa Bay, Embarc Collective understands starting a new business is hard work and that a startup company could use all the help it can get.

Embarc Collective is primed on a mission to create an ecosystem of thriving startups. By providing resources to up-and-coming startups within the Tampa Bay Region, it is crafting a partnership with the business community poised for growth and impact.

Bold Business associate publisher John Miles had the opportunity to interview Lakshmi Shenoy, CEO of Embarc Collective, at the 2019 Synapse Summit. Here’s what she had to see about the Tampa-based start-up accelerator.

The Embarc Collective Experience: Customized and Focused on Startup Business Needs

Embarc Collective is an innovation hub backed by Jeff Vinik. Along with other projects in the pipeline such as JW Marriott, Sparkman Wharf and USF Morsani College of Medicine, the Embarc Collective is part of the $3 billion Water Street Tampa Bay Project.

a photo quote of Jeff Vinik in relation to Embarc Collective
Jeff Vinik on providing opportunities in the Tampa Bay region.

With CEO Lakshmi Shenoy at the helm, the innovation hub aims to elevate the profile of Tampa Bay as a prime business destination, not just within the region but also internationally.

Embarc Collective aims to accomplish this by:

  • Providing a physical landing space for startups and entrepreneurs who are starting a new business where they can leverage the community’s strengths as part of their resources.
  • Helping startups in five critical growth areas. This includes knowledge and skills enhancement for founder and team members (coaching), recruitment and talent acquisition (talent and culture), growing a customer base (customers), developing an investor network (capital), and product testing and iteration (product).
  • Offering customized support revolving around the company’s specific needs and experience.
  • Subsidizing a considerable portion of the space expenses for companies.
  • Giving companies full control over their operations while offering the needed resources for startups to succeed.
a photo quote of Lakshmi Shenoy in relation to Embarc Collective and Tampa Bay
Lakshmi Shenoy gives insight on what they aim to do for the community they’re building.

How Embarc Collective is Different from Incubators and Accelerators

Startup incubators and startup accelerators play an essential role in the startup scene, particularly, for those who are starting a new business. Here are a few incubators and accelerators that are helping startups across the country:

  1. Techstars is a Colorado-based seed accelerator company founded by David Cohen, Brad Feld, David Brown and Jared Polis in 2006. TechStars claims a 6 percent stock ownership from companies accepted to their 3-month accelerator program. Alumni companies include ClassPass, Digital Ocean, Remitly and DataRobot, to name a few.
  2. Y Combinator was started in 2005 by founders Paul Graham, Jessica Livingston, Trevor Blackwell, and Robert Tappan Morris. Y Combinator has already spawned about 1,900 companies, including Airbnb, Dropbox, Instacart.
  3. BoomStartup is an accelerator program that has launched 120 companies since its inception in 2010. BoomStartup is based in Utah and is currently ranked as one of the recently listed startups by MIT Sloan Study.
a photo of the company logos of startup incubators and startup accelerators in relation to Embarc Collective
The role of incubators and accelerators is to provide an environment for startups that will help increase their chance of success.
  1. 500 Startups is an early stage venture fund and seed accelerator based in California. With around 6 percent equity on the company, 500 Startups’ 4-month accelerator program gives startups access to its network, resources and mentorship program.
  2. UpWest Labs is an early stage funding company that aims to help startups break into the U.S. market. UpWest Labs provides support to a wide range of domains including Infrastructure Technologies, IoT and Consumer Applications.
  3. Coplex is a nationally-ranked accelerator working with high-growth technology companies. Through a 9-month program, Coplex plays an active role in building the company and technology until it is made available to the market.
a photo of a CGI image of how Embarc Collective will look like once completed
Embarc Collective is providing a space where startups or entrepreneurs who are starting a new business can flourish.

Embarc Collective: Making Tampa Bay the Next Prime Business Destination

Undoubtedly, Embarc Collective—for everything it stands for—is dovetailed to Jeff Vinik’s vision of making Tampa Bay a prime business destination. However, beyond a workspace, Embarc Collective will foster a partnership with the existing players within the Tampa Bay area.

According to Shenoy, developing these strong relationships takes a lot of work. Nevertheless, establishing these partnerships within the community is an important step. However, by knowing the region’s strengths and gaps, Embarc Collective can develop strategies to leverage these strengths and plan ways to fill in the gaps. In the next few months, Embarc Collective will be announcing more than 30 partnerships with local and international groups.

a photo quote of Lakshmi Shenoy in relation to Embarc Collective as well as Tampa Bay
Lakshmi Shenoy shares her excitement about Embarc Collective and the vision of making Tampa Bay a prime business destination.

Obviously, entrepreneurs—whether startup founders or individuals who are starting a new business and existing business owners—are bound to tackle host challenges along the way. Starting a new business will test a person’s grit, resolve, and resilience. With a lot of things at stake, entrepreneurs need a space where they can learn, get feedback and receive encouragement. With Embarc Collective, a supportive community for up-and-coming entrepreneurs is within reach.

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