• Linda Olson

Tampa Bay Wave Selects 15 New Tech Startups for the 2020 TechDiversity Accelerator Cohort

Tampa Bay Wave is proud to announce their 21st accelerator cohort for the 2020 TechDiversity Accelerator. Tampa Bay Wave has selected fifteen tech companies to join their cohort for the TechDiversity Accelerator, a program that has been supported by the Nielsen Foundation since 2018. This is an international program designed for early-stage tech companies that are 51% owned, controlled, and operated by a minority, woman, veteran, disabled or LGBTQ person or persons.


Wave’s TechDiversity Accelerator is a 90-day program where chosen companies will work in a collaborative, non-competitive environment. Companies will have access to invaluable resources, such as a dedicated TechDiversity Cohort Director, one-on-one mentoring with notable tech founders, sales training, pitch coaching, and investor introductions. TechDiversity Accelerator companies will also participate in Wave’s Demo Day at the conclusion of the program. This is a unique opportunity for founders to pitch their companies to an audience of hand-selected investors and business leaders.


“The Nielsen Foundation is excited to support the third year of the TechDiversity Accelerator,” said Andrea Bertels, Executive Director of Grantmaking of the Nielsen Foundation. “COVID-19 has shown the inequalities across our economy, and this program can really make a difference. We’re proud to be part of the solution -- providing greater opportunity for diverse entrepreneurs to build, grow, and expand their businesses and influence in the tech sector.”


The Nielsen Foundation is a private foundation funded by Nielsen, a global measurement and data analytics company. The foundation seeks to bridge divides and enhance the use of data by the social sector to reduce discrimination, ease global hunger, and promote effective education. As one of the Nielsen Foundation’s Signature Programs, the TechDiversity Accelerator aims to reduce discrimination and promote inclusion in the startup community.

“Tampa Bay Wave is thrilled to launch year three of our TechDiversity Accelerator program, powered by the Nielsen Foundation, here in Tampa Bay. Wave is determined to continue amplifying underrepresented startups,” said Linda Olson, president and founder of Tampa Bay Wave. “We're eager to continue promoting the essentiality of tech startup diversity with the implementation of this inclusive program which will define their talents and propel their innovation."


Wave’s accelerator program is the only Florida-based accelerator program accepted into GAN (gan.co), a network of the most respected accelerators around the world. The Wave accelerator launched in March 2013 and typically runs three cohorts per year. Among the fifteen new TechDiversity cohort members, six have women founders, three have African-American founders, and four have Asian/ Pacific Islander founders. Thirteen of the startups are based in thriving tech cities outside of Florida. The selected cohort also features some high-potential startups in HealthTech, FinTech, and artificial intelligence.


Not only does Wave’s TechDiversity program continue to attract startups from across the U.S. and Latin America,  many of these startups are also graduates of other highly-competitive programs such as Y Combinator, TechStars, Alchemist, Harvard Innovation Labs, Zeroto510, Johnson & Johnson J Labs,  and TMCx.  In addition, this year’s cohort includes multiple companies with founders who have had prior exits, as well as founders who have experience working with or for Fortune 100 companies such as IBM, Oracle, Amazon, Visa, Cisco, and Deloitte. One founder is also a Tillman Scholar.


Tampa Bay Wave will be hosting a virtual event on June 23rd where attendees can learn more about these exciting new cohort companies. This event will also include a panel discussion of thought leaders from the around the US discussing the importance of supporting diverse-led startups in order to foster strong local ecosystems and accelerate the economic recovery from COVID19's impact. The panel discussion will be led by Keith Woods, Chief Diversity Officer for NPR(National Public Radio). Notable panelists Anna Mason, Partner, Rise of the Rest Seed Fund at Revolution LLC;LaKendria Robinson, Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee, Director Business Connect & Community Outreach; Andy Stoll, Senior Program Director, Entrepreneurship, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation;  and Dr. Jose Morey MD, Chief Medical Officer Liberty BioSecurity, Forbes Technology Council, MIT Solve Mentor, Former Assoc. Chief Health Officer IBM, Space Technology Hall of Fame Admissions Committee,  Hyperloop,  IDEA Mentor/Judge. More information about this event can be found here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/supporting-diverse-startups-to-build-thriving-ecosystems-tickets-107706442870 .


Learn more about these companies below:

Allotrope Medical, CEO: Dr. Albert Huang MD, Location: Houston, TX

Allotrope Medical is advancing surgical precision using safe electrical stimulation. This technology helps surgeons rapidly identify critical structures such as the ureter with seamless integration into existing surgical instruments and workflow.


AutonomIQ Inc., CEO: Ram Shanmugam, Location: San Jose, CA

AutonomIQ is an AI-based automation platform that enables enterprises to self-generate, self-maintain, and self-heal all automation assets (e.g. intent, flows, scripts and data). Over 600,000 developers and ~35% of Fortune 1000 companies already use AutonomIQ for managing their automation assets.


CareValet, CEO: Joe Hodges, Location:  Tampa, FL

CareValet is a digital healthcare platform that includes 24/7, 365 telemedicine access, in-network physician appointment setting and much more to simplify the consumer healthcare experience.


Cicla, CEO: Rogers Escalup, Location: Concepcion, Chile

Cicla is a 3D printing filaments company and developer of novel composite materials for 3D printing, including recycled materials and those with antimicrobial properties. Cicla also produces PLA filaments, the most popular 3D material.


Eskuad, CEO: Max Echeverria, Location: Concepcion, Chile

Eskuad has developed an application that improves productivity and creates reports from in-the-field teams.


Fêtefully, CEO: GiGi McDowell, Location: Dallas, TX

Fêtefully allows couples and event hosts to economically plan their weddings or events virtually, with a celebrity planner.


Free to Feed, CEO: Dr. Trillitye Paullin PhD, Location: Boise, ID

Free to Feed is developing a test strip to detect allergens in breastmilk.


Friendly Health, CEO: Natalia Alexeeva, Location: San Francisco, CA

Friendly is the most accurate, deep learning platform for insurance paperwork digitization, analysis and payment recommendation.


Home Lending Pal, CEO: Bryan Young, Location: Miami, FL

Home Lending Pal is building the first AI-powered mortgage advisor that simulates underwriting with multiple lenders to determine mortgage approval odds and affordability impact on lifestyle. HLP merges online data from trusted sources to streamline pre-approval, reduce the need to scan paper documents, and simplify the home buying process with data-driven workflows, AI, and blockchain technology.


It's By U, CEO: Christine Strzalka, Location: New York, NY

It's By U is ending the cycle of flower waste through farm-direct floral subscriptions.


Oracle Health, CEO: Jaeson Bang, Location: Tampa, FL

Oracle Health is developing an insertable cardiac device to monitor heart failure progression and prevent heart failure hospitalization, a $21B problem. This device will monitor heart failure progression by analyzing trending changes in heart sounds and heart rhythms (ECG) with a cloud-based pattern recognition (machine learning) for three years.


Solo Funds, CEO: Travis Holoway, Location: Los Angeles, CA

Solo Funds is a mobile and online lending platform that is a new model for peer-to-peer lending. It provides microloans of between $50 and $1,000. Borrowers set their loan amount, terms and repayment date.


TaxTaker, CEO: Ari Palmer, Location: Austin, TX

TaxTaker equips startups and their accountants with a more accessible way to claim the research & development credit savings they're entitled to take. With automated software calculating credits and preparing required documentation, startups can quickly capture their annual benefits to boost cash-flow and increase profits.


Vincere Health, CEO: Shalen De Silva, Location:  Boston, MA

Vincere Health is a telehealth platform that enables insurers to pay smokers as an incentive to quit.


Winter Innovations, Inc., CEO: Lia Winter, Location: Memphis, TN

Winter Innovations is a medical device startup dedicated to improving patient outcomes by developing simple orthopedic products for often overlooked aspects of surgery.


To learn more about the TechDiversity Accelerator Program, visit www.tampabaywave.org/accelerator/tech-diversity.

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