I’ve just returned from an amazing trip to Tampa and the Tampa Bay area. I presented to an overflow crowd of entrepreneurs, government officials and community leaders, I was interviewed several times and I met with the Mayor of Tampa.
Tampa has a rich history, plenty of diversity and immigrant population, potential investors – who wish to help out their communities – and LOTS of industry who can potentially sponsor programs and projects. These are all the ingredients necessary for a successful creation of a “digital economy ecosystem.”
Every Digital City needs a champion and in our case that person is Marv Scaff. I’ve known Marv for over 20 years and he’s a co-founder of a local business accelerator (which is part of the TechStars network) “GazelleLabs”. I had the pleasure of meeting all the Gazelle portfolio companies yesterday and I was amazed how GOOD the ideas were! Now its all about execution!
Marv is the epitome of a serial entrepreneur and brings with him a Rolodex that goes from Brad Feld and the TechStars network to California, NYC, Texas and everywhere in-between. Most importantly Marv has been tracking our progress with the “Digital City project” and he knows that Tampa would be an ideal place for a pilot project. Finding folks willing to sponsor large-scale on-line multimedia projects is key and the subject matter (financial services, cigars, call centers, fishing, retirement living) are all ripe for the picking down in Tampa.
The best part is that I met a gazelle investor and guess what? His wife is from Cleveland!
Tampa has an area called “YBor City” which reminds me of New Orleans, Key West or Savannah. This is where we’re hoping to open up a “Digital Bureau” and start “building our digital city.”
Big up and shutout to David Glass, Linda Olsen, Alex Sink and Joe Dubois for helping to put together the event. And special thanks for Marv for getting me down there – in the first place!