Linda Olson has grown Tampa Bay Wave from a meet-up group for a dozen technology startups to an economic driver for the region with a staff of nine and a budget topping $1 million.
Olson, president and CEO, has raised more than $4.3 million in five years to fund programs and services at Tampa Bay Wave, a nonprofit organization that provides support services for young technology businesses, a sector economic developers want to grow in the Tampa Bay area. Since 2013, about 250 startups supported by Wave have raised more than $150 million in funding and created more than 1,200 jobs with above-market salaries. More than 150 experienced mentors and nearly 200 investors from across the region work with Wave and the companies it supports.
Olson started Wave in 2008, in part because she was frustrated that more people did not see the potential she saw in Tampa Bay.