Attracting the Builders: The Move to Florida
The Twitterverse has highlighted the influx of talent migrating from California and other major tech markets to Florida.
While the Twitter chatter has mostly been concentrated on South Florida, over the past few years, we’ve seen a similar influx of talent in other parts of the state, including Tampa and St. Pete.
Our team at Embarc Collective is asked about what’s it’s like to move from a major tech market to Florida almost weekly. With the frequency of asks, we created an informal network in 2019 of individuals all new to our market, coming from places like San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, and beyond. Some were returning to Florida after starting their career elsewhere after leading teams at places like Zynga, Grubhub, and Snapchat. Others were brand new to the state. (This group meets quarterly, so email us if you have recently moved to Tampa Bay from a major tech market to get an invite.)
What struck me was each of the new people we’ve met through this network is incredibly entrepreneurial, and Tampa Bay is a place that welcomes and encourages individuals to create a stronger, more collaborative community. You’ll see that desire to build and make one’s mark on a community as a key thread for why these individuals chose Tampa and St. Pete:
“The plan was to work in New York with few great companies, then return home to Tampa. It was important for me to experience a different environment and learn new ideas from other people. We’re now working to open the doors to our new restaurant [in Tampa] called Willa’s in early 2021. Despite all the issues we are facing today, we remain excited about the opportunity ahead and feel lucky to be in here. Tampa has come a long way and is still growing stronger every day. We’re thrilled to help take it to the next level.” — Nate Siegel, Owner/Operator of Willa’s and Willa’s Provisions
“I always knew there was a strong possibility that I’d move back to my hometown but it became a no-brainer as I spent more time learning about the emerging startup community. Now that I’m here, it has become even more clear that I made the right choice thanks to a strong support system built to raise up both individuals and companies that call the community home.” — Andrew Jones, Data Engineer at LearnVest, Casper and Grubhub.
“There is such a unique opportunity here in Tampa to have real impact — to have a hand in growing something extraordinary. We have all the necessary ingredients for an innovation hub — infrastructure, universities, quality of life — but most importantly, a welcoming community of talented people who are dedicated to making sure Tampa realizes its potential. People are happy to be here — and they’re here by choice.” — Kate Heath, Embarc Collective Marketing Coach, Founder of WORTH+WILL and previously Head of Marketing Strategy and Operations at Instagram
“Being from Georgia, I often lamented that I missed Atlanta’s transformation and growth as a young professional — I was several years too late and opted for Chicago instead. When my family moved down to the Tampa Bay region, I started to witness and learn about Tampa’s rise: the changing skyline, demographic shifts, and massive inflows of investment and human capital. Keen to not miss out again, I moved to Tampa last summer and am increasingly excited about the region’s future.” — Matt Phelps, Vice President at JPMorgan Chase
“I’m so glad I moved back to Tampa. I’ve gotten front row seats to some of the most exciting years in Tampa’s development, and I’m constantly amazed at how much our city has grown since my childhood.” — Ariana Alfonso
“I always say Tampa is the best startup of all time. Our growth is built around quality of life and spending time outside and near the water. You also can’t beat the people in Tampa…This city has also been so incredibly supportive and contributed greatly to the growth of my business.” — Whitney Holzman, CEO of Social Victories
“After building multiple national and international startup communities, I chose Tampa Bay as my forever home because I recognized a growing startup ecosystem at an inflection point in their journey to create immense value for the businesses that launch and grow here. Seeing the potential in this ecosystem, I wanted to be a part of that positive momentum, adding value from my previous experiences. Thank you for welcoming me, Tampa Bay!” — Candice Rezvanian, Director of Founder Success at Florida Funders, previously at Endeavor and Village Capital