Investors pump more than $1.5 million into two promising Tampa Bay startups

Tampa, Florida, UNITED STATES

TAMPA BAY, Fla., Feb. 23, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Two Tampa Bay Wave technology startups are in line for more than $1.5 million total investment from financial supporters who share their vision that Tampa Bay will be a center for technological breakthroughs that create sustainable jobs.

Miraj Patel and Andrew Scarborough, founders of Harness, learned they will bank $1.2 million from lead investor and new board member Santosh Govindaraju, who is CEO of Convergent Capital Partners, a real estate investment firm.  Harness has developed technology that allows purchases by charitable donors with linked credit or debit cards to be rounded up to the next dollar and the change automatically donated back to their charity.

Steve Lazaridis, CEO and Founder of Phonism, got the good news that his firm will receive a $350,000 investment from a group formed by Tampa attorney Rich McIntyre that includes Dave Henderson, Suren Ajjarapu, and Greg Ross-Munroe of Sourcetoad Ventures. Phonism helps VoIP service providers reduce their support and on-boarding costs by taking that often-tedious process from hours to minutes.

Both startups have benefited from their work with Tampa Bay Wave, which helps entrepreneurs develop relationships with potential investors while they build, launch and grow breakout tech businesses in Tampa Bay.

Allen Clary, Entrepreneur in Residence at Wave, explained that the funding for Harness and Phonism is notable because it is being provided by investors who don’t normally back technology ventures. Expanding its outreach to generate interest from a broader range of investors is a major objective of Tampa Bay Wave this year, Clary said. 

Founded in 2008, Tampa Bay Wave, Inc. is a nonprofit helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into businesses by providing realistic professional and technical guidance along with investor relationship development. Tampa Bay Wave supports more than 150 tech startups as they work to build sustainable, profitable breakout businesses. Tampa Bay Wave, along with a network of universities, local businesses, nonprofits and public sector partners, has been successful in connecting high-growth startups with mentorship, early stage capital and other critical resources to support a long-term, innovation-driven economy for the region.

Media Contact: Andrew Bowen, APR