University of South Florida St. Petersburg



Tampa Bay Wave and USF announce 16 fintech startups for the inaugural FinTech|X Accelerator 2022 cohort

Tampa Bay Wave and the USF Muma College of Business, have partnered on a FinTech|X Accelerator to showcase USF’s strategic entry into FinTech and promoting St. Petersburg as a major hub for financial technology talent and innovation.

Tampa Bay Wave and the USF Muma College of Business have partnered on a FinTech|X Accelerator to showcase USF’s strategic entry into FinTech and promoting St. Petersburg as a major hub for financial technology talent and innovation.

Tampa Bay Wave, Inc. and the University of South Florida Muma College of Business are announcing today the inaugural FinTech|X Accelerator 2022 program cohort consisting of 16 high-growth fintech startups from across the United States and abroad, including companies from Israel, England, Saudi Arabia and Germany.

Of the 16 startups, three are led by women entrepreneurs, and there is significant representation from military veterans, LBGTQ+ and minority founders.

The FinTech|X 2022 Accelerator program represents a multi-year partnership between Tampa Bay Wave and the USF Muma College of Business. It will showcase USF’s strategic entry into financial technology (fintech), which includes establishing a new FinTech Center and offering degree programs at the Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance on the St. Petersburg campus. Ultimately, the Accelerator seeks to advance the reputation of St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay region as an innovative fintech hub, thanks to a strategic community partnership with the St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corporation.

“Tampa Bay Wave is proud to launch this new Accelerator program that will not only provide support to innovative fintech startups throughout the U.S. and beyond, but also showcase the talent and growing network of innovators and capital resources already in the Tampa Bay region,” said Linda Olson, president and founder of Tampa Bay Wave.

The Accelerator is a three-month tech business accelerator program. It offers companies access to key resources such as a dedicated accelerator managing director, mentoring with notable tech founders and fintech industry giants, sales training, pitch coaching and investor coaching, as well as introductions in an environment designed to support high-scale growth.

Companies in the program will also participate in Wave’s Demo Day at the conclusion of the program on June 29th to pitch their companies to an audience of accredited investors, venture capitalists and other fintech industry leaders.

The Accelerator program will also serve as a link between the region’s tech startup community and other fintech workforce development efforts. It is modeled on Tampa Bay Wave’s highly successful 2021 and 2022 CyberTech|X Accelerators.

“The USF Muma College of Business, and particularly the Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance, is becoming known as a place where fintech leaders come to learn and launch businesses,” said Moez Limayem, the Lynn Pippenger Dean of the Muma College of Business. “Partnerships like this, with Tampa Bay Wave, will help entrepreneurs do just that.”

USF and Tampa Bay Wave leadership.

Tampa Bay Wave leadership and staff, including President/CEO Linda Olson (3rd from left), meet with Gary Patterson (left), Interim Director of the Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance, and Michael Wiemer (second from left), Director of the USF Fintech Center.

Beyond the three-month program, selected participants will receive ongoing support through Tampa Bay Wave’s virtual CORE membership, which provides year-round critical mentorship, strategic introductions to investors and customers and other valuable services to further accelerate company development. Tampa Bay Wave is the only Global Accelerator Network (GAN)-accredited accelerator program in the State of Florida; thus, selected companies will also have the benefit of becoming a member of the GAN, which includes $50,000+ worth of discounts and other perks.

The 16 startups selected for the 2022 cohort are geographically diverse, with 15 companies headquartered outside of Florida, including five from outside the U.S. While some of the startups are in the early revenue stages, others are currently generating more than $1 million in annual recurring revenue. The cohort has collectively raised over $15 million in early-stage financing from top tier Venture Capital firms, and nearly all are currently raising between Seed and Series A funding.

The inaugural FinTech|X cohort includes many serial entrepreneurs, some with prior exits, as well as many former finance professionals and executives from names such as Huntington Bank, Cognizant, Kabbage, Techstars, Deutsche Bank, Oracle, Wells Fargo, UBS, Truist, CIBC, Accel-KKR, Comerica, PNC, and more. They and their companies have been recognized by the world’s top technology organizations such as Google, Symantec, and Techstars, and one is the recent winner of 2022 SXSW Pitch Social Entrepreneurship Speed Pitch. Several Founders hold doctorates and are graduates from top universities, including Harvard, Cornell, Cal-Berkeley and Notre Dame.

The cohort have also landed partnerships and have contracts with some of the world's top brands including Visa, DoorDash, Lyft, Freddie Mac, Paypal, Experian, and more. They are solving a multitude of problems ranging from student loan debt, expanding lending opportunities, small to medium business e-commerce, centralizing crypto exchanges, accelerating the home buying process, and more. 

The 16 companies participating in the 2022 FinTech|X Accelerator cohort include:

Aquablocks - Established institutions lack the infrastructure and knowledge to buy digital assets. A lack of support from their financial providers results in going to alternative sources to trade crypto. Aquablocks is an asset portfolio manager for financial institutions to purchase, trade and secure digital assets.

Location: Tel Aviv, Israel

CashQ - CashQ embeds a cross-border payment platform for Fintech and non-Fintech companies.

CEO: Alex Voronovich; Location: Miami, FL

College Cash - College Cash uses everyday behavior to reduce student loan debt, and does so in a unique manner, including user generated content campaigns, to engage with brands in a way that allows funds to be earned as early as the first year of high school.

CEO: Demetrius Curry; Location: Ft. Worth, TX

DUKAPAQ - DUKAPAQ is a community-wide rewards program and digital marketplace for Africa's merchants.

CEO: Mbaluka Michael Mutinda; Location: Tulsa, OK

Element DeFi - ElementDeFi is the first multidimensional all-in-one stable coin hub for decentralized finance.

CEO: Ezhilarasan (Hari) Irulappan; Location: Cary, NC

FINBOA - Over 100 banks and credit unions use the FINBOA process automation SaaS platform to streamline compliance, reduce staffing challenges and improve the customer experience.

CEO: Dheeraj (Raj) Singal; Location: Houston, TX

Homey Technology LTD - For all home buyers and sellers, who are fed up with the arduous conveyancing process, Homey Technology’s digital platform allows the transaction parties to complete conveyancing faster, with more certainty and ease.

CEO: Sayinthen (Say) Vivekanantham; Location: London, UK

inbanx - inbanx is a complete spend management solution for small and middle market businesses, which will revolutionize the way businesses spend and the credit they can access. The inbanx solution enables businesses to create and maintain budgets and sub-budgets, monetizes payables, extend corporate credit cards with spend controls, automate expense reporting, achieve real-time visibility into spending and budget consumption and allows businesses to achieve better credit lines from financial institutions.

CEO: Rob Kaczmarek; Location: Austin, TX

myEGO - myEGO delivers the next generation of digital identity: decentralized & self-sovereign.

CEO: Tanja Ludwig; Location: Berlin, Germany

OnlineApplication - OnlineApplication is a mortgage and insurance fintech platform that delivers products easier, faster and better for lenders and advisors alike.

CEO: Karl Deeter; Location: Austin, TX

Paperstack - Paperstack provides e-commerce sellers with micro-loans and financial insights to help purchase inventory, invest in advertising, and hire more talent. They are focusing on the underserved 84 percent of the market, offering “Subscription capital” for everyday business needs, frequently acting as a “first lender cheque” for their clients.

CEO: Assel Beglinova; Location: New York, NY

RABEH - Rabeh is a crowdfunding platform and virtual accelerator with built-in features, including a share equity marketplace.

CEO: Mohammed  Alsolami; Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 

RiskSmith - Risksmith helps retail investors create market-beating portfolios using modern portfolio theory and behavioral analytics.

CEO: Dr. Richard Smith; Location: Tampa, FL

Sole Capital - SoleCapital is providing liquidity to the culture at scale, starting with sneakers.

CEO: Trevor Nelson; Location: Raleigh, NC    

SueApp - SueApp is an intuitive legal tech solution for small claims filing. By harnessing technology and leveraging public data to improve the current filing process, SueApp makes filing small claims both efficient & accessible, helping to achieve effective personal and social justice for all.

CEO: Tom Lavi; Location: Tel Aviv, Israel

VIVA Finance - VIVA Finance's lending platform offers loans based on employment information rather than credit history, expanding access to affordable credit for individuals with damaged credit histories.

CEO: Jack Markwalter; Location: Atlanta, GA     

Participating companies will benefit from access to and engagement from the Tampa Bay Wave’s FinTech|X Advisory Council, made up of financial tech experts from Wave’s Mentor Network, as well as representatives from the program’s funding partners and other fintech experts.  Members of the 2022 Advisory Council include: 

  • Sean Connors, Kelverion Microsoft Azure Automation Consultant - USF FinTech Center
  • Jim Giacobbe, President & CEO - United Solutions Company
  • Steve MacDonald, CEO/Founder - MacDonald Ventures
  • Wayne Miller, Executive Director - The Venture Center- Little Rock
  • Shai Perez, Operating Council - DTCC
  • Chris Raper, Chief Operating Officer - Smiley Technologies, Inc.
  • Allan Rayson, Chief Innovation Officer - Encore Bank
  • Thomas Rizzo, Exec Director Global Cash & Liquidity - JPMorgan Chase
  • Tom Shen, Executive Chair - Sensibill
  • John Short, Business Development Manager - Bank of America
  • Kishen Sridharan, Technology Partnerships Executive - Raymond James Financial
  • Kyle Taylor, Founder & CEO - The Penny Hoarder
  • Chris Tyler, CPO - Block Spaces
  • Michael Wiemer, FinTech Center Director - University of South Florida Muma College of Business

Supporting this three-year partnership is Encore Bank, with its processing partner  Smiley Technologies, Inc.  Additional support comes from local serial investor, disruptor, and myMatrixx founders Steve and Lindsay MacDonald, through their firm MacDonald Ventures. Other key funding partners include Kyle Taylor, founder of The Penny Hoarder, plus contributions from DTCC, United Solutions Company, engageSI, and Black Dragon Capital

To learn more about the 2022 FinTech|X Accelerator Program, visit:

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