University of South Florida St. Petersburg



The 2nd cohort of founders and CEOs who participated in the Fintech Accelerator

The second class of founders and CEOs of fintech startups that participated in the FinTech|X Accelerator organized by Tampa Bay Wave and the USF Muma College of Business.

The second FinTech|X Accelerator program concludes with Pitch Night event

By Matthew Cimitile, University Communications and Marketing

A pitch night event at USF St. Petersburg showcased the businesses and financial technology (fintech) solutions being developed by 15 high-growth startups from across the U.S. and abroad as part of the second FinTech|X Accelerator.

More than 150 people attended the event on October 19, including the founders and CEOs of the fintech startups and a wide range of community members. Each company gave a four-minute pitch explaining their solution to a particular problem in the world of finance. 

The solutions included automating personal finances via AI or enabling parents and children to learn and experiment with credit at a young age to enhance financial literacy. CEOs of these startups also shared financial projections of where the startups could be in a couple of years based on current growth and investment.

The FinTech|X Accelerator, a multi-year partnership between Tampa Bay Wave and the USF Muma College of Business, is designed to assist such high-potential startups in the fintech industry through mentoring, pitch coaching and investor introductions. 

“Tampa bay is one of the hottest, fastest growing fintech areas in the country,” said Linda Olson, founder and president/CEO of Tampa Bay Wave. “It is because of the people in this community and the partnerships that we have that have made this program instrumental in placing this region at the forefront of fintech.”

As part of the activities leading up to Pitch Night, startups got to speak with Jessica Washington, the assistant vice president and director of payments research and outreach with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

“All of the easy problems have been solved. The companies in this room tonight are here to solve the hard problems,” Washington said. “As you go on and grow, you will have to pivot, things will make you shift. But remember your purpose, remember what got you here today and keep that with you.” 

Pitch event brought together founders and ceos of startups to pitch their business to community members.

The Pitch Night event brought together founders and ceos of startups to present their financial technology solutions to community members.

This year’s FinTech|X cohort continued a trend of strong founders solving real problems. Founders and CEOs of startups came from accomplished backgrounds, including Oracle, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Yahoo, Splunk, Northwestern Mutual, UMB Bank, Wells Fargo, GE Capital and more.  

Over a period of 90 days, with three in-person weeks taking place at the Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance, each startup received unparalleled access to resources, mentorship, connections and guidance from industry veterans. The program equipped these businesses with the tools necessary to accelerate growth and drive impact. 

“We are so proud that the Muma College of Business is home to the FinTech|X Accelerator Program, which blends perfectly with our programming through the dynamic Fintech Center at our Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance,” said GJ de Vreede, interim dean of the Muma College of Business.

The overall goal of the three-month Accelerator is to transition startups into sustainable, scalable and profitable businesses. It also seeks to advance the reputation of St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay region as an innovative fintech hub.

More information about the Accelerator program can be found at:

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