USF Research News

USF, TiE Tampa Bay Enter Five-Year Collaboration Agreement to Support Startups

December 14, 2017

Partnership with Tampa chapter of international angel-investor organization will strengthen support for region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem

TiE Tampa Bay Executive Director of TiE Tampa Bay Raj Rajendran, TiE Tampa Founding President Kunal Jain, joins Allison Madden, Director of the USF Research Park, and Valerie McDevitt, USF Associate VP Technology Transfer & Business Partnerships, in celebrating the new five-year partnership between USF and TiE.

TAMPA, Fla. – The University of South Florida’s Tampa Bay Technology Incubator and the entrepreneurial-support organization TiE Tampa Bay have entered a five-year collaboration that will strengthen efforts to unite investors and mentors with local startups. This agreement formalizes and expands upon what has been a successful partnership around the shared interest of growing the Tampa Bay Region’s knowledge economy.

TiE Tampa Bay is a chapter of the non-profit, global organization originally founded in Silicon Valley in 1992 by a group of successful entrepreneurs around the ideas of changing “the face of entrepreneurship and growing business through our five pillars: mentoring, networking, education, incubating and funding.” TiE currently has 13,000 members, including over 2,500 charter members in 61 chapters across 18 countries. Globally, TiE holds regular workshops, networking meetings and annual conferences to celebrate entrepreneurship, provides role models and one-on-one mentorship, and draws on hundreds of dedicated volunteers.

The new agreement will help establish and grow successful, high-growth technology based ventures in the Tampa Bay Region and promote regional economic development by providing access to angel investment groups and funding forums, mentoring opportunities to facilitate entrepreneurship, and a global networking platform to help nurture and expand company success.

TiE Tampa Bay TiE Tampa Founding President Kunal Jain, Philanthropist Kiran Patel, TiE Tampa President Elect Year 2016 Ramesh Sambasivan and Executive Director of TiE Tampa Bay Raj Rajendran.

“TiE is currently the world’s largest volunteer-led entrepreneurial organization, and we are thrilled to partner with TiE and collaborate with their network of entrepreneurs across the globe to encourage the success of our companies,” said Valerie Landrio McDevitt, USF associate vice president for technology transfer & business partnerships. “Strong partnerships help accelerate innovation, and providing our startups with expertise, funding opportunities and guidance will help to develop and commercialize next-generation products and technology.”

USF and TiE Tampa Bay have informally collaborated over the last two years, bringing mentors and investors together with student, faculty and community innovators. Since October 2016, six events were held by TiE Tampa Bay with the support of TBTI including the successful Startup Shuffle, which paired a Silicon Valley venture capitalist with local venture capitalists and provided twenty Florida tech startups an opportunity to give 60-second elevator pitches.

“TiE Tampa Bay has enjoyed working with USF on joint programs over the past several months,” says Ramesh Sambasivan, chapter president. “We truly cherish this relationship and partnership of TiE + USFCONNECT and are looking forward to this collaboration doing great things for the entrepreneurial ecosystem here in the Tampa Bay Area and in Florida.”

TiE Tampa Bay TiE Tampa Founding President Kunal Jain, Philanthropist Kiran Patel and TiE Tampa President Elect Year 2016 Ramesh Sambasivan

The new agreement and broader collaboration paves the way for TiE to establish a larger presence working with USF’s TBTI, a University-driven community partnership providing early stage technology companies with a multitude of services to succeed and grow. USF’s TBTI has demonstrated significant results in the areas of job creation, new business development and facilitation of research-based commercialization. In the past year, TBTI served over 75 startup companies, which hired and retained almost 360 employees and received over $54 million in external funding.

The TiE agreement also creates mentoring and investment opportunities for USF students who are part of the university’s Student Innovation Incubator.

For more information on TiE Tampa, visit

For more information on USF’s Tampa Bay Technology Incubator and USF CONNECT, visit

About the University of South Florida
The University of South Florida, established in 1956 and located in Tampa, is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. The USF System includes three, separately accredited institutions: USF; USF St. Petersburg; and USF Sarasota-Manatee. Serving more than 49,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF ranks in the Top 30 nationally for research expenditures among public universities, according to the National Science Foundation. In 2016, the Florida Legislature designated USF as “Emerging Preeminent,” placing USF in an elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.

About TiE Tampa Bay
TiE Tampa Bay, located in Tampa Bay, Florida, is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit organization, founded in September 2012 to foster entrepreneurship in Florida through mentoring, networking and education. TiE Tampa Bay’s leadership is comprised of accomplished volunteers with a successful track record in entrepreneurship and an eagerness to help other entrepreneurs. TiE Tampa Bay is part of the global group, the largest volunteer-led not-for profit entrepreneurship organization in the world. In early 2017, angel investors from TiE Tampa Bay’s membership joined hands to separately form TiE Tampa Bay Angel Fund, with the mission is to retain and attract entrepreneurs, innovators, talented employees, mentors, and other investors by providing capital and mentorship to early-stage and growth-stage companies that have a nexus with Tampa Bay or North-Central Florida. Learn more about TiE Tampa Bay at