Downtown Growth Draws Tech Focused Entrepreneurial Community

Lakshmi Shenoy, Chief Executive Officer, Embarc Collective

Lakshmi Shenoy, the CEO of Embarc Collective, will lead in supporting rising tech startups in the Tampa Bay region. Although she has only called Tampa home for a year, she is wasting no time pushing boundaries and elevating the technology scene of the city.

Shenoy describes Embarc Collective as the central landing zone for the region’s community focused on entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology.  Once open later in 2019, it will house early-stage technology startups and host programming related to building strong technology product businesses throughout the year. The resident startups apply to Embarc Collective, and once a part of the community, the Embarc Collective team supports the specific needs of the startups in the areas of customers, product, capital, talent/culture, and coaching.

Bringing with her to Tampa a wealth of expertise, Shenoy previously worked at 1871 in Chicago, the no. 1 university-affiliated incubator in the world.

“Working there demonstrated to me that if you build a place for entrepreneurs to find each other, you can accelerate their growth because they have an easier time finding support, resources, and a community of similarly focused and driven teams.” Shenoy said. She wants to mirror that environment in Tampa.

In regard to how to build a thriving tech community, Shenoy mentioned being impressed by the traction of startups already existing in the region. A larger number of startups will create exciting job opportunities to attract and retain high quality talent. Her goal is that we work to increase the volume of entrepreneurial opportunities by fostering more support to help launch tech startups and do more to attract entrepreneurial talent  existing tech ventures to Tampa Bay.

She believes that Water Street Tampa will help with that, explaining, “The lifestyle that Water Street Tampa is going to provide will be distinct and will help put Tampa on the map as a great place to live and build a business,” she said. “it’s creating a place where great, high caliber talent wants to live.”


Please enjoy a few excerpted highlights from our Q+A with Lakshmi below.

How would you describe Tampa in three words?

Growing each day.

What are the most important components of a community to you?

An inclusive spirit, a pride in one’s city, and a drive to continue to improve our community.

Tampa’s experiencing unprecedented growth right now. How is the city changing in your view? 

The growth I’ve seen just in the one year that I’ve been in Tampa has been tremendous.  It’s happening with Water Street Tampa, but also in other parts of the city.  Tampa is already extremely livable, but with new projects like Sparkman Wharf, each day I’m reminded that I’m in Tampa during a very special part of its growth story.