Tech company founders from Manhattan to Montreal are looking at St. Pete as a place where their businesses can innovate and grow. No longer a sleepy town focused on retirees, St. Petersburg, Florida is a vibrant, thriving city that attracts and retains talented workers, drawn by a collaborative business community and outstanding quality of life. Tech leaders may be surprised to learn that:
1. St. Pete is a Growing Tech Hub
St. Pete is nestled in the heart of Tampa Bay along west Florida’s coastline. Tampa Bay is one of the fastest-growing regions in the United States, and tech is one of its fastest-growing fields. About 8% of the area’s workforce is in tech, and the number continues to grow.
St. Pete anchors the Florida High Tech Corridor, which facilitates collaborations between partners in industry, academia, and economic development. An extensive network of service providers, suppliers, and business organizations support the high-tech sector. Within Pinellas County, almost 12,000 employees work at more than 1,000 IT companies.
2. We’ve Got the Tech Talent You Need
St. Pete is attractive to your workforce. Tampa Bay ranks first in Florida and sixth in the country for migration of tech workers.
In addition, our area is particularly appealing to millennials in tech. According to CBRE, Tampa Bay ranked #10 in the nation for growth in millennials, with a millennial population increase of 14.5% since 2014 (almost 85K people). They also note that this region is the fifth most diverse market for tech degree graduates in underrepresented race/ethnicity groups.
Often people are surprised to learn that the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA has more than 3.1 million people, larger than Denver, Raleigh-Durham, Nashville, Austin, Jacksonville, San Antonio, Portland, Sacramento, or Orlando.
Many tech workers come from the dozens of colleges and universities located within 100 miles of St. Pete that mint 40,000 highly-skilled graduates each year, and St. Pete tech companies draw employees directly from local programs like:
- University of South Florida’s School of Information Systems and Management
- USF’s College of Engineering
- USF’s School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
- Eckerd College’s majors in computer science, geosciences, mathematics, and physics
- St. Petersburg College’s programs in computer IT, computer programming & analysis, cybersecurity, data sciences, networking technologies, and technology development & management
Plus, tech starts young in St. Pete—we’re home to Jamerson Elementary Center’s for Mathematics and Engineering, a PK-5 school with the nation’s #1 elementary STEM program.
3. Innovation Abounds in St. Pete
St. Pete draws creative and innovative people. You’ll find them making connections wherever they go. We’re home to the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, a tech business accelerator that builds technology companies and the innovation community. Other tech incubators and company support organizations in our area include Tampa Bay Wave, Embarc Collective, and Tampa Bay Tech.
In addition, the St. Pete Innovation District encourages collaboration through proximity, bringing together 30+ member organizations within the Life Science, Marine Science, Education, Data Analytics, Arts and Technology sectors. It serves as a Smart City test bed, partnering with local and national companies, nonprofits, educational institutions and government to test technology as part of the U.S. Ignite Smart Gigabit Communities program.
4. You’ll Join a Thriving Tech Community
Tech companies in the St. Pete area run the gamut from small entrepreneurial second stage startups to Fortune 500 companies like TD SYNNEX (formerly Tech Data), the largest information technology distribution company in the world. The tech community here includes companies focused on fintech, data analytics, healthcare, cybersecurity, marketing and ad tech, marine tech, SaaS, education, and more, many drawn by St. Pete's support for startups.
5. The Tech Community is Collaborative
A hallmark of St. Pete is the collaborative nature of the tech community. A network of tech leaders has grown organically, where founders connect personally and professionally on issues from developing technology to revenue generation, to fundraising and recruiting.
In most communities, tech companies compete against each other. Here, tech companies come together to help St. Pete compete against the world.
6. There’s Flexible Space to Accommodate Your Growth
One of the challenges tech companies face is space—when you’re growing fast, you don’t necessarily want to be locked into a long-term lease. St. Pete offers an array of office options, from co-working space to shared space to innovation centers to executive suites to traditional offices. You can get started in St. Pete with a flexible space with shared amenities and rent by the month as you expand your company and get to know the area.
In addition, St. Pete is home to one of the Southeast’s most eagerly-awaited urban development projects, the redevelopment of the 86-acre Historic Gas Plant District site. It’s a once-in-a-generation chance to create new opportunities for growth, economic development, and an enhanced community and will be an economic engine for the region for decades to come.
7. Haven’t You Heard? St. Pete is the Next…
When Chad Nuss co-founded InsideOut (acquired by Harte Hanks), he found the St. Pete vibe attractive, saying "We wanted to be [in St. Pete] because it feels like the early stage of growth. It felt like the 1995 San Francisco when Netscape put out a little CD and we started building browsers. A lot of this is timing, that you can build here. There's room to play, and room to grow, and room to matter."
Cathie Wood, CEO and founder of ARK Invest, has repeatedly compared St. Petersburg to Austin, saying, "We believe that St. Pete wants to become the next Austin and attract tech companies, attract innovation. We were looking for a city that might be able to evolve into something like Austin has. If you've not been to St. Pete, you must go! I've now become St. Pete's offical ambassador. It is a young, vibrant town with very friendly people from all over the place."
...Place for Your Business to Shine?
However, the only “next” that really matters is the next St. Pete. And you can be a part of what’s coming.
If you're interested in relocating or expanding your tech business, download our Become St. Pete brochure or get in touch to find out more. Speaking of more...
7 ½. There’s More to Love than Just Tech
You and your workforce will also appreciate that:
St. Pete is easy-in, easy out: Tampa International Airport (TPA) is just 25 minutes from downtown St. Pete, with more than 80 nonstop destinations, or you can enjoy value-conscious airlines with 60 nonstop destinations from St. Pete-Clearwater International (PIE).
St. Pete values inclusion: St. Pete believes in embracing differences, not merely tolerating them.
St. Pete is business-friendly: St. Pete is a progressive city that recognizes business as the driver of equitable economic development. Business and government are partners in our area’s progress. St. Pete combines the best of Florida’s favorable business policies with an authentically inclusive environment.
St. Pete offers an unparalleled quality of life: From sunshine 361 days a year to a range of housing to a vibrant cultural scene to the great outdoors, you’ll like living here, and so will your employees.
If you’d like to know more about how your tech company could shine in St. Pete, get in touch! We’ll be happy to talk with you and connect you to some of the other tech entrepreneurs who call St. Pete home.