Linda Olson

President & Founder of Tampa Bay WaVE

Linda Olson

President & Founder of Tampa Bay WaVE

Biography

As President and founder of Tampa Bay WaVE, Linda grew this non-profit to support over 150 early-stage technology ventures in its first 5 years.

To date, Linda has raised over $3 million in federal and local funds to expand Tampa Bay WaVE. In 2012, she led a regional effort that was awarded a $1million federal grant from the US Department of Commerce to launch FirstWaVE – a tech business accelerator program and an open innovation space in downtown Tampa. In 2015, she successfully led a second effort that was awarded another $500,000 federal grant to expand FirstWaVE to support even more startups.

 

This 10,000 sq/ft FirstWaVE Venture Center provides dedicated office and coworking space for tech entrepreneurs, as well as event space for the local tech startup community. Since its opening in March 2013, FirstWaVE has supported more than 100 local companies, many of whom have collectively raised over $14 million in outside capital and have created and retained over 350 new jobs for the region.

 

Linda has been working with tech startups since 1999 when she joined yet2.com in Boston, a VC- funded tech transfer company, as their Controller/CFO. She has also founded several of her own technology ventures including Total Web Concierge and WOMbeat! In her early career, Linda managed ERP implementation projects for Fortune 500 companies as an Arthur Andersen consultant. She also was a Sarbanes-Oxley compliance pioneer, developing her own Big4-approved methodology and directing the company-wide Sarbanes-Oxley compliance efforts for The New York Times Company.

 

Named to the founding leadership team of Startup Florida, Linda is one of the original Startup America Champions under the Startup America Partnership organization founded by the White House and Steve Case in 2011. She also serves on the board of Tech Start Tampa Bay, the charitable arm of the Tampa Bay Technology Forum.

 

Linda has a CPA license from the State of Florida, MACC and BS degrees from Florida State University, and an MBA from Columbia University.