Forbes has dubbed Tampa as the top emerging technology city in the country, beating out longtime rivals including New York City, Miami and San Francisco.
The organization released its findings Tuesday, pointing largely to Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's involvement in the local tech ecosystem. Water Street
Tampa has had technology built into its DNA since day one. The 55-plus acre development in Tampa is spearheaded by Vinik's Strategic Property Partners and Cascade Investment LLC, the investment fund of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
There's also Vinik's backing of innovation hub Embarc Collective
, which now counts more than 100 startups in its roster.
"Vinik and Gates’ support is just the nitroglycerine in an already revving engine," Forbes states. "Tampa’s positioned to become one of the tech capitals of the American South in the coming decade."
Tampa's growing number of more than 50 software and IT companies also helped push the city to the top spot. There's also the booming number of tech jobs — CompTIA's annual "Cyberstates" report predicts the Tampa Bay region will have more than 2,000 additional
tech jobs by the end of the year, and according to IT Resources, the city makes up more than a quarter of all the tech jobs in the state.
Tampa was closely followed by Miami in the ranking lineup, which can count a growing number of investment firms and partners relocating to the area. New York City came in at No. 3, followed by Austin, Texas and San Francisco.