Why I Moved My StartUp to Tampa

I’m a 2x founder (1 IPO, 1 sale) and 2x unicorn angel from California. Very occasionally I wrote for TechCrunch or Forbes. I currently manage a marketplace of international software developers at JetBridge.com

In 1999 I arrived to the SF Bay Area with 6 credit cards and a COMPAQ Presario laptop to pursue my startup dreams, creating Five9 (call center SaaS).

Being in the Bay Area, I had the good fortune of meeting lots of super-smart people, some of whom I would partner with to launch Five9 and then afterward a health-tech company called DoctorBase.

TBH I was probably more lucky than smart, but the years 2000 -2019 were amazing times filled with lots of professional ups and downs, very expensive lessons, and lots of incredible house parties (often filled with people who would go on to become well-known founders or investors).

But in 2018 I got married, started a new software outsourcing company called JetBridge (competing with the likes of Toptal and Upwork), and started to think about moving to a place that was more suburban. When Covid came it felt like a good opportunity to reinvent ourselves in a new city, but where?

A lot of our friends were going to Austin or Miami (or a ranch in the middle of nowhere where you can’t get sushi), but we fell in love with Tampa Bay (maybe I just like Bays, idk).

Frankly, this place is chill, isn’t crowded, most folks are super friendly and one can ride motorcycles (you may die doing that in Miami) or go deep sea-fishing on your boat (try that in Austin).

When the folks at Embarc Collective told me about all of the new innovation and downtown expansion initiatives, it gave me a growth-stage startup feeling that got the inner entrepreneur in me excited.

So we’re here, we’re hiring and we’re not bringing any politics with us – just an incredible excitement to be part of Tampa Bay’s next generation of great startups and a desire to mentor the next crop of tech superstars in Florida.

If you’re looking to break into tech or want mentors that can take your career to the next level, connect & DM me @johnsungkim on twitter – we’re hiring in all operational departments and I’d love to chat and get to know you and this amazing city better.