Most startups fail. This nonprofit helps founders buck that trend.

Tampa’s startup community was ready for something like Embarc Collective to come to town.

The nonprofit tech and entrepreneurial hub, which got off the ground in 2019, didn’t even have to open the doors to its physical space in Downtown Tampa for there to be a swell of interest from local startups looking to join. But by the time Embarc Collective did open, it had 25 startups involved.

Over the last five years, it would be natural to think that many…if not most…of those 25 early-stage startups would have shut down operations by now. 90% of startups go belly up, according to research by Startup Genome. Most don’t even make it to their fifth anniversaries, and a slim minority of those go on to raise later funding rounds.

Yet 24 out of 25 Embarc businesses are still in business. That’s a 96% survivability rate, not a 90% failure rate. Seven of those have raised Series A or beyond, with three reaching exits.

At first glance, Embarc might feel like any other city startup hub. It hosts community events and members are provided with co-working space. But with a knack for turning out successful startups, the team seems to have found some sort of “secret sauce” to producing great startups.

Behind Embarc Collective

Part of that has to do with the types of intentional programs put on. The organization is looking to make concrete changes in the Tampa startup ecosystem by transforming the capital landscape through programs like its hands-on Glaring Gap Summit. The annual event teaches up-and-coming female leaders about the ins and outs of startup investing and getting into the world of venture capital. Far beyond just a panel discussion, the Summit teaches participants — from college students to emerging professionals — about startup valuations, portfolio strategy, and how to source deals.

Another part of Embarc’s success comes down to how it thinks about creating a community for founders. As Embarc reaches its fifth anniversary, we caught up with the organization’s CEO Lakshmi Shenoy to get a better sense of the ‘why’ behind Embarc’s impressive numbers.

For her, Embarc founders share two qualities.

Laksmi Shenoy Shenoy said she’s witnessed that founders building inside Embarc collective are completely obsessed with their customers and they understand that time is their most precious resource.

“Even in the unlikely scenario of having ample funds, the entrepreneurs at Embarc Collective know that time is their most precious resource. This awareness forces focus, prioritization, and the need to say no when an opportunity doesn’t make sense for the business,” Shenoy told Hypepotamus. “This all translates to a very focused, driven, and somewhat intense community that spends more time doing the work with their customers than talking about it.”

With five years under its belt, Embarc is ready for the future. Its downtown space welcomes 20,000 people through its doors each year and now supports 125 technology startups, working in every industry from AgTech to Supply Chain.

If you’re in Tampa, you’ll want to keep up to date with Embarc’s active events calendar. And if you are one of the many people thinking about moving to Florida’s Gulf Coast, you’ll want to keep an eye out on the Embarc member startups that are hiring right now.