Monthly Archives: August 2020


Adjusting to Life IRL

Like most organizations, Embarc Collective closed our facility on March 16th and moved all of our coaching, programming and support to over 50 early-stage startups to virtual. Functionally, the transition to virtual was pretty seamless (we are a tech hub after all), but our team often commiserated over the new challenges presented without in-person interactions. With the new challenges came new opportunities – some of our teammates even thrived by developing new mindsets and work practices.

While we were remote, our team had plenty of time to reflect and outline our observations of what we missed while being virtual and what lessons we’ll carry as we transition back to an in-person life.

During our time working from home, our team started our day with a Daily Cafe where we could check in with each other and hear about our non-work life updates. The conversation would often turn to the things we missed from life in-person:

  • Organic Interactions: “In any company – but especially in start-ups/small businesses – collaboration and inspiration happen organically with spontaneous conversations and connections. It might be within an office, knocking on someone’s door without a prior meeting, the break room, or whatever – but you simply can’t replicate the importance of personal interaction for consistent, ongoing innovation. Not sure I will take for granted the opportunity to be surrounded by smart, empathetic colleagues during the day” – Ryan Schneider
  • Having Transition Time: “I find I don’t have that “transition” time while in quarantine and the days can be very full with limited quiet time for the mind. We eliminate the typical transition time or change of space between work activities while at home.” Kailah Matyas
  • Our Ability to Read the Room: “Reading the room is such a critical part of doing business. With video conferencing, we can only rely on spoken word and minimal visual cues. But when we mute ourselves during conferences, we also mute non-verbal or “lower volume verbal” cues that indicate how the audience is receiving information.” – Lakshmi Shenoy
  • Moments Away from the Screen: “I looked forward to enhancing movement and getting out from the screen for real human interaction. Zoom and sitting in the same room in the house can be exhausting.” – Ryan Schneider

As much as we missed it, life prior to Safer at Home wasn’t completely perfect. The time away did help shine a light on new mindsets and behavior – something we can carry with us as we have moved back into in-person life.

  • Having Empathy for Your Whole Life: “I’ve met your kids when they needed help on the iPad. I met your cat when they walked in front of your laptop screen. I have seen the inside of your closets, which was the only place where you can get work done. Having a better understanding of your life helps me understand your priorities and motivations.” Lakshmi Shenoy
  • Investing in Relationships: “Quarantine has helped me understand the value of my relationships – strengthening old ties that I previously neglected to maintain because of my day-to-day schedule. With everyone going virtual, it felt easier to stay connected to my extended network despite no longer being located in those cities.” – Allie Felix
  • Creating Boundaries: “In the startup space, it’s so easy to just keep working, there is always something to do. I found that building little rituals to start and end the work day helped me establish boundaries and keep myself balanced. That’s something I want to carry with me moving forward.” – Fabio De Sousa
  • Removing the Bounds of Geography: “I make it a point to bring experts in from around the country for our weekly member programming sessions at Embarc Collective. With so many individuals working from home, I was met with tremendous openness when I asked people who were on our wishlist to participate in programming for our members. It wasn’t just that they were interested in speaking, they were also interested in meeting local startups.” – Allie Felix

Whether you’re working remotely or back in the workplace like us, we’d love to hear from you. Tweet us your tips for remote working or adjusting back to work IRL to @embarccollectiv


2020 Southeast Capital Landscape

This piece has been migrated from our former Embarc Collective reports website. URLs will not be active, nor will the report be interactive.


Lessons to Help You Embarc on Any Journey


If we've had a chance to chat about marketing, communications, branding, or anything storytelling, you can tell instantly that it is what I LOVE to do. For almost two years, I've had the fortunate opportunity to build with so many passionate entrepreneurs and professionals who genuinely care about the solutions they are forging to solve the world's toughest challenges.

In this time, I've rallied early-stage startups to the finish line on key projects, helped them get closer to their why and ultimately they inspired me to continue pushing with an undivided passion to help build the magic we have in Tampa Bay.

Startup life moves quickly and in growing Tampa Bay, we are creating more opportunities for talent to stay and thrive in our amazing small, big city. I'm excited to "embarc" on my next journey with a blazing, local startup and plan to take so many wonderful memories and lessons I've learned at Embarc Collective with me on my next journey. Below are the most important ones that I'll always cherish.


Continue to Be the Light of Your Team

There are two ways of spreading light, you can either be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. What I love about the startups I've had a chance to build with during my time at Embarc Collective is they always, always find a way to shine. I believe leading with love in what you do and how you treat people will continue to open opportunities and help build mutual interest and care as our TB community grows. The positive light, energy, and attitude you bring to your work and your team inevitably permeates your culture, making those around you equally passionate to support what you're building.


Own Your Story

The Tampa Bay entrepreneur community is beautifully diverse. I've met so many amazing builders with unique stories that really provide color to how they've reached the point they are at now. These stories make Tampa Bay what it is. The stories of our founders help build a larger narrative of the type of entrepreneur who thrives in our region. Owning your story and encouraging others to own theirs is the secret sauce. Your story matters to everyone; from VCs, your founding team, the coaches and support around you, to the broader community and customers who want to be a part of your journey.


Be All Hands When Working on a Small Team

One of my favorite parts of building at Embarc Collective was the opportunity to work with a small team of focused and driven individuals who really care about Tampa Bay's startup talent. I've learned that on a founding team, you get to be up close and personal with the business objectives and have the chance to see your work make an immediate impact on what drives the business. Our goal at Embarc Collective was clear and we have always had a strong North Star to guide us. One thing I've learned is that when the North Star is clear, it's time to go all in. While you may have your defined role at a startup, I find that being all hands and bringing your special talents to the problem at hand helps the company go a long way. With that, I encourage you to jump in and lend a hand to your startup comrade and continue charging towards the North Star. I find that when you give, you receive tenfold.


What I love most about the Tampa Bay community, and one thing I feel is continuing to grow, is that as more opportunities present itself to build in Tampa Bay you don't truly "leave" the community #famforever. Instead, you move through, contributing your light, story, and love to the magic growing here. This is certainly not a goodbye, but more see you around. I look forward to contributing to our community in my new role and hope you'll stay in touch along the way.


Keep up with the latest in Tampa Bay startup news, local talent interviews and founder resources.
Delivered to your inbox every Thursday.