In the midst of all the glamorous tech startups and their shiny projects that are finding their place here in Tampa, Andre Hampton seeks to help the everyday entrepreneur with projects that are often overlooked by investors.
Hampton is the founder and Managing Director of StreamS, which is the umbrella company for his co-working space Factory 114 and his business-accelerator program, Ignite.
He realized that this space was necessary when he looked for a place like Factory 114 for his own business and couldn’t find one. Most work spaces in Tampa are aimed at tech and he said that finding a mentorship program also proved difficult.
“There were several excellent programs here for technology-based companies but there was nothing for service-based companies like mine,” Hampton said.
Today, Factory 114 is a urban-style place for professionals to gather.
“A lot of people come in and they say it’s really inspiring,” he said, “we have a motto that says the is the place where ideas are born.”
He said while the co-working space is what people make of it, the Ignite program is where business owners are given individualized help. Each business is analyzed and give advice on what might be preventing them from growing and creating a stronger company.
“I wanted to help other entrepreneurs not have to take 20 years to get to where they need to be in their business and that was the launch of the Ignite program.”
— Andre Hampton, founder and Managing Director at StreamS.
Hampton’s Ignite programs helps entrepreneurs who have more of a mainstream-type business. This can often mean the projects don’t attract the same investors as a startling new technology might.
Access to these types of services have great impact on startups. With the right direction, startups grow 3.5 times faster and raise seven-times as much money, according to Forbes.
Hampton also believes that these service-based companies will ultimately be a less risky investment than their more flashy counterparts.
“People don’t really pay as much attention but again, I do believe that we can affect and we can really help a lot more families become successful there than we will finding the one out of 40 who’s actually going to turn a tech company into something and have a successful exit,” Hampton said.
Hampton’s entrepreneurial journey
He said that as a lifelong entrepreneur helping businesses is something that he is very passionate about. In the past, Hampton has run companies in markets that have collapsed.
“I was 19 or 20 years old and I ran a telecommunications company in the late 90s and I had no clue that we were in a bubble until it popped, and then oh wow, we got wiped out in that one,” he said.
His next endeavor, a real estate venture, took a hit as well in the early 2000s when the housing market crashed.
He said that now he looks for more stable long-term investments and long-term wealth creation.
“[his investors] their motto is we’ve already won the lottery we don’t need to win it again,” he said, “so they’re thinking very long-term like 30, 40 or 50 years type of long-term.”
He said that in the future he wants to continue to expand his brand and make more livable and work-friendly spaces in Tampa’s channelside district. He is working on a large building that he hopes will become a five-star hotel and condos.
“Tampa is doing a really good job at re-inventing itself especially post the market crash in 2006, 7 and 8,” he said.
Hampton hopes that the city will continue to improve on all fronts and he continues to invest and grow his business in the area.
“[Tampa] It’s a great community,” he said, “it’s a small-town feel inside of a city.”