CoLabs is One of the First Fully-Funded Companies in Tampa to Use the Federal Opportunity Zone Program
CoLabs, a software incubator that specializes in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, is one of the first fully-funded businesses in the Tampa Bay area to raise capital from investors making tax-deferred investments in Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOFs).
Opportunity Zones, which were created by the Tax Cuts and Job Act in December 2017, make up more than 8,700 census tracts generally located in economically-distressed communities and are designed to spur economic growth and job creation.
CoLabs created its QOF after the U.S. Department of Treasury released new regulations in April 2019. Since then, it has attracted 19 investors, raised $6.2 million and now has 22 employees.
“The Opportunity Zone regulations allowed us to grow our business while also building up the communities that need it most with job opportunities,” said David Hull, founder and CEO of CoLabs. “Additionally, many of the investors were drawn to this opportunity due to our Qualified Opportunity Zone Business (QOZB) status.”
Hull said the process of becoming a QOZB went smoothly for the company as they consulted with Foley & Lardner for the creation of the QOF and interpretation of the regulations and Grant Thornton for the tax implications of qualifying as a QOZB. CoLabs has benefited from this status the most in its capital raising.
CoLabs’ most recent product is IntelAgree, a contract lifecycle management (CLM) software tool that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimize and simplify business processes. The platform has already been adopted by Tampa Bay’s biggest sports teams— the Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tampa Bay Lightning.