Local Start-up in Line for $775,000

After an angel investment and a $25,000 prize, this company wins big.

—Danielle Michels, Bradley Osburn

Fracture, one of Gainesville’s most unique companies—and one that is re-defining the picture frame—beat out more than 150 other small businesses across the country in the “Win a Sweet New Office Contest!”

Photos by Bradley Osburn

Fracture is a start-up company formed by two friends who developed a technique of printing digital photos on glass, and is one of five companies to win the $25,000 office makeover from Turnstone, a furniture company that focuses on simple and smart office furniture for small business.

To participate in the contest, the team at Fracture created a video demonstrating why winning the Turnstone office makeover would improve their workplace and facilitate growth. Fracture co-founder Abhi Lokesh says that there were originally about 200 contestants, and that they won by a scant 80 votes.

“We want to make this a place you never want to leave,” Lokesh told his employees. “You know, just stay here and keep working.”

Sarah Russell, Fracture’s head of customer service, called the office, which is at 112 SW 6th St., a “blank slate,” which isn’t an exaggeration. The main office is simply a large open room with a few white walls and several desks pushed to the edges. A conference room at the back houses a refrigerator and a conference table that consists of two filing cabinets with a door laid across them.

Several personal touches dot the space, including a small music corner, a water-dispenser-turned-robot named Rosey, and Watson, the office dog.

Matthew Bivens, Fracture’s head of marketing and social media and Watson’s owner, said that Turnstone will take Fracture’s foundation of teamwork and collaboration and build upon it, creating a space uniquely suited to their needs. He’s personally hoping for a basketball hoop.

Jenny Zaworski, a Turnstone representative, envisions an open office with very modern furniture. She talked about what she called rumble seats, which are like small couches connected to desks which can be pulled away for group work, and then reattached.

Several ideas were bounced around as to what else could possibly fill the space. There was talk of a slide or a stage for live music. Production specialist Chris Kodadek envisioned a fort on top of one of the printing rooms, possibly connected to the aforementioned slide. Mason Turner said a soccer goal would be nice, since they already spend time kicking around a beach ball.

Many of Fracture’s employees bike to work, so they need a dedicated space for their rides. These could be wall-mounted or even potentially connected to individual desks, according to Zaworski. She even suggested that Fracture print its own glass top for a potential coffee table.

Lokesh would really like a lounge where his employees could sit down and relax, and maybe eat a meal together and feel like a family. He said that his goal with the money is to make the space a place where people want to be and to make it as happy an environment as possible. He believes that happy employees are the key to a successful business.

In addition to the sweet $25,000 makeover, Fracture recently received a $410,000 investment from the Tamiami Angel Fund I, which focuses on emerging growth companies. If Fracture has continual success by meeting certain performance goals over the next year, they could stand to receive up to $750,000 from the Tamiami Angel Fund I.

Mayor Craig Lowe called the investment a great message of support for local start-ups, and that Fracture’s win “is another great success for economic development in Gainesville, especially for the Fracture team.”

Mike Cushing, the communications and research manager for the Gainesville area Chamber of Commerce, sees local successes like Fracture’s as a good sign of an innovative economy.

“Young, innovative companies like Fracture have chosen to stay in Gainesville, and grow, and become a part of the local economy,” he said. “It shows that we can do really cool things and that Gainesville companies have really cool ideas.”

Fracture currently has a team of 11 creating their unique glass-printed photos, but Lokesh hopes to expand with the new development. Fracture will soon be hiring for positions like graphic design and web design, though Lokesh hopes to keep the team small—around 15 or 20 people.

“But even a team that size can make an impact,” he said. “We’re hoping to be a household name.”

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