by Josh Steppling
International companies are relocating or expanding to Innovation Square for an opportunity to be a part of the cohesive, welcoming Gainesville community. Companies like Mindtree, Mobiquity, and CurtCo Media, who have made headlines recently, chose Gainesville over destinations like New York, California, Texas, and Massachusetts.
Gainesville stood out to CurtCo Media, an international publication company best known for its prominent Robb Report magazine, when it was able to sit down and discuss its potential move to the city with Gainesville commissioners, local Innovation Square developers, and University of Florida deans and representatives.
“We were treated exceptionally well,” said senior vice president of CurtCo Media’s digital group, John Anderson. “It’s rare when you see a situation where every stakeholder is in the room at the same time, rather than them wanting to meet with you separately to compete for your resources.”
CurtCo Media, similar to other visiting companies, was surprised to see the unity embodied in the Gainesville area toward economic growth and sustainability.
“It’s unusual to see a group that can band together with one agenda,” said CurtCo Media senior vice president and publishing director David Arnold. “It’s a different equation here than anywhere else we’ve looked into. It’s refreshing to see people aren’t just out for themselves.”
CurtCo Media looked in California, New York, and Massachusetts before choosing Gainesville to expand its digital group. As a dedicated member of the Gainesville community, the company plans to gradually increase its presence in Innovation Square as time goes on.
“This will increasingly become the place where all of our back-end, digital work for our company is based,” said Dr. Anderson.
As is the case with most organizations moving into Innovation Square, CurtCo Media is looking forward to adding jobs as it grows here in Gainesville. The company was impressed with the community’s resources for connecting it with different levels of employees.
“The way that employment agencies – whether through the University of Florida, the city, or the county – have all been working together is very impressive,” stated Trae Walker, vice president and publisher at CurtCo Media. “It’s nice to see people at the local level trying to find the right people the right jobs.”
Mindtree, a global information technology solutions company, expanded operations to Gainesville from its headquarters in India last year. The company was wooed to Gainesville by the city’s culture and a “well-orchestrated team effort” on behalf of the Gainesville community. In Gainesville, said Mindtree co-founder and president Scott Staples, the company found a city with a thriving culture that was “obsessed with innovation and action.”
“Gainesville is filled with culture,” said Mindtree’s director of marketing Amy Accardi. “And as home to The University of Florida, we were happy to see a school developing world class computer science and engineering students that we could ultimately employ.”
Mindtree now sits on the advisory board at the University of Florida and has “become part of the fabric” of the school and community. Since the company’s relocation to Gainesville, it has helped recruit other new companies to Innovation Square, such as Sears Holdings and Mobiquity, adding to the number of jobs created locally through the science and technology community.
Mobiquity, a company that creates enterprise-class software for businesses, chose Innovation Square to expand its operations when it saw similarities between the cultures of Gainesville and its own organization. Mobiquity CEO Bill Seibel stated that the company found what it was seeking in Gainesville: a high quality of life, low cost of doing business, and a cohesive community culture.
Before a large crowd welcoming Mobiquity to Innovation Square and Gainesville, Seibel expressed why he chose Gainesville over larger cities in the US:
“We believe if we can find a city in the U.S. that has access to world-class engineering talent, and if that city is a city where the students that graduate want to live afterwards and work there, if that city has a startup culture, and if that city carries a cost structure that is less than Boston or New York or San Francisco, and if that city can put all of that together and welcome us the way you have to help us get started here, then we could drive more value to our clients that way and we could bring those jobs back to the U.S. – and that’s why we’re here in Gainesville.”