The number of tech companies moving to Innovation Square continues to grow with the arrival of a UF professor’s large-scale data processing and security company. Tera Insights, previously located in the Sun Center in downtown Gainesville, will relocate with an aim to attract more clients, create more jobs, expand its office space, and be closer to the University of Florida.
“We needed more space to grow, and we actually needed to be in Innovation Square,” said Tera Insights founder and CEO, Alin Dobra, who grew the company from a research project at the University of Florida. The HUB zoning in Innovation Square will give Dobra the ability to lure new clients that were previously unavailable to the company. “If you want to do any work with the government or government contractors, it becomes a huge plus if you’re in Innovation Square.”
The advantageous HUB commercial zoning in Innovation Square helps promote businesses located in the area by giving them a competitive advantage on some contacts.
“The commercial zoning in Innovation Square was put into effect to have this economic attraction to the area,” said Gainesville City Commissioner Todd Chase. “It’s allowing not only for economic growth, but also for synergy between all of the companies moving there to capitalize.”
Tera Insights, currently in collaboration with the University of Florida and companies in the UF Innovation Hub, is one of those companies. As Tera Insights continues its growth, Dobra said the company is “always looking to hire more people.”
“It’s about finding someone with a specific skill that will be a good fit,” said Dobra. “Whether it is through word of mouth or me finding people – this is why I want to be closer to UF.”
Dobra, an associate professor in the Department of Computer and Information Science and Engineering, first notices potential employees on UF campus, often in his own classroom. With a staff made up entirely of University of Florida alumni and students – except for one local high school student – Dobra said that the expansion will also allow the company to better-accommodate the schedules of its employees.
“The proximity to UF is another major reason we are moving there,” said Alin Dobra. “We will be walking distance to UF, so employees can effectively work more for the company because it’s easier to move back and forth.”
Tera Insights will increase its office space by nearly 50 percent in a newly renovated property, just across the street from Career Source of North Central Florida. The open floorplan includes a bright, open workspace and a meeting room, with outdoor deck space. The main concern, according to Dobra, is making sure the company’s space is conducive to productivity and employee morale.
“We’re seeing it more and more often. When business owners are considering where to move their companies, they are comparing the financial incentives that each location is eligible for,” said John Fleming, managing partner of Trimark Properties. Trimark is one of the primary landowners in Innovation Square and the owner of the building where Tera Insights will be moving. “Those incentives can make a large impact on the company’s annual net revenues, both in terms of tax savings and in terms of helping them win government contracts.”
Tera Insights may be the first company to move into Innovation Square due to Hub Zone Incentives, but Fleming believes that Gainesville will see an increase of such moves in the future from companies located both inside and outside of Gainesville.