EDC spotlights new businesses moving to St. Pete, aims to build momentum • St Pete Catalyst

Since its inception five years ago, the St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corp., responsible for recruiting new businesses and helping existing businesses, has announced nearly 2,000 new jobs in the city – and it expects hope that this number will increase considerably in the years to come.

St. Pete’s EDC celebrated five years of accomplishment and the region’s success at its fifth annual meeting Thursday at the Don CeSar.

“EDC was created to market St. Pete as a great business location with the goal of bringing businesses here. But marketing alone may not always be enough, there needs to be a coordinated effort by a team of people to show the company we work with that St. Pete could be a great fit for them and continue to help them long after relocation. said St. Pete EDC President JP DuBuque.

In 2021 alone, 94 new businesses were added to the city’s pipeline and 630 targeted industry jobs were created, according to EDC data. Target industries identified in St. Pete include data analytics, financial services, manufacturing, and marine and life sciences.

The EDC highlighted businesses that have made St. Pete their home in 2021 or have announced plans to move to the city in the near future.

The most recent case is Spontivly, a Canadian-based company known for its community management platform. It has announced that it will move its headquarters from Canada to St. Pete this year.

“Honestly, St. Pete and the Tampa Bay area weren’t on our radar. We were looking at cities like Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Seattle,” co-founder Anthony Nagendraraj said at the event.

The company was introduced to the region through its participation in Tampa Bay Wave’s TechDiversity cohort in 2021. Spontivly was also a Startup of the Year semi-finalist. “The growing tech scene really made us want to be in this community,” Nagendraraj said.

In late January, Spontivly closed out its six-figure pre-seed round and announced it would be raising another round.

The company plans to hire 65 people over the next three years.

Other companies present and recognized include tech startup Shamrck, which announced last month that it was moving to St. Pete from Mississippi. Shamrck is an AI-powered career exploration platform that helps schools create better career and technical education programs by connecting students with employers.

CitrusAd, a global e-commerce media company, was also recognized. It opened its US headquarters in St. Pete and hired 50 team members and is still hiring.

The list continued with mentions of cybersecurity firm Code-X which opened its global headquarters in St. Pete, as well as CodeBoxx, another Canadian-founded tech company that offers coding training courses; CodeBoxx has also moved its HQ to St. Pete.

“When we decided to look at the Tampa Bay area, we spent a few days on the other side and then finally came to this side. The difference in energy couldn’t be more different,” said CodeBoxx co-founder Meg Charles.

“It was about the community. It’s such an eclectic group. We love the art scene here. I was frankly surprised by the food culture – I’m from New York,” she laughed.

One day she met DuBuque for lunch, during a thunderstorm. Still, that didn’t dampen DuBuque’s plans to take him on a reconnaissance tour of the Carillon area site downtown. DuBuque also connected Charles with former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and introduced CodeBoxx to Seedfunders, which provides funding and mentorship for pre-revenue tech concepts.

During the annual event, EDC highlighted the progress of other projects and important announcements in the region, including the maritime and defense technology hub and its main and largest tenant, Pole Star.

The Maritime and Defense Technology Center is located at 450 8th Ave. Southeast, formerly used as the SRI International building. It is the very first hub of its type in Tampa Bay. The facility, adjacent to the Coast Guard Station, was created to provide space for companies seeking a waterfront location to deploy vessels and to have a hyper-secure site for highly classified operations.

Tenant Pole Star is a London-based shipping company that collects real-time data on everything from vessels active in the water and issues such as piracy, collisions and weather forecasting. The company works closely with US Coast Guard and Navy officials. “We needed to identify a highly secure location that would allow us to have 24/7 operations and support the Coast Guard,” said Ben Minichino, president of Pole Star, at the event.

Minichino said he was living in Barcelona, ​​Spain when the company started searching the site. “We found the Ceridian campus and it became our temporary home. We started working with [Innovation District Director] Alison Barlow, Mayor’s Office and City Council About [moving to] the SRI building. It was specially designed for us,” Minichino said. “As we’ve moved into the maritime and defense and technology hub, we’re really excited to not only be here in St. Pete, but we’re working with some amazing technology companies with the same [industry] barriers and we are all discovering it together.

Additionally, he said the company has identified “incredible talent” in St. Pete.

Another major victory that brought St. Pete to national headlines was the announcement of business mogul Cathie Wood relocating her company ARK Invest from New York to St. Pete.

In October, Wood said she signed a lease for 10,000 square feet of office space in downtown St. Pete, in the 200 Central building. It also purchased the naming rights to the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, which will be the first in Pinellas County purposely built to focus on entrepreneurs.

She and her team believe the city has the potential to become “the next Austin”.

Following the successes of EDC’s relocation and expansion, the organization introduced several initiatives for the new year, including the completion of a perception study that will determine how leaders of out-of-market companies and site selection consultants perceive St. Petersburg.

The results of the perception study will be published this year.

EDC is also updating its strategic planning and investing in new technologies.

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