Innovation Square has a new tenant – Sharpsring. Founded in 2012 by Rick Carlson, SharpSpring, a multi-national publicly-traded marketing automation company, officially moved into the Nimbus Office Building Near UF, its custom-built global headquarters in Innovation Square.
n the past three years, the company has experienced exponential growth with the addition of over 75 employees, creating the need for a new office building that would be large enough to support their growing tech company. SharpSpring worked with Trimark Properties Commercial Real Estate Division to choose the new location and customize the building.
Location was an influential factor when deciding where to move their company, and Gainesville was chosen for its reputation as a “vibrant, high growth city,” which was the ideal environment to nurture their innovative and expanding company. In 2014, SharpSpring merged with SMTP Inc., a Boston-based publicly traded corporation. As the industry for automated marketing solutions grew, SMTP Inc. took on the SharpSpring name, and Rick Carlson found himself the CEO of a global company with locations in South Africa, Ukraine, Boston, and Gainesville.
Carlson, a Gainesville native, started SharpSpring with the goal of transforming the world of digital marketing for businesses. Over the years, SharpSpring has leased several offices in Gainesville including locations within the Sun Center, the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency Building, and the Firestone Building. Each time, their rapid growth caused them to need additional space.
Due to their expanding business base and high rate of employee acquisition, Carlson realized that they would once again need to move and obtain more space to allow for their continued growth. Carlson wanted to find an office building that reflected the company’s core values of ingenuity, entrepreneurship, and pioneering industry advancement. Trimark Property’s custom designed Nimbus office building was an obvious choice to suit these needs based on its sustainable features, modern design, ample space for employee growth, and location in the heart of UF Innovation Square.
With more than 15,000 square feet of space, the building has a clean, modern design that Trimark was able to tailor to SharpSpring’s needs. Trimark designed a flexible floorplan for SharpSpring with open workspace for team collaboration, and they utilized their ‘planned growth program’ which will allow SharpSpring to add a large number of employees without having to expand their square footage or move to a new building. This is a first for UF Innovation Square as SharpSpring will effectively be inhabiting the first new private office building.
Custom additions to the interior showcase SharpSpring’s passion for blending cutting-edge technology with proven tradition. Dynamic Glass windows let in natural light while providing on-demand tinting, based on the intensity of the sun and geo-data weather patterns.
The building’s interior design is minimalist in style and includes stained concrete floors, steel beams, and large expanses of glass. Trimark was able to salvage wood from the old Gainesville Dojo, previously located on the property, and they will use the salvaged wood to construct an accent wall in SharpSpring’s new two-story lobby.
Trimark voiced their philosophy behind office construction by commenting, “Trimark Properties leases office space to industry leaders—but we’re more than just another pretty building. The office you lease from us is an extension of your brand. It’s the first impression that your company makes on a potential hire, a potential investor, or a potential client. We pay impeccable attention to the details, and we know that it’s important for you to be as proud of your office as you are of your sales figures.” This understanding helped solidify Trimark’s position as a leader in commercial real estate in Gainesville, and it has propelled their decision to start building the Ingenuity Office Building, a 50,000 square foot, four-story building that will be nearly twice the size of Nimbus. This cutting-edge desire for development is one of the reasons that SharpSpring was interested in working with Trimark from the beginning.
The partnership between Trimark and SharpSpring at the Nimbus building has resulted in an office space that is the first of its kind in Gainesville. This sort of technology in commercial construction will be expected from companies moving into Innovation Square, and the resulting buildings will draw in employees that thrive in creative environments like the one developed for SharpSpring.
However, it wasn’t always an easy process. Due to various land restrictions for this location, Trimark and the City had to collaborate and think outside-the-box to establish such a dynamic building in the heart of a burgeoning business sector. This included using above ground tree planters, moving transformers, and reducing the green space. In the end, it allowed for a unique product that featured contributions from the whole community.
SharpSpring is currently hiring as they move into their new headquarters with the goal of creating a company culture that fosters the unique leadership potential of each individual. Carlson describes the company work environment in detail by saying, “At SharpSpring, you won’t be another cog in a giant wheel. You’ll work on small collaborative teams, interacting with all levels of employees. There is a synergetic vibe here, so you’ll probably have a buddy to walk for coffee or a snack. Co-workers quickly become friends (even bandmates). We have the unique atmosphere of a startup coupled with an established customer base and the foundation for explosive growth.”
With its uniquely positioned location just steps from downtown Gainesville, it is no surprise that SharpSpring is promising an environment perfect for nurturing employee relationships that develop outside the office. Aside from hiring students and recent grads to work in their new office space, SharpSpring is also reaching out to those experienced in upper and mid-level management to help lead their marketing industry success.
A 2016 Deloitte Study found the millennial generation ranked mentorship in the workplace as one of their top priorities when choosing a place of work. Contrary to popular belief, the younger generation is actively seeking the advice of those in senior positions.
By hiring driven, creative individuals to work in a dynamic environment, SharpSpring has its sights set on the office culture of the future where the experienced executives and innovative
younger generation collaborate to lead industry progress. With their new global headquarters in Gainesville, the company is expected to hire 30 new employees before the end of the year and lay the foundation necessary for a position as an industry leader.