When walking around in the sunshine, swimming in the Gulf, or taking in nature in one of the city’s many parks, it can be easy to forget – or not even realize – that St. Petersburg is a growing hub for tech companies. A flurry of tech companies have either been founded in or moved to St. Pete in the last year, growing the city’s reputation as a tech destination. Just in the last month, two more businesses have announced that they’re making the Sunshine City home, joining a growing list of companies in a variety of fields who have moved to or started business in St. Pete.
The St. Petersburg Economic Development Corporation – a private-public partnership tasked with attracting, retaining and growing businesses in key sectors – has played an integral role in bringing companies like these to St. Pete. Through the EDC, entrepreneurs are connected to the city, helping to build a mutually-beneficial relationship between business and community. Not only are these businesses bringing new jobs to the city, many of them actually create a local resource to help provide job seekers with training, skills and direction to get good jobs.
Start-ups embrace St. Pete’s entrepreneurial spirit
Take, for example, one of the newest businesses in town: Shamrck. Founded by a recipient of the 2021 Google For Startups Black Founders Fund, the company connects technology to marginalized communities and uses artificial intelligence to find paths to career success for middle school and high school students. When the founder discovered the success other tech companies were having in St. Pete, and then received support from the EDC and the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, she knew she had found the place to move and grow her company.
One of the most exciting recent arrivals was that of CodeBoxx last summer, a company that trains code writers and developers, then helps them get placed into the workforce with the tech startups who need them. Their mission is to provide access to technology education to future developers based on potential, not privilege. 16-week intensive courses train students to be ready for a job on day one, and the school doesn’t charge tuition until the graduate has secured a job.
CodeBoxx relocated its global headquarters from San Francisco to St. Pete last year, and its first training program taking place in St. Pete began last month.
Demonstrated success leads to further growth
And just this month, the EDC shared the news that Canadian tech firm Spontivly is moving its headquarters to St. Pete, as well, with expectations to hire at least 65 people during its growth phase. True to the spirit of the Sunshine City, Spontivly is a business providing organizations dedicated to building communities with access to community building software, education and resources.
Moves like these come on the heels of demonstrated success in the market for other tech firms. PandaDoc, a document automation platform, was one of the first companies to work with the EDC when it opened a St. Pete office in 2017. Now, PandaDoc has reached unicorn status with a $1 billion valuation.
St. Pete EDC President & CEO J.P. DuBuque has described the economic development as a “team sport,” supported by the efforts of dozens of private and public organizations and individuals.
While the Sunshine City is more famously known for its art, culture and destination beaches, it’s clear that one of the fastest-growing sectors in St. Pete is wholly indoors. Office chairs may not be as inviting as beach chairs, but in a city with a growing population full of young professionals, the steady addition of new jobs is a boon for those who call St. Pete home.
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