Company growth was welcome, but foraging for a larger office space within Santa Barbara city limits was where a local technology company had trouble.
After more than two years in its downtown headquarters, HG Data CEO Craig Harris knew the software startup would soon require more room than the cubicles and offices at 15 W. Figueroa St. could provide.
So began a challenging, months-long search, prompting Harris to ask the questions plaguing every successful Santa Barbara small-business owner.
Do we have to leave the area? Could we still attract talented employees if we do?
The UC Santa Barbara graduate fortunately found his answer, and this month signed a lease to move into 1 N. Calle Cesar Chavez, Suite 100, effective in December.
The new digs, found with help from Hayes Commercial Group, are in the same old lemon-packing building as SYNERGY Business & Technology Center, a block from the beach and easily reachable for HG Data’s 40 employees, most of whom bike to work.
“For us, it was a dream come true,” Harris said. “There seems to be a real inflection point for technology companies. It’s hard finding space.
“We’re growing like wildfire.”
HG Data provides a sought-after service, using special code to analyze billions of public documents and plugging in algorithms to find answers to complex questions, such as finding out what technology equipment a company uses. Most clients are Fortune 500 companies, although a few local software companies also subscribe to the data feed, Harris said.
The company was founded four years ago as a spin-off from NOZA, which Harris helped found in 2005 to build databases for fundraisers and charitable donations. New York-based Blackbaud Inc. bought it in 2010.
Harris said HG Data expects to boast 80 to 100 employees by the end of 2015, when it moves into the health-care and medical device industries.
Most growth will be in Santa Barbara, although a portion could go to a small satellite office of engineers in Sunnyvale or to the handful of telecommuting sales employees in San Diego.
Engineers, data analysts, executives and customer support will have more elbow room in the new industrial space, on the cusp of the Funk Zone. The new 9,000-square-foot vacant space, a former dance studio, provides 5,000 more square footage than the Figueroa location, where HG Data’s lease expires Dec. 31.
Renovations are under way at HG Data’s soon-to-be home, where Harris hopes to hire more hardworking software writers.
“We want to take money and hire great people,” he said. “I love Santa Barbara. I feel very blessed to grow a company here.”