NJ to pay online marketing firm Webimax $12M over 10 years to move to Camden - Technical.ly Philly

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May 6, 2014 12:00 pm

NJ to pay online marketing firm Webimax $12M over 10 years to move to Camden

The company originally planned to move to Delaware, after Gov. Jack Markell called Webimax CEO Kenneth Wisnefski to lure him to the state. Then New Jersey stepped in.

Camden's City Hall.

(Photo by Flickr user Blake Bollinger, used under a Creative Commons license)

The State of New Jersey plans to pay online marketing firm Webimax $12 million over 10 years to relocate from Mt. Laurel to Camden, the Inquirer reports.

Webimax has 100 employees and was named New Jersey’s fastest growing company by Inc. in 2012. It originally planned to move to Delaware, after Delaware Gov. Jack Markell called Webimax CEO Kenneth Wisnefski to lure him to the state. Wisnefski, the Inquirer reported, reached out to New Jersey to see what kinds of offers they could make to keep him and his company in the area. It worked.

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes became Technical.ly's editorial product lead after reporting on the Philadelphia tech scene for four years. She's co-president of the Asian American Journalists Association Philadelphia chapter and a two-time Philadelphia News Award winner for "Community Reporting of the Year." The Bryn Mawr College grad lives in West Philly, likes her food spicy and wears jumpsuits often.

  • Sean Dawes

    Shouldn’t the government work on making their state more friendly to tech/startups than just writing checks to those that are established to just move here. I know there are jobs that are created which is nice but think the bigger problem at hand is they aren’t willing to do the hard leg work to make the state/city more tech/startup friendly. Just rather write a check. Would be curious to see more details of the deal.

  • I think the headline doesn’t do justice towards the hard work that has gone in to receiving these incentives. Much of the incentive is focused around job growth and retention of existing jobs. While I am appreciative of New Jersey and the incentive plan that has been awarded to us, I do agree that some changes to the process would really help more companies that need funds to expand. As far as start-up capital, in my opinion, it’s one of the most difficult things to find in the current economic climate. States are leery to provide funds to “unproven” companies and private financing has become very conservative as well.

    • Sean Dawes

      Def agree it takes work to get these incentives done but doesn’t really solve the job issue in the area they are trying to fix. The hires that will result from it are going to come from Philly and other areas of NJ as the talent doesn’t exist in Camden. Now the hopes are those hires will move to Camden but that isn’t going to happen unless you fix Camden in of itself. With the recent budget cuts in the Camden police force, crime and school system, those hires are not gonna live there until those issues are addressed.

      It is awesome to see Webimax move there as I am a big fan of the company and its growth over the years. Just hope you guys get some backup to making that area better.

      States are leery to fund “unproven” companies which I understand but even startups with decent financials are turned down unless they have significant hard assets to use as collateral. Personal guarantee alone won’t work.

      The frustrating part I see is if that same person wants to go back to college for a degree in lets say marketing, they can get the full tuition via a student loan and graduate college with a marketing degree that is outdated for today’s needs.

      It is frustrating from an employer’s standpoint to see these recent grads come in for internships or apply for jobs with degrees that really not worth anything. Kinda sad when we have to tell them their marketing degree provided them with nothing useful towards today’s environment.

      • thegreengrass

        Since decades of disinvestment by employers is by and large what destroyed Camden, what are your suggestions for fixing the city, if this move to bring Webimax in bothers you? I’m not being flippant; I really want to know. I care about Camden, and what I think it lacks is serious people willing to make serious moves. If you have innovative solutions, bring them to the city instead of just commenting about it on some website’s comments section. If you’re going to say things like “Now the hopes are those hires will move to Camden but that isn’t going to happen unless you fix Camden in of itself”, back that up with what you feel would help. I want to hear it. If you have good ideas, I want everyone to hear it.

        Let’s skip the boring first part. What’s going to stabilize Camden is nothing more than jobs that employ city residents and allow them to increase their quality of life. Given that our capitalistic society has deemed inner-city residents unworthy of those jobs, what’s the next move? The only thing politicians can think of is tax breaks. It’s pathetic, and I think it sometimes hurts local communities, but it’s all the adults at the helm of our society can think of.

        If you have an idea of how to achieve this without that, of how to built Camden back up into the place it used to be, please, tell us. Get into contact with David Foster from the Coopers Ferry Partnership. Demand a meeting with Mayor Redd. If you have serious answers, then make the effort to do something about it. And if after this you don’t, or won’t, I’ll be amazingly disappointed. I want Camden to succeed, but it’s not in the hands of people like me. All I can do is advocate for the city’s residents. It’s in the hands of the businesses community, people like Mr. Wisnefski here, to bring jobs back to the city, in whatever capacity they can.

        • Sean Dawes

          I like the move they are making. I said I am a big fan of Webimax and the company’s history of growth.

          I was commenting to get some more info out of the article as to what is part of the plan after the move. Your comment “jobs that employ city residents and allow them to increase their quality of life” is what is going to improve camden but that is where my comment came from. It is not they are not “unworthy”, there are just not enough qualified people in certain markets. Supply and demand. For example even Philadelphia struggles in the areas of web development. San Fran, NYC soak up the talent which make it difficult to hire in Philly for those good developers.

          Look at places like code academy, khan academy etc which you have people learning on their own and than going out and getting well paid jobs without a formal education. Why can’t the government embrace the revitalization that is trying to happen in America’s education system and partner with them. That is one actionable idea. There are people out there like http://www.thielfellowship.org/ who already are offering options for students to abandon traditional thinking in these sectors to not only develop a better education but spur new companies out of their experiences.

          Since I know you are gonna ask me for a list here are some:

          1. Offer programs/classes to provide education to those interested in learning. This can even be accomplished by having those startups who are moving into the area hold seminars throughout the year as part of the deals they will be making. This educates people about careers they did not know existed as well as can provide basic introductions and sources where they can learn more (some resources noted above).
          2. Offer additional tax incentives/abatements towards real estate developers in these designated sectors to spur new development on as well as renovation of existing structures. Think the perfect example of how an area was revitalized not only from a residential but a commercial aspect is Bart Blatstein over in Nothern Liberties. Camden needs to isolate if there is any strategic partner they can have and come to a deal that is extremely attractive for that developer to get engaged. If they can secure real estate that provides guaranteed leases via the startups they are bringing to the area, it reduces the risk from the development side. Abatements and business tax incentives also secure long term leases by startups as well.

          • thegreengrass

            Hey Sean, thanks for your quick reply! I appreciate your insight. The educational sites, Code Academy, etc, are a great point, but I feel like those only speak to a very narrow population of Camden residents. That might work for kids who have just graduated high school or those in their 20s who want to add value to their portfolio of skills. But that’s not going to help the general population of the city, many of whom are scraping to get by, working one or two low-wage jobs, who don’t own a computer or have access to the internet, or who just aren’t going to get web programming. What I was really hoping to hear was how you would bring employers to the city as it is right now as it matches the reality on the ground. Because when we solve that, we’ll solve the problems that ail the city. In fact with your tax incentive/abatement idea, I believe you largely misunderstood my question. If that’s the case, I’m sorry, I should have been more clear. I wasn’t asking how to bring the tech sector to Camden. I was asking how to bring jobs to the city that will benefit the majority of the population.

            For what it’s worth, the city has had things you suggest for a number of years. Carl Dranoff turned the old RCA factory into apartments (condos? I forget) and will eventually finish the Radio Lofts one block over. The city has had tax abatements; it had a 20-year abatement, more generous than Philadelphia’s, for a while, though I’m not sure where that stands now. And there is real estate for startups; Drexel runs the Waterfront Technology Center, not far from where Webimax will be. Tech scene darling RJ Metrics was originally in Camden, in fact.

            So those are not exactly the problems. What I was hoping to hear was innovative solutions for, like you said, “fixing” the city. That won’t happen by bringing in wealthy white people working white collar jobs. That gets you dangerously close to the “G” word. And for all the good that’s done Philadelphia, it hasn’t helped the schools or the other gigantic swaths of North, West, and Southwest Philadelphia. What Camden needs is jobs that empower current residents. That’s the challenge of Camden, and if the economy keeps up the way it is, that’s going to be the challenge for a lot more than just impoverished inner cities.

          • Sean Dawes

            Ahh ok. Sorry I was just speaking on the tech scene as it related to the company that was moving there.

            So outside tech, I think one good example of spurring jobs in the area was Adventure Aquarium. Don’t know that most of the public knows about this but the NJ Aquarium was a struggling non profit that ended up getting merged with a private company, Steiner and Associates which stepped in under a lease option as well as a development deal to later flip that project to Herschend Family Entertainment. So that resulted in not only jobs but now an attraction which drives a lot of people to that area.

  • Robert Gosser

    Webimax is making the move from Mt. Laurel to Camden because they are simply running out of money. The upper management at this company is extremely short-sighted and the employees have no motivation to work. This is a bad company to work for, and the services provided to clients are nothing more than a sham. None of the Camden natives will be able to work for this company; existing employees will just have to travel farther as management lines their pockets. Bad move for a failing company.

  • DaQuasone3444

    Webimax is an absolutely terrible company. We used them to gain results for our business and they were responsible for driving it into the ground. AVOID at all costs.

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