This summer, Philadelphia proper welcomed the satellite office of another large, suburban-based company with ambitions of connecting with a growing, vibrant technology community in Center City.
Fiberlink, the 300-employee Software as a Service company based in Blue Bell, opened a 30,000 square-foot office in Center City, looking to fill it with somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 to 150 new employees through 2013.
The move was reminiscent of other company narratives playing out in Philadelphia, following Bentley Systems’ expansion to Center City in May, and First Round Capital’s move to University City this September.
The move also represents the company’s “exponential” growth, says President and Chief Operating Officer Christopher Clark. As a first mover in the mobile device management space — that is, making sure that the IT departments at small and mid-size companies are playing nice with workers’ needs (No need to check that iPhone at the front desk) — the company is growing fast with its MaaS360 line of products.
We caught up with Clark, after the jump.
Edited for length and clarity.
Tell us Fiberlink’s 30-second prospectus.
With the bring-your-own-device work trend, we try to maximize lifestyle for the employee while maximizing productivity for the company. We ensure that all mobile devices that you might have as a person and as an employee is in accordance with a company’s policy and procedures, while also bifurcating your personal pictures, applications, whatever.
Fiberlink recently opened a Center City office — why?
Our growth as a company is exponential. We need more engineers, more marketing people, more product management people, more sales people. We wanted to tap into what I think is an underrepresented and under-appreciated area of talent: people of technical capability in Center City and beyond. And I have a personal mission to make Philadelphia more global in nature in the high-tech space.
Looking at other suburban-based companies that have looked downtown: Bentley, First Round Capital, Fiberlink, to name a few, do you expect other companies to do the same?
I do. I think Mayor Nutter’s office has done a very good job in making it easier and convincing to locate in the city.
Did they approach you?
It’s a two-way street. The mayor continues to try and build up the economic center of Philadelphia. We always tried to drive more business and commerce through the city. When we talked them about it, they were very supportive about how to do this. Now, I just need to make sure we find 50-75 more recruits immediately.
What has changed for the company over the years?
When I first got here eight years ago, the company was doing desktop management and laptop management software. In 2007, we decided to build a Software as a Service model. In 2008, we coined Mobility as a Service (MaaS), and 360 was part of a product that was already here. We set out on a platform that would do all over-the-air security and management of mobile devices. The rub here is that most people thought it was not a responsible way to manage a device. We kept at it. We kept sticking to the vision that cloud computing would be the predominant way for CIO to operate their business.
What’s the next big thing?
The next big thing for us is acquiring a third of the small- to medium-sized business market in the U.S. We think we’re under 10 percent at the moment. We have good representation in the Fortune 1,000. As more and more of large companies adopt cloud-based architectures, we have a huge opportunity to fill their needs for mobile device management.
Any truth to rumors of a possible acquisition or IPO?
No truth to an acquisition or IPO at this point.
[Full Disclosure: Technically Philly shares office space with First Round Capital.]
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