Word is spreading about the emerging College Park innovation district as another technology company settles into the city.
FactGem, a next-generation data analytics company, relocated its headquarters to College Park in January after moving out of its offices in Ohio. The company’s move adds to the “innovation ecosystem” this university and the city are working to create, further advancing the Greater College Park vision, said university President Wallace Loh.
“Hopefully this will be one of many more to come — either to come here or to be created here. … It’s wonderful,” Loh said. “This did not happen when I first came here five years ago. “
In 2013, FactGem CEO Megan Kvamme and Clark Richey, the company’s chief technology officer, founded the company with the mission of making data analytics available for everyone, Richey said.
“We’re really looking to make that super easy and break down those barriers so anybody can have access to analyze the data and search the data and graph and visualize the important information that’s been locked up,” Richey said.
Ken Ulman, the chief economic development strategist for the university’s College Park Foundation, said this company’s relocation also proves the importance of the area’s networking efforts combined with available real estate.
“The more successful we are, the more ambassadors we have saying, ‘Come set up in College Park — there’s something really exciting going on here,'” Ulman said. “Just to get somebody excited is half the battle. … Then having the right place for them to locate is the other half.”
The company “ties in really well with what we’re doing to encourage innovation in College Park,” said College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn.
“Part of our goal of what we want to do in College Park is to build a new innovation sector here,” Wojahn said. “It’s going to make College Park a more exciting place to work and to live.”
Richey said FactGem became interested in the move to College Park after his close friend Matthew Carroll, CEO of the data management firm Immuta, mentioned College Park’s growing innovation district. Immuta also moved to the city in December.
“There’s a lot of technology innovation happening in the D.C., Maryland, Virginia areas, both with companies creating new software and companies looking to actually change up the way they do business,” Richey said, “and that’s really a great environment for us.”
The company is also interested in partnering with the university to have access to its resources, Richey said. The company eventually plans to take student interns and hire graduates, he said.
FactGem is sharing space with Immuta on the 8400 block of Route 1 but hopes to move into its own space quickly, Richey said.
Ulman said it is necessary for economic development and real estate strategies to be linked so that the city and university can find suitable spaces for additional and larger startup companies to relocate to the area. Moving these companies to College Park would add more jobs and people to support the city’s residential and retail projects, he said.
“The more companies that move into town and create this synergy is critical,” Ulman said. “The more smaller companies that move into town, there’s more chance that they continue to grow and add jobs.”