MindTouch recently celebrated the buildout of its new office space at 101 W. Broadway, and CEO Aaron Fulkerson is hopeful the company may be there awhile. It’s the fifth home in 11 years as the company has grown from four employees to about 100.
MindTouch is a tech company that digitizes user guides and other printed materials, providing a better path to customer services and feeding everything from CRM to e-commerce and more. The company was founded by Fulkerson and CTO Steve Bjorg, two really smart guys who met when both were working at Microsoft. MindTouch has room to grow to about 180 employees.
Needs for growing companies do not usually align with optimizing revenue for landlords, which means the office space game can be a wicked one for startups. Just ask early downtown tech entrants Jason Kulpa at Underground Elephant, Chad Robley at MindGruve or Reid Carr at Red Door Interactive, each of whom invested heavily in office space.
MindTouch has nothing on TapHunter, a tech company that a few days later signed a lease to move into its eighth space in the past five years as it has grown from four employees to 37. TapHunter provides data for companies on beverage inventory and provides consumers an app to find their favorite beverage, which is about perfect for the millennial who wants a Black House oatmeal stout by Modern Times Beer.
TapHunter CEO Melani Gordon, who was part of the first downtown EvoNexus cohort in 2012, has insisted that the company not overextend itself on rent for future space needs. The timing of its itinerant strategy aligned with the Irvine Co.’s desire to test “vertical communities,” a phrase offered up at a MindTouch event by John Turner, regional VP of leasing for Irvine Company Office Properties.
MindTouch and TapHunter have had their share of moving and growing pains. “We move ourselves,” said Gordon, who concedes TapHunter may need to someday move again. “I call these first-world startup problems,” she said. So on Sept. 1, TapHunter is moving from its 4,000-square-foot space on the 16th floor at Symphony Towers to a 6,000-square-foot space on the 19th floor. A different tenant is moving from the 19th floor to the 15th, and a new tech company tenant, Pluralsight, is moving to the 16th floor. Or, as Gordon says, “The Irvine Co. is playing ‘Tetris’ at Symphony Towers.