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California unicorn tech firm expands to Tampa Bay

Veronica Brezina

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200 Central. Photo: Industrious.

California tech startup Verkada has just opened its first office in Tampa Bay and is rapidly growing its local presence. 

Verkada, a cloud-based security platform solution firm based in San Mateo, was founded in 2016 by three Stanford graduates. The tech startup, which provides security cameras to sensors, reached its unicorn status in 2020 due to an $80 million Series C raise that brought total funding to roughly $139 million at a valuation of $1.6 billion. 

Verkada has been increasing its presence in innovation-driven metros by recently opening offices in Salt Lake City, Austin, in Scottsdale, Arizona and internationally in London and Sydney. 

St. Petersburg is a recent addition to the roster of sales offices. 

“Tampa was perfectly positioned to be Verkada’s home on the East Coast because we felt the culture embraced the technology industry and that we would have great success hiring top talent here,” Ryan Bettencourt, Verkada’s VP of global sales.

The company’s clients range from schools to gyms and retailers, and has a great deal of business activity in the Southeast region. 

“Tampa was an obvious choice for Verkada because it is a flourishing market with a very strong local talent pool. Best of all, the Tampa area is a great place to live, start a career, and start a family,” he said. Verkada opened an office in mid-February inside the Industrious co-working space at 200 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg. 

Four of the company’s existing employees have relocated from the California HQ to the co-working space; however, Verkada is on the hunt for a larger location to accommodate a bigger team. 

The new office location would be in St. Pete or Tampa. In the search for bigger space, Bettencourt gave the example of how it may replicate the London office, which is equipped with a full-service kitchen, a lounge, a wellness room, a game room and an auditorium. 

Verkada is currently looking to hire more employees for its sales team, which the candidates are not required to have any previous technology or sales experience. 

Bettencourt said the company is also needing to hire all other supporting functions that are integral to running a large office such as recruiters, IT professionals and executive assistants. 

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