Global retail media technology company CitrusAd has recently opened its U.S. headquarters in downtown St. Petersburg, and is planning to more than double its workforce.
The e-commerce ad network, founded in Brisbane, Australia in 2017, helps brands reach shoppers, utilizing retailers’ first-party data to make online experiences more tailored to individual shopper habits and preferences.
CitrusAd opened its St. Pete HQ physical office last October but didn’t make a public announcement until today.
The company, which has offices in Europe and Los Angeles, started looking to plant its HQ flag in the U.S. late last year.
St. Pete emerged as the prime choice as the majority of the company’s U.S.-based talent hired in 2020 was already located in the Tampa Bay area. When looking into all potential HQ sites, the company surveyed its team members about commutes, home locations, preferences to cities, walkability, et cetera. All responses led to downtown St. Pete.
“A significant factor was us wanting to find a location that aligned with the company’s young/fun spirit in being an emerging ad tech company. We felt that St. Pete hit on our desired target with its funky vibe and many expanding businesses,” Rebekah Davila, vice president of business development and onboarding, said in an email to the Catalyst.
She also has a personal connection with the city. Davila grew up in St. Petersburg and attended St. Petersburg High School and the University of South Florida in St. Pete.
“I recall growing up in St. Pete, it was basically a retirement community. It’s amazing to see the change, growth, and overall vibrant, inclusive, and emerging city we’ve all created in the past 15 years. CitrusAd is thrilled to be a part of that growth,” she said.
CitrusAd considered other areas such as Clearwater Beach, downtown Tampa, and the Carillon and the South St. Pete business areas.
St. Pete Economic Development Corporation President J.P. DuBuque and his team aided the company in its search.
“We were very quickly made aware of the EDC through our connection with the city,” Davila said. “J.P. and the team were a tremendous resource in helping us learn about the city, how we could partner to create a successful headquarter office and how they would support us in future expansion and growth in St. Petersburg.”
CitrusAd occupies 2,000 square feet of co-working space inside Thrive DTSP. The space has 14 desks and three conference rooms.
Today, the company has 50 employees based in St. Pete and is looking to double its U.S. workforce over the next 12-18 months.
CitrusAd’s current clients include retailer giants such as Target and Petco, as well as Iowa-based Hy-Vee, a chain of supermarkets in the Midwestern U.S., and New Jersey-based Wakefern Food Corp. CitrusAd also partners with several companies, including Google and the global marketing company Epsilon.
CitrusAd was acquired earlier this year by Publicis Groupe, a Paris-based global leader in communication.
“The acquisition will unlock growth opportunities and put retail media at the forefront as third-party cookies go away and brands realize the value of shopper data and relevant ad serving,” said COO David Haase.
The company didn’t disclose the financial terms of the acquisition.
As the company adds to its team, the primary roles will be in sales, client support, advertising campaign operations, analytics, design, engineering, development and technical account management.
All employment roles are available in St. Pete, but employees can also be hired in other markets, as the positions are fully remote options due to the pandemic. The in-office requirement may eventually change, but the company anticipates there will always be some remote element to every position for competitive reasons, said Mye Bahamonde, senior director of people and development.