On February 24, IFMA Boston (International Facility Management Association) hosted its monthly professional development event at Jibo's new headquarters at 230 Congress Street, Boston – a recent workplace project designed by Dyer Brown. Panelists included Steve Chambers, CEO of Jibo, Inc., Ben Sutton, commercial real estate advisor at NAI Hunneman, and our very own Elizabeth Spatola, assistant project manager at Dyer Brown, and also a member of the design team.
The event kicked-off with a tour of the new 13,150 square foot space, with over 75 IFMA members getting a sneak peek at where the brain power behind the world’s first social robot for the home spends their days (and perhaps a few nights). Located in the heart of Boston’s Financial District, a seemingly unlikely choice for a start-up tech company, the Jibo team moved into their new office in September 2015. When asked as to why the firm chose this as the location for its first official headquarters, Chambers explained that both budget and convenient location were driving factors. "We wanted to be easily accessible and close to the MBTA Red Line. This is primarily where the millennials are living, so we were able to pull from a strong tech talent pool," said Chambers.
Over the past few years, Boston has seen a growth in companies relocating from the suburbs into Downtown Boston and the Financial District to not only attract tech job seekers, but office space is often more economically feasible particularly for smaller companies—and demand continues to grow.
Sutton added that due to the increase in start-up firms moving to the Financial District, it has increased commercial leasing deals, including shorter-term leases, as well as expansion options. "Never have we seen such velocity and excitement to come here,” said Sutton. “If Jibo had to move out early due to growth, it can be very easily subleased due to the great design and layout of the space."
Since moving into their new headquarters, Jibo has experienced faster staff growth than originally expected having more than doubled in size, and is on track to add another 25 or so employees to their current team before the end of 2016. “Our design strategy was to focus on the depth of creativity, design, personality and technical ability that had gone into creating Jibo (the robot), and transition that into Jibo (the company)," explained Spatola. "Through our design, we wanted to create a space and a culture that was reflective of who they were, and who they were growing to be."
According to Spatola, the design team created a collaborative space that allowed for expansion, while keeping in mind that Jibo was a start-up - so they took a cost-conscious approach. "Good design doesn’t necessarily mean spending more money, it means creating the best space for your client, with the budget they have. This can easily be accomplished with a strong design concept, planning and research, and collaboration within the entire design, construction, and project management team, she adds.”
Curious about the 'bot? Weighing only 7.5 pounds, Jibo, the first social robot for the home, is winning over the hearts of people of all ages – from children to seniors. For more information visit, www.jibo.com.
Special thank you to the Jibo team and co-host Peabody Office Furniture for accommodating the panel discussion portion of the event.