Often with technology startups, you run into a problem. When you try to solve the problem, you end up with a business. That’s exactly what happened to Rachel Carpenter, the founder & CEO of Intrinio. Intrinio is a financial data technology company on a mission to power fintech innovation by providing high-quality data to developers and engineers from fintech companies, large institutions, hedge funds, and startups.
How the Business Started: Making Data More Accessible and Affordable
Carpenter and her co-founder originally tried to build software for the finance and investing space. In finance and capital markets, everything runs off data. The data they needed to power the software they were building cost $80,000 per month just to get off the ground. They recognized that data is everything in finance—very expensive and hard to access. They wanted to rebuild the supply chain for some of the datasets and to make data more accessible and affordable, particularly for very technical end users.
This became the mission of the business: to unlock data sets and put them in the hands of innovators challenging the system and rebuilding the financial industry.
Why the Company Relocated from the Midwest to Florida
Technically the business started in Chicago. When the founders realized how much work they had in front of them and how much technology they needed to build, they knew they couldn’t afford to grow in a city that big. Carpenter had “negative money,” because she was fresh out of college. She needed to go somewhere that had an affordable cost of living where they could get the company off the ground until it started generating revenue.
Like many who move to Florida, Carpenter had a personal connection. Her parents were making a move to Florida from the Midwest, so Intrinio explored Tampa Bay as a new location. She says that in addition to family, “We knew there was a lower cost of living. We knew it was a breath of fresh sunshine, after being in the snow our entire lives, and so all those things brought us down here.”
What made us stay was everything else—all of the life!
Unsure About Staying in St. Pete
Carpenter says they saw St. Pete as an affordable place to get their business off the ground but weren’t sure whether Intrinio would stay in St. Pete. However, she says, “What made us stay was everything else—all of the life!” She cites the:
“We just absolutely fell in love with the area,” she says.
Intrinio initially was in Tampa but ended up “liking the vibe” of St. Pete a little more. Carpenter quotes a good friend of hers as always saying, “St. Pete has a soul!”
Investor Reaction to the St. Pete Move
Fortunately, Intrinio’s investors were positive about the company’s move. Carpenter reports that, "Our investors started to say, ‘No problem, stay in Florida because we know you're actually saving money; your money's going a longer way; it's a competitive advantage...and we'd love to come to a board meeting in December.'”
In addition, she says, “the company realized there was a ‘Rise of the Rest’ movement where people started to realize that there are valuable companies in undervalued areas… and Tampa Bay 100% fit that bill. We decided we wanted to stay and grow here, and it's been fantastic!”
St. Pete Workforce Recruitment “Pretty Easy”
Carpenter notes that Intrinio was able to recruit people “pretty easily,” saying, “It's not a hard sell to try to convince somebody to move to a beautiful, waterfront location with a great culture and a thriving and growing tech scene.”
Because St. Pete is surrounded by local universities, Intrinio was able find “a plethora” of marketing and sales and administrative talent. In addition, students coming out of universities don’t wish to leave Florida. Carpenter notes, that “If you would have asked students 10, 15, 20 years ago, they had to leave in order to find the jobs they wanted.”
She adds, “Now, because the tech scene is doing so well in this area, we can actually take the opportunity to have those students stay; and it makes them very happy to know that they don’t have to leave Florida. So, it's easy to recruit marketing and sales, and it's easy to relocate any tech employees that we need to the area.”
When it comes to St. Pete, Carpenter says, “It's kind of fun to get in on a city when it's really on the upswing, and when things are starting to move in an exciting direction.”
Video: Enterprise Florida Break Through, produced by Florida Trend