When I Work, Inc., the fast-growing maker of a popular app for job scheduling, is moving from St. Paul to Ford Center in the North Loop near downtown Minneapolis.
Planning to double its workforce to 200 by the end of 2017, the firm had already outgrown its offices in the Drake Building in St. Paul, where it moved two years ago with great fanfare. At that event, CEO Chad Halvorson smashed an analog time-clock with a sledgehammer as Mayor Chris Coleman looked on.
The new digs in the North Loop will look out over the bright lights of Target Field. A former Ford Model T assembly plant, the 10-story brick Ford Center was built in 1913 and renovated in 2011. Its anchor tenants are HGA Architects and Engineers and the creative agency Olson.
When I Work will take 28,000 square feet on the building's fifth floor.
"One thing that was important to us, in addition to having room to expand, was to have everybody on same floor," Halvorson said Friday.
The company is striving to become the digital work-calendar provider to millions of Americans who have hourly jobs, what Halvorson calls the "deskless workforce." The firm grew from 12 to 100 employees in a little more than two years.
It now employs 110, expects to add another 10 to 15 people by the time of the Oct. 1 start at Ford Center and about 100 more in the next 18 months.
The company looked closely at six locations, three in St. Paul and three in Minneapolis, for its new office. Halvorson said the Ford Center appealed in part because of its proximity to Target Field Station, the crossing point for light rail, the Northstar commuter line and buses. The building also is nearby several parking lots, including the giant A, B and C ramps that serve the baseball stadium, Target Center and other downtown workers.
"From a recruiting perspective, there's a coalescence of tech firms happening in the North Loop," Halvorson said. "That's a big draw that we'll benefit from as well."
The firm started working with architects and consultants on building out the space. Halvorson said the company plans an open floor plan with lots of meeting spaces. "We're keeping offices away from the windows, so everybody can enjoy the floor-to-ceiling windows," he said.
Leadpages, a maker of e-commerce applications, and Bellacor, a lighting and furnishings online retailer, are some of other tech firms with offices in the North Loop. The area is also home to numerous advertising and design firms.
Founded in 2010 by Halvorson, a Thief River Falls, Minn., native, When I Work just attracted $15 million in a round of venture capital, bringing its total funding to $24 million. Thousands of companies in at least 50 countries use its software to manage schedules and timecards for hourly and temporary employees, and the firm is working to improve its messaging and collaboration tools.
"Our customer growth is tracking right alongside of that team growth," Halvorson said. "We're north of 100 percent in revenue growth."