ST. PETERSBURG — The Penny Hoarder, a personal finance website, launched its new headquarters in downtown St. Petersburg Tuesday with a promise to add 165 more employees by 2020.
The 23,000-square-foot office is on the top floor of 490 First Avenue S, which is also the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times. The Penny Hoarder publishes money-making and -saving tips and shares stories about people’s journey to financial freedom. It reaches 15 million viewers monthly.
The company currently has 80 full-time employees. The new hires will include video editors, writers, data journalists, media analysts, developers and account managers.
"This started off as a lifeline for me," said Kyle Taylor, the founder and CEO of The Penny Hoarder.
In 2010, Taylor started a personal finance blog to overcome more than $50,000 of student loans and credit card bills. He said he worried about how he would pay his bills and had to find ways to make extra money. He documented his journey, and it eventually became The Penny Hoarder.
"I was struggling, and I was pretty ashamed of it," Taylor said. "I remember it all too well, and I had a hard time telling people about it. I started writing first under the pseudonym The Penny Hoarder."
Earlier this year, The Penny Hoarder was named the fastest-growing private media company in the nation for the second consecutive year by Inc. 5000. It is also No. 25 on the overall list of the fast-growing private companies in the U.S.
More than 30 business and political leaders gathered in the reception area of newly-remodeled space, which also includes photo and video studios, a kitchen and coffee bar, a game room, a quiet room and a library.
"Whenever we welcome a new business to St. Petersburg, I see it as our vision coming to fruition," St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said.
St. Petersburg wasn’t the only city vying to become the company’s headquarters; New York and Washington D.C. were also considered. However, the company was founded in St. Petersburg and decided to stay.
One incentive to stay was a tax package worth up to $990,000 approved by the Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development arm, along with Pinellas County and the City of St. Petersburg. The Qualified Target Industry (QTI) tax incentive program refunds $6,000 per job created. Each position must pay 150 percent about the average wage in the state or about $66,000. The state will cover 80 percent of the refund and the county and city will split the remaining portion.
"This expansion is representative of the growing appeal of Pinellas County for digital media, technology, next generation advertising and growing data analytic companies," Pinellas County Economic Development director Mike Meidel said.
Contact Tierra Smith at tsmith@ tampabay.com. Follow @bytierrasmith.