Tech company Invoca opened its new State Street office with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday.
Mayor Cathy Murillo, Councilwoman Kristen Sneddon and Councilman Oscar Gutierrez attended the ceremony and toured the office at 419 State St.
Invoca, a call tracking and analytics company, is hoping to hire 200 people over the next two years across all departments, including sales and engineering. Invoca hired 57 people in 2018 and has around 200 employees total, with 125 in Santa Barbara. The company has two other offices, in San Francisco and Denver.
Invoca CEO Gregg Johnson thanked Ms. Murillo for her role in developing Santa Barbara and said he hopes the company will be “connected to the broader community.”
Ms. Murillo said the company has “wonderful energy, wonderful employees” and is revitalizing the 400 block of State Street.
Mr. Johnson said his company looks to hire local, placing an emphasis on UCSB, though they do sometimes hire from Santa Barbara City College.
Invoca has also been a welcome home for what Mr. Johnson described as “boomerangs,” or people who went to school in Santa Barbara but moved to other locations such as San Francisco.
“They wanted to move back to Santa Barbara,” Mr. Johnson said to the News-Press.
The relocation moves the office closer to downtown, which allows employees better opportunities to socialize.
He said he hopes the new location will foster a closer “connection” to the community and provide more professional opportunities for recent graduates to stay in Santa Barbara.
Ms. Murillo said she hopes Invoca will help to revitalize the 400 block of State Street. She believes Invoca employees will likely be spending their money in the local restaurants, bars and shops scattered in downtown.
“It will hopefully create more opportunities for the young people who have these jobs,” Ms. Murillo told the News-Press.
Invoca will continue to foster economic growth for Santa Barbara, she said.
“These are high-paying jobs. I’m going to tell him (Mr. Johnson) to hire local kids,” Ms. Murillo said with a smile, adding that UCSB is already developing stronger relations with the tech company.
Ms. Sneddon told the News-Press that Invoca will have a “positive impact” on Santa Barbara, adding that the company helps “to keep local talent.”
“Santa Barbara will host young, educated members of the community and it will bring innovation,” Ms. Sneddon said.
Mr. Gutierrez, whose district Invoca’s new office is located in, echoed Ms. Murillo and Ms. Sneddon in the hope that Invoca’s new office will help the local economy and revitalize State Street.
“This is step one,” he told the News-Press. “I’m super excited.”
The company’s atmosphere was described by sales employee Nakoi Wolfe, as “work hard, play hard.” Mr. Wolfe, originally from Hawaii, attended Santa Barbara City College before graduating from CSU Channel Islands with a bachelor’s degree in business.
“It’s the best job I ever had,” Mr. Wolfe said.