Setting up shop in Ithaca

November 22, 2016
- Longform
Author - Amy Jacobowitz

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Earlier this year, we opened up our east coast office in Ithaca. A college town that’s experiencing an incredible growth right now, Ithaca might at first seem like an unconventional place to post up, several hours from New York City, but in fact, it was the perfect place for us to lay down our roots.

A key element to Funkhaus growth as a whole has been our belief that building a team of skilled people that we want to be around is less about finding just the right person and more about cultivating an environment that allows employees to grow and thrive. In that light, talent is everywhere – from our recruits in Australia, to our recent hires in Ithaca. As our Senior Programmer, and lead in Ithaca, John Robson explains, “I think the right type of person can be found anywhere, but that person’s potential may be squandered if they don’t end up working on the right projects.”

So if you can find potential employees at any location, why Ithaca? Besides the fact that the city itself is gorgeous, you have an educated, growing population interested in fostering a sense of community. It’s a progressive town, thanks in part to the universities that call it home (Cornell and Ithaca College), and it immediately felt like the town would really understand what we are about, and the philosophies that drive us. Perhaps even more to the point, we believe that as much as we could get from Ithaca, we could also give back.

Besides the fact that the city itself is gorgeous, you have an educated, growing population interested in fostering a sense of community.

Practically, this worked well for us, too. With our headquarters in Los Angeles, we deal with an oversaturated market including all of the tech companies on Silicon Beach. It’s easy for a small creative agency like ourselves to get lost in the fold. Instead of trying to entice a select pool of employees to give our Arts District hub a shot, we looked to Ithaca where the colleges boast excellent computer science degrees, perfect for what we need.

Funkhaus started as a design firm, before growing to include tech innovation and content. Because of our roots in design, many of the projects we take on begin with a design discussion, and trickle down from there. By separating out or tech division into its own hub, it allows tech to focus on not just websites we continue to produce, but also pushing the boundaries of web technology and leveraging some cutting edge techniques to better visualize the agency’s vision. Having our own separate tech location allows that team to freely discuss new developments, brainstorm modern tools, and foster an environment where everyone is comfortable introducing something new they’ve discovered or an idea they think might work. With Ithaca’s growing community of recent computer science graduates and tech start-ups, the creative energy of the city as a whole helps drive that enthusiasm, and allows our east coast team to share their new findings with our design and content divisions, inspiring our creative environment as a whole.

Funkhaus Los Angeles remains strong here in the Arts District, but if perchance you want to say hello to our programming hub, head straight to Ithaca.