One of the fastest-growing companies in Greater Cincinnati is moving its headquarters.
Business Backer, a small business-funding company that provides customized, alternative funding services and advice for small- and medium-sized businesses, is moving its headquarters to a larger space but staying in Blue Ash.
The fast-growing firm signed a seven-year lease for about 36,000 square feet of space at 10856 Reed Hartman Highway, home of Itelligence Inc.’s North American headquarters. Business Backer is currently in about 20,000 square feet of space at Northmark Business Center I, located at 10101 Alliance Road.
Officials with Business Backer were not immediately available for comment.
Business Backer will move into the first floor of Itelligence’s building at Legacy Pointe, while Itelligence will have its operations on the second floor of the 70,000-square-foot building. Itelligence also has a 16,000-square-foot data center at the site.
Business Backer had been looking for a new headquarters for about a year. In February 2015, I broke the news that the growing company needed more space.
Last June, Business Backer said it plans to add 125 new jobs in the next three to five years, paying an average annual wage of more than $58,000. The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved Business Backer for a 55 percent, six-year job creation tax credit. The estimated value of the tax credit is $675,000.
In August, Enova International Inc. acquired Business Backer for $27 million. Business Backer now operates as a standalone unit of Enova, which is a conglomerate of funding companies.
Sean Mangialardo, managing principal with Cresa Cincinnati, along with Dan Silber and Paul Poppleton worked with Business Backer on the deal. Marc Sebens, director with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, represented Itelligence in the deal.
On Jan. 28, Blue Ash City Council is scheduled to vote on a $100,000 forgivable loan for Business Backer. Neil Hensley, economic development director for Blue Ash, said this is about equal to one year of earnings tax from the new jobs.
“We like to look at it as a one-year return on investment for us,” Hensley told me.
Last year was a banner year for Blue Ash in terms of companies moving to and expanding in the city. A total of 1,542 new jobs were announced, which was more than the three previous years combined.
“Business Backer adding 125 new employees is a terrific way to kick off 2016 and keep that momentum going,” Hensley said.
Tim Breen, chief financial officer of Itelligence, said its headquarters building was constructed to hold 285 employees. Even though the company, which provides consulting and customer support around SAP applications, has hit its growth and hiring goals, it doesn’t need as much office space.
“It benefits us and it benefits them. We weren’t fully utilizing the space,” Breen told me.
Business Backer launched in 2007 and has provided more than $300 million in financing for about 10,000 small businesses across the country since then. The company has routinely received one of the Courier’s annual Fast 55 awards for fastest-growing private companies in Greater Cincinnati. Its 2014 revenue of $19.6 million represented 75 percent growth from the prior year.
Business Backer is expected to move into the building in the first quarter of 2016.