Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll embraces Scott Staples, co-founder and president of the Americas for MindTree, during MindTree’s announcement that it is expanding in Gainesville. [Photo: Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun]
Software development firm MindTree announced this spring that it is opening a Gainesville operation, its first major expansion in the U.S., with the promise of at least 400 jobs at an average salary of $80,000. MindTree will be part of the 40-acre, mixed-use urban research neighborhood in walking distance of the University of Florida campus and downtown. Scott Staples is co-founder and president of the Americas for MindTree.
Florida Trend: What were the deciding factors in choosing Gainesville?
Scott Staples: At the end of the day we were looking for a complete ecosystem to support our growth. This ecosystem needed to include local and state government support, a city obsessed with growth and innovation, a strong business base in the state and a research university to provide a constant stream of great talent. All of these factors were important, but having a research university to partner with like UF was the cornerstone.
FT: Did Florida offer MindTree better economic incentives than Birmingham, Ala., or Greenville, S.C.?
SS: I would call Florida’s incentives dead even with the others.
FT: You had dinner with Gov. Rick Scott in Tallahassee. Did he help seal the deal, or was it more the local effort?
Business: Develops software for companies and independent software vendors around the world
Headquarters: Bangalore, India, and Warren, N.J.
Revenue: $400 million — 60% from the U.S., 22% from Europe
Employees: 9,700 — 800 in the U.S.
Operations: 25 offices in 13 countries, including Australia, Belgium, Switzerland and India
SS: No single person can get credit for sealing this deal. One of the most impressive aspects of this process was how well-orchestrated the pitch was from the state, local and university level. We were blown away by how the entire community came together to present a common message.
FT: How important was UF’s College of Engineering? How worried are you about proposed budget cuts to the college and the university?
SS: We would not have chosen Gainesville if UF was not a great research university and did not have a strong College of Engineering. A partnership with the College of Engineering will be the cornerstone of our success in Gainesville. With a strong research university like UF, Gainesville has a decent chance of being the next Austin but will require a lot of teamwork, funding and innovation to get there. MindTree hopes to be a big part of that journey.