If you drive through the local roads of most suburban rural areas, you will notice more of the same things – strip centers, subdivisions, soccer fields, and in the case of Milton, Georgia – horse farms. What you will not typically see are smartly designed and implemented technology campuses that leverage the plentiful local assets. MERGED Solutions, Inc is a software and services company that is delivering advanced technologies featuring blockchain and digital identity to the PropTech and FinTech sectors. And, like other tech start-ups, MERGED is faced with the usual decisions of how and where to grow their business, keeping in mind the need for human resources, access to capital, infrastructure services and the opportunity to build a sense of community.
Jack Berube, CEO of MERGED was quick to select Milton as site for the operational headquarters for MERGED. When asked what the real mitigating factor was for why horse country made the cut Berube said, “well think about all the benefits you have in a town like Milton, a comfortable quality of life, talented people that are usually left with a grueling commute in Atlanta area traffic, and a great place to raise a family.” “It really is about work-life balance. You can spend all your time in traffic, or you can spend your time balanced between work you enjoy and participation in your family and community activities.”
In an article by Jeffrey Bussgang, in the Harvard Business Review, entitled “ How to Attract Startups and Tech Companies to a City Without Relying on Tax Breaks”, while the article title really sums up the primary content, there were several great points that support the thinking of the MERGED growth strategy. For starters, Startup ecosystems are the key to growing a vibrant regional economy. Time and time again, these clusters of talent and science drive job creation, new business formation, and attract investment capital. Ultimately, these are the elusive ingredients that lead to greater prosperity and equity in our communities. said Bussgang.
And, as MERGED grows, perhaps so too other companies will see the value in building hi-tech in horse country, thus adding to the pools of talent and finance capital.
“You cannot just go hog wild and expect to build the next Apple in a town like Milton, but to add 50-100 high wage paying jobs, and while leveraging existing talent, while not growing the traffic footprint is very valuable to a community like Milton,” added Berube.
Furthermore, investing in the community is of paramount importance to MERGED. The impact on communities by start-up ecosystems is well documented, especially in terms of economic growth and job creation. However what stands out as more of an unknown is the real civic impact on smaller communities. The team at MERGED hopes it will be high. “I am hopeful we can build a culture of civic service at MERGED.” Said Berube. “Smaller towns benefit from a sense of community, and not just the kind where everyone knows your personal business.” A community like Milton is ideal in many ways. Plus, with the decade long marketing campaign by the nearby City of Alpharetta to build the “Technology City of the South”, Milton is ripe to leverage that draw of talent to the local area. In fact when a city the size of Milton factors how to grow smartly, one major consideration has to be the effect of net new traffic to the area. It is the hope of the team at MERGED that they can identify local talent that is currently leaving the area each day to drive to nearby areas like Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Buckhead or even Downtown Atlanta – therefore not adding any new congestion to the roadways of Milton.
In early 2020, MERGED is moving their corporate offices to the new Town Center East building at the intersection of Charlotte and Mayfield – it is the hopes of MERGED that this location will be appealing to workers because of the convenience to local schools, restaurants and access roads to neighboring communities.
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