(Click “Like” to become a fan of the Palm Coast Observer.)
A projected 100 jobs will be created over three years with the arrival of Coastal Cloud, a new technology-based company slated to open in Flagler County. The first of those positions will be filled quickly: The company plans to open its doors within the month.
Coastal Cloud anticipates hiring 15 employees in its first year, 35 in its second and 50 in the third. It will eventually build a facility in Flagler County, but will lease initially so the business can open quicker.
Coastal Cloud’s goal is to bring cloud-based solutions to businesses both nationally and internationally, and will start by building on the client base the IT consulting service Graphene already has, said Sara Hale, a managing partner of Coastal Cloud. Coastal Cloud will use online services and self-developed tools, to generate custom reports for clients, allowing them to track customers and successes.
It also will let companies use software through cloud computing, which will lower their operating costs. Rather than purchase expensive software for each employee, businesses using Coastal Cloud can provide employees a portal to log in and use such software through a cloud service.
“Using software this way is much more affordable for small and medium businesses because they don’t have to buy the software,” said Tim Hale, the other managing partner for Coastal Cloud. “They pay based on number of people using it.”
Tim Hale told Flagler County’s Economic Opportunity Advisory Council Wednesday that even though Coastal Cloud is new, it can be ambitious in its plans to expand because it will be supported by Graphene, which is already well established. One of the initial challenges to starting the company will be funding payroll, but if necessary, those costs will be shouldered using revenue from Graphene.
The partners also have access to a line of credit they can use if necessary, Sara Hale said.
The company has been approved to receive Florida’s Qualified Target Industry incentive, which rewards businesses based on the number of new jobs they create.
The Economic Opportunity Advisory Board decided at its Wednesday meeting to recommend that the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners give Coastal Cloud a similar incentive package for creating jobs.
The package would be performance-based, and would pay Coastal Cloud $500 for every job created. The money would be paid at the end of the year in which employees were hired, and will never exceed more than $50,000 over seven years, said Helga Van Eckert, executive director of Flagler County's Department of Economic Opportunity.
The County Commission should decide whether to approve the incentive package at its Feb. 18 meeting.
Coastal Cloud is planning to move more into the public sector by providing services for governmental bodies, Tim Hale said. Its other two targeted industries, at least for now, are telecommunications and real estate, both of which Graphene and the Hales have experience with.
“I’m a big believer that you’ve got to have industry focus and differentiated knowledge, so that’s where we’ll start first,” Tim Hale said. “We’ll further specialize as we go. The public sector is new to us, but we think it will give us continued growth.”
Now that it’s been approved, Coastal Cloud will aggressively work on securing its first employees. The company is launching its website at CoastalCloud.us today, which will include an application center.
“Coastal Cloud will have a tremendous impact on our economy,” Van Eckert said. “Not only will it bring more jobs and the construction of a large facility, but it will help diversify our economy and could attract more businesses.”