This year, it flipped the script when founder Rick Carlson was asked to take over as CEO of the combined companies, which took the SharpSpring name. With that, the headquarters were moved from the Boston area to Gainesville and on Dec. 1, the ticker symbol on the Nasdaq stock exchange was changed from SMTP to SHSP, giving Gainesville its latest publicly traded company.
Since starting with just a few employees three years ago, SharpSpring has grown to 70 local employees, expects to have 100 by the end of next year and has taken over both floors of both buildings that make up the renovated old Firestone complex at 304 and 308 W. University Ave.
Carlson also finds himself in charge of a worldwide company with 180 total employees and locations in South Africa and the Ukraine.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” he said.
“We’ve just exceeded all our expectations.”
SMTP Inc. acquired SharpSping last year in a $5 million deal that included another $10 million this year for reaching its $5 million annual revenue goal in the first nine months of the year.
As Carlson explains it, SMTP — which provides an email delivery engine — was very small for a public company, consisting of a Boston-based CEO with development offices in the Ukraine. It used its listing on Nasdaq to acquire SharpSpring and South Africa-based GraphicMail, an email service provider that competes with Constant Contact and MailChimp.