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This Edmonton company’s new digs are a tech startup’s dream

After years of exponential growth, Jobber has finally found a place to call home

May 16, 2016

by Willow White

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Sam Pillar and Forrest Zeisler, co-founders of Jobber
photography Ryan Girard

Tech-company Jobber boasts one of the slickest work places in ­Edmonton. Located just off ­Jasper Avenue in the downtown core, the office – if you can really call it that – is complete with a foosball table, PlayStation, flat-screen television, two kitchens, a lot of beanbag chairs and not a single cubicle. In fact, Jobber’s work space has more in common with your living room than a traditional office. Yet this hasn’t stopped ­employees from doing great work, leading to rapid growth since its inception in 2011. Today, Jobber has serviced millions of ­customers through businesses using its software, helping clients earn more than $1 billion in sales.

Sam Pillar, co-founder of Jobber, remembers when the company had no office at all. It began as a simple idea when Pillar and fellow freelance software developer Forrest Zeisler kept meeting inadvertently at coffee shops in 2010. “I would start the day at the Sugar Bowl, then head over to Remedy on 109th, and that’s usually where we ran into each other,” says Pillar. After months of tinkering with the idea of creating a mobile organization ­service for businesses, Pillar and Zeisler incorporated Jobber.

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A mural by Edmonton artist Jill Stanton was inspired, Pillar says, by “things that mattered to the company – most of them inside jokes”
photography Ryan Girard

The first office the two ­entrepreneurs started working in belonged to Plumbheavy, a design firm. “They let Forrest and me, when it was just the two of us, squat at a desk,” says Pillar. “We sat staggered on either side of it and showed up when they unlocked the doors in the morning and left when they left.” Fast-forward to 2012, and Pillar and Zeisler moved into their own office and received their first round of venture funding: $250,000. Eventually, however, as their employee base grew, the company had to move again . . . and again. But in 2015, Jobber finally found a long-term home. The company has 9,000 square feet spread over two floors, not to mention an $8-million boost in financing from OMERS Ventures that’s sure to take the company to the next level.

The office oozes a sense of creativity and locality. Large windows and a skylight let in a natural glow; a giant mural by Edmonton artist Jill Stanton is splashed across the wall; and the all-glass boardrooms are filled with employees vetoing traditional chairs for beanbags on the floor.

Pillar takes no credit for Jobber’s reputation as a great place to work. “A lot of people say a start-up culture is a reflection of its founder and I think that’s true, but only in so far as we set things in motion,” he says. “Everybody in this office is responsible for evolving our culture.” Of course, an office this fun doesn’t suit every business’s needs, but for Jobber it makes sense. “We hire really creative people,” Pillar says. Their creativity is reflected in what they do and where they work.

  • Adjacent to desks and work stations is a lounge area – couch, TV  and games included Adjacent to desks and work stations is a lounge area – couch, TV and games included
  • Edmonton-based Wolski Design Group rose to the challenge of creating good acoustics in a large, open space by interspersing ceiling panels among the exposed pipes Edmonton-based Wolski Design Group rose to the challenge of creating good acoustics in a large, open space by interspersing ceiling panels among the exposed pipes
  • A ping-pong table awaits employees seeking a quick break A ping-pong table awaits employees seeking a quick break
  • Jobber’s kitchen tables are regularly filled with co-workers, proving the old adage that food brings people together Jobber’s kitchen tables are regularly filled with co-workers, proving the old adage that food brings people together
     
photography Ryan Girard
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