A Winter Park-based tech company has hit a major milestone.
IZEA was recently uplisted to the NASDAQ.
"Even when I was ringing the bell, it didn't feel real," said Ted Murphy, the founder and CEO of IZEA.
Murphy said that while the company has been publically traded since 2011, this step will open up the company's investor base and allow it to grow.
"This whole team here has been working so hard for the last 10 years to make this vision a reality," Murphy said.
IZEA is an online marketplace that connects social influencers — people with big social media followings — with companies that want to get the message out about their products.
"It's not just the Kim Kardashians of this world," Murphy, 39, said of the matching system. "It's just the average, everyday person who is passionate about skateboarding or knitting or cooking."
By answering companies' "opportunities," such as writing blog posts or tweeting, social influencers turn themselves into a veritable brand.
"Some of the big YouTube starts out there are literally making six figures for a single video," Murphy said.
Murphy said he got the original idea in 2005 when he realized that people would produce content when they had the proper tools.
IZEA's workspace is unique: graffiti and locally produced artwork line the walls, colorful lights illuminate the open rooms and a wine bar offers free snacks, beer and wine.
"We're not your typical company," Murphy said, expanding the notion of building community among his team and fostering creativity. "We also cook breakfast here. When we got the news about the uplisting, I was in here cooking bacon, my CFO was making waffles."
The company is comprised of a slew of engineers and sales people. More than 80 employees work at the Orlando office, which is tucked in Winter Park Village. Dozens more employees work in their satellite offices in New York, Los Angeles, Boston and, most recently, Toronto.
Murphy, who calls himself a serial entrepreneur, said making it to the NASDAQ is not the end game.
The company currently does $25 million in sales, and Murphy hopes to accrue $100 million by 2018.
"Now we've got to push even harder to get to the next goal," Murphy said. "I know that we would eventually get there. I just didn't know when."
IZEA has 40 job openings. Though the company hopes to expand and invest in technology and marketing, Murphy said they don't plan to leave Winter Park.
"This is home base," Murphy said. "We are proud to be an Orlando company."
(Julie Gargotta, Staff)