Last fall, Lancaster-based private equity firm PennSpring Capital bought a majority stake in Mobiniti, a text marketing firm based in Wilkes-Barre.
- This week, a PennSpring entity paid $1.55 million for a building in Lancaster where it plans to relocate the operations of Mobiniti, which employs about 20 people.
- The move brings Mobiniti closer to PennSpring, which offers support to the company, and to a more fertile terrain for hiring, said Lou Castelli, managing partner at PennSpring.
- Mobiniti plans to hire 12 to 18 people over the next year, primarily in sales and tech development, Castelli said.
What’s the building: The James Street Elevator Works at 202-206 W. James St. and an attached property at 216-1/2 W. James.
- Dating back to the late 19th century, the renovated, two-story building spans about 12,000 square feet.
- Tenants include the nonprofit Horizon Initiative, Mulà Architects and real estate firm NAI Commercial Partners, according to Castelli.
- The building had been owned by Lancaster-based RJR James Street LLC, a partnership whose managing member is Robert M. Krasne, according to county deed records.
- Deepa Balepur of Compass Real Estate LLC represented both parties in the transaction.
- PennSpring was represented legally by Jackson Law Firm, based in Mechanicsburg.
What’s next: Mobiniti plans to move by Oct. 1. and take up the space currently occupied by Mulà, which is on both floors, Castelli said.
- The new building also will provide space for another PennSpring portfolio company, EHC Associates, a Lancaster-based environmental services company. It is taking the Horizon space.
- PennSpring also plans to move some of its own staff into the NAI space on the first floor once it opens up, Castelli said.
The background: Founded in 2014, Mobiniti manages marketing campaigns based on text messaging, an increasingly popular channel for advertising.
- People are rarely without their phones, and text messages are more likely to be opened than emails.
- One survey, by text marketing firm SimpleTexting, found that 70% of consumers had agreed to get texts from businesses.
- The survey also found that 60% of businesses plan to increase their budgets for text marketing, also known as SMS marketing.