Why Coplex chooses Greater Phoenix
Zach Ferres, CEO of Coplex and an Arizona top 35 entrepreneur under 35, is a native of Columbus, Ohio, but has fallen in love with Greater Phoenix, its emerging brand and its potential for growth.
An emerging startup and tech ecosystem
Ferres, who became CEO of Coplex in 2012, moved to Phoenix in December of 2010 when his first company, BounceFire, was acquired by a Scottsdale technology company. He ran into Ilya Pozin, founder of Coplex, at a young entrepreneurs meet-up in Washington, D.C., and Pozin brought Ferres and his team on board to help grow the company.
Pozin tried to convince Ferres and his team to move to Los Angeles, where Coplex was founded, but Ferres said they were all big fans of Phoenix.
“We had started to build up business contacts here and were getting involved in the growing startup and tech ecosystem,” Ferres said. “We felt like we had an opportunity to stick around and help to really get Phoenix on the map for startup and tech in a big way.”
When he moved his team of 20-somethings out to Phoenix, they all immediately loved the cleanliness of the city, cost of living, food, nightlife and the ease at which to get around.
Ferres said it made sense to expand Coplex into Phoenix because of the the major airport, proximity to other Southwestern markets like Los Angeles, low-cost real estate in prime locations, inexpensive and talented labor pool, and growing tech and startup community.
“Everything is cheaper across the board,” Ferres said. “Our space is a fifth of the price compared to Los Angeles. We have parking lots. Traffic is easy. Talent is less expensive because of the lower cost of living. Gas is cheaper. I was able to get a really nice condo for a great price. The city is clean, growth is happening, and I feel like I am actually part of the big change happening in the development of our startup and tech ecosystem.”
One of Ferres’s favorite spots in the region is downtown Phoenix for sporting events and really unique bars such as Valley Bar. “The thing I like about downtown is that it’s young and sort of creating a brand for itself,” he said. “We all feel a part of creating what that brand is.”
Ferres frequently cites the importance of Phoenix establishing its unique brand for the future that differentiates it from other metros. His hope for the future of Greater Phoenix is that our brand leverages the strengths and qualities of Phoenix to create the right platform for launching global impact tech products, companies and teams.
“The city has been incredibly supportive of all of the companies in town looking to make Phoenix better,” he said. “GPEC, the city of Phoenix, the city of Tempe, Scottsdale’s economic development team, Arizona State University and more have all contributed to our company directly in different ways.”
Ferres has a clear plan for how to grow Phoenix into the next innovation hub. “We need to re-activate tech alumni in town. We need to get wires connected between the wealth in Phoenix, in real estate, mining, etc., and connect it with tech. Government needs to continue to stay involved in the ecosystem, listen, and contribute with what they have… and we need to keep highlighting our ‘wins’.”
Ferres cites the culture of the city being inherently important to the success of his company, and said that Greater Phoenix is special because of the network of people here. “It’d make it really hard for me to leave because of the support network we have here,” Ferres said. “Everyone is willing to help, share, connect, and work together to make Phoenix great. Phoenix is just a friendly place to do live and do business.”
Photo credit: Aaron Kes Photography