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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Jason Kulpa

August 23, 2016

This week EDC sat down with Underground Elephant's CEO Jason Kulpa to discuss the company's recent office opening and expansion in San Diego. Founded in 2008, the 100-person technology company works to advance the online consumer experience in the insurance and financial services sectors. Recently featured in the New York Times piece, "A Beer Garden Lays Down Roots for a Technology Hub," Underground Elephant new innovative office space is driving company success and a collaborative culture.

1) Please tell us what your company does.

Underground Elephant (UE) is a digital marketing and technology company dedicated to advancing the online consumer experience. Starting in the insurance sector, we expanded over the course of 8 years into other financial services including credit cards, bank accounts, mortgages and loans. We have been listed on Inc. 5000’s list of Fastest Growing Private Companies for four consecutive years, seeing 192 percent growth in the past three years. With a team of more than one hundred employees, UE is dedicated to increasing quality interactions between consumers and providers. Recently, we moved our headquarters to the historic Wellman Peck warehouse in East Village. Designed by San Diego’s acclaimed Paul Basile of Basile Studios, the space lends itself to our open and collaborative culture, and is complete with an indoor schoolhouse, five olive trees and an in-house bar.

2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?

When deciding where to move our company, we considered relocating to Denver or tech-central San Francisco. However, the environment that San Diego provides is hard to find anywhere else. Not only is the weather idyllic, but the top-rated local universities make the area a hotbed for talent. The increase in San Diego tech startups has also created a community here that we wanted to be involved with. Our new headquarters in East Village is the ideal spot for us, since it intertwines the richness of San Diego's history with the future of innovation. Moving into the new space has not only changed our environment, but it’s also increased our entire company’s productivity. For instance, our tech team has reduced their deployment cycles by 62 percent since the move. Being located steps away from Petco Park, countless restaurants and cafes, and entertainment is also a great benefit for our unique, millennial-based culture.

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

There are many companies throughout San Diego who are at the top of their industries and contributing to the culture of our city. In the hospitality realm, Please & Thank You Liquor Bar sets itself apart from all other catering companies by offering a distinctively unique cocktails-only service. We have had the pleasure of working with them in our new space; they are truly at the forefront of the craft cocktail industry in San Diego, which is a difficult niche to set yourself apart in since it’s already quite saturated.

Additionally, downtown agencies Red Door and Mirum (formerly Digitaria) are influencers as well, adding to the innovative digital tech hub in East Village with unique company cultures and spaces.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?

Our multi-million dollar investment in our office space in East Village signifies our intention to set down permanent roots. The bet is that our investment will trigger others to do the same; we’d like to change downtown into a buzzing work-epicenter. With the lifestyle that San Diego can provide, we believe the city will continue attracting both companies and talent from across the country.

 

Underground Elephant's newly opened office: