MDN: ServiceMaster Opens ‘Ground Floor’ Innovation Center Downtown
The Ground Floor, ServiceMaster’s 20,000-square-foot innovation center located in the former home of Tower Records, formally opened Thursday, June 15 – marking the first completed phase of the Memphis-based company’s Downtown relocation.
“One of the reasons we decided to move Downtown and create something different, something that we couldn’t create anywhere else,” said ServiceMaster CEO Rob Gillette.
The new innovation center will serve as a startup accelerator, allowing ServiceMaster to incubate fledgling IT developers as they work to find their footing.
In order to achieve this, ServiceMaster will use the Ground Floor as a co-working space and small event center, where local entrepreneurs can rent space and attend tech-based speaking events and panels.
To fill the spaces, ServiceMaster is seeking out startups with a focus on digital and mobile-based residential and commercial services. Gillette said that ServiceMaster is working with the local tech community to identify these potential partners and that the company currently has more applications than space.
“We try to keep it centered on things that are close to what we do,” Gillette said. “So some of the technologies we are working on are expanding service to things like technology services and home automation.”
The first partnerships are expected to be announced as soon as next week.
However, Gillette added, ServiceMaster will be much more than just a hands-off landlord.
“We’re going to work with them to develop a business plan,” he said, “and to achieve that plan, they’ll have certain milestones that will have to happen within an amount of time.”
Phil Trenary, president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber, said the Ground Floor will be a catalyst to drive more growth and draw more people to the city.
“When you think about what’s important to business and what’s important to young creatives, this is the kind of thing that announces to the world that Memphis is here,” Trenary said.
ServiceMaster wasted no time in putting the Ground Floor to use; its first innovation panel in the new space was scheduled for Thursday afternoon, just hours after the formal opening.
“This is only the beginning,” said Jamie Smith, ServiceMaster senior vice president and chief information officer. “It’s not only the beginning for ServiceMaster in terms of innovation, but I hope it’s a great beginning for innovation in Downtown Memphis. We truly have all of the building blocks, and we see Ground Floor as an important part to help tie all of those building blocks together.”