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Ink Labs announces 'natural decision' to move from Silicon Valley to Lincoln; $6 million in funding from investors on the way

Ink Labs announces 'natural decision' to move from Silicon Valley to Lincoln; $6 million in funding from investors on the way

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Ink Labs, a company that markets a modern printing kiosk to colleges, announced Wednesday that it is moving its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Lincoln.

The announcement was made at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, with company officials, Gov. Pete Ricketts and representatives from economic development groups on hand.

“These are the days we all wait for,” said Wendy Birdsall, president of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce.

Jonathan Manzi, Ink Lab’s CEO, said moving to Lincoln was a “natural decision.” The city has a culture that encourages startups, he said, citing software company Hudl as an example. There’s also opportunity to further partner with UNL, where the company piloted its printing kiosks last year.

The company’s main product, called Ink Smart Stations, allows users to print, copy, scan or fax at one location via a wide range of devices. Users can also create accounts or use social media platforms to access what they want to print and how to pay. The stations have since expanded to 12 more institutions, with more locations for the products “in the pipeline.”

“We expect rapid growth,” Manzi said.

Most of the company’s 25 employees are expected to relocate with the business.

But Ink Labs is looking to add employees based on its growth in Nebraska. Manzi said the move allows the company to find staff quickly and base employees in an affordable city with a high quality of life.

Ricketts said the combination of factors like these should continue to draw new businesses to Nebraska.

“Companies like Ink should want to come here, from Silicon Valley to the Silicon Prairie, because we have the complete package,” Ricketts said.

Birdsall said it was a team effort to sway Ink Labs toward Nebraska, involving investors, the state and the university. But analysis from the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development showing the city’s cost-effectiveness helped seal the deal for the move.

Feeding Ink Lab’s drive to grow will be $6 million in funding from investors, which the company also announced Wednesday.

Nebraska investment groups and businesses contributed $1.75 million as the final funders before the announcement, said Brock Smith, a senior associate with Invest Nebraska.

Previous backers for the company include the founders of Redbox and the CEO of Zappos, whose leadership also encouraged the Nebraska move.

The company will temporarily be located in the Fuse Coworking building at 151 N. Eighth St. until its office space is prepared, Manzi said.

Denis Benic, the company’s chief technology officer, said now that they know where they’re going, the next step is clear.

“Just to start scaling up with the amazing talent around Lincoln,” he said.

marcella.mercer@owh.com, 402-444-1304

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