HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Curse Inc., an operator of an online game portal that was named one of Inc. magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies in 2011, announced plans to locate its corporate headquarters and content team in Huntsville and bring 20 new jobs to the area.
The company provides editorials, videos, wikis, databases, forums, add-ons, blogs, and guild website hosting for massively multiplayer online (MMO) gamers. The company is currently based in San Francisco, California. The project is adding 20 jobs to its existing operations in Huntsville as well as moving its headquarters from California to Alabama.
Curse executives made the announcement this morning in its new headquarters in the BB&T building on Church Street, where its development office has been located for more than three years.
“Jobs such as these not only reflect a new technology and important sector for our state, but are a critical step in the implementation of our economic development plan, Accelerate Alabama,” said Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield. “These are type of jobs we are working to attract to the state and today’s announcement is a sign that our plan is working.”
“We were looking for a place that was friendly and beneficial to our employees and our company,” said Curse CEO and founder Hubert Thieblot. “Huntsville provided that. In addition to being a friendly environment for our company, we have been really pleased with the amount of high-quality talent in the area.”
After the full relocation, 40 people will be working in the new corporate headquarters in Huntsville. The accounting and administration functions of Curse will remain in San Francisco. Curse has grown at a rate of more than 50 percent a year for the past four years. Curse has 100 employees worldwide, including offices in Germany, France, United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland and Canada.
“For the synergy of our team, we decided development and content needed to be in the same place,” said Curse Vice President of Finance Brandon Byrne. “We considered Las Vegas, Seattle, Boulder and Los Angeles. As an afterthought, we reached out to the Chamber in Huntsville.”
Byrne said Michael Comperda, the company’s vice president of technology, is a University of Alabama in Huntsville graduate and has been an advocate for expansion into Madison County.
“I did an analysis for all of those places under consideration for corporate tax rates, the availability of talent, the cost of living and employee taxes,” Byrne said. “As it turned out, Huntsville was very competitive.”
In explaining what Curse does, Byrne said,” The analogy I like to give is that what ESPN does for sports, we do for gaming. We provide fan sites, community sites, wikis, forums and strategy guides. We help people enjoy video games more.”
Chamber of Commerce Huntsville/Madison County CEO Chip Cherry said the project is a great example of how local expertise in modeling and simulation can be leveraged to attract new industry.
“The location of Curse’s headquarters to our area represents a win for our community on many levels,” Cherry said. “This diversification into a growing industry sector adds a new dimension to our growing creative class in the downtown business community.”
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said “the Curse community is a natural fit for Huntsville with our thriving technology scene and strong pool of talent. We are excited to welcome the new gaming development to our downtown core.”
Commerce Project Manager Joseph Burchfield, who assisted company officials with the project, said Huntsville was selected based on the availability of highly skilled individuals who will ultimately contribute to the company’s continued success. He also added, the average salary Curse Inc. provides their employers is highly competitive within the Huntsville metro area.”
The company was formerly known as Curse-Gaming.com and was founded in 2005. Curse is the leading content and community platform for online games worldwide, delivering more than 14 million unique visitors a month. Core gamers depend on Curse for the tools and expertise they need to take their improve their gaming abilities.