Ad technology firm opens Research Park office

Ad technology firm opens Research Park office

CHAMPAIGN — A Silicon Valley advertising technology company has opened a space in the University of Illinois Research Park.

Turn, which has about 470 employees in offices around the globe, has leased space in the Atkins Building on South First Street, the building formerly home to Motorola before that company closed its offices in the park.

Right now the Champaign space is small, with one employee — Ross Bundy, a senior manager of engineering — but there's "no upper limit on how the site can grow" according to Bundy and Ali Dasdan, senior vice president of engineering and operations.

The company is in the final stages of interviewing job candidates. In the future, they said they'd like to hire students interns as well.

Dasdan received his Ph.D. in computer science from the UI in 1996 and went on to work for Yahoo, eBay and his own startups.

He joined Turn in 2011 and ever since then, "we've been growing really fast," Dasdan said.

Turn got its start in 2004 and works with companies on their marketing and advertising decisions. Its headquarters are in Redwood City, Calif., and the closest office is in Chicago.

Teams of employees in offices like Chicago and Houston are dealing with customers and need engineering support, Bundy said. That's where the Champaign office will come in. The Champaign office is being called an engineering "innovation center." Other innovation centers are planned for places like London.

Dasdan said the company zeroed in on a location in Champaign because of its access to top engineering talent from the UI College of Engineering's computer science and electrical and computer engineering departments, its association with supercomputing and distributed systems.

Since its beginning Turn has hired UI engineering graduates.

"We know how good they are. They're unbelievably good engineers," Dasdan said.

Eventually, Bundy and Dasdan said they would like to collaborate with professors on research projects as well.

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