CHAMPAIGN — Neustar's decision to locate in the University of Illinois Research Park was influenced in part by the work of former Yahoo and Qualcomm employees to bring new companies here, said Laura Frerichs, research park director.
Neustar hadn't had a previous recruiting or research relationship with the UI, she said.
"It was a relationship different from most companies — one that really began with a cold call and developed over the course of the year," she said.
Some former Yahoo and Qualcomm employees formed the Champaign Software Development Group more than a year ago to call major companies' attention to the wealth of software talent here.
The group — which involved about 40 people — ended up contacting more than 100 companies, some through cold calls and some through the LinkedIn network.
Eventually, Neustar began discussions with the UI Office of Corporate Relations. Company executives later met with faculty in computer science and electrical and computer engineering. They also met with staff from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the UI Graduate School of Library and Information Science and the Coordinated Science Laboratory.
After seeing the UI's assets, Neustar was "convinced this was the right place to address big data, information security and the future of the Internet," Frerichs said.
Plus, the efforts of the Champaign Software Development Group paid off for some. Ken Taylor, who helped spearhead the group, has been hired as Neustar's site manager for the innovation center.
Joe Pasqua, vice president of Neustar Labs, called UI staff "absolutely wonderful" in helping his company understand the talent and assets of the campus.