Penns Northeast Logo
Attracting Quality Employers to Northeastern Pennsylvania!

Wilkes-Barre Entrepreneur Begins Leasing Space in Downtown Accelerator

05.13.2019


Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, PA - In 1999 while a graduate student at Villanova University, Northeastern PA entrepreneur Kris Jones partnered with his brother Rick to found a gourmet food company called “Pepper Jam.” The duo aptly named the product Grandma Jones’ Pepper Jam. Kris and Rick were early adopters of the Internet, but neither would have guessed that Kris would later build and scale “Pepperjam” into one of the leading digital marketing and technology companies in the United States. Pepperjam was a three-time Inc 500 company and was acquired by eBay Enterprise (NASDAQ - EBAY) in 2009.

 

 

In 2010 Kris founded early stage technology investment fund KBJ Capital, which he opened for business in Wilkes Barre City. KBJ Capital invested in 25 mostly technology businesses over the last 9 years, including 7 Northeastern, PA companies that Jones either founded or cofounded, such as ReferLocal.com, APPEK Mobile Apps, LSEO.com, and Special Guest App.

 


The KBJ portfolio of companies have raised over $40M in venture capital since inception, including a $2M round for Special Guest App, which is a talent booking management platform Jones founded with comedian / actor Damon Wayans, Jr. Special Guest is backed by Silicon Valley venture fund Lightspeed Venture Partners, as well as several notable celebrities, including Kevin Hart from Jumanji fame and Jake Johnson who recently portrayed “Spider Man” in the “Into the Spider-Verse” animated film.


 

In late 2017 Jones set out to consolidate his three Wilkes Barre offices (KBJ Capital, LSEO, and Special Guest) into one. Jones said, “I reached out to Joe Boylan from the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber and told him I was exploring options to consolidate office space.” At that time Guard Insurance had announced the acquisition of the Wilkes Barre Center Building on Public Square so both Jones and Boylan saw an opportunity to tour the Guard campus to see what options might be available. As luck would have it - the former Guard buildings were available and after nearly 18 months of discussions and planning Jones completed the acquisition on April 1, 2019.

 

The acquisition included two buildings. The main building will house Northeastern Pennsylvania’s first technology Accelerator. The Accelerator, located in Downtown Wilkes-Barre, features 25,000 square feet of Class A office space, including a high technology seminar room on the first floor perfect for workshops, board meetings, and speakers.

 

 

The focus of the Accelerator is to house growth stage technology or technology-enabled companies. Minimum square foot availability starts at 2,500 square feet with the ability to make some exceptions based on tenant needs. Tenants gain access to what Jones refers to as “Accelerator services traditionally offered exclusively to Silicon Valley venture-backed companies.” The Accelerator will offer a range of services to help tenants 5-10 times revenue over an up to 3 year period. 

 

Details on the project, including the suite of exclusive services including priority access to investment capital can be reviewed at https://acceleratorwb.com

 


According to Jones, “The Accelerator is a once in a lifetime opportunity for companies to make a positive economic and social impact in the State of Pennsylvania, while leveraging proven accelerator resources to build and scale their businesses. I look forward to helping tenants of the Accelerator achieve their full potential.”


 

Details on The Accelerator Office Space:

16 S. River St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702

 

Accelerator 1
  • 25,000 square feet of space (10,000 sq ft available)
  • Estimated lease cost ($16-18 square feet gross)
  • Qualifications (Technology or technology-enabled, growth stage businesses)
  • Access to all accelerator services
  • Onsite parking available at $75 per spot
  • Immediate space available

 

Accelerator 2
  • 6,300 square feet of space (6,300 sq ft available)
  • Estimated lease cost ($16 square feet gross; Minus water and gas)
  • Qualifications (Commercial; no technology requirement; Great for law firm, accounting, financial services, etc)
  • Access to all accelerator services, optional
  • Onsite parking available at $75 per spot
  • Immediate space available

     

Watch Kris Jones take you on a tour of The Accelerator in Downtown Wilke-Barre!


 



Add to Report

back to news archive.