Blacksburg branding studio Joba Design has acquired its more word-focused neighbor, Blue Mobius Marketing.
Both businesses have worked out of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center since Joba and Blue Mobius were founded in 2015 and 2013, respectively. The pair partnered this year on a rebranding effort for the Children’s Museum of Blacksburg, now Wonder Universe.
Blue Mobius, a marketing and communications firm, handled the community focus groups and high level brand planning, while Joba’s team of artists designed the logo and building decor.
The partnership worked and then started growing. Now the companies plan to make it permanent.
“Good design and excellent communications have to go hand-in-hand or you’re missing a critical piece of the puzzle. You should not be able to pull the two apart,” Blue Mobius founder Caitlyn Scaggs said. “And now that we are officially joined as one cohesive unit, you’re not going to be able to pull us apart.”
Scaggs began her career as a Roanoke County police officer in 2008, before taking over marketing and communications duties at her parent’s Christiansburg-based laboratory Polymer Solutions in 2012. She launched Blue Mobius as a side project in 2013 and switched over to her startup full time in 2017.
Less than two years later, the business was ready for acquisition.
“That piece feels really good to reflect on and just to know it was a team effort that brought us here to such a quick and rapid growth trajectory,” Scaggs said.
Along the way, Scaggs earned a slew of local honors, including Woman of the Year by the American Business Women’s Association, Best New Business by The Roanoker Magazine and Emerging Leader of the Year by the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. The chamber also named Blue Mobius one of the five best small businesses to work for in the New River Valley.
Scaggs plans to stay on as an executive leader through the transition as Blue Mobius moves under the Joba umbrella. But she demurred on long-term plans, noting she’s looking forward to “future exciting possibilities.”
She stressed that each of her four employees will keep their jobs with Joba and the Blue Mobius name will stick around for the time being.
Joba is a design firm co-founded by former Virginia Tech and NFL running back Kevin Jones. With 11 employees before the acquisition, the business designs everything from brands to logos, websites, office spaces and products.
One of the company’s most popular products is called Gokies, a turkey foot-shaped keychain fans hold onto when they shake their keys as is tradition at Virginia Tech football games. Joba now makes the devices for a variety of college teams.
Locally, Joba has done design work for the Merryman Center at Virginia Tech, the Midtown development planned for the Old Blacksburg Middle School site, Virginia Tech sports news site Tech Sideline and restaurant Green’s Grill & Sushi Bar.
Jones said one of the ideas behind Joba from the beginning was to bring together a mix of people with varied backgrounds, whether that’s socioeconomic, geographic, professional or educational differences.
“Thinking of a problem from all of those different perspectives is what I’ve always envisioned and dreamed of,” Jones said. “So this is another step in that direction.”