The Success of Austin Tech Office Expansions

AppRiver, a security software company, is the latest to announce an expansion into the Austin market. It seems this headline has been repeated over and over again, and we’re just wondering how well that has been working out. The AppRiver story is not unique.

The fast-growing company will open their office on September 15th with plenty of space for expansion. “We need the best talent available and we think Austin is where we’ll find a lot of it,” according to the company CEO Michael Murdoch.  We’ve certainly heard this story before, and some have had success while others haven’t.

EverNote arrived in Austin with huge fanfare. Rich Warwick was going head up the Austin office and expand aggressively. He’s been gone from EverNote for almost a year. One look at the hiring page for EverNote reveals that there’s not a single job opening in Austin, and it’s rumored that the office is sparsely populated.

Don’t take this as EverNote bashing, because I’m a huge fan. What do you think is the story behind the story here?

About Bryan Menell

Bryan is the Managing Editor for AustinStartup and the CEO of Mahana. He is a co-founder of Capital Factory, an investor and advisor, and runs the popular Austin Tech Happy Hour with his wife.

Comments

  1. I’ll prompt the debate and take on the wrath of those who disagree… “tech jobs” is an undefined characteristic. It’s the latest buzz word. Akin to saying food is “all natural,” everyone is interested in “tech” these days but what it actually means is completely unclear. If you work in tech, it’s cool. Your city has to be investing in tech. Your public transportation has to be tech friendly. Even schools are doing it: my kids’ elementary school touts that it’s “Tech Friendly!” because teachers are required to post things and take feedback from parents via the internet… increasingly middle schoolers are required to have smart phones because, we have to teach kids how to use tech! Doesn’t matter that that doesn’t actually teach the kids anything of real relevance in tech.

    I love a good tangent. What’s the point? Cities need to promote that they are creating jobs and ideally, those jobs are tech jobs. I can’t fault them for that; though perhaps we can fault them for not defining and enforcing the type of tech jobs that are actually filled. On the other hand, companies moving anywhere want PR and economic incentives from their new city. In the middle of those two things is the confluence of ambiguity: we’ll give your company economic incentives if your company says it is bringing more tech jobs to our economy. Everyone involved wins. Except, the public, who may or may not actually get any jobs of value and more likely than not, doesn’t have any transparency to what took place. Because it doesn’t matter what actually happens – the company moved, got their incentives, and everyone got good PR. It doesn’t even matter if those tech jobs are those of innovation, invention, and science/engineering vs. support staff and entry-level IT professionals: “Tech” is akin to “All Natural”

  2. David Hawks says:

    There may be a large pool of tech folks in Austin, but there aren’t a lot of available folks. I still think we are in a hangover from the down economy and therefore people are more content to stay where they are. We haven’t yet entered an era where people are jumping jobs left and right, so there is very little movement. Combine that with the hiring spree Paypal, GM, and Visa have gone on for the last couple years, and it is very tough to find good talent willing to jump ship.

    Also, I think recruiters forgot how to recruit; meaning go out and find the talent not just wait for them to apply. People aren’t really looking.

    Just my two cents.

  3. Who knows what the story is. There probably really isn’t one. According to LinkedIn Warwick cofounded and is CEO of Atlas Learning. He’s just an entrepreneur at heart and decided to create something new. Evernote does have an office in NW Austin. Probably just decided to grow at a little slower pace. I’m seeing a lot of software companies dip their toes into the Austin market before announcing a huge expansion.

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