European tech firm tags Indy for U.S. headquarters, 167 jobs

Emarsys eMarketing Systems AG, a European marketing software firm, plans to establish its U.S. headquarters in Indianapolis and hire 167 people by 2020, the company announced Friday.

The Vienna-based firm plans to invest more than $3 million in the expansion, which is already underway, and will be eligible for up to $3.83 million in conditional tax credits and up to $135,000 in training grants based on its job creation plans, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. said.

Emarsys is one of the first high-profile international software companies to establish its U.S. headquarters in Indianapolis, local tech observers said, and it speaks to the talent pool the company trusts is available in central Indiana.

IBJ first reported in June that Indianapolis, San Francisco and Austin were on the company's short list.

“The appeal of Indianapolis, which has already been dubbed ‘Midwest’s Silicon Valley,’ is evident,” Ohad Hecht, chief operating officer of Emarsys, said in prepared remarks. “Companies like Geofeedia, Tinderbox and Interactive Intelligence have helped make the area attractive to a highly talented workforce."

Gov. Mike Pence said: “We continue to see a surge of tech firms like Emarsys choosing to bring quality, great paying jobs to Indiana."

Founded in 2000, Emarsys provides businesses, particularly retailers, a cloud-based dashboard for running and analyzing marketing efforts. Among other things, marketers can use the platform to automate personalized, multi-channel campaigns and gauge results.

The 450-employee firm has 13 global offices, including in London, Beijing and Paris. It serves more than 1,200 clients in 140 countries, including eBay, ToysRUs and Volvo.

Even as the company mulled its U.S. headquarters options, it quietly began laying the foundation here when it hired former ExactTarget executive Sean Brady as president of Emarsys North America Inc. in April.

Brady, who lives here and effectively led the decision, said the other cities were strong candidates. But he said the firm picked Indianapolis for three main reasons: tech talent; corporate taxes and incentives; and its Eastern Time zone.

"One of the challenges in global organizations is keeping everybody on the same page," Brady said in a phone call Thursday. "And when you can build a headquarters where everyone can be on video calls or conference calls without having to wake up in the middle of the night, that's important."

The company has 20 employees in Indianapolis, currently working out of temporary office space in Market Tower. It plans to use $3.2 million to lease, renovate and equip about 15,000 square feet of new space, which will probably be available this fall.

Emarsys North America has about 25 employees in the U.S., including Chief Marketing Officer Tomas Puig, who's based in San Francisco. Across the country, the firm plans to hire about 220 employees, the lion's share of which will work in Indianapolis.

Jim Koepke, another ExactTarget alumnus, will be on Brady's senior team. He was named vice president of sales for Emarsys North America in June and is based in Indianapolis.

San Francisco-based purchased ExactTarget for $2.5 billion in June 2013 and now employs at least 2,000 people here, company officials said last spring. Salesforce has already seen several of its employees here join startups or established firms since the acquisition, and Emarsys could attract its share, too.

Salesforce sells cloud-based "customer relationship management" technology used widely by sales teams across the world. It has similar offerings for customer-support teams, and it purchased ExactTarget so it could serve marketing teams. Its "Salesforce Marketing Cloud" product, based in Indianapolis, has been the result of that acquisition.

When asked about competition with Salesforce, Brady said his competition is any software company that's after enterprises that want "to communicate in a very personalized way with their consumers."

"There's a lot of competition in the U.S.," he said.

Brady, 47, is from Oklahoma and had been working in various industries in Indiana for about 25 years. He spent six years at ExactTarget, serving as vice president of existing business-North America before leaving last October.

He said as more international technology companies look to get closer to their U.S. customers or partners—as Emarsys did—Indianapolis will be an attractive location.

"I believe that you will see a continued focus on European companies coming to Indianapolis. I think we will help spearhead that." 

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