UPDATE: Tech firm moving HQ from San Francisco to Indy

Technology consulting firm Appirio Inc. plans to move its corporate headquarters from San Francisco to Indianapolis and boost its local employment by more than 425 workers over the next five years, the company announced Friday.

Appirio opened its Indianapolis office with about 20 people in 2012 and has since grown employment to more than 150 in its office at Pan American Plaza. The company doubled its space to 25,000 square feet earlier this year to accommodate growth.

The cloud services provider said will invest $7.7 million over the next five years, with the goal of having a total of 577 local employees by the end of 2020.

Appirio said new employees will make average salaries "more than 75 percent higher than the state’s average wage," which would be more than $65,000 per year.

The company said it does not intend to relocate people to Indianapolis as part of the move, but it will be growing teams here that had little or no presence before, including general administration, marketing and sales.

Appirio CEO Chris Barbin said he has nine executives who report directly to him, two of whom are located in Indianapolis. He said as the company adds senior positions, it will look to fill them in Indianapolis.
Barbin, who’s based outside of Chicago, said he also plans to visit Indianapolis more, but he spends a much of his time traveling.

Pending approval by its board of directors, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. plans to offer Appirio up to $3.85 million in performance-based tax credits and up to $150,000 in training grants based on the job-creation plans. The city of Indianapolis will consider additional incentives.

Appirio also reached an agreement with the IEDC in 2012 when it opened its local office but has not yet met hiring goals. That contract called for the company to receive up to $5.6 million in conditional tax credits and up to $200,000 in training grants if it had 300 employees by the end of 2015.

That agreement was extended last year until the end of 2016. So far, the company has received only about $291,000 in tax credits related to the initial agreement.

Barbin said the primary reason it didn’t meet its original target was because it ramped personnel growth at its Jakpur, India, office over the past few years.
“When we had made the initial commitments and announcements, we had not contemplated Jaipur,” Barbin said. “So in that window, we had committed also to Jaipur and rocketed that facility up to 330 people.”
“The skeptic would say, ‘They came it at half. Minimally they should come in at half the next time,’” Barbin added. “We believe that based on our future growth plans and how we’re trying to build our talent base, that we’ll do better than that. But … we don’t have a crystal ball, and when we did this back in 2012 we didn’t contemplate Jaipur.”

Founded in 2006, Appirio has more than 1,200 employees worldwide and additional offices in Dublin, London; Jaipur and Tokyo. Its customers have included Cardinal Health, Yahoo, Starbucks, Facebook and IBM.

Barbin said the ability to retain talent was one of the primary factors in selecting Indianapolis as its headquarters. While talent pools might be rich and experienced in places like San Francisco, the competition for tech talent there is far more fierce than places like Indianapolis, he said.
“You’re competing against the likes of Facebook, Google, Yelp, Yahoo, Twitter, Uber,” Barbin said. “When you’re competing against those brands, that’s hard.”

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