An RIT grad is helping a California start up company find a home in Rochester.
Mark Oney, the Senior Vice President for Employee Channel, discussed the company’s growth and vision for Rochester Wednesday during our Greater Rochester Enterprise Why ROC conversation on News 8 at Sunrise.
“Employee Channel is a San Francisco based start up,” said Oney. “We were founded in 2015. Our product is an intelligent workforce communication app that helps employers more effectively communicate with their employees using mobile, cloud and artificial intelligence technologies.”
Employee Channel rented space in RIT’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship at 40 Franklin Street earlier this year. “We’ve got a team that we assembled over the past couple of months in place now so we’re up and running and open for business,” Oney said. As for how the California company found its way to Rochester, he said, “Earlier this year we closed on another round of financing and a significant portion of those funds are aimed at expanding our product development team. In the San Francisco area it’s very competitive to attract and recruit top talent. It’s very competitive and cost prohibitive so we knew we had to look outside of the Bay area in order to expand the team. We looked at Portland, Toronto, Pittsburgh and Dallas but we also decided to put Rochester on the list as well.”
The RIT connection helped, but there were other factors that led the tech firm to our area, including local assistance from Greater Rochester Enterprise. “GRE was very helpful to us,” explained Oney. “They really helped us to navigate the process. Part of that was filling out applications for financial incentives. For us as an early stage start up that was very important. This was very much a financially driven decision, but at the same time we wanted to make sure that we had access to top talent and were in proximity to some world class universities so Rochester scored high in each of those areas.”
He added, “GRE introduced us very early on to top state,county and local officials. Everybody responded at a start up pace which was really important to us. We wanted to really measure the progress on this and get something up and running in a matter of weeks and months, not quarters and years.”
Oney expects Employee Channel to add some 30 positions going forward. “Initially, we wanted to put a core product development team in place, so we’ve just hired developers and developer leads. We have a team of five in place now. We’re going to look to add one or two positions by the end of the year and then next year we’ll start to broaden the team and add more skill sets and resources.”
To learn more about Employee Channel and positions, visit the company website, click here.
To learn more about Greater Rochester Enterprise, click here.