Is Indy Becoming 'Net Importer' of Talent?
INDIANAPOLIS - Monday's expansion announcement by Indianapolis-based Octiv, and with it, plans for 224 new jobs, is expected to put further pressure on central Indiana tech companies to attract and keep talented workers. But Octiv co-founder Kristian Andersen says it is also helping Indiana shed its image as an exporter of talent, stemming the tide of people leaving the state for jobs elsewhere. "People are essentially voting with their feet and moving to Indianapolis to pursue these jobs and it ups the game for everyone," said Andersen, who admits it also presents some challenges. "As more of these jobs are in demand, it creates some stresses on the local companies to continue to remain competitive in attracting and securing these folks." Andersen says the key for Indianapolis and Indiana is to "not take our foot off the accelerator."
Octiv was launched as TinderBox in 2010 at DeveloperTown in Indianapolis' Broad Ripple neighborhood by tech industry veterans Andersen, Dustin Sapp and Mike Fitzgerald. The company has grown to employ nearly 70 associates and serve hundreds of customers, including Indianapolis-based Angie's List Inc. (Nasdaq: ANGI), Lesson.ly, Siemens and Relevant Solutions.
As part of an earlier expansion announced in 2013, the company plans to grow to 108 full-time workers. The new jobs are in addition to the previous expansion.
Octiv's platform is designed to help companies create, deliver and track sales assets online. The company won the 2015 Emerging Tech Company of the Year Award at TechPoint's 2015 Mira Awards. In October, the company announced it had attracted $7 million in venture capital investment led by Greycroft Partners and Allos Ventures.
News of the expansion comes less than a week after Governor Mike Pence detailed plans for a $1 billion investment into accelerating entrepreneurship throughout the state. That effort includes funding help for co-working spaces, incubators and innovation centers and more support for industry initiatives such as AgriNovus Indiana (agriculture innovation), BioCrossroads (life sciences) and Conexus (advanced manufacturing and logistics). The state will also collaborate with secondary schools and colleges and universities to spark interest in entrepreneurship.
In an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television, Emarsys Americas President Sean Brady agreed that Indy's tech momentum is making hiring more challenging and putting upward pressure on wages. One year ago, Austria-based Emarsys chose Indianapolis as its North American headquarters over locations including San Francisco and Austin. The company is now in the process of hiring 170 workers. "It is more challenging and I think the market is tightening," said Brady, "but there's still talented people out there."