Greater Seattle led the nation for highest incremental gain in tech talent in the 12 months ended September 2020, a CBRE analysis of LinkedIn data has found.
The region — including King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties — added a net 6,575 tech workers, a 7.6 percent increase from September 2019 to September 2020, according to CBRE, a commercial real estate services and investment firm.
Our area was followed by Austin, Texas, up 3.6 percent, with a net gain of 853 tech jobs; San Francisco Bay Area, up 2.8 percent, 4,640 jobs; Denver, 2.4 percent, 671 jobs; and Dallas, 1.3 percent, 491 jobs.
“For the last four-plus years, Seattle has been one of the preferred North American destinations for tech talent,” Michael Dash, vice chairman with CBRE in Seattle, said in a statement. “With the current level of migration to Seattle this past year from more expensive and established tech-centric markets, such as New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Boston, it reaffirms that Seattle will continue to be a place where technology companies will look to grow and expand. Tech workers are drawn to the quality of life and high concentration of tech firms in the Puget Sound area and the opportunity to be surrounded by a compelling peer group.”
The area proved especially attractive to younger tech workers, leading all markets in its rate of positive net migration among those with zero to three, four to six, and seven to 10 years of work experience, CBRE said. Seattle had the fourth-highest rate of increase for those with 10-plus years of experience.
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Tanium CEO Shares Thoughts on Move to Kirkland
The co-founder and CEO of cybersecurity company Tanium made news late last year when he announced he was relocating his company’s headquarters from the San Francisco Bay Area to Kirkland, and he shared thoughts behind that decision in a virtual “fireside chat” on Feb. 4 with Matt McIlwain, a managing director at Madrona Venture Group. The 55-minute program featuring Orion Hindawi launched the Washington Technology Industry Association’s policy speaker series, which can be seen in full on YouTube.
Hindawi said that when COVID-19 prompted him to allow employees to work from anywhere, half his 500-plus Bay Area employees moved, and he was among them. Tech team productivity increased 37 percent, he said, adding that returning to an office five days a week is a thing of the past. Tanium — No. 4 on Fortune’s 2020 list of “Best Workplaces in Technology” among small and medium companies, with about 1,500 employees globally — is building out a 6,798-square-foot space on Lake Washington, next to the Woodmark Hotel. Opening is planned midyear.
Hindawi, discouraged by California’s governance and attitude toward business, says more companies will leave. He’s found Seattle beautiful and welcoming (“This whole Seattle Freeze thing is complete garbage”), praised its quality of life, and noted the strong enterprise base and important companies here. But he had a few words of caution, too.
“Personally, taxes are not my biggest driving force, but for a lot of people, they are,” Hindawi said. “Washington has a very attractive tax regime today, and the governor continues to say he wants to change it.” Every time the governor mentions capital gains tax, he loses 10 companies, Hindawi said. “This is becoming a huge PR issue for Washington state, even though nothing has substantively changed.”
Also, people already here have flexibility they didn’t have prepandemic.
“It’s not just who are we losing who’s not coming; it’s also who are we losing who’s currently here who won’t stay,” he said.
Check out the video on WTIA’s YouTube channel for other insights.
Tech Group’s Program Helping 22 Startups
The Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) in January announced the 22 Washington-based tech startups, including at least nine with employees on the Eastside, that were selected for its fifth Founder Cohort Program, part of the WTIA Startup Program.
The Founder Cohort Program helps seed-stage startups grow over six months by following a roadmap to help them navigate increasing revenue, securing investment, and growing their team, WTIA’s Nick Ellingson said in a blog. Each startup has at least one product in development, less than $1 million in annual revenue, and has passed a rigorous application process.
“Launching a startup can be a lonely journey, but it doesn’t have to be,” Dave Parker of Seven Peaks Ventures, WTIA Startup Program’s board chair, said in the blog. “Speed matters, and navigating the ecosystem in six months versus 12-24 months is important when you have limited resources. Connecting to relevant people usually doesn’t happen organically. So, we’ve gathered the relevant resources and experts that founders need to connect to that community and support them on their journey.”
UiPath Closes $750M Funding Round
UiPath Inc., which has its U.S. research and development headquarters in Bellevue and its U.S. headquarters in New York, announced Feb. 1 that it had closed a $750 million Series F funding round. The funding raised the company’s valuation to $35 billion.
The round was co-led by existing investors Alkeon Capital and Coatue. Other returning investors include Altimeter Capital, Dragoneer, IVP, Sequoia, Tiger Global, and funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. Madrona Venture Group of Seattle is a UiPath investor, but was not part of the latest round.
UiPath says it aims to unlock human creativity and ingenuity by enabling what it calls the Fully Automated Enterprise and empowering workers through automation. Work that can be automated is assigned to robots, freeing people to work on more fulfilling, valuable, and strategic efforts, its website says.
The company’s automation platform, combining Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI), is designed to transform the way humans work, providing customers with capabilities to discover automation opportunities and build, manage, run, engage, measure, and govern automations across departments, it says.
In a news release about the latest funding, Abhi Arun, managing partner at Alkeon Capital, said, “Automation has become a strategic imperative that is fundamentally changing the way organizations operate.” UiPath declined to disclose how many employees it has at his Bellevue office, but it has been growing since it opened in 2018, according to a spokesperson. Param Kahlon, Thomas Hansen, and Ted Kummert oversee the office.
At an event in Bellevue in 2019, officials talked about the decision behind the local office, including the ability to tap the area’s “incredible pool of local AI and machine learning talent,” according to a company post on the event.
Microsoft Updates Climate ‘Moonshot’ a Year Later
Microsoft President Brad Smith in late January updated the company’s progress on a plan it announced in January 2020 to become carbon negative as a company by 2030, the date by which it plans to remove from the environment more carbon than it emits. It also committed by 2050 to remove all the carbon that Microsoft has emitted directly or through electricity use since its founding in 1975.
Smith called the effort in 2020 a “new moonshot” in the urgent need to address climate change. A year into the pledge, Smith shared progress toward the goals in a blog post.
In the first year, Microsoft forecast that it reduced its carbon emissions by 6 percent, or roughly 730,000 metric tons, he wrote. Microsoft also purchased the removal of 1.3 million metric tons of carbon from 26 projects around the world.
The company also committed to transparency by subjecting the data in its annual sustainability report to third-party review by Deloitte. Smith said executive pay will be tied to progress on sustainability goals beginning with the July fiscal year.
Microsoft’s sustainability report reviews the commitment to be carbon negative, and also to become water positive, zero waste, and create a “planetary computer” to gather data that will help improve the world’s biodiversity, Smith wrote.
Bezos Tops 2020 Philanthropy List
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos topped the list of 50 Americans giving the most to nonprofits last year, according to an annual ranking by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Bezos gave $10.15 billion in 2020, with $10 billion to start the Bezos Earth Fund for groups fighting climate change. The fund has so far given out more than $790 million, the report said. Other donations included $100 million to Feeding America for its COVID-19 response fund and $50 million to the Seattle Foundation for pandemic-relief efforts.
Bezos, who announced in February that he’s passing the CEO baton to Andrew Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS), in the third quarter this year, was followed on the Top 50 list by his ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, who gave away $7.734 billion, ranking her No. 2. Her causes included debt relief, food banks, historically Black colleges and universities, human-service charities, racial and gender equity, social-justice, and other groups, according to the list.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, ranked No. 13 on the list, giving $157 million. Causes included COVID-19 vaccines and related treatments, and help against crop-eating locust infestations in East Africa. “The couple has awarded a total of $54.8 billion through their foundation and other Gates family foundations going back to 1994,” the report noted.
The top 50 donors gave $24.7 billion last year as a group.