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Two more tech companies seek incentives from state, city

Friday, February 7, 2014 by Jo Clifton

Both the City of Austin and the Office of Governor Rick Perry announced two separate economic development incentive proposals Thursday that they say would bring 640 new full-time jobs and a capital investment of more than $15 million to Austin. The tech companies are Websense, Inc. and Dropbox, Inc.

 

According to the city’s Economic Development Department, the privately-owned security firm Websense is a global leader in protecting organizations from cyber attacks and data theft. Websense, Inc. has been in operation for 19 years and employs 1,600 employees in 28 global locations.

 

The company plans to relocate its corporate headquarters from San Diego, Calif. to Austin and create at least 470 jobs paying an average annual wage of $82,000. In addition, they are promising a capital investment of $10 million.

 

In return, the state is providing $4.5 million through the Texas Enterprise Fund. The city would provide a performance-based grant of $438,000 paid over a 10-year period.

 

San Francisco-based Dropbox, which currently has 30 Austin employees, is promising to expand its Austin operations with additional sales and operations positions, creating 170 new jobs and a projected capital investment of $5.5 million, according to a statement from the city.

 

The state is providing $1.5 million through the Enterprise Fund to close the deal on this expansion and job creation. According to the city’s press statement, “The company simplifies the work and personal lives of millions of people by letting them easily access and share their documents, photos and videos from anywhere in the world.”

 

The city is offering a performance-based grant of $244,500 paid over a 10-year period.

 

Director of the City’s Economic Development Department Kevin Johns said, “We’re pleased that two outstanding companies are considering investing in Austin and creating job opportunities for Austin workers. Websense and Dropbox’s proposed investments would support the diversification and strategic growth of Austin’s economy.”

In a statement provided by the Governor’s office, Websense CEO John McCormack said, “We are expanding our presence into Austin because it represents an energetic, high-technology hub that will further enable us to meet growing demand for our technology and better serve our global customer base.”

 

The Dropbox website says, “When we began looking for our second US location, Austin was an obvious choice. The city has a lot going on in tech and art, paired nicely with a healthy dose of Texan hospitality. Also, the food is pretty legit.”

 

“We were drawn to Austin because of the talented people and vibrant tech culture, and we’re thankful to the Governor’s Office for their support as we grow our presence in the area,” Dropbox vice president of business Sujay Jaswa said.

 

The City Council will hear a report on the proposals at next Thursday’s regular Council meeting and consider funding them at a special called meeting Feb. 20.

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