A fast-growing tech company with its U.S. operations in San Francisco plans to establish an East Coast headquarters in Buffalo, New York, mirroring its existing operation in the Bay Area.
Odoo plans to hire up to 300 workers in the next few years to staff a hub that will support its growth in eastern North America. The company’s formal headquarters will remain in Belgium.
Nicholas Kosinski, director of Odoo’s East Coast operations, said company leaders were looking to avoid the issues of cost and workforce retention it faces in San Francisco. They analyzed such cities as Minneapolis, Tampa, Charlotte and Atlanta.
The coronavirus pandemic slowed an effort that was charging toward a finale several weeks ago, but Odoo ultimately decided its conclusions about Buffalo hadn’t changed. The company has agreed to lease an entire floor of the Seneca One Tower.
Odoo offers a software suite of business management applications, including ERP, CRM, content management and e-commerce. Buffalo’s office will employ some software engineers, but the bulk of Odoo’s product development will remain centered in Belgium.
After a whirlwind tour of Buffalo in January — designed to explain the city’s economic trajectory, its social and cultural amenities and its cost-of-living advantages — they were convinced that Buffalo can support such an operation.
“None of the other communities came forward in the way that Buffalo did,” Kosinski said. “We’re going to ramp up very quickly an office that includes sales, support, marketing, HR and business systems analysts – those types of roles.”
Kosinski said he aims on having the first 20 people on board this summer.
Kosinski got his introduction to Buffalo’s business community in January after emailing M&T Bank Chief Information Officer Michael Wisler. That kickstarted a recruitment effort managed through a network of investors, entrepreneurs and executives.
The company is seeking acceptance into the Start-Up NY tax breaks program, but has not tied its decision to any other incentives.
Founded in 2005 by current CEO Fabien Pinckaers, the company now has more than 900 employees.
Kosinski said Odoo’s director of Americas, Fabrice Henrion, played a central role in supporting the move to Buffalo.
“He visited Buffalo and he gave it the green light,” Kosinski said. “He fell in love with the city.”