Silicon Valley startup WalkMe has opened a downtown Raleigh office and plans to hire hundreds of employees within several years.
The San Francisco-based technology company represents the type of high-growth, creative business that local officials are trying to recruit to downtown Raleigh.
WalkMe said Tuesday that its Raleigh office is a regional headquarters that will serve as a global center of excellence for the software company’s apps business.
The company, which was founded in 2011, opened its Raleigh office in late April in the One Bank of America Plaza building at 421 Fayetteville St. It already has 10 employees, said co-founder and CEO Dan Adika. WalkMe expects to employ at least 50 people in Raleigh by the end of the year, he said, with more to be brought aboard next year.
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“In about four years we’ve grown from zero to 300 employees,” Adika said. “We see ourselves as a startup at a mature stage.”
WalkMe doesn’t have a specific hiring target.
“It’s very scalable and depends upon their growth,” said Adrienne Cole, executive director of Wake County Economic Development.
WalkMe develops online user prompts and screen instructions that help banks and other companies to connect with customers. WalkMe’s roster of customers includes PayPal, 3M, Adobe, Cisco, Citrix, MasterCard, Pandora and Virgin.
The company’s WalkMe apps initiative is a new focus to aid developers of mobile apps create new ways to connect with customers. WalkMe plans to make the apps free to independent developers. WalkMe would be paid from licensing fees and the amount of users that engage with the technology, Adika said.
Adika would not disclose if the privately-held company is profitable but said it has raised $50 million and has more than 1,000 customers. “The company’s in really good shape,” he said. WalkMe also has offices in San Francisco, New York, Sidney, Australia and Tel Aviv, Israel.
WalkMe selected Raleigh over Denver, Austin and Nashville, based on such criteria as cost of living, professional salaries and talent recruitment potential, Adika said. The positions to be filled will be in customer success, professional services, mobile experts, solution experts and solution architects, he said.
WalkMe will not receive financial incentives for bringing jobs to Raleigh. The company did not meet the Wake County minimum threshold of investing at least $25 million or the Raleigh minimum of $10 million.
The Triangle, and North Carolina’s, ability to attract economic development projects has been complicated in recent months by the passage of House Bill 2, which has prompted a spate of business cancellations and withdrawals. HB2 restricts public bathroom access to one’s birth gender and prohibits local authorities from enacting their own anti-discrimination ordinances.
Adika said WalkMe committed to Raleigh before HB2 was enacted in March. Personally, Adika said, he’s “not into politics that much” but finds the law distasteful. WalkMe employees in New York and San Francisco were “very upset” about HB2 and there was some internal discussion about boycotting Raleigh, but ultimately the company opted to make the move.
Derrick Minor, the Raleigh’s innovation and entrepreneurship manager, said WalkMe never raised the issue of HB2 with local officials after it was passed.
“If someone doesn’t bring up a challenge, it’s never a bad thing,” Minor said.