It turns out that Citrix Systems, which last week began moving into its new offices near downtown Raleigh, under-promised and over-delivered on the number of local jobs it would create.
When the publicly traded business software company announced in the summer of 2012 that it would expand its Triangle operations, it committed to having nearly 470 workers here. That commitment, which made it eligible for state and local incentives worth more than $9 million, included 130 workers it already employed here plus 337 workers it planned to hire over five years.
But today, a little more than two years after that announcement, Florida-based Citrix is in the process of moving about 580 workers into its new 170,000 square-foot offices at the corner of West and Hargett streets.
“In just the last couple of months, I think we have probably hired 40 or 50 people,” Jesse Lipson, vice president of Citrix’s cloud documents business, said in an interview.
And the new hires keep on coming. Citrix, whose software enables a company’s employees to work from anywhere online, currently has 30 open positions that it’s trying to fill locally.
The upshot is that the first three floors of the company’s new offices are approaching capacity. Fortunately, a fourth floor – which wasn’t in the original design – has been added and will be ready for occupancy in about six months. That will enable Citrix to employ about 800 workers at the site, Lipson said.
Lipson said the growth in Raleigh was driven in part by better-than-projected sales of Citrix ShareFile, software that enables businesses to share files confidentially over the Internet. Citrix established a presence in the Triangle in 2011 when it acquired ShareFile, a company founded and headed by Lipson, for $54 million.
Lipson’s cloud documents division posted a 60 percent jump in revenue in the second quarter.
“This business continues to scale up well,” David Henshall, Citrix’s chief financial officer, said during a conference call about the company’s second-quarter results.
Another factor in the company’s burgeoning employee base here, said Lipson, is that executives of other Citrix divisions have discovered during visits to Raleigh that the region is a great place “to attract high-talent employees at a reasonable salary compared to many other areas in the country.”
Consequently, Lipson estimates that 50 to 75 of the employees working in Raleigh today are in other divisions.
Although the Raleigh office was originally designated as a divisional headquarters, that’s no longer the case.
“Rather, it’ll be an office for employees of all divisions,” spokeswoman Lori Shen wrote in an email.
Lipson said that although the ShareFile product faces intense competition from companies such as Dropbox, Google and Microsoft, it’s been able to prosper thanks to its humble beginnings as a penny-pinching startup.
“Because we started as a bootstrapped company – we never raised venture capital – it forced us to be really strategic early on,” he said. “Because we couldn’t just outspend our competition.”
As a result, “we only targeted businesses. We didn’t target consumers. We only targeted certain industries where we thought we could win,” Lipson added. “It actually put us a few steps ahead of a lot of competitors.”
Today ShareFile is a highly rated product that is very important for Citrix, said Robert W. Baird & Co. analyst Steven Ashley.
“It’s a product they are committing resources to,” he added.
In particular, ShareFile is a key component of Citrix’s efforts in mobile device management, which enables businesses to manage their employees’ mobile devices and thereby lower support costs while at the same time upgrading security.
“What Citrix is trying to do is to offer more of a Happy Meal, rather than just a hamburger” with regards to mobile device management, Ashley said. “I called it a Happy Meal because they are going to throw into the box other things, the most prominent and most important of which is ShareFile.”
Including ShareFile in its offering enables corporate information technology departments to maintain control of company documents that are in the cloud, he said. ShareFile management sees that as a differentiating feature.
Overall, said Ashley, Citrix is “quite healthy, quite profitable.” Revenue over the first half of the year totaled $1.53 billion, up 9 percent from a year ago.
Citrix shares closed Monday at $71.65, down 32 cents.
The stock is up 13 percent this year.