Brad Wiskirchen leads Idaho’s largest privately held technology company (by revenue). “The accessibility of highly qualified, talented, and skilled workers helps business grow in the Boise Valley. At Keynetics, we have benefitted from the relatively high levels of education amongst people we are recruiting; it’s been very beneficial for us regardless of the position we need to fill."
Background on Tech in the Valley: The Boise Valley’s technology industry dates as far back as the 1970s. In the early part of that decade, technology bellwether Hewlett-Packard established what would later become its LaserJet division in Boise, and introduced its first laser printer in 1980. Simultaneously, another Boise-based technology company, Micron Technology, was founded and has since grown to be one of the largest makers of computer memory in the world.
With these two companies firmly anchored in the community, new talent poured into the region, and in the decade that followed, the Boise Valley welcomed numerous spinoff companies and start-up businesses poised to capitalize on the tech boom of the 1990s. Today, technology is among Idaho’s largest and fastest growing industries, and the Boise Valley is home to hundreds of high-tech businesses spanning a diverse range of sectors, from software and semiconductors to online services and nanomaterials.
"A Techy Boomtown" In March 2014, TIME Magazine featured Boise as #1 region "Getting it Right". As they explain in their feature called Red-Hot Town, "#1 Boise, Idaho: Once the gateway to remote mining camps, Idaho's capital has become a techy boomtown with a thriving cultural scene. An economy boosted by megagrocer Albertsons, the multinational Micron Technology and the potato giant J.R. Simplot has helped jump-start a fast-growing real estate market." Click here to view the excerpt
Want to get a taste of Boise's "techy boomtown with a thriving cultural scene"? Check out www.GrowIdeasHere.com to watch video vignettes on 6 people who live and thrive here in the tech scene.
Idaho technology quick facts:
Over 48,000 workers in Idaho are employed in technology.
Between 2000 and 2010, the number of high-tech companies in Idaho grew by 61 percent
Statewide, technology accounts for 17 percent of all wages earned ($3.4 billion)
More than 4,700 of Idaho’s 65,000 establishments are technology businesses
Below is a small sample of the many technology companies that are located in the Boise Valley. Click here for a more detailed brochure on the technology industry.
Hewlett-Packard The world’s largest technology company, HP established it printer division in Boise in 1973, immediately putting the Boise Valley on the map as a hub for technology innovation. The company’s first LaserJet printer was developed in Boise nearly 30 years ago, and since then HP has amassed a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure. With more than 4,000 employees, Hewlett-Packard is one of the Boise Valley’s largest employers.
Micron Technology Founded and headquartered in the Boise Valley, Micron Technology is one of the world’s leading providers of advanced semiconductor solutions, and one of southwestern Idaho’s largest employers, with over 8,000 employees. Through its worldwide operations, Micron manufactures and markets a full range of DRAM, NAND Flash and NOR Flash memory, as well as other innovative memory technologies, packaging solutions and semiconductor systems for use in leading-edge computing, consumer, networking, embedded and mobile products.
WhiteCloud Analytics WhiteCloud Analytics provides deep and proven expertise in the design, implementation and development of next-generation analytic applications for the health care industry.
MetaGeek Based in Boise, Idaho, MetaGeek develops troubleshooting tools for wireless network administrators, including the award-winning line of Wi-Spy spectrum analyzers.
Keynetics Keynetics is a premier inventor and developer of highly reliable and elegantly simple Internet businesses. The largest privately held technology company headquartered in the state of Idaho, Keynetics owns and operates several technology-based businesses, including ClickBank (one of the Internet’s largest online retailers) and Kount (a provider of highly-advanced fraud-fighting solutions for F100 retailers and payment processors).
Inovus Solar Inovus Solar is a solar street lighting manufacturer that provides solar-LED lighting and solar streetlights worldwide. Since its founding, the company has filed 22 patents, installed systems in 11 countries, and created an industry solely designing and manufacturing products in Idaho. Inovus has grown 300 percent over the last year and is projected to continue at that rapid rate.
Clearwater Analytics Clearwater is a foundational example of an Idaho success story, starting with its launch in Boise in 2004. Clearwater Analytics provides web-based, investment portfolio reporting and analytics for 4,700 clients, including Google, Oracle, Cisco and Yahoo. Today, the company reports on more than $650 billion in assets from its corporate headquarters in downtown Boise. With 145 employees among the two downtown locations and their New York office, Clearwater Analytics is one of few companies hiring and gaining speed during the recession.
Balihoo Founded in 2004 in Boise, Idaho, Balihoo is an emerging leader in the rapidly growing Local Marketing Automation space. By automating local marketing with software and services, Balihoo gives national brands unprecedented control over local marketing execution and the ability to control the customer experience closer to the point of purchase. Averaging nearly 300 percent revenue growth for two consecutive years, Balihoo employs over 50 people in their downtown Boise offices, and counts among their clients such outstanding brands as Geico, Kohler and Aflac.
CradlePoint: Founded in 2006, CradlePoint has deployed a half-million systems, with products certified and promoted by major worldwide carriers. As an industry leading 3G/4G Network Solutions provider for primary connection or redundant network failover, CradlePoint supports a broad range of markets. Their Boise office houses around 100 employees.
There are numerous organizations and associations located throughout the Boise Valley to help promote the region’s technology industry and provide resources for high-tech companies that may want to locate here.
Kickstand: As an entrepreneur support organization, Kickstand’s overriding mission is to help their members’ network, learn and grow. Kickstand meetings are held the second Thursday of every month at 5:30pm at the Watercooler in Boise’s Linen District at 14th & Idaho. A events to put on your calendar is the annual Startup Speed Dating.
Girls in Tech: Girls in Tech is a social network enterprise focused on the engagement, education and empowerment of like-minded, professional, intelligent and influential women in technology.
Tech Boise: They spotlight the people and companies making a difference in Boise, Meridian, and the greater Treasure Valley. They currently hold monthly meetups at The WaterCooler and Nebula Shift, and cover a variety of topics from tech startups to STEM education to the valley's most innovative companies.
Idaho Technology Council: The Idaho Technology Council provides a valuable networking resource for industry executives, potential partners, academic leaders, investors, government and customers. They exist to connect, inform and promote the technology companies in Idaho and is dedicated to foster the growth of technology companies in the state, primarily in the areas of information technology, agriscience, and energy. The ITC advocates for creating a strong, innovative technology ecosystem and a high quality, high paid workforce.
High-tech is one of Idaho’s largest and fastest growing industries, with the number of technology companies in the state increasing by 61 percent over the last decade, the majority of them in the Boise Valley. Statewide, the tech sector employs over 48,000 people, earning annual wages of more than $3.4 billion. The figures presented below are applicable to the Boise-Nampa MSA (Boise Valley), and are representative of a variety of positions within the high-tech industry. For more comprehensive data on the Boise Valley’s technology industry, click here.
Twelve years after co-founding MarkMonitor, Faisal Shah reflects back on a phone call from a college roommate to come to Boise and assist with legal matters in his consumer products company. It was supposed to be a three-month project only for the partner from the LA law firm, Pillsbury Madison & Sutro (now known as Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP). Within that year, they had started the process to take the company public. This caught the attention of a multi-billion dollar company out of Florida that subsequently acquired it.
Shah was hooked. He loved being in a start-up company. He loved the action, the combination of the business and legal side. In Boise, he found a place and people he could relate to and - a lot of entrepreneurs. “It probably stems from the early days of the American pioneer that came here with that spirit of perseverance and independence,” said Shah. “It’s rooted in the culture – that whole idea of delving into unexplored territory and conquering that territory, it is the spirit of entrepreneurship in the Boise Valley. It’s rooted in this Valley. You can relate to everyone and everyone that comes here wants to do things and be challenged,” Shah added.
MarkMonitor was a founder-funded and bootstrapped company when it was started in 1999. Because it was critical to keep the costs low, the company also tapped into the Boise State University intern program. For Shah, this was a win-win, giving him the opportunity to train talented students in real-world applications and provide challenging opportunities in a variety of areas with cutting edge technology while keeping costs low. Many of those interns remained with the company since its inception.
Ask Faisal Shah about Boise and he’ll tell you that you can pick up plenty of time here. “Before coming to Boise, I lived in LA,” notes Shah, “The difference is that you can pick up 3 more productive hours a day here – in LA that’s time spent on the freeway or trying to get somewhere in a big city. You multiply that by 5 days a week and that’s 15 hours a week, multiply that by 4 weeks and that’s 60 hours a month - 60 hours a month that you get back just by being here. That’s 2 ½ more days a month that I’m doing something productive with my time.” Read more about Faisal Shah here >>