Business

More jobs headed to Charlotte as tech company details plans to hire about 200 people

Charlotte-based artificial intelligence firm Stratifyd said Thursday it will add around 200 jobs in Charlotte, the latest in a spate of technology companies to expand in the city.

The company is investing $3.25 million in its expansion.

Derek Wang, a former UNC Charlotte professor who is now Stratifyd’s CEO, started the company in 2015 with two students. It focuses on artificial intelligence-powered data analytics and employs around 80 people in the area.

As part of the expansion, Stratifyd is moving to an office in an old industrial site along Thrift Road in Wesley Heights. Developer Matt Browder, owner of Browder Group Real Estate is renovating the building, once home to a plumbing supply company.

The announcement was made by company and local officials at UNC Charlotte’s uptown campus.

Wang would not provide the average salary for the jobs but said they are “medium-to-high-paying.” The city is providing about $47,000 in incentives and the county is granting a maximum of $88,209. The incentive packages will need to be voted on by City Council and County Commissioners respectively.

Tech growth

Charlotte has seen a flurry of technology-related expansions in recent months.

Last week, Microsoft said it would invest $24 million to expand its Charlotte campus, adding 430 jobs. Lowe’s selected Charlotte for a 2,000-employee global tech hub this year, which will be housed in a new 23-story tower in South End.

Online mortgage lender Better.com announced in September it planned to hire 1,000 people as part of a new Charlotte office.

The total number of tech jobs in the region grew by 30% over the past five years, a study from the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance found.

In total, the city and county say they have brought over 7,900 new jobs to Charlotte in the past year.

The city’s growing technology talent pool was a key factor in Stratifyd’s decision, Wang said. He said his company looked at Toronto, the San Francisco area, Atlanta and other locations before deciding on Charlotte.

We’re really betting on the economic development in the region,” Wang said.

Two years ago, Charlotte tried but failed to lure Amazon to open its second headquarters in the city.

County Commission Chairman George Dunlap alluded to the effort in his remarks, but said that Charlotte may be better off without the company. “It would’ve meant that there probably wouldn’t have been opportunities for companies like (Stratifyd),” he said.

Tariq Bokhari, a city council member and executive director of the Carolina Fintech Hub, said Wang first came to him to discuss the locations he was considering for the expansion. Bokhari said he worked with the city to convince Stratifyd to grow in Charlotte.

Bokhari said that his group is not just looking to recruit out-of-town companies.

“We’re looking for homegrown companies that are growing rapidly,” he said. “(We) try to make it competitive for them.”

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Danielle Chemtob covers economic growth and development for the Observer. She’s a 2018 graduate of the journalism school at UNC-Chapel Hill and a California transplant.
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