ESD Announces West Coast Software Development Firm EmployeeChannel Will Open Office in Downtown Rochester

Company Will Rent Space in the RIT Center for Urban Entrepreneurship in Downtown Rochester; Firm Will Create at Least 30 Jobs

May 24, 2018

Investment Complements “Finger Lakes Forward” – The Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that software development firm EmployeeChannel will open its Software Development Center for Excellence in Downtown Rochester next week. The company will rent space inside the innovative Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) Downtown Center for Entrepreneurship located in the heart of the Flower City’s business district in the historic Rochester Savings Bank building at 40 Franklin Street. The new facility will house the EmployeeChannel product development team which will be focused on research, product management and development, DevOps, and customer support. The software enterprise plans to create at least 30 new full-time jobs at the site over the next five years. Supporting innovation and assisting efforts to reinvigorate Downtown Rochester are central to the regionally designed Finger Lakes Forward economic development plan.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “The decision by EmployeeChannel, a West Coast-based software developer, to open an office in Rochester’s Downtown Innovation Zone is evidence that our strategic investment in downtown revitalization is working and, in sharing space with a top-tier university like RIT, adding to the innovation economy that is growing in the heart of Rochester and other city centers around the state.”

Founded in 2015, EmployeeChannel is a provider of a workforce communication application  that allows employers to more effectively  communicate with  employees through cloud, mobile and artificial intelligence technologies. The company had considered sites in Pennsylvania, Texas and Oregon before selecting New York State in which to grow its business. The Rochester location was selected due to its proximity to a world-class university producing talent pool available in computer science, engineering and related fields. The region’s focus on entrepreneurial development and financial incentives for early-stage startups was also instrumental in the selection.


Mark Oney, Senior Vice-President of EmployeeChannel and 1981 RIT graduate said, " We are excited to participate in the Empire State Development program and to open our new center for software development in Downtown Rochester. The proximity to world-class universities like RIT and the University of Rochester gives us access to an exceptional talent pool.  ESD's commitment to entrepreneurial development and financial incentives also make them a great partner for growing our company."


RIT President David Munson said, “We are thrilled to welcome Mark Oney and his company to Rochester.    His decision to establish an office for EmployeeChannel here in this region is a great example of the kind of partnership with our alumni and our government and economic development partners at the State and local level that we would like to replicate over and over again.    Companies such as EmployeeChannel are energizing the Downtown Innovation Zone, and creating great job and career opportunities for our talented students and graduates.”


In order to assist EmployeeChannel with opening its Rochester office, Empire State Development has offered up to $500,000 through the Excelsior Jobs Program in exchange for job creation commitments. The total project cost is placed at $2.4 million. Monroe County and Greater Rochester Enterprise also provided incentives and assistance to attract the innovative firm to the region.


Since April of 2016, the CUE has been working to reshape the regional economy and build wealth within the urban community by serving as a central resource for urban entrepreneurial programs and research. The 47,000 square-foot building, located at 40 Franklin Street was received by a donation to RIT from Rochester Historic Ventures which is comprised of members of the Leenhouts, Tait and Tones families along with members of the Broadstone management team. The building was constructed in 1927, and in 1972 was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic places and has historic significance in art, architecture and commerce.


State Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle said, “Rochester boasts state-of-the-art research and development facilities, world-class universities, and a second to none workforce that has made our community a highly a sought-after destination for fast-growing hi-tech companies like EmployeeChannel. Most exciting is that EmployeeChannel expansion into our community will create new exciting jobs with good wages that will continue to strengthen our local economy.”


State Senator Joe Robach said, "Rochester Institute of Technology is instrumental in creating the next generation of a cutting edge and innovative workforce for our region. The partnership announced today between RIT and EmployeeChannel to open their Software Development Center for Excellence in downtown Rochester ensures that our community will continue to be leading the way in attracting next generation jobs and companies."


“I would like to welcome EmployeeChannel to our city and the CUE, and thank them for choosing Rochester,” Mayor Lovely Warren said. “Not only will this bring 30 new jobs to our Center City, but this great news is proof that our efforts and investments by New York State are working. By leveraging our skilled workforce, our unique quality of life and low cost of living, we can continue to attract jobs, and, by doing so, build safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities.”

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said, "When a successful, west coast based technology company like EmployeeChannel chooses to grow jobs in Rochester over competing locations in Texas and Oregon, there is no doubt that Monroe County is absolutely open for business. Monroe County is thrilled to be investing in EmployeeChannel’s job-creating expansion through Imagine Monroe and we thank all of our project partners for their collaboration and support."

“When you compare the cost of doing business and the caliber of the workforce, it’s clear that the Greater Rochester, NY region outperforms traditional tech hubs on the West Coast,” said Matt Hurlbutt, president and CEO, Greater Rochester Enterprise. “Add in the longstanding relationship between EmployeeChannel, Inc. and Rochester Institute of Technology leaders and we have the essential assets to help this company grow here.”

For more information about EmployeeChannel, click here.

For more information about the RIT Center for Urban Entrepreneurship, click here.

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward 
Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $5.2 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here. ​


Shari Voorhees-Vincent | [email protected] | (585) 399-7055
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