APRIL 2017


Two young companies are building their presence in Downtown San José - Zoom and Wrike. Both located on Almaden Blvd, both are dedicated to making distance c ollaboration easier.

Zoom was founded in 2011, with the mission of making video and web

 conferencing frictionless, unifying cloud video conferencing, simple online meetings, group messaging and video conferencing in one user-friendly platform. One of Silicon Valley's hottest new "unicorns," Zoom has about 180 employees at its headquarters in San José with plans to grow to about 200. With offices in Santa Barbara, Denver and Kansas City, the company has about 400 employees.


 Wrike is a SaaS-based work management platform with millions of users and over 10,000 organizations using its paid products. Wrike has been translated into ten languages and is sold in 120 countries.Founded in 2007, Wrike set up its first office in Downtown San José  in 2013, but after securing Series A funding, moved to Mountain View in 2014. The goal was to have access to a larger workforce to help the company's planned rapid growth. Quadrupling in employee count, the company opened offices in Dublin, Ireland, as well as in San Diego.


In late 2016, Wrike moved back to Downtown San José at 10 Almaden. This decision was fueled by real estate economics, common-sense commute analysis and the desire to relocate into an urban setting that appealed better to the workforce. Wrike currently have about 70 full time employees in the San José  HQ, with additional jobs listed for 2017.

 For more information, contact  Donovan Lazaro, Business Development Officer, OED.


Headquartered in San José, robot manufacturer Savioke announced a new partnership with   NEC Networks & System Integration Corp . (NESIC), the leading systems integrator in Japan. Tokyo-based NESIC will be the "one-stop shop", handling distribution, installation, and maintenance for Relay robots in Japan.
Savioke CEO,founder, Steve Cousins.
For Savioke, Japan is a huge market opportunity. With NESIC's strong distribution network, Relay will soon debut in hotels, high-rise residences, office buildings, retail stores, hospitals, and other locations across Japan. In terms of number of robots sold per year, Japan is the third largest robotics market, embracing robotics in industrial and other industries since the 1970s.  
Last October Recruit Strategic Partners (Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo) became an investor in Savioke, and the company's Relay robot is in operation at the Singapore M Social.

For more information, contact Donovan Lazaro, Business Development Officer, OED.


MNS Engineers, Inc., a California-based infrastructure services firm, continues to expand regionally with the opening of a new office in San José, at 111 North Market Street. 

The firm celebrated this mov e with a ribbon cutting and open house at their new office on February 16, 2017. MNS 
continues to see growth in this region with the increase of projects and clients, and opening a new full-service office in the San José  area was critical to best serve these clients.
 "Our new office is in the center of Silicon Valley, enabling us to help solve the transportation and infrastructure needs of the Bay Area as well as continue to expand our core services in the water, transportation and government services markets," said Paul Goryl, Principal Transportation Manager.  John Mukhar, Principal Engineer, an adjunct professor at San José  State University and 24-year previous San José  city employee added, "I'm excited to be a part of the continued growth in this city and region with this vibrant and fast-moving company." 
 For more information, contact Juan Borrelli, Small Business Ally, OED.

As reported in the Silicon Valley Business Journal, the fund launched to help create and preserve affordable housing in the Bay Area received a huge boost from Cisco, the first company to sign up for an innovative fund, with a $2.5 million investment and plans to match up to $10 million from other companies, foundations or individuals.

The Housing Trust Silicon Valley is targeting Bay Area tech companies to pitch in a total of $50 million to the TECH Fund, which stands for Tech Equity Community Housing. The organization has been around since 2008 and in that time has invested more than $108.6 million to affordable housing initiatives and projects in Silicon Valley, according to its 2016 annual report.

More details are available in the full story.  

For more information, contact Blage Zelalich, Downtown Manager.

On Friday, March 31, 8:30-11:00 am, OED once again hosted the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Roundtable, at the headquarters of NextFlex, the flexile and hybrid electronics manufacturing institute in North San Jose.
In the first presentation, NextFlex shared its local initiatives in advanced manufacturing and how to make the Valley's mfg. sector more competitive. The second presentation was by the Reshoring Institute, offering case studies on reshoring production and developing a cost of ownership model to determine true cost of offshoring (e.g., costs of IP loss, sending engineers to China, etc.)

The morning closed with a "Fireside Chat" with Ray Zinn. Ray is the longest serving CEO of a public company in Silicon Valley history. He founded and ran Micrel for 37 years, 36 of which were profitable--an incredible feat in the highly competitive and cyclical semiconductor industry--until it was sold to Microchip in late 2015. Ray touched upon some of the key leadership lessons that he shares in his new book, Tough Things First.  
For more information, contact Donovan Lazaro, Business Development Officer, OED.
You may not have heard the name SurfaceInk, but it's likely that their
Eric Bauswell, founder of SurfaceInk.
 innovation and design improves many of the gadgets you rely on.
Check out our newly posted blogpost to learn more about the company and the products they have influenced. 

For more information, contact Nathan Donato-Weinstein, Business Development Officer, OED.


The City of San José wants more companies in the region to get in the zone. The Foreign Trade Zone, that is.

On Friday, March 17, the city's Office of Economic Development hosted a workshop to de-mystify the Foreign Trade Zone program. The federal program, under the authority of the U.S. Customs and Border Control, supports the region's economic competitiveness by allowing them to avoid certain customs duties. It's especially popular with manufacturers who import and export large volumes of materials.

"The FTZ is a site in the United States that for customs purposes is considered to be in international commerce," said Joe Hedges, international affairs manager for the City. "This merchandise that is stored, manufactured, assembled or tested in a foreign trade zone is considered to be in international commerce."
Participating companies may be able to preserve cash flow, better control inventory, eliminate duties on damaged merchandise, improve finances and operations, or delay, reduce or eliminate customs duties.
The program was established in 1934, and San Josée has participated since 1974.

The city of San José administers the region's foreign trade zone, which now covers Santa Clara County, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, Fremont, Hayward, Union City and Newark. Nationwide, the main users are companies engaged in electronics, automotive, pharmaceuticals, petroleum and distribution.

The workshop covered setup and activation of a foreign trade zone and included a panel discussion with representatives from SSL, Lam Research, Tesla Motors and RK Logistics.

San Jose staff is ready to assist companies analyze the potential to benefit from the Foreign Trade Zone program and can explain the process.  For more information, contact Joe Hedges , International Program Manager, OED.


2 West Santa Clara, a historic office building in the heart of downtown San Jose has been purchased by Divco West as part of a joint venture with an investment group led by Gary Dillabough.
Better known as the building on top of the Walgreen's store at the corner of West Santa Clara and North First Streets, it was built in 1910. One of the first examples of steel-framed office construction in California, it was originally the home of First National Bank. More recently, the building was the headquarters of Bank of the West and, later, lumber company Pacific States Industries.

The 83,896 square foot property was expanded in 1927 with the addition of a nine-story annex. The proposed business plan will include a total rehab that will provide smaller tenants the unique opportunity to have a full floor presence with four side window lines and excellent views.
The location is ideally situated -  just five blocks east of the Guadalupe
 Freeway (SR-87) and adjacent to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's Santa Clara Station. This major light rail transfer point is served by 16 VTA bus routes as well as the Highway 17 Express bus from Santa Cruz. 

For more information, contact Nathan Donato-Weinstein, Business Development officer,  OED.


Where once the sound of colliding billiard balls was heard, a new concept in cuisine, brewing and art is emerging - with a pop-up attitude.

Heinz Jones (center) Forager founder, cuts the ribbon.
Occupying the former South First Billiards space on South First Street, Forager Tasting Room & Eatery opened in March, as an emerging incubator kitchen and brewery, with regular musical performances and art exhibits. The plans call for multiple kitchens and seven micro-restaurants. Devout Coffee is already open and providing local craft beer, small plates, and obviously coffee. 

They are now open seven days a week from 7am-11pm. 

 For more info visit the  website or contact Blage Zelalich, Downtown Manager, OED.


In an unusual approach to funding a real estate purchase, crowd funding made possible the acquisition of a South San José office park by a Walnut Creek-based real estate firm. The Hellyer Oaks Technology Park, 5215-5225 Hellyer Avenue IN  San José  was purchase by Vertical Ventures, with help from online real estate crowdfunding platform   CrowdStreet . More than 170 individual investors contributed a total of $10 million.
The seller was Gre Hellyer Oaks, which has owned the property since 2004. The two Hellyer Avenue buildings include about 355,000 square feet of Class A office space. Crowdfunding "is a game changer for us and, arguably, the industry," Vertical Ventures founder and CEO  Hamid Rezapour  said in a statement. "This new paradigm allows us to target certain deals in which we have great conviction, but that may fall outside of the guidelines of an institutional investor's investment directives." 

For more information, contact Nathan Donato-Weinstein, Business Development Officer, OED.


According to the ExPloRE 2017 Report, San José ranks #18 in the world and #7 in the US, in terms of quality of life, labor suitability, socio-political suitability, business climate and infrastructure.
The report is published by Hickey & Associates, leaders in site location strategy, and is a data-driven evaluation and ranging of the overall business climate of the world's largest cities
Read the full report for more details.


For more information, call 408.535.8168, or contact Elisabeth Handler

KQED recently ran a profile on the San José artist, Juan Carlos Araujo, and his Empire 7 Studio, bringing art and color to unlikely walls in Japantown and beyond. 

"I live here and work here. How can I leave my mark on this?" Watch the video to learn more about his persistence in convincing proprietors to take a chance on art.   Read about  Juan Carlos Araujo on his website. 

For more information, contact Kerry Adams-Hapner, Director of Cultural Affairs, OED.