Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Bandwidth expands during virus crisis

In a time of social distancing and remote working, videoconferencing software such as Zoom, Skype and Google Meet have become household names. Raleigh-based Bandwidth, which helps develop the communications software for those applications, is reaping benefits of the industry’s recent explosion.

The company says it will add 1,165 jobs over the next eight years as part of an incentives agreement with the state of North Carolina. Bandwidth, which now has more than 750 employees, is paying $30 million for a 40-acre state-owned site in west Raleigh, with plans for a 500,000-square-foot headquarters building. The land is now used for parking during the N.C. State Fair. The jobs, which will include positions in research and development, operations, sales, marketing, and administration, will have an average salary of $96,832.

“We’ve been scouting for ideal ground on which to cultivate our bright future,” said CEO David Morken in a press release. “What a blessing to build our new headquarters in such an incredible spot in Raleigh, just minutes from Umstead State Park and with easy
access to so many other parts of the Triangle.”

North Carolina is providing Job Development Investment Grants of as much as $32.3 million over the next 12 years, starting in
2024. They are dependent on Bandwidth reaching job and investment targets. Bandwidth is also eligible for $10.75 million from a state industrial development fund.

Morken co-founded Bandwidth in Park City, Utah, in 1999, but moved the business to North Carolina shortly thereafter. It moved to N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus from Cary in 2012. The company, which ranked No. 32 on Business North Carolina’s 2019 list of the state’s top 50 public companies, had 1,728 customers in 2019, up 40% from 1,230 in the previous year. It reported $232.6 million in revenue for 2019, up 14% from 2018.

Bandwidth, which went public at $20 a share in 2017, was trading for about $76 in mid-April for a market value of $1.6 billion. Its share peaked at more than $85 in August 2019. Analysts project revenue gains of 16% this year and 19% in 2021.

“Our city and our world is going through an unprecedented challenge,” says Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin. “Despite this, companies like Bandwidth still want to grow and expand here — and call Raleigh home. We appreciate this commitment to grow jobs here, as well as the company’s philanthropic spirit and its leadership in the innovation space.”

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