Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tech firm coming to former Rochester Savings Bank

Posted By on Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 1:23 PM

A data backup and recovery firm founded by a Rochester Institute of Technology alum will be the first business to come to Rochester under the state's START-UP NY program. Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement at a press conference held at RIT this morning. 

The company is Datto, a Connecticut-based firm founded by RIT grad Austin McChord in 2007. Datto will open a new office in the former Rochester Savings Bank building on Franklin Street, which is owned by RIT. The company plans to hire 77 people for engineering, development, and technical support positions. It currently employs 30 RIT grads, said Paul Sagan, chair of the company's board, during today's event.

"And we only want one thing: we want more of them," Sagan told an audience gathered at RIT's Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction, and Creativity. As a tech company, Datto's top consideration for a new site is the available talent pool, Sagan told reporters after the event.

Businesses that participate in the START-UP program, which is one of Cuomo's key economic development initiatives, don't pay taxes for 10 years. But they have to partner with a college or university and typically — though not always — they have to locate in space owned by the schools or within one mile of their campuses. (This article offers more detail about the program.) 

Cuomo said this morning that the young minds coming out of New York's universities and colleges have great ideas, and they are building a new economy. But 75 percent of start-up firms in the state leave within the first year, he said. Private equity companies say that in order to get financing, they have to leave the state because of New York's taxes and regulations, Cuomo said.

The START-UP plan is an equalizer, he said. 

"It's the cheapest place they can go," Cuomo said.

An RIT press release says that Datto will be the first company to locate in the historic bank building, which the school is converting into the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship; the company will temporarily occupy space on the first floor before moving to the fourth floor.

Through the START-UP program, RIT also plans to provide eligible businesses with space on the building's first, third, and fourth floors. It also has START-UP approved space available in its Venture Creations incubator on Tech Park Drive in Henrietta, according to the press release.

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