EMC Isilon Adding 200 Jobs at Seattle Hub, Already Outgrowing New Offices

10/19/11Follow @curtwoodward

Big-data company EMC plans to add 200 jobs at its Seattle-based Isilon branch through 2012, filling out spacious new offices in the city’s Pioneer Square neighborhood—and leading to another hunt for office space in the not-too-distant future.

Add those 200 new jobs to the 430 Isilon workers already in Seattle, and some additional people from other divisions of EMC (NYSE: EMC) in the area, and the new 140,000 square-foot offices just north of the Seahawks and Mariners stadiums will fill up fast, EMC Isilon president Sujal Patel said Wednesday.

“Certainly, more space is already on our mind,” Patel said. “Our intention is to build out this facility and our Pioneer Square presence. For us, this is an ideal hub for building great technology and there’s lots of innovative companies in this area. It’s a great place to be.”

The jobs announcement, which also featured comments from EMC CEO Joe Tucci and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, also served as a bit of an update to Hopkinton, MA-based EMC’s blockbuster $2.25 billion acquision of Isilon, which was officially announced late last year.

Isilon would have reported about $200 million in revenue last year if it had remained a standalone company, Patel said, and recently doubled in size year-over-year as a unit of EMC.

When the acquisition closed, Patel said, Isilon had just over 500 employees, mostly based in Seattle. Now, Isilon has more than 850 people, with 430 in the Seattle office. And the 200 new jobs on the table for Seattle over the next 15 months “is really just a fraction of the jobs that in the Isilon division we’ll be adding worldwide,” Patel said.

Tucci said the ramp-up of EMC’s Seattle center fits with the company’s strategy of building large tech hubs around the country. It already has major centers in the Boston area, the Research Triangle region of North Carolina, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Seattle will probably be the fastest-growing of those centers, he said.

“Our model is to take the great things that Isilon is doing and invest more cash,” Tucci said. “It’s a terrific city, and you can count on that we’ll continue our expansion here.”

McGinn said the Isilon expansion was emblematic of a makeover of the Pioneer Square area, and the city government’s drive to provide a strong base for high-quality, innovative companies to locate and expand in the city.

On that note, Isilon’s Pioneer Square offices are actually just one floor down from the Seattle headquarters of Nuance Communications, which just announced the acquisition of Seattle touchscreen-input startup Swype. (And Swype itself was also in the neighborhood).

“One of the things that Sujal told me … was he wasn’t the only person with the idea that having new ways to manage large amounts of data was going to be a growth industry. A couple hundred companies had that idea. Not many are left,” McGinn said. “So it’s a highly competitive environment out there.”

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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