News Column

Silicon Valley Startup Expanding into Louisiana

July 7, 2014

By JANET McCONNAUGHEY, Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) A business software outsourcing startup based in Milpitas, California, plans to open a tech center in Louisiana this summer.

Salaries will average $64,300 a year at the first offices outside Silicon Valley for Enquero Inc., Gov. Bobby Jindal told a news conference Monday in Lafayette.

Hemant Asher said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that he and two other men incorporated Enquero four months ago, after about a year of planning, and expect to begin hiring "around September."

He would not say how many employees work in California except that the number is "in the double digits" and growing rapidly.

Asher said he and co-founders, Kabir Singh and Arvinder Pal Singh, had worked together for years for Infosys, India's second-largest technology outsourcer, and each has 20 years of experience in the business.

Enquero expects to have 350 employees in Lafayette by the end of 2017, Jindal said in a news release.

Enquero will start out by subleasing about 2,200 square feet from the Lafayette Economic Development Authority through Lafayette's business accelerator and incubator, The Opportunity Machine. The one-year sublease will include options for three one-year renewals.

The company also will be eligible for the state's 35 percent refundable tax credit for software developers and interactive media, which Louisiana says is the nation's largest, and the state's workforce development program. It also is expected to qualify for Louisiana's Quality Jobs Program, which offers a 5 or 6 percent cash rebate of annual gross payroll for new, direct jobs for up to 10 years.

"These are exactly the kinds of jobs we had in mind when we launched Lafayette's fiber-optic initiative in 2004, so I am thrilled to see that companies are starting to recognize what Lafayette has to offer with its affordable, gigabit speeds," Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel said in a news release.

Asher said he looked at four other states and, within Louisiana, at New Orleans and Baton Rouge as possible sites.

"We quickly narrowed it down to Louisiana," he said.


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Source: Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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