SPOKANE, Wash. — More and more small tech startups are moving east leaving Seattle for Spokane.
Business insiders say Spokane offers tech companies affordability, recruitment opportunities and infrastructure.
Spokane has 98 information technology employers. In 2018, 500 new jobs were created in IT fields, according to numbers from Greater Spokane Incorporated.
Greater Spokane Incorporated CEO Todd Mielke said they anticipate growth in the tech industry.
"The cost of doing business is extremely high in those metropolitan areas, especially with startup companies. It takes a while to be profitable so they've got to survive as long as they can until they turn profitable. So they are looking for other cost options in other communities,” Mielke said.
Craig Tadlock moved his tech company, GoToTags, from Seattle to Spokane a year ago.
"It was expensive the cost of living, our offices rent was about to double or triple, employees were having long commutes,” Tadlock said.
In 2011, Tadlock and his team started GoToTags. The company make tags for products which hold data that can be accessed by a smartphone.
"We work business to business, with print companies, security companies, people making things. We provide them the hardware and software that they need to make these products come alive,”Tadlock said. "It's all about taking objects in the physical world, tagging them so they can be interacted with."
In Seattle the company started to take off and it attracted customers from around the globe. But as the years went on it became difficult to sustain the small company on the west side.
Tadlock was in search of a new home for GoToTags. He looked at Portland and Bend. But he would eventually settle in his hometown. He has been able to save money and recruit local talent.
"I've always thought that Spokane was ready for to see a new generations of companies come to it,” Tadlock said.
Mielke added technology fields tie into many industries already here in Spokane. Education and health services make up about 20 percent of Spokane’s workforce. The economy also has a robust sector of professional, scientific, technical and transportation jobs. These industries all benefit in some way from technology.