Virtual Instruments opens development office in Tech City

The competition for engineers in Silicon Valley is so fierce that Virtual Instruments is opening an office in London’s Tech City to find new talent

Virtual Instruments is opening an office in London’s Tech City hub to develop new products and revamp old ones.

The building on Rivington Street will initially house 20 software developers, with a further 10 being added by the end of 2013.

Virtual Instruments – known for its performance management software – can afford the investment following a third round of funding from its venture capitalists. However, London was far from its first choice.

The company made the announcement at this week’s SNW Europe conference in Frankfurt and Chris James, head of marketing in Europe said it would have preferred to have kept the money in Silicon Valley.

“In an ideal world, we would put additional resources in our head office in San Jose,” he told Computer Weekly. 

“However, getting the right kind of people in the Silicon Valley is now a real problem. Things are growing very healthily over there and, because of the competition, you cannot get them.”

Skip Bacon, chief technology officer (CTO) of Virtual Instruments, added: “You can’t hire engineers fast enough in Silicon Valley. It is massively oversubscribed.”

The firm decided to look further afield, but even at this early stage, London still wasn’t the natural choice.

“We put the whole thing out worldwide to see what would happen and at the start of that process, London was pretty close to the bottom of the list,” said James. “There was the perception that it would be expensive.”

You literally can’t hire engineers fast enough in Silicon Valley. It is massively oversubscribed

Skip Bacon, CTO, Virtual Instruments

However, after looking into several locations, Virtual Instruments concluded the East London technology centre was what it was looking for.

“It was by far the best fit and the least concern about investing into it,” added Bacon.

“London has the best people, best availability of people, best local support, fewest concerns about IP laws and fewest concerns about labour laws. It was just a great balance overall and we are really very excited about it.”

The investment has even received the nod from Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who released a statement today, saying: “I am pleased to welcome Virtual Instruments into Tech City, recognising the talent pool of engineers London is able to provide through its universities and dynamic cluster of tech firms.

“The arrival of another fast-growth company not only generates important new jobs for the city, but underlines London’s position as global leader in this sector.”

The office is due to open in a couple of weeks, once job offers have been finalised. It will focus on global development initially, however, James revealed it was likely to become more regional as time went on.

“As we grow the business, if you think of North America and Europe, it is a logical piece to add,” he said. “At the moment, it is not European focused, but as things progress, European specific pieces will come out of there.”

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