RIT employs START-UP NY to bring tech jobs to Rochester

Gov. Cuomo’s innovative economic development program helps university develop partnership with nationally recognized Datto Inc.




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David Wivell

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo visited RIT Wednesday to make the announcement.

Rochester Institute of Technology applied its START-UP NY certification to entice one of its alumni to open a New York office of his highly successful Connecticut-based company.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Wednesday that Datto Inc., launched by RIT graduate Austin McChord, will open this summer on the fourth floor of RIT-owned 40 Franklin St. in downtown Rochester. The company, a leading global vendor of award-winning hybrid cloud-based intelligent business continuity and backup, disaster and recovery solutions, has said it will initially create more than 70 new jobs in exchange for the incentives offered under the START-UP NY economic development program.

“This is an incredible development for RIT and for Greater Rochester, all made possible by Gov. Cuomo and his innovative START-UP NY program,” said RIT President Bill Destler. “We are delighted to partner with Austin McChord to bring Datto— and some terrific employment opportunities— to downtown Rochester. The arrival of Datto will bring tremendous opportunities to retain more of our talented graduates in Upstate New York, and create additional co-op and employment opportunities for RIT students and graduates.”

“START-UP NY takes New York’s number one liability—our tax capital reputation— and turns it on its head by offering companies zero taxes for 10 years, as well as access to all the assets of the Empire State, particularly the talent and research capabilities of our world-class universities,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Just months after the program’s launch, we are excited to announce the first businesses to participate in START-UP NY, which will bring nearly 400 new jobs and $50 million in investment to communities in Buffalo, Rochester, Ithaca and New York City. This is just the beginning and we look forward to welcoming more and more businesses and entrepreneurs to the State of New York through this bold initiative.”

McChord is founder and CEO of Datto, which he started in 2007 while finishing his degree in bioinformatics from RIT.

“I am very excited to be part of RIT’s START-UP NY initiative, and to open Datto’s New York office in Rochester,” said McChord. “As an RIT graduate, I know the community has the high-quality workforce needed to support our company’s continued growth. Datto already employs many RIT graduates, so establishing a Rochester presence will allow us to have even better access to the future employment talent pool, as well as work side by side with the university on research and development projects.”

Datto, based in Norwalk, Conn., has experienced exponential growth, and was listed on the Inc. 500 in 2012 and 2013. Last year, the company marked its fourth consecutive year of 300 percent annual growth, with revenues approaching $50 million annually. Datto, cited with numerous industry awards for product excellence and technical support, now has offices in Toronto and London, and partners with more than 5,000 companies in North America and Europe.

“We are excited to see the first Start-Up NY company located here in our great City of Rochester,” said Delmonize Smith, the city’s Neighborhood & Business Development commissioner. “RIT and the CUE building at 40 Franklin St. is the perfect home for this growing company. The city will undoubtedly benefit from the well-paying jobs that this opportunity will inject into the economic mainstream of downtown.”

RIT was the first private university admitted to the state’s START-UP NY business development initiative. The state approved two RIT-owned properties—40 Franklin St. and the Venture Creations incubator in Henrietta—for the program.

START-UP NY seeks to accelerate entrepreneurialism and job creation across the state on a large scale, with a particular focus on Upstate New York. The Empire State’s expansive public and private higher education institutions serve as the framework of the START-UP NY program, to attract high-tech and other start-up businesses, venture capital, new business and investments from across the globe. Under the program, businesses that create net new jobs, such as Datto Inc., will operate tax free for 10 years—paying no state income, business, corporate, local, sales or property taxes or franchise fees. START-UP NY is the only state economic development initiative in the nation to offer a zero tax rate to businesses that create jobs.

Destler said RIT expects to quickly fill the 56,000 square feet of RIT space approved for the program, which includes the first, third and fourth floors of 40 Franklin St., a downtown building now being renovated for the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and the first and second floors of Venture Creations, RIT’s incubator, located at 125 Tech Park Drive in Henrietta. He said RIT officials are currently reviewing several applications for the space in Venture Creations, and expect companies to begin locating there sometime later this year.

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David Wivell

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo visited RIT Wednesday to make the announcement.