The maker of a small, energy efficient computer is promising to hire 500 people in Utah over the next 5 years in exchange for $2 million worth of state tax rebate incentives. Xi3 (X-I-3) Corporation has offices around the world, but is headquartered in Salt Lake City… and Utah’s government leaders want to keep it that way.
David Politis is Chief Marketing officer for Xi3 corporation. His office is on the 12th floor of the Wells Fargo building in downtown Salt Lake City, and the view is expansive. Politis looks down at the birds.
If you haven’t heard of xi3, that’s probably because they haven’t done much advertising. At the moment, their clients are mostly businesses and governments, like NASA, the state department, universities, and car dealers. Locally, they work with Salt Lake County and the city of Springville library. Politis says the product is best explained in person.
The computer is cube shaped – about the size of a softball. Xi3 Corporation bills it as a small, fast machine that is also eco-friendly. It uses about one fifth the power of the average desktop, and can be updated as technology advances. The idea is that consumers can replace parts rather than the entire computer.
“One of the biggest problems with computers and electronics today is that they’re filling up our landfills,” Politis said. What if you didn’t have to throw away your computer every 3 or 5 years? What if you could actually do it in 6 years, or 8 years… or 10 years?”
Xi3 Corporation currently has less than 100 employees in their Salt Lake City offices. They say they will hire 500 new employees in the next five years. The company will be looking for engineers, industrial designers, marketing and sales people to meet what they say is growing demand for their products. In return, the state has offered 2 million dollars in tax credits as incentive to keep that growth in Utah. Politis would not say where the company would expand in the state, but that Salt Lake City is a good option.
“At the risk of hyperbole, we believe we have a world class company in its birthing if you will,” Politis said, “If you’re thinking about a worldwide company and its headquarters, then you want to be in a prestigious location. There are some advantages to being right here on Main Street, particularly when they finish the line out to the airport with TRAX, and given the support from the city, the county, and the state, I suspect we’ll stay in Salt Lake City.”
The Governor’s Office of Economic Development seems to believe there is substance to Xi3’s claim of being a world class company. GOED Managing Director Christopher Conabee says it’s important that Xi3 Corporation remain in Utah.
“They are developing right now the line of the world’s smallest, fastest and most eco-friendly computers in the business,” said Conabee, “All of that wasn’t just based on creating a computer, it was based on the intellectual property behind it and patents behind it. That’s why it’s so critical that the state of Utah get in and work with the company to remain. We think this is going to be an explosive product when they roll it out.”
Xi3 currently manufactures its products in Arizona, but Conabee says the state is hoping to entice the company to move those jobs to Utah. Politis would not say if the company has any plans to move its manufacturing, but that most of the assembly is done robotically, and could conceivably be done anywhere in the world.