KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City metro continues to stake its claim as a tech leader. Another West Coast technology company has announced plans to relocate to the Midwest.
California-based Scollar makes high-tech “smart collars” for dogs and cats. On Thursday morning, leaders unveiled their intention to move to downtown Kansas City.
CEO Lisa Tamayo told FOX4 the company wants to establish its headquarters in the Downtown Plexpod and hire as many as 200 employees.
Scollar moves to the metro from Silicon Valley. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson was among the business leaders welcoming Scollar at a Thursday morning event at Bar K, a dog-friendly eatery that sits near Kansas City’s Riverport.
Scollar provided video which shows their smart dog collars in action. The “smart collars,” when worn by the user’s dog or cat, can help track lost animals, and by syncing with a smartphone app, it can relay health-based information to a family’s veterinarian.
Tamayo said her company’s leaders began considering Kansas City last summer, and the metro’s investments in animal health and the tech industry convinced Scollar to move.
“We’re going to need a very high-tech workforce,” Tamayo said Thursday.
“Sixty percent of the animal health companies in the world are here. There’s over 400 companies. There’s a very collaborative group of people that have been redeveloping Kansas City. We’re a collaborative company,” she said.
Tamayo said the metro’s millennial workforce presents opportunities for long-term hires. Scollar’s leader said the company was frustrated by the ever-growing cost of doing business in Northern California, and by a local workforce in the Bay Area that seems to unpredictably hop from job-to-job.
“One thing we’ve heard about Kansas City is that when they come to a company, they stay for a lot longer. We’re going to bring some of that tech sensibility with us and mesh ourselves in the community,” Tamayo told FOX4.
“We’ve always had some capacity, and we’re building on that capacity. People in Silicon Valley and Boston and other places now know that we’re in the game. If we’re in the game, that means there’s more opportunities. We just have to continue to build our workforce and we’ll be fine,” Kansas City Mayor Sly James said.
Parson said being in the center of the United States is making Kansas City attractive to firms that are interested in relocating. The central location, according to the governor, makes shipping costs more affordable for the companies, and the cost of living in the Midwest is more attractive to prospective workers.
“If I can get companies to come here, they’ll stay here,” Parson said, addressing the small crowd assembled at Bar K.
“It’s what we’re trying to in the state of Missouri, preparing those young kids to make sure they know what science, technology, engineering and math is,” he said. “This is a perfect example of those companies. This is just on the pet owners side of it, which is growing every day.”
Tamayo said Scollar is also working on a smart collar that can be used for larger animals on farms and ranches.