Three decades ago, Jack Little made a fateful decision to move his software startup from Silicon Valley to Massachusetts in search of engineering talent.
Now, the MathWorks president is looking for more talent than ever — as his company has become one of the state’s largest tech firms.
MathWorks nearly doubles its office space Monday with the opening of its new Lakeside campus in Natick, where Boston Scientific’s old headquarters once stood. About 320 employees have been there already, in an old structure. They’ll move into the new buildings right away, with another 700 scheduled to move in the fall from MathWorks’ nearby Apple Hill campus on Route 9.
MathWorks HQ had been bursting at the seams. The company employs 2,900 people in Natick today, and can now accommodate up to 5,000. Even so, executives expect the two campuses to fill up within five years.
One big reason for this success: the ever-increasing list of things that run on software, from fridges to fire engines. Engineers use MathWorks’ products to simulate how various devices will move in the real world, as part of the design process.
Another factor: how the company is run. The roughly $900-million-a-year business is consistently profitable. Little says the team never accepted outside investors, to maintain control of the company’s destiny.
MathWorks did get some outside help for the expansion: $3 million in state tax credits. At the time, it expected to invest $113 million in Lakeside. Plans to renovate Boston Scientific’s old buildings were later shelved in favor of building new, bringing the cost to nearly $250 million.
Opening Day is here, although Little is already thinking about finding more office space. After all, his new campus will be filled in five years — and he has to start planning now.Jon Chesto can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.