California's Competitiveness

California’s Competitiveness: Two More Bay Area Companies Move Headquarters Out of State

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Two San Francisco Bay Area companies this week announced they are moving their headquarters out of California.

XOJet, a private aviation company founded in Brisbane in 2006, is moving its home office to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, while technology company QuestionPro is moving its headquarters from San Francisco to Austin, Texas.

The San Francisco Business Times reported that XOJet was “once one of the Bay Area’s largest private companies before it was acquired in 2018.”

The company is subleasing 25,775 square feet on the top floor of an office building near the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. The company plans to hire 150 people in Fort Lauderdale.

In 2018, XOJet ranked No. 30 on the San Francisco Business Times’ list of largest Bay Area private companies, reporting revenue between $400 million and $500 million in 2017. At the time, the company said it had 32 Bay Area employees and 365 companywide.

The company was purchased by Dubai-based Vista Global in 2018. Last April, Vista Global announced plans to buy Fort Lauderdale-based JetSmarter. In June, Vista created the XO brand, combining XOJet’s operational expertise with JetSmarter’s technology.

QuestionPro founder and Chief Executive Officer Vivek Bhaskaran said he is moving the company to Texas because he needs to hire more employees, and doing so would be too costly in San Francisco.

“We need to be in a city where we can scale and grow,” Bhaskaran told the Business Times. “The Bay Area is too high-priced.”

The CEO said if employees’ rents are going up at 10 percent, they need a similar increase in pay.

“We are beginning to scale the team, and we can’t scale at these rates,” Bhaskaran said. “The economics of the Bay Area are not sustainable. The Bay Area has nicer weather, there’s no question about that. But economically, we could not make it work.”

The company had about 20 employees at its San Francisco headquarters on Market Street. With the move to Austin, it plans to grow its workforce to 100. Many of the California employees are moving to Texas, the company said.

Jason Gardner, chief executive officer of Oakland company Marqeta, told the Business Times that his company me this week that his company will open an office in another city as it seeks to boost its workforce from 370 to close to 500 by the end of the year. (Source: San Francisco Business Times, January 28.).