Numerous members of OC’s software community have had breakout years in terms of valuations, funding deals and M&A transactions, but that exuberance wasn’t reflected in local worker growth.
The 26 largest software companies with operations here employ about 8,500 people locally, according to Business Journal data. That’s down about 1% from year-ago levels.
This week’s list includes firms with at least 100 area employees.
A reflection of OC’s standing as a great place for tech startups and emerging forces, if not large and established software giants: only two on the list, online video game-maker Blizzard Entertainment and IBM, have more than 1,000 workers in the area.
Alteryx Inc. grew its local workforce fastest since last year—24% to 260, good for the No. 10 spot.
Even with a high-profile round of layoffs announced early this year, Blizzard still tops the list with the most employees—about 1,800 workers are estimated to be at its sprawling Irvine Spectrum campus.
Announced cuts at the maker of “Overwatch,” “World of Warcraft,” and other popular titles single-handedly pushed the cumulative job growth on the list from positive to negative.
Without Blizzard factored in, the remaining 25 on the list saw nearly 2% job growth.
A third area notable, Cylance, clocked in at No. 5, with about 380 workers, according to Business Journal estimates, as Canada-based BlackBerry bought it earlier this year. The division, which has remained in Irvine, is known as BlackBerry Cylance and appears to be growing locally still.
The Irvine triumvirate continues to make news and noise, or declined to comment on such things, in several ways.
Alteryx hit a 52-week high last week, ticking a dime above $143 a share and topping $9 billion in market cap. The data analytics darling went public in March 2017 at $14 and an $840 million valuation, heading heavenward since.
Chief Executive Dean Stoecker said last month its torrid pace means “we’re adding a lot of heads.”
The balance of the company’s almost 1,100 employees is located in offices outside Orange County. Alteryx has 18 offices around the globe, including New York, London, and Singapore.
More growth is likely: Alteryx (NYSE: AYX) recently raised $800 million via a note offering that it said could fund acquisitions and additional expansion, though it noted no deals to date.
A $10 billion valuation is about 10% distant as of mid-last week.
That puts Alteryx in rarefied air.
Just three companies headquartered here top $10 billion in market cap: heart valve maker Edwards Lifesciences Corp., fast casual restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., and health facilities REIT HCP Inc.
A fifth firm, the $37 billion market cap game maker Activision Blizzard, is based in Santa Monica but the second half of its corporate name keeps most of its employees here.
Chatter from everywhere but its local environs is that a new version of its popular “Diablo” franchise—the last came in 2012—is on the way.
Barron’s, quoting a Bank of America analyst, hinted it could arrive in time for BlizzCon, the company’s annual gamer confab at Anaheim Convention Center in November.
Earlier this year, scuttlebutt on gamer-focused websites suggested a new version of another Blizzard franchise, Overwatch, is in the pipeline.
Activision Blizzard has been shuffling its employment ranks: cutting 8% or 800 workers from companywide totals, according to a February conference call.
Nearly 200 people in Irvine were affected by the cuts.
Three months later it said it planned to boost developer headcount on Diablo, Overwatch and World of Warcraft, according to company comments on a May conference call.
A time frame wasn’t disclosed, but that growth was reiterated early this month. “We’re expanding our development teams and resources so that we can accelerate the delivery of content in our pipeline and pursue new business models,” Activision President Coddy Johnson told analysts this month.
Cylance, meantime, brought in $51 million in non-GAAP quarterly revenue for BlackBerry, according to its new owner’s latest earnings report in June, about a fifth of the Canada firm’s total.
That was a 31% increase for the OC operations, though BlackBerry’s overall results were panned at the time, and analysts dinged it for using non-GAAP figures.
Cylance’s artificial intelligence-driven software protects some 15 million internet-capable computer hardware devices for more than 3,500 corporate subscribers; the latter number a 30% year-over-year increase.
D.A. Davidson Senior Research Analyst Rishi Jaluria called Cylance “a bright spot [on the] earnings report … integration is going well” with Cylance key to “BlackBerry’s pivot to more software and services.”
Cylance said it plans to debut new cybersecurity offerings this year in a software subsector taking on growing importance (see related stories, pages 20 and 22).
The second-largest percentage increase on the list was by No. 11 Irvine-based Acorns Grow Inc., a micro-investing app that has been moving toward wider involvement in general finance.
Acorn grew its local employee count 20% to 240.
Third-fastest growth here was at Irvine-based vehicle software and telematics provider CalAmp Corp. (Nasdaq: CAMP), which increased its local worker base 18% to 111, and ranked No. 26.
Other than Blizzard, the biggest decline was at No. 12 Aliso Viejo-based Quest Software, where employee numbers dipped 15% to 225.