CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Monday that Chicago tech company Braintree is adding 150 more jobs to its West Loop operations.
WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports the mayor pointed out that 10 years ago, after PayPal was started in Chicago by a University of Illinois graduate, the company moved to California when its business took off.
Emanuel said that’s not happening anymore, and he pointed to PayPal rival Braintree as proof Chicago has become a more nurturing and welcoming environment for tech firms.
“Ten years ago, Braintree could not have succeeded in the city of Chicago. PayPal chose a different route. Braintree is putting their roots down deeper in the city of Chicago, with more jobs and more investment,” Emanuel said.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports
Braintree has 60 current employees in Chicago, and plans to add 40 more by year’s end. In all, the company plans to hire 150 new employees in the next few years to fill out its new West Loop offices, which can house up to 220 workers.
Silicon Valley venture capitalist Rich Wong, whose company is invested in Braintree – as well as Facebook and Chicago-based Groupon – said the city is becoming a greater hub for high-tech firms.
Wong, whose firm has invested $34 million in Braintree, said most tech companies once were clustered on the nation’s two coasts, but that’s no longer true.
“Because of what we see around us – in terms of broadband Internet, in terms of mobile, in terms of the ability to distribute through the social web – you can now start a great startup company from anywhere, and I think Chicago is an incredibly positive example of that type of critical mass,” Wong said.
Braintree’s announcement of 150 new jobs at its Canal Street offices comes on the same day Skokie-based accounting firm Reznick Group was moving its headquarters to Chicago, bringing as many as 200 jobs to the city by the end of 2015.
Emanuel, however, was offering no apologies for taking jobs from other parts of the Chicago area.
“I will always fight for people to … create jobs here in Chicago, to create headquarters, corporate headquarters here. I will fight for the city of Chicago,” the mayor said.
He also noted he’s attracted plenty of jobs to Chicago from out of state as well.