By LAURA LOREK
Founder of Silicon Hills News
SPOT is locating its customer service center in a 27,000 square foot building at 6800 Burleson Road in the Bergstrom Technology Center.
The center will house about 140 customer service employees initially. The company plans to hire 125 of those agents immediately.
SPOT is going to provide the technical and customer support for Nest Labs thermostat known as the Nest Learning Thermostat.
Nest Labs has 300 employees in California. Austin is one of the top markets for Nest’s thermostat. Texas, overall, is the largest market for its smart thermostats, which save energy and adjust appliances in the home according to the consumer’s needs, said Mark Wilhelm, the company’s director of customer support.
Nest currently has two employees in Austin, Wilhelm said. He said by the end of the year, the call center could have as many as 150 employees with 80 percent of them being employed by SPOT and another 20 percent being employed by Nest. The jobs pay between $10 to $20 an hour, Wilhelm said.
Nest looked at ten other cities before selecting Austin as the site for its center, Wilhelm said.
Nest Labs has participated in the Pecan Street Project, a research and development organization focused on clean energy products and services.
“As Nest prepared to bring its signature product to market, Pecan Street conducted research utilizing the Nest Learning Thermostat to measure the effectiveness of set and forget smart thermostats, with Austin households at the Mueller Development,” according to the Chamber.
The new center can hold up to 250 employees, said Alton Martin, CEO of SPOT Consulting. He plans to contract with other technology companies doing work in the smart appliances area to hire additional employees, he said.
The Austin Chamber of Commerce and the Pike Powers Lab, a non-profit smart grid research lab, worked with Nest to bring the jobs to Austin, said Lew Little, its chairman.
Nest Lab’s expansion in Austin is the latest of a string of companies to move to Austin from California, Little said. In the past year, 15 companies have expanded or relocated here including Visa, Apple, Dropbox, Resignation Media and HID Global.