One hundred, and counting.
That's how many employees Bak USA has hired, less than three years after the mobile computer maker opened its doors in Buffalo as a "social enterprise" designed to both create jobs and benefit society.
The company announced Wednesday that it had surpassed its original employment target, which it said demonstrated the potential of new technology companies in the Buffalo Niagara region. It hired its most recent employees — a group of four production technicians from Iraq, Buffalo, New York City and Brooklyn — in early January.
“This is a major accomplishment,” said Eva Bak, the company's vice president of people. “The fact that we are now more than 100 employees strong is a testament not only to the success of our business model but to the strength of our corporate culture.”
Based at McGuire Development Co.'s Compass East building on Michigan Avenue in downtown Buffalo, Bak USA makes low-cost tablet and laptop computers, particularly for use in schools.
The company, which opened in January 2015, launched new models of its Atlas laptop and Seal tablet last year, after announcing a major retail partnership with Microsoft Corp. and an additional $10 million investment from Rochester investor B. Thomas Golisano, who had already owned half the company before. Bak has already reached $5 million in sales to more than 400 schools nationwide, and Golisano's investment included a new jobs target of 267 employees. The company also expanded its physical presence at Compass East.
“Buffalo is a wonderful place to launch and grow a business,” said company President Ulla Bak. “The community welcomed us warmly and we’ve enjoyed strong support from the moment we opened our doors.”
Bak USA focuses on creating jobs for workers from communities that are underrepresented in the workforce, and especially in technology fields. Today, the company's employees represent 14 different nationalities and speak more than 25 languages.
“Our team includes more than 100 people from all over the world who represent many different cultures,” Eva Bak said. “We’ve created a very close-knit group of people who treat one another like family. I think that’s incredibly powerful, especially when you look at everything happening in the world.”