Consumer electronics firm Tile taps Vancouver as new engineering hub

Tile's devices slip into accessories like wallets or can be embedded in other products such as headphones | submitted

What happened: Tile, Inc. is establishing a new engineering office in Vancouver

Why it matters: It’s the first major expansion for the American tech company outside of its headquarters in the Silicon Valley

American tech company Tile, Inc. — known for devices that help people find their belongings — has just found its first office outside the U.S.

The consumer electronics firm announced Wednesday (May 29) it’s picked Vancouver to become home to its new software engineering hub.

It’s Tile’s first major office to open outside of its Silicon Valley headquarters.

The company has hired a head of engineering and a number of backend engineers for the Vancouver hub for the initial presence in B.C.

Tile is known for building small, Bluetooth-enabled devices that users can slip into wallets and bags, or else attach to keychains, to keep track of their belongings.

It also specializes in embedding its technology in other consumer electronics, such as Bose and Skullcandy headphones.

The company previously struck a deal with Vancouver-based backpack and accessories manufacturer Herschel Supply Co. to create a collection of wallets and other accessories fitted with Tile’s devices.

As for the new Vancouver office, the tech firm is likely to expand to about 20 workers in the next 18-24 months, according to Tile chief experience officer Simon Fleming-Wood.

“Ultimately it’s going to be a little bit organic in the sense of how quickly we can build that team and how much talent we can acquire. But from our perspective we don’t see any real upper bounds to how big we want that office to be,” said Fleming-Wood, who is based at the company’s California headquarters but originally hails from Toronto.

“This is going to be our main engineering hub for our backend over time and … we think of this as a really core part of our company as opposed to a peripheral tech setup.”

Tile currently employs about 100 workers and growth in the Vancouver hub will depend on how quickly the company can scale in the coming years, he told Business in Vancouver.

"With the launch of our new office, we expect to accelerate the pace of innovation and our leadership in the market," Tile CEO CJ Prober, a Canadian by way of Winnipeg, said in a statement.

"It’s no secret that Canada is booming as a global tech hub, so expanding here aligns perfectly with our plan to add more Tile-embedded partners and app-based solutions.”

The company said in a press release that Canada is one of its leading markets, with a 135% sales increase over the past two years.

torton@biv.com

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