Ameritas Technologies, a startup software developer, has completed building out its downtown offices and expects to have more than 100 employees by the end of the year.
Brian Keane, Ameritas CEO, said at the Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s monthly investor luncheon that the company has fewer than 20 employees.
Keane said he recently spoke to sales staffers who said they were on track to bring enough business to require 205 employees by June 1. But Keane said he wasn’t quite as optimistic about their projections.
Ameritas announced in July that it would open its first software development and information technology office in the Chase Tower South.
The initial plans called for the company to start hiring employees in September and have a staff of 300 workers within three years.
But Keane told attendees at the BRAC luncheon that there were slight delays.
“We spent the second half of 2012 completing the build-out of our facilities,” he said.
Ameritas has lined up some clients. The plan is to focus on three industries, Keane said: financial services, which includes banking and insurance; health care, with an emphasis on the payer side; and retail.
“But we will step up if any other opportunities pop up,” he said.
The plan is to have 300 to 500 employees in Baton Rouge in the next few years.
Ameritas would like to put several similar-size centers in other markets across the U.S.
Ameritas is focusing on domestic outsourcing, providing U.S.-based information technology services for businesses.
At a time of widespread unemployment in America, there has been a backlash against outsourcing information technology jobs to India and Russia, Keane said.
“We deal with Fortune 1000 companies and they are increasingly dissatisfied with the quality of service they are getting,” he said. “They realize there’s a better way.”
The incentives offered by the state, including the digital media tax credits, make Ameritas competitive with offshore IT firms.
But in order to make Ameritas really competitive, Keane said, the U.S. needs to put a greater emphasis on science, technology and math education in grades kindergarten through 12.
He said computer science courses should be a part of a K-12 curriculum, just like foreign languages are.