Saturday, October 04, 2008

Pleo Comes Home! Pleo Comes Home!
(ok, he never really left... but Ugobe is now HERE!)

As many of you know, I've had the great pleasure of working with the efforts of Eagle & Star to nurture their nascent tech corridor. Great fun - despite 7 am meetings, LOL.

One of those pleasures is working with passionate professionals like Teri Bath & Lloyd Mahaffey (not to mention a host of others who re working on Teri & Lloyd's goal of growing a more entrepreneurial region). Appended below is the press release on a nice little coup... that could become the launching pad for more... a lot more. (I love the potential for synthetic life forms as a tech niche! And the underlying science is unbelievable.)

In the Eagle team, I'm tasked on the entrepreneurship side (and you will dig at we're working on) but today the kudos are for Teri & Lloyd (and Rosemary & John & Gretchen and all the rest.

Well done, gang, well done! Proud to know ya, Norris

For immediate release:

October 3, 2008: California tech firm moves headquarters to Eagle

Ugobe, creators of the “life form” Pleo the dinosaur, will move its headquarters to Eagle, Idaho from Emeryville, Calif. – part of the first phase of the development of a new technology corridor in the southern Idaho city.

Ugobe’s move affirms the state’s “top-to-top” strategy in recruiting new businesses to Idaho. The Department of Commerce is using Idaho executives to reach out personally to targeted company executives in other states. The strategy is part of Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter’s Project 60 initiative to grow Idaho’s gross domestic product from $51.5 billion to $60 billion.

“Our best salesmen are the folks who already live, work and raise families here. They know the quality of life, the quality of our work force and the kind of business climate that appeals to those with entrepreneurial spirit,” Governor Otter said. “We’re pushing economic opportunity on a number of fronts, and I’m proud of the great example being set by the community of Eagle.”

Ugobe already has a 9,000-square-foot research and development facility in Eagle. Luring the headquarters away from the Silicon Valley is an added coup that lends credibility to Eagle as a burgeoning technology hub, said Teri Bath, president of the Eagle Chamber of Commerce.

“We already have a little cluster here and that drew Ugobe,” said Bath. “We have the infrastructure here to support it, and the quality of life that draws the employees they need.”

The move was the result of a dedicated effort by the Eagle Chamber of Commerce, the Idaho Department of Commerce and Idaho Economic Advisory Council Chairman and former Apple Computer executive; C. Lloyd Mahaffey. Business costs, workforce and quality of life were the key issues that convinced Ugobe executives to make the move.

"Pleo and our life form technology started right here in Idaho. Ugobe's headquarters were later established in Emeryville, California. As the corporate and R&D teams traveled between California and Idaho the benefits of consolidating in Eagle became apparent. The depth and loyalty of the technical workforce, the pro-business attitudes of Eagle and the state government's support for new technology made this an easy decision. We are delighted to have the international attention on Pleo being directed to Eagle, Idaho." Said John Sosoka, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Ugobe.

“This creates a solid robotics foothold in the Treasure Valley, which will spawn other companies over time,” said Mahaffey, who has also been instrumental in establishing Eagle’s wine industry. “When one company comes, others have a tendency to follow. This opens a whole new area of technology interest in the Treasure Valley that doesn’t currently exist.”

Ugobe’s Web site describes itself as a company that has blended “engineering, life sciences, philosophy, and artistic design” to create life forms that “blur the line between technology and life.” Time Magazine called Ugobe’s first product, Pleo, one of best inventions of 2006.

Pleo recently was featured in The Wall Street Journal, ABC’s Nightline, and in Wired. The Today Show called pet robots, using Pleo as an example, as one of the “top 6 tech trends of 2008.”

More information on Ugobe is at and [p.s. Don't open the Pleoworld site with short people around you, they will want you to buy them one. Hell, you'll want one yourself! ]


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