Zoom to open R&D outpost in Pittsburgh

    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18: Zoom founder Eric Yuan poses in front of the Nasdaq building as the screen shows the logo of the video-conferencing software company Zoom after the opening bell ceremony on April 18, 2019 in New York City. The video-conferencing software company announced it's IPO priced at $36 per share, at an estimated value of $9.2 billion. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

    PITTSBURGH — Zoom is opening two research and development centers, one in Pittsburgh and one in Phoenix, Arizona, the company announced Thursday. 

    The videoconferencing behemoth plans to hire up to 500 software engineers between the two cities “in the next few years,” and is looking for space in Pittsburgh near Carnegie Mellon University. 

    “Both Phoenix and Pittsburgh have incredibly well-educated, skilled, and diverse talent pools that are well-positioned to help support Zoom’s ongoing growth and continued success,” Zoom CEO Eric S. Yuan said in a statement. 

    Mark Anthony Thomas, president of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, said the announcement highlights Pittsburgh’s reputation as a technology hub.

     “Being selected by Zoom as one of two U.S. engineering hub expansion sites endorses the region as a top destination to recruit, attract and invest in specialized tech talent and expertise,” Thomas said. 

    Zoom usage has exploded during the coronavirus pandemic, with people working, schooling and socializing from home. 

    In December it had 10 million daily meeting participants; as of April 22 that figure was up to 300 million. 

    The company has dealt with some privacy concerns, including the practice of Zoombombing, when someone crashes a videoconference uninvited.

    Zoom said new employees will work from home until the new offices are built and stay-at-home orders have been lifted, likely sometime in the fall. 

    Correspondent Kim Lyons covers Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania for the Capital-Star. Follow her on Twitter @SocialKimLy.