RALEIGH Intelerad Medical Systems is expanding its presence in the Triangle.  So much so, the company plans to officially establish its United States headquarters in Raleigh by the end of the year.

The Canadian company, which already employs some 85 people in the Triangle, including 15 employees who joined the firm after Intelerad acquired Triangle-based HeartIT in July, plans to establish a physical office location in Raleigh and is currently hiring about 25 additional positions.

WRAL TechWire’s Jason Parker interviewed Mike Lipps, the company’s CEO, earlier this week, discussing the company’s growth strategy and why it chose Raleigh to establish its U.S. headquarters.

Lipps was previously the CEO for insightsoftware and before that, an executive at LexisNexis.  Raleigh-headquartered insightsoftware was backed by the private equity firm TA Associates in 2018, and has now acquired some 20 companies, including acquisitions overseen by Lipps. Recently, insightsoftware received an $800 million investment from Hg Capital, the same firm that acquired Intelerad Medical Systems about a year ago.

A transcript, lightly edited, appears below the video interview, which was conducted via Zoom.

Jason Parker, WRAL TechWire (TW): Would you provide us a background on the company’s existing relationship with Raleigh? 

Mike Lipps, CEO of Intelerad Medical Systems (ML): Intelerad Medical Systems is a 20-year old medical imaging software company born in Montreal, Quebec.  A year or so ago, it was acquired by Hg Capital and one other investor.  They asked me to come on and run the company.  One of the parts of the strategy was to move, to create a U.S. headquarters here, in the United States, given that is the largest opportunity going forward, in terms of markets.  When they started talking to me about it, started talking about where in the U.S. would be the right place for headquarters, and it was a pretty easy decision that it would be Raleigh.

I’ve been here for the last 10 years and been fortunate enough to be a part of two different companies that scaled dramatically in the Triangle, because of the talent, the cost of living, and all the other benefits of being here.  It was the right, easy choice to be here for Intelerad.

TW: The company currently already employs about 60, including the staff that joined the company after a recent acquisition of Triangle-based HeartIT in July.  What is the company’s plan for the region and for its future here? 

ML: It’s one of the strange artifacts of building a company, or moving or changing a company during COVID, that we started hiring employees in Raleigh, literally, at the end of 2020.  We’ve now hired 70 employees, and as you’ve noted, with the acquisition of HeartIT in Durham in July of this year, we’ve added another 15.  We’re closing in on almost 100 employees here today, with another 25 roles open here today.  We’d expect to double the size of our Raleigh base over the next 12-18 months, so it’s fairly rapid growth.  We’re a company that grows both organically, and via acquisition.  We have completed six acquisitions over the last 14-15 months.  What we expect to see is that Raleigh will become the focal point for all of our U.S. customers.  We’ll have a number of roles here, going forward.

TW: You’re projecting to continue to hire here locally.  What’s the talent market like in the Triangle, during the time that you’ve been hiring, and where we are today?

ML: I was born and raised in and started my career in Silicon Valley, so I’ve only ever been in software.  You’re used to very competitive markets, and I’ve been fond of saying in the past, “Where else would you want to be?”  You’ve got to be where the talent is, and ultimately, you’ve got to create a great company, a great environment, and a great culture to be able to compete successfully for that talent.  You’re seeing that in Raleigh and in the greater Triangle market today.  First of all, it’s a great, great location for technology talent, and the state partnered with private enterprise has created a great environment for companies like Intelerad to come in here and be successful.

What we’ve seen in the last six months or so is an increase in competition for that great technology talent, and that’s something that we’re excited about participating in as we grow.

Canadian firm acquires Triangle-based HeartIT, looks to add as many as 100 jobs

TW: Specifically, why did Intelerad choose Raleigh?  You were based here, but it sounds like there were other factors as well.

ML: My experience with the Research Triangle market and familiarity with the quality of talent is a significant factor in us selecting Raleigh.  Ultimately, we see this as a great place for us to build a large and dynamic employee base.  We see it as great access to the eastern part of the United States, where we have a number of companies and customers that we serve.  Ultimately, it’s that combination of the quality of talent, the cost of living, and the employee experience that they’ll get from living in the Triangle that we thought was really difficult to beat anywhere else in the United States?

TW: Does the company already have an office facility in the Triangle, or are you in the process of opening one?

ML: We are in the final stages of selecting one, and expect to make that announcement between now and the end of the year.  Originally, our timeframe was to open something in the second half of 2021, but with the rise of Delta over the summer, that put a little delay on things.

We’re continuing to hire, and we’ll continue to hire in Raleigh, and we’ve already declared that while there are a number of great locations across the Triangle, we expect to be in Raleigh, specifically, and we’ll make that announcement in the next 4-6 weeks.

TW: Were any economic development grants, state or local, a part of this decision?

ML: They were not, no.

TW: Do you have a specific job target in mind, by the end of 2022?

ML: We have another 25-plus roles that are specific to Raleigh, and a number of other roles that we could hire anywhere in the U.S. and where Raleigh could be an option.  While not having a specific target for the end of 2022, what I would expect from us, is that if we’re roughly 85 employees today, I would expect us to be roughly double that number, 150-175, by the end of 2022?

TW: What else is important to note?

ML: We’ve talked about the key ones.  For Intelerad, as a company that endeavors to be the world leader in medical image software management, being in the Raleigh-Triangle area, with great access to technology and the healthcare locations and companies that are here.  Ultimately, it proved to be a great, great choice for us.  We’re looking to partner with a number of folks as we go forward.