originally appeared in The San Jose Mercury News:
FICO, the company that invented the credit score, is moving its headquarters from Minneapolis to San Jose to be closer to Silicon Valley's engineering talent pool.
The company's spokeswoman confirmed the move Thursday. The company already has 90 people in San Jose.
The move is another testimonial to the drawing power of the valley's expanding base of companies involved in cloud computing and "big data" -- the analysis of large troves of data collected by computers. There's a brisk competition for employees skilled in those fields.
With the big boom around big data analytics and a significant talent pool in Silicon Valley, this is really a great place to be headquartered, she said.
FICO's president and chief executive officer joined the company last January and already works at the San Jose office.
Operating from our base in Silicon Valley, we can more readily build upon our company's deep talent pool, collaborate with other big thinkers in the world's premier technology hub, and provide our customers worldwide with powerful innovations that will help them compete more effectively in the era of Big Data, according to their president.
A new headquarters is under construction near Mineta San Jose International Airport. The company said the office, which will be completed in February, will become an innovation and development hub in the heart of Silicon Valley.
The company is returning to the area where it was founded more than 50 years ago. We view this move as a homecoming, he said.
FICO was started in 1956 as Fair, Isaac by engineer Bill Fair and mathematician Earl Isaac, who met while working at Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park. Its first headquarters was in San Rafael, where there is still an office, but the headquarters was later moved to Minneapolis.
While the name FICO is associated with the credit score by that name, the company is not a credit-rating agency. Instead, it licenses its credit scoring algorithm and formula to other credit rating agencies.
The company says its decision management technology is used by thousands of companies in more than 90 countries to target and acquire customers and to reduce fraud.
A FICO product, Falcon Fraud Manager, is used by credit card companies to screen for payment fraud. A separate product, Insurance Fraud Manager, screens for fraudulent insurance claims. The analytics are used to determine whether a claim or charge is legitimate.
About 2 billion credit and debit cards are protected by Falcon, according to the company. Falcon screens about 9,000 transactions per second or about 24 billion transactions per month.
A leader in the growing field of analytics, FICO exemplifies the type of innovation that makes San Jose the capital of Silicon Valley. By returning to its roots in Silicon Valley, FICO will have greater access to talent as well as global business and technology partners, San Jose' Mayor said in a statement.
FICO went public in 1987 and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
The company has 2,300 employees worldwide.