Electronic Tags Company Expanding Production at San Jose U.S. HQ

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Silicon Valley Business Journal

October 7, 2016

Thanks to the craft brewing movement, beer sections today offer a dizzying array of options. For a customer that wants more information than is given on a label, Thin Film Electronics ASA has a solution.

The Oslo, Norway-based company makes disposable electronic tags that are attached to items, such as food and beverage containers. With the tap of a phone, the tag will direct customers to the product’s company website that could provide additional product information like recipes, allow customers to reorder online or anything else the company .

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“(It) allows brands to level the playing field with e-commerce sites,” said Davor Sutija, Thin Film’s CEO.

The company is moving from its current 61,000 square-foot U.S. headquarters at 2065 Zanker Road, San Jose, (owned by Boston Properties) to a new 93,000-square foot facility less than a half mile away.

Their new U.S. headquarters at 2851 Junction Ave., which Thin Film has leased for 12 years, was previously occupied by Qualcomm. The company expects to fully move into the building by March 2017.

Sutija said the new space, along with the new $30 million printing line Thin Film will install, will increase annual tags production from the tens of millions to five billion. This increase is possible because the new production line will print electronic labels on rolls as long as 600 feet, compared to the one-foot long sheet the company currently uses.

In 2015, Thin Film had $4.41 million in revenue and $29.38 million in losses. The increased production levels at the new facility will allow disposable electronics to be profitable, Sutija said.

The electronic tags currently only work with near-field communication enabled Android phones. Sutija expects a majority of Android phones will have that capability in the coming years, and said clients of his have been lobbying to get Apple to open up the iPhone’s NFC capability to outside developers.

Thin Film currently has 87 employees in San Jose, and Sutija expects that number to go up to 120 in the next 18 months.

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