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Specialized electronics manufacturer grows rapidly in Bend

Apricity, an obscure word from the 1600s, means the warmth of the sun in winter. While the term never quite caught on, an electronics company in Bend with that name seems to be doing so.

Gabe Ayers had worked as an energy research engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory for five years before he went out on his own, continuing to work on some of his pre-existing defense contracts. He founded Apricity in 2015 in Jackson Hole, Wyo., moved to Bend in 2017, and got a desk at BendTECH, the entrepreneurial coworking hub. “I saw there was a tech community—a landing pad,” he said.

The company develops embedded circuit boards, firmware, accompanying software, plastics and enclosures for electronics. Now with eighteen employees and a 4,000-square-foot space in NorthWest Crossing, the company is poised for more success.

Ayers anticipates the staff will grow to twenty-five employees by the end of the year. Even so, he stresses that the company doesn’t focus on growth in the way of a traditional startup.

“We have no external investment; we have no debt,” he said. “We’ll grow as we continue to increase our client base, but there’s no speculative growth.” That allows them to remain nimble and adjust the engineering team on projects without being top-heavy with project managers. The team is working on twenty to thirty projects at any given time and completes them in a fraction of the time as competitors, he said.

For example, creating an electronics product typically takes nine to twelve months, from inception to hitting the market. Apricity did one in ten weeks last summer, from the first phone call to finish — the plastics, circuit board design, firmware and cloud code, plus securing safety certification and Federal Communications Commission approval.

“We have strong business partnerships with people in the industry, and we haven’t been around that long, but we move fast, do good work, and everyone that works with us is happy and comes back,” he said.

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