So we’ve slobbered a bit over Red Ventures here on C5. How can you not love a company that sends hundreds of employees on exotic celebratory vacations every year or recruits some of the best young talent in the country?
— Red Ventures (@RedVentures) January 21, 2015
So, we wanted to learn more and got ourselves a tour.
What does Red Ventures do exactly?
The New York Times has called it “the greatest company you’ve never heard about.” In a nutshell, this is what it does: Data-driven direct marketing. For clients such as Direct TV, ADT Security, Verizon and MetLife, it aggressively gets new customers using data to change marketing messages quickly and effectively. It’s clearly successful: It’s valued at $1 billion.
Like Silicon Valley, Red Ventures is sort of in the middle of nowhere: Head south down Park Road, which turns into Johnston Road, go through Ballantyne, keep going south on what’s now U.S. 521, go past the Foxhole county dump, go over the state line, pass the Walmart and take a left into a pretty non-descript corporate park. The road is named Red Ventures Drive, but there’s no big sign. It’s actually in Indian Trail.
Drive down the Red Ventures Lane and then wham. It’s like a building out of some futuristic movie.
The start-up checklist
The three-building RV campus is ripped from the Silicon Valley handbook:
(1) Open work space where fun is appreciated. Note the beach umbrellas. I heard a few celebrations going on among pods. Apparently employees get shifted around a lot, to freshen up their experience. The guy leading our tour has moved 11 times in four years.
(2) Cool conference rooms. Made of glass, often scribbled upon with notes. They have names like the attic, the garage, the deck, with decor to match. This is from a forest-themed room; the table is made from an old North Carolina tree that was getting taken out (environmentally sensitive!).
(3) Creative breaks: Ping pong, basketball hoops, funky seating spaces.
(4) Athletic facilities, including gym (CEO Ric Elias’s office is located off the basketball court), spinning room, yoga room, locker rooms. The Hornets will sometimes train in their gym.
(5) The insane additions, including a bowling alley with Red Ventures-branded balls and a beer garden. Friday afternoons is happy hour with local craft beers. Wha what?
(6) Great food, and it’s subsidized. The folks who run Ilios Noche run the food out here. You have a cafe option or a food court with sushi, coffee bar, paninis, street tacos. Nothing is more than $5. The special the day we visited: grilled sirloin. $5. There are also small kitchens everywhere with free Keurig cups.
(7) Big meeting space and major events. Every month, anybody in the company is welcome to attend a business review, where you can learn how the company is doing and talk strategy. Our tour guide called it free business school. More than 200 show up each month.
In addition, RV hosts Red Talks, their version of Ted Talks. Recently, NYT-best selling motivational speaker Don Yaeger spoke. Everybody stands around these blue stairs for big company meetings and Red Talks.
Almost as cool at C5’s headquarters.