A Few of the Coolest Companies to Work for in Durham

A Few of the Coolest Companies to Work for in Durham

A glimpse into four innovative downtown office spaces

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Known as the Bullpen, Duke I&E's common room features a pool table and pingpong table.
Known as the Bullpen, Duke I&E’s common room features a pool table and pingpong table.

DUKE INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP INITIATIVE (DUKE I&E)

FOUNDED 2013 • VICE PROVOST ERIC TOONE, DIRECTOR • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 25 • 15,000 SQ. FT. • 215 MORRIS ST., STE. 300 • ARCHITECT: PHILLIPS ARCHITECTURE (RALEIGH)

WHAT WE DO Known as the Bullpen, this space is the hub for all innovation and entrepreneurship activity at Duke University and features collaboration, event, meeting and classroom space as well as the Duke I&E offices.

2016_0912dukeiande0417_smallNICEST SURPRISE WITH YOUR SPACE There are wonderful surprises throughout. In a meeting room, you’ll find yourself in the presence of an antique 100-year-old fire door … in the common area, you might notice the original pipes and hoppers on the walls. Look up and see the beautiful wood and steel beams original to the building. The personality and history of the space is everywhere!

AMONG YOUR EMPLOYEE PERKS Our employees enjoy beautiful surroundings in our bright, airy, modern space. We have meeting rooms for all the various workshops, meetings and classes we host that are available to our employees. Our common area features a pool table, pingpong table, comfortable seating, collaborative space and a media wall – which is always a great place to gather during March Madness.

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SHARE SOME OF YOUR COMPANY’S CULTURE Duke I&E strives to ignite the spirit of entrepreneurship for the entire campus community and our space reflects that mission. We have a number of places to work, meet, brainstorm and take classes. The architecture – with its warm original wood floors, brick walls and modern features – make it a bright, inviting and comfortable space.

IF THERE’S ONE DRAWBACK TO YOUR OFFICE SPACE, WHAT IS IT? Our space is very open [so it] can be a little loud when a meeting or a workshop gets animated. We’re working on a plan now to improve our sound issues in the space. Our goal is to give everyone the benefits of the open floor plan with plenty of sound privacy.


Mike Robinson, success manager at ReverbNation, utilizes his standup desk.
Mike Robinson, success manager at ReverbNation, utilizes his standup desk.

REVERBNATION

FOUNDED 2006 • MIKE DOERNBERG, CEO • 17,000 SQ. FT. • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 65 • 115 N. DUKE ST., STE. 2A • ARCHITECT: CENTER STUDIO ARCHITECTURE (DURHAM)

2016_0912reverbnation0162_smallWHAT WE DO ReverbNation helps connect artists to venues, festivals, brands, publishers, labels and the fans themselves. Our career management and online marketing tools, combined with rapidly growing artists and repertoire (A&R) capabilities and industry relationships, offer emerging artists to the global music industry.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION Our office is in a great location in Brightleaf Square that is walking distance to restaurants, shops, breweries and entertainment.

AMONG YOUR EMPLOYEE PERKS We are probably the only company that is able to regularly provide employees with live performances from our artists!

SHARE SOME OF YOUR COMPANY’S CULTURE Despite [our] intensity, we believe that our people have lives outside of work. We not only respect that balance, we also believe that it’s our responsibility to support them there as well. The personality and drive of each employee makes ReverbNation a great place to work.

Customer support representatives Ryan Trauley and Sarah Schroeter stroll past the large garage door inside ReverbNation. The location housed a Studebaker dealership in the 1920s.
Customer support representatives Ryan Trauley and Sarah Schroeter stroll past the large garage door inside ReverbNation. The location housed a Studebaker dealership in the 1920s.

IF THERE IS ONE DRAWBACK TO YOUR OFFICE SPACE, WHAT IS IT? The large workstations that came with the space are not the best for the collaborative work culture [we] strive for. We’ve found other ways to get employees together and have repurposed many of our conference rooms and meeting spaces to accommodate.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR YOUR COMPANY Finding and recruiting great talent will always be an ever-present challenge for our company. The growth of Durham and the impressive list of emerging companies mean we are constantly competing for the best talent.


Smashing Boxes' Team Coordinator Joan Yabani and Quality Assurance Engineer Ebonee Farrow belly up to the bar in the office, which has craft beer on tap.
Smashing Boxes’ Team Coordinator Joan Yabani and Quality Assurance Engineer Ebonee Farrow belly up to the bar in the office, which has craft beer on tap.

SMASHING BOXES

FOUNDED 2010 • NICK JORDAN, CEO • NO. OF EMPLOYEES ON SITE: 52 (WITH PLANS TO HIRE 10 TO 15 MORE OVER THE NEXT YEAR) • 6,200 SQ. FT. • DIAMOND VIEW III, 359 BLACKWELL ST., STE 240 • ARCHITECT: ALLIANCE ARCHITECTURE (DURHAM)

WHAT WE DO A digital product agency that creates next-generation products for web, mobile and connected devices. It has offices in Durham and New Orleans.

NICEST SURPRISE WITH YOUR SPACE Our main conference room made out of storage containers and painted Smashing Pink, our brand color.

2016_0908smashingboxes103_smallAMONG YOUR EMPLOYEE PERKS Twelve weeks paid maternity leave, four weeks paid paternity leave; flexible hours and work- from-home friendly; dedicated innovation time every Friday afternoon following a catered lunch; and health and dental insurance premiums 100% covered.

SHARE SOME OF YOUR COMPANY’S CULTURE We love dogs! We even have a dog channel on Slack to celebrate them. Our break room is our kitchen, which is stocked with snacks, craft beer on tap and fresh coffee! It’s an open floor plan, so the environment is very collaborative, if at times loud and untamed! Our couches are prime real estate. We like to lounge while we work.

WHAT’S THE BEST VIEW FROM THE OFFICE? The Durham skyline.

ANY OUTDOOR SPACE AVAILABLE? No private space but all of American Tobacco Campus is our backyard.

IF THERE IS ONE DRAWBACK TO YOUR OFFICE SPACE, WHAT IS IT? No storage, argh.

Smashing Boxes' Human Resources Operations Manager Anya Fisher, Team Coordinator Joan Yabani and Growth Manager Ellen Gowdy take a break on the company's coveted couches.
Smashing Boxes’ Human Resources Operations Manager Anya Fisher, Team Coordinator Joan Yabani and Growth Manager Ellen Gowdy take a break on the company’s coveted couches.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR YOUR COMPANY Being able to accommodate our clients and team with proper meeting space! Reserving conference rooms is serious business.

HAS HB2 AFFECTED YOUR BUSINESS? Any legislation that puts limitations on human potential and hinders companies from doing business in North Carolina hurts us and the tech community at large.


Solutions Consultant Gabe Macaluso is all smiles at Bronto.
Solutions Consultant Gabe Macaluso is all smiles at Bronto.

BRONTO SOFTWARE

FOUNDED 2002 • ZACH NELSON, CEO (NETSUITE) • NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 310 (WITH PLANS TO HIRE 90 MORE OVER THE NEXT YEAR) • 50,000 SQ. FT. • WASHINGTON BUILDING, 324 BLACKWELL ST., STE. 410 • ARCHITECT: ALLIANCE ARCHITECTURE (DURHAM)

WHAT WE DO Provide a cloud-based commerce marketing automation platform to mid-market and enterprise organizations, providing them with targeted email, mobile and social marketing.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION The area has grown up around us with restaurants, DPAC, DBAP, Aloft, housing, etc. The American Tobacco Campus courtyard provides Wi-Fi, waterfalls, places to sit, to relax, concerts on Thursday, a coffee shop, eateries and lots of activities. There’s a great history and vibe associated with working in a converted tobacco warehouse.

2016_0908bronto0259_smallAMONG YOUR EMPLOYEE PERKS Bronto employees enjoy free fresh fruit, drinks and other snacks in each of our two kitchens. Bronto also offers a subsidized YMCA membership and sponsors healthy activities throughout the year, including Belly Busters, a few 5K runs and a treadmill desk. The company also organizes events with local community nonprofit partners to provide employees with ways to engage with each other while doing good work. Our annual participation rate exceeds 90%.

SHARE SOME OF YOUR COMPANY’S CULTURE One Friday of each month we gather for News & Noms, where we welcome new employees (who have to perform a Stupid Human Trick, [an odd talent of some sort]) and then have lunch from a local caterer. That afternoon, we knock off work at 4 p.m. and open a keg to relax and unwind together before heading out for the weekend. This year we brought back Assassin, a game that has Brontos chasing one another with Nerf guns over a week until only one is left standing.

THE BEST VIEW FROM THE OFFICE The balcony overlooking the inner courtyard of the American Tobacco Campus.

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Photography by Briana Brough