Red Ventures to hire 580 workers, aims to spin off tech startups

Red Ventures, the fast-growing Internet marketing firm, announced Monday that it’s expanding again – this time hiring 580 workers and making plans to spin off tech startups.

Gov. Pat McCrory announced the plans Monday morning at the company’s offices in University Research Park.

“It’s going to be one of the great reasons why our unemployment rate in North Carolina continues to decrease,” he said.

Red Ventures handles inbound customer calls for firms such as Verizon and DirectTV. It also makes websites for companies and helps market their products.

Officials said the company, with about 2,000 employees, has grown by about 30 percent annually for the past few years. Co-founder Ric Elias said the company’s growth since its launch in 2000 “is nothing short of unbelievable.”

Its Indian Land, S.C., campus is undergoing a 180,000-square-foot expansion set for completion in May, and its University Research Park office, which opened last year, has plenty of room for growth, McCrory said.

Elias said that in the next couple of years, the company expects to spin off stand-alone startups to outside investors. McCrory said Red Ventures hopes to compete on the tech scene nationally, against bigger competitors in places such as Silicon Valley, Boston and Austin, Texas.

Elias said the private firm has no interest in going public.

“I would love to have 25 startups come out of Red Ventures and our alumni over the next decade,” he said. “We’re going to compete with the best companies in the country in attracting and retaining the best talent.”

He said the new jobs will involve everything from analytics and Internet technology positions to sales managers.

Red Ventures has said it had a net increase of 400 jobs in the region last year as it landed deals with AT&T, National General Insurance and Verizon.

It has previously said it plans to shut down operations in San Antonio and Miami, moving about 280 jobs to the Charlotte area. Red Ventures Chief Financial Officer Mark Brodsky said most of the jobs announced Monday will come in addition to the 280 being moved from other cities.

The state is chipping in $3.2 million in Job Development Investment grants to help with the expansion, but no city or county incentives were included.

McCrory said Elias was one of the business leaders who helped convince him of the need to lower North Carolina’s corporate taxes.

The governor said Elias told him more than a year ago that his taxes were 2 percent lower in South Carolina. McCrory signed legislation last year that moves the corporate tax rate from 6.9 percent to 6 percent in 2014 and 5 percent in 2015. Future decreases will depend on the state meeting certain revenue targets.