RALEIGH — Bandwidth has helped fuel work from home by supporting big clients like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, but chief executive David Morken says he wants his 1,000 Raleigh-based employees to work in person five days a week.
“We’re often described as the phone company of Silicon Valley,” Morken said Monday. “What we do is we provide the phone numbers that people use to dial into those conferences, and we connect you to those conferences so you can join.”
Morken said the continued growth of his business depends on creativity that can only be achieved with in-person collaboration.
“To win and continue to serve more and more people, we have to be creative,” he said. “We are a challenger company competing against Verizon, AT&T, Century Link/Lumen. We have to be creative. The creative spark occurs when we are present [and] right now, and your presence is precious.
On Monday, Bandwidth opened its new $100 million campus on a 40-acre property at 2201 Edwards Mill Road.
The plan includes two five-story buildings covering a combined area of 450,000 square feet. Beyond that, the campus will include an Olympic-sized soccer field, basketball court, walking paths, amphitheater, and gym facilities.
“The bar has been raised to return to full-time in-person work. We’re raising the bar,” Morken said. “We are committed to a culture that includes a 90-minute workout lunch and intramural sports.”
“It gives people a space to have a good work-life balance at work,” said Bandwidth Vice President Judy Covington.
But it’s an on-site Montessori school for employees’ children up to age 5 — at no cost to employees — that Morken calls the beating heart of the head office project.
“What we’re saying is that we believe the future work environment should welcome those who are starting a family,” he said.
“There are a lot of new parents here at Bandwidth and a lot of people in that age group who are thinking of having kids and are very excited about the kind of school this is and to be close of their working children,” Covington mentioned. “Having this option available and free is always good.”
The real estate division of Capitol Broadcasting Co., the parent company of WRAL News and WRAL TechWire, is part of the project’s development team.
Bandwidth Inc. (BAND) was founded in 1999 and went public in 2017, valued at approximately $300 million. In 2019, the software communication company was valued at $2 billion.
Last year, Bandwidth acquired Voxbone, another software communications player, which offers the company’s services in 60 countries.
The 1,000 Raleigh-based employees are currently spread across three buildings on North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus. The new global headquarters offers space for 2,500 workstations.
Morken said 200 jobs have been added each year in recent years, and he expects job growth to continue at a similar rate in years to come.
“What has changed is that we now serve the whole world,” he said.
Construction of the new campus is expected to be completed in 2023.