Inside New Engen’s new digs: Seattle marketing startup doubles office space amidst rapid growth

New Engen CEO Dave Atchison. (GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy)

New Engen spent more than two years in the shadows honing its digital marketing platforms, before pulling back the curtain on its plans earlier this year. Now the Seattle startup, which has already raised close to $11 million, has opened the doors on a new office space for its growing workforce.

The company, helmed by ex-Zulily employees, recently moved into a new office at the Fourth & Blanchard Building, taking over space recently vacated by PopCap Games. Because of that, it was already pretty well set up for a tech company.

(GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy)

New Engen has 150 total employees, and about 120 of them are in Seattle. The others are spread across offices in New York, Charlotte and Dallas.

The new office — all of the fifth and seventh floors of the building — totals about 35,000 square feet, more than double the company’s old space. It has room for close to 300 people, and if New Engen’s growth is any indication the office will be filled up sooner rather than later. New Engen CEO David Atchison said the company doubled its headcount in 2018 and tripled its growth.

(GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy)

New Engen builds software to help marketers find and acquire new customers. New Engen measures its customers’ return on investments on ads and marketing campaigns on a variety of platforms, including Facebook, Google, Instagram, YouTube, Bing, Snap and Amazon. New Engen’s technology relies on artificial intelligence and machine learning, but Atchison insists that the company isn’t trying to replace humans.

“It’s machine learning plus human learning, and both, together, create what’s powerful,” Atchison said. “One without the other isn’t so helpful.”

All the office dogs at New Engen. (GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy)

Atchison, former senior vice president of marketing and analytics for Zulily, started the company after seeing first-hand how hard marketing can be as a company grows. He saw an opportunity for a company that solves the problem of getting the best bang for buck out of a marketing budget as a company gets bigger.

New Engen’s other leaders are President and Co-Founder Justin Hayashi, former director of customer acquisition marketing for Zulily; and Chief Engineer and Co-Founder Jean-Guy Speton, formerly a senior software engineer at Zulily.

Despite attracting key customers like Walmart, The Hershey Co., Urban Outfitters and Universal Music Group, and rising to number 110 on the GeekWire 200 ranking of top Pacific Northwest startups, this is the first time the company has had a long-term home. Before this, it worked out of a three-story building that is slated to be demolished to make way for a new high rise project in the Pioneer Square neighborhood.

New Engen CEO Dave Atchison calls these TVs hooked up to Zoom Cameras a personal project to help remote office stay connected. (GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy)
(GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy)

In order to communicate with New Engen’s outposts, there are a series of TVs on wheels equipped with Zoom cameras dispersed throughout its new office. Atchison said this is a personal project of his, and he hopes it will connect the offices to the point that folks in one location will hear others cheering key accomplishments or join in on happy birthday celebrations.

In contrast to that very public setup to foster more collaboration, New Engine is also home to several Zenbooths, which start at $5,000 each and are soundproof. The major innovation with these, says Atchison, is a ventilation system that lets air in, which is key because privacy booths tend to get very hot.

A row of Zenbooths help employees do work that requires a lot of concentration. (GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy)

New Engen’s new office is just down the block from Amazon, which has in recent years become an advertising powerhouse. In July, Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky disclosed that advertising has become a multi-billion dollar business for the tech giant.

Amazon’s huge e-commerce network and lead in the cloud computing business puts it in a good spot as it chases fellow tech giants Amazon and Google in the digital advertising realm.

“They’re one of the only companies in the world that doesn’t have to focus on new customers, because they have every customer,” Atchison said.

The New Engen office Lego board. (GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy)

It’s certainly an interesting time to be in advertising. There’s a lot of attention on how tech giants, specifically Facebook, are handling third-party data.

Atchison previously told GeekWire that the model of advertisers and marketers knowing everything about their customers is going to have to change at some point. When it does, Atchison says, New Engen will be fine because it doesn’t need a ton of customer data to thrive.

“We try to take the angle that we want to perform, or be able to acquire customers, when we know nothing about them. And so that doesn’t require any tracking, or audience buying. We want to win with our machine learning and models when it’s just a blank slate.”