The new headquarters complex that broke ground Monday at the N.C. Music Factory is exciting, but the dollar figure now attached to the company behind it is even more eye-popping. AvidXChange is now clearly the next big homegrown player in Charlotte.
In the coming 15 months, the big parking lot by VBGB and Mattie’s Diner will become a six-story, 200,000-square-foot office building. Another building could follow close behind on the 32-acre spot.
This also should help life for people already working at the N.C. Music Factory. Many of the restaurants are only open once a week during the workday, and there isn’t really anywhere to get coffee. The HQ should also anchor the developer’s plans for more office space, shops and a hotel.
This is compelling stuff. But what really caught my attention is when the company said it’s secured a $225 million minority investment led by Bain Capital Ventures. It’s one of fewer than 20 such investments that large this year, nearly all of which came out of Silicon Valley or the Boston/NYC/New England area.
AvidXChange CEO Michael Praeger wouldn’t tell me what this investment values the company at. But it’s obviously getting into some heady numbers, and the money positions AvidXChange as one of the largest Charlotte business success stories of the past decade. They’re now rivaling the $1 billion price tag hung on Red Ventures after a $250 million investment at the start of the year.
Both companies talk a lot about becoming Silicon Valley-type companies with the headquarters amenities to match. Red Ventures boasts a beer garden, basketball court, yoga studio and bowling alley (see the Agenda’s 31-photo tour). AvidXChange is going to have the basketball and volleyball courts, yoga and all those kinds of perks as well.
Employees at AvidXChange work long hours. Praeger said he wants to create a “work, live and play type of environment” on the new campus. “We need to showcase our facilities to attract the best and brightest,” he said.
If that sounds somewhat familiar, here’s why. Twenty years ago, it was the leaders of Charlotte’s big banks – Bank of America and First Union – who put in the time and investment to bring in arts and culture and tall skyscrapers that would lure in top talent.
The world is different now, and AvidXChange’s vibe fits the zeitgeist. It sounds almost silly to compare the two, but if AvidXChange can succeed in branding Charlotte as “Silicon South,” as executives said Monday, it will have made a significant impact.
- The company makes software that helps businesses pay their bills. The service takes in invoices, routes them for approval, puts them in accounting systems, pays them and produces reports on where all the money is going.
- AvidXChange was founded in 2000 and had its first five-person office at the corner of 9th and Brevard streets.
- More than 420 employees now work out of a building at the Music Factory and in office space in the Metropolitan complex near uptown.
- The company has promised 603 new hires through 2018. A lot of these will be software developers, but also a lot of customer support staff.
- AvidXChange landed about $10 million in state incentives last year to support the hiring and headquarters construction.
- The average age of an AvidXChange worker is 35.
- The company is hosting a hiring open house September 22 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Details and registration.
(Photo credit: AvidXChange for the rendering. Charlotte Center City Partners for the Lofts plan)