Internet content provider, EnVeritas Group, takes international stage
SEPTEMBER 19, 2011 12:55 p.m. (0)
From a start 12 years ago as 10Best.com with half a dozen employees, EnVeritas has 50 employees in Greenville, centers in London and Mexico City, nearly a million Web addresses or URLs created or managed and 1,000 specialty writers in 70 countries preparing content in 30 languages.
The company anticipates faster growth as major brands seek a global presence with tailored local content in the local language, and as old-line media companies move in fits and starts to catch up in a world where the search engine is every user’s printing press.
Building 10Best from a startup when search engines were not as popular or as functional into a site with information on the best places to go in 450 destinations was the impetus behind what is now EnVeritas Group, said Brice Bay, founder and chief executive officer.
“We learned a lot about how search engines function in that role. We learned a lot about how you hire journalists around the world and how to manage information, the technology behind the scenes, in a distributive network.”
Swinging for Big Leagues
10Best.com was sold in January.
The company is at a point where it has “to decide if we are going to be a small medium-sized niche player or we are really going to try to be in the big leagues,” Bay said.
In that regard, the owners are looking for way to bring capital to the business. It would be the first time since launch of 10Best that the company has gone outside for funding.
Bay, 45, said EnVeritas is a couple of years away from $10 million in annual revenues, has been profitable every year since 2003 and always has self-funded its growth.
“It probably has hampered our growth some because we have had to bootstrap everything we’ve done, but that also has made us tougher and leaner. But now the opportunities, we are convinced, are so big we need to grow faster.”
Why Not New York?
EnVeritas is in early planning for an office in New York City “to serve in a much more sophisticated way the large brands and the agency partnerships we have now in that market” and as a next stage putting sales staffs in some major markets where it already has a physical location.
The New York office, answers, in part, a question Bay constantly gets: “’Why Greenville? Why aren’t you in New York?’”
EnVeritas’ administrative offices are in the restored American Cigar Factory on Court Street, which is best recognized as the location of Devereaux’s Restaurant. Its Greenville content center is on Legrand Boulevard.
Bay’s response is that from Greenville you can get anywhere, the Upstate provides an “unbelievable” talent pool and “from a cost standpoint we can be a very competitive provider of content services at a quality level on par with anywhere in the world.”
The company remains embedded in travel and hospitality with such clients as American Express’s Travel & Leisure and Food & Wine, Thomas Cook, SAS and hotel chains of Carlson, Holiday Inn, Fairmont and Radisson. It recently won a contract to provide all content for a new site for Cheap Caribbean, the largest U.S. online provider of beach vacations in the Caribbean and Mexico.
Bay said EnVeritas is going after untapped “verticals that tie into travel,” large convention bureaus being one segment and government being another.
“The federal government has just funded a project to better market the U.S. to the world, a nuance of tourism. We are working very intently to go after that project. It is hundreds of millions of dollars in work.”
Milking Diverse Subjects
To take advantage of the vast amount of information generated by Washington, he said, EnVeritas is “actively looking at creating a sophisticated practice within the federal government.”
Already serving such iconic brands as Verizon, AT&T, the BBC, Nintendo and Land O’ Lakes, Bay said, the growth strategy in summary is “to expand service around the world to serve broader needs of global companies.
As an example of EnVeritas’ ability to take on exotic and diverse subjects, Bay cited work creating information about best practices in dairy farming.
It sees a specific need to concentrate on the aging population, not just content management for sites catering to active seniors but developing programs for sectors that have to market themselves such as senior living, assisted living and nursing homes.
It has found openings with magazine and newspaper publishers, providing editorial content to the likes of Meredith, whose household-name titles include Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies Home Journal and Family Circle.
Gannett, publisher of USA Today and 81 other daily newspapers, has outsourced editorial content to EnVeritas “because they don’t have the staff in house anymore to do it,” said Bay.
Print Lumbers Online
Bay said publishers are potential competitors as they attempt to retrofit from print to digital but “have real challenges with being cost effective” and are slow in responding to market needs and to developments in technology.
“We understand the technology. We’ve never been anything but digital. We think in digital so we go much faster and typically our quality is better, our prices are better. We are much more flexible.”
The layoffs of reporters and editors in the print industry benefited EnVeritas in another way, creating a pool of talented people available and willing to freelance and do contract work. Those, along with young people coming out of college with subject-matter expertise and technical skills, give Bay optimism that he will be able to expand from 1,000 specialty writers to as many as 4,000 in the next year.
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