Buzzfeed celebrated the grand opening Tuesday of its new Minneapolis office in the former Land O' Nod Mattress Co. factory in the Northeast arts district.
But the alliterative event "Booze, Bites and New Besties," was anything but a snoozer. Beer pong, a DJ and local brews kept the warehouse-like office space buzzing as staff from the company's New York office mingled with potential new hires and curious Midwesterners.
The industrial space fits the description of other tech companies around the country, with its 18-foot ceilings, exposed brick and community-table workspaces.
"We saw this space and it reminded us of Buzzfeed's second office in SOHO," said Phil Wilson, general manager of the Minneapolis office.
Wilson's former company, Hyper IQ, existed just four months before Buzzfeed acquired the tech firm in December.
Minneapolis will be an engineering office and is Buzzfeed's sixth U.S. expansion city. The entertainment and social news company has hired 18 employees so far in Minneapolis and is still actively recruiting with the hopes of reaching 30 in the short-term. The Twin Cities office, with its Hyper IQ heritage, will focus on developing mobile web applications. Buzzfeed's acquisition of Hyper IQ essentially brought all of the mobile tech development in-house, a move that aligns with the company's technology-driven content.
"Recruiting can be challenging in New York," said Mark Wilke, chief technology officer for Buzzfeed. "There are a lot of great companies in Minneapolis, but not a ton of start-up tech. I knew there were a lot of engineers here so really is a great fit."
Wilke was among the first Buzzfeed employees in New York, but spent 15 years in Minnesota. He met his wife, a Rochester native, while going to school in Minneapolis.
The event, which garnered an appearance by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, gave the company a chance to show of its millennial humor. In addition to Buzzfeed's signature OMG signage, the Minneapolis office walls are adorned with other exclamatory phrases, such as "Uff da" and "You Betcha," in bright yellow bubbles.