A new name recently joined the Baltimore skyline: R2integrated.
The digital marketing firm's name replaces a sign that once belonged to the now-defunct Baltimore Examiner.
The orange sign on the side of the 400 E. Pratt Street building is just one more milestone for R2integrated. The company was created in 2007 when CEO Matt Goddard and President Dave Taub merged their Round 2 Communications with Bi4ce Technology owned by Chris Chodnicki, now executive director of strategic partnerships and alliances. Goddard and Taub had previously collaborated on another venture, Impreza Design, which they sold in 2000.
R2integrated's clients have included Dell, Microsoft, MasterCard, Under Armour, Legg Mason and Hershey's Chocolate World. The company has about $20 million in annual sales, and aims to reach $100 million in three to five years. Part of that growth will likely come through acquisitions, with R2integrated now exploring deals.
Goddard, a Marylander who started in accounting before becoming an entrepreneur, discussed his plans for his company:
What does it mean for you and your company to have R2integrated's name on a downtown building overlooking the Inner Harbor?
Having the R2i sign overlooking the Inner Harbor is a huge accomplishment for the company, considering the other companies that have signs. We plan on lighting the sign up purple for Ravens games and having it change colors on other holidays such as the Fourth of July. We are in great company, and we share a lot of Baltimore pride whenever I look up at the sign.
With that being said, it is a big country, and we compete directly with larger agencies and are looking to expand. In competitive situations in, for example, New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, the sign plays a much smaller role. We want to build the next great digital marketing agency and do so out of Baltimore.
R2integrated recently raised money — $10 million to start — from a private equity firm to make acquisitions. What sort of acquisitions are you interested in, and when can we expect an announcement?
We have four criteria for buying a company. Geography: Is the company headquartered in a large geography, such as New York or San Francisco? Capabilities: Does the company have additional capabilities that will help us grow? Scale: Does the company have enough revenue to help us grow quickly and scale our business? Culture: Does the company share our same values? We rank each category from 1-10 and are targeting the firms that score the highest.
You're in a fast-paced industry that's quickly changing. How do you see the business evolving in the next several years or so?
We see two very disruptive changes. The first is brands are now lacking control over their messages and need to share the brand with their customers. Peer-to-peer sharing networks have now become so efficient, you can learn about the pros and cons of various products from these networks rather than from the brands themselves, and that is having a big effect on purchasing behavior.
The second is chief marketing officers are now charged with managing large technology infrastructures and have many more IT people reporting to them. Only CMOs that embrace these changes and have the right partners are going to survive, and R2integrated is perfectly positioned to help them.
You have a sizable wine cellar of about 1,000 bottles. How did you get interested in wine, and what bottle will you crack open when you reach your goal of $100 million in annual sales?
My grandfather introduced me to wine while dining in New York. I then spent a few months in San Francisco and would travel to Napa Valley on the weekends, tasting various wines and learning about them. I like to cook at home with my wife, Samantha, and we always try to choose the right wine to go with our meal. Wine is both social and scientific, two of my favorites things.
I have a bottle of 2000 Leoville Barton from France I plan on opening when we hit $100 million in sales.
You've traveled extensively over the years, especially in Europe. If you could only take one more trip, where would you go and why?
My dream trip is to fly into Barcelona and then travel to the Rioja wine country. Then drive the car to France and go to Bordeaux and the southern Rhone. After a few weeks there, head to Italy and go to Tuscany. I figure the trip will take about six weeks, so it isn't going to happen any time soon. But I definitely plan on taking the trip in the next 10 years.