And now, RealNetworks has a new place to call home — one that employees say has revitalized the 18-year-old Seattle tech company.
RealNetworks just moved into the top three floors of Home Plate Center, a newly-constructed building in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood. The space offers some amazing panoramic views of the city’s skyline and is just a stone’s throw away from Safeco Field, home of the city’s professional baseball team.
It’s somewhat of a homecoming for RealNetworks, which started all the way back in 1995 in Pioneer Square. The company was previously located on Elliott Avenue near the Seattle waterfront, but RealNetworks — which at one point employed up to 2,000 people — no longer needed such a large footprint.
Founder and interim CEO Rob Glaser, who returned 18 months ago, said the new digs have nothing to do with his minor ownership stake in the Seattle Mariners and instead is all about the new direction RealNetworks is going.
“Just as we are redefining and reinventing ourselves, we’re able to do it from a new home and new vantage point,” Glaser told GeekWire. “This move is all part of an overall plan to revitalize the company and now we’re in a place that is very energetic.”
But Glaser was quick to note that before his company entertained potential new office spaces, he made sure that it had a concrete idea of where the business was headed.
“If we didn’t have a great strategy and great products, we could be in the most beautiful building in the world and it wouldn’t make a difference,” he said. “But having a great plan, great products and a really strong team, I’m super proud we’re here.”
Glaser, who stepped down as CEO in 2010 and spent time investing in various startup companies, added that he’s been having a blast taking over as interim CEO and has no plans of leaving.
“I had a great opportunity to learn about the future from people that are inventing it,” Glaser said of his hiatus from RealNetworks. “Bringing that perspective back to Real has been more fun than I thought because you get a chance to take a fresh look at something again and it’s really energizing. I’ve had as much fun in the last year-and-a-half than any year-and-a-half period with this company.”
The former Microsoft exec also touched on Seattle as a whole. Glaser is unique in that he’s been entrenched in the tech community here well before the city became known as an innovative place.
“The notion that you could start a tech company in Seattle in the early 90s was not convention wisdom,” Glaser explained. “Now, there’s this whole culture around startups, around innovation. If you look at our success stories, we have small, medium and big sized companies in the portfolio. I’m proud to be apart of this tech startup community.”
Glaser spent some time showing us around the new RealNetworks office, and you can check out the video tour here: