Last night at DC Fest, we crowned the winners of our 2016 Coolest Companies Competition.
It wasn’t easy picking 10 companies from the 150 finalists. What makes a company “cool?” It’s not just a cool office, or just great employee perks, or just putting a ping pong table in a conference room. We think that a combination of factors is necessary to really be cool. Ultimately, being cool means that your employees are supported, valued and absolutely love coming to work every day. But, okay, catered lunches, paintball outings and cold brew coffee on tap help too.
So we looked carefully at the nominees and, based on the nomination submissions as well as our own editorial work, we narrowed it down to eight winners. Our two readers choice picks were the top vote-getters out of 20,000 reader votes cast. We also named, for the first time ever, a Hall of Fame winner for a company that earned legacy status with a
Here are 2016’s Coolest Companies:
LivingSocial (Readers’ Choice)
A pillar in the DC Tech community, LivingSocial has been the foundation for countless careers of local innovators. Their enduring legacy as a local tech player earned them one of the two readers’ choice picks for 2016.
&pizza manages to fosters employee loyalty and develop management career paths in what is traditionally a high-turnover industry. And their employees are loyal enough that several have taken them up on their offer to pay for &pizza’s ampersand logo tattoos. Of course, free pizza doesn’t hurt either!
This laid-back office has Star Wars themed conference rooms and full on video arcade with skeeball, which is frequently used for office tournaments. Above all, they champion and celebrate the interests and talents of every team member.
The Brazen team takes time to volunteer together, raise money for good causes and party together around the office kegerator. They’ve also got free snacks, an espresso machine, and catered lunches every other Friday.
Everfi hosts a bi-annual Palooza – a company-wide retreat across three days, this past year in Big Sky Montana. The local edtech company was also recently named in list of ‘9 coolest places to work other than Google,’ along with companies like SpaceX and Pinterest
Whereoware (Readers’ Choice)
This company celebrates with holiday parties with themes like 80’s Homecoming, Prom (with a prom king/queen), and Mardis Gras. To stay in shape, they have office healthy mileage/water-drinking competitions, and they get work done outside on their rooftop lounge with WiFi.
NGP VAN hosts “Free Beer Fridays” and has a fully-stacked snack closet at our office. Since campaign season is the busiest time for the office, every two years after election day the company takes all of the staff on a four-day retreat to the Caribbean.
In addition to four annual events, including Blinq-o de Mayo and Optorofest, Optoro has game nights, happy hours, and catered breakfasts to welcome new hires, which are hosted by rotating departments. The company has formed clubs and other opportunities to connect, including a karaoke league, soccer team, rock climbing group, and frequent community service outings. Their awesome new office was designed by Wingate Hughes.
Social Tables has an employee education fund and weekly Lunch & Learns for professional development. Their very pink office includes free snacks and drinks, catered lunches, weekly happy hour, Sonos Dance-Offs, and an onsite Spin Room. They recently hosted the first DC Tech ping pong invitational.
With catered breakfast, treadmill desks, a pac-man arcade and speakeasy, WeddingWire’s office is a fun place to hang out. The company also hosts employee hot wing eating contest. WeddingWire recently hired 200 new employees and their new head of culture to make it a truly great place to work
Videoblocks (Hall of Fame)
Video Blocks is three-peat winner of the Coolest Company competition, so we created a the Hall of Fame category this year. With a dog-friendly office and enthusiastic company softball team, they know how to have a fun time. They pride themselves on their strong internal bonds and ability to stay humble while being one of DC Tech’s impressive success stories.
This week on the Beat Podcast we talked more about some of the winners. You can catch that episode below.
Thanks again to all of our sponsors who made DC Fest possible.