REDspace delivers stellar content, priceless experience to industry-leading clients By Sara Ericsson
There’s a company working on creating global-scale software experiences for some of the biggest television network players in the game and it’s all happening from right in Bedford.
REDspace President and CEO Mike Johnston says the company works with its A-list clients to create websites, video-delivery technology and user-friendly digital platforms across all devices that deliver the client’s content to the user.
Hard work has paid off for the software company that now counts entertainment giants like WarnerMedia, Sony Pictures and NBC among its client roster. And while working with such A-list clients sounds like a tall order, Johnston says his company has it boiled down to a simple formula that only a Nova Scotia-based company can do — taking a humble, collaboration-focused approach that gets to the bottom of the client’s problem by sitting down and working through it together.
“There are big things happening here. We’re competing above our weight class, solving problems that have never been solved before and working on world-class projects,” says Johnston.
Exporting leads to expanding
To sum it up in a few words, Johnston says his company is building the future of video-delivery and other innovative technologies for the world’s largest entertainment and TV networks.
“Think of how you consume media — there’s always a smartphone, tablet, laptop or smart TV around — so we work to create global-scale software experiences that result in user-friendly experiences on any kind of device,” says Johnston.
The company was started in 2000 when Johnston returned to Nova Scotia from living in the United States. With entertainment industry-based clients traditionally located outside of Canada, it quickly became vital to work within the international market. Ninety-five per cent of the company’s business remains export-based.
A want to diversify its offerings led the company to creating video-based training and corporate learning programs and to creating web space for e-commerce transactions, health-care platforms, the aerospace and defense activity, as well as the oil and gas sector.
“We’re experimenting with ways we can apply our capacity and tech to help transform other industries and that’s where we’re seeing more opportunity to work with Canadian partners and government initiatives,” says Johnston.
Being recognized for their export work is humbling for the company, according to Johnston, who says such awards also go a long way in recognizing the region as a technology success story. He says continuing to recognize what companies in Nova Scotia contribute is vital to ensuring the region continues to grow.
“We’re quietly confident and our calibre of skill is world-class and then some. When companies see that and as these awards draw attention, that attracts both business and talent,” he says.
Something in the maple
The company’s diversification has also led to partnering with Canadian and Nova Scotian entertainment media clients and the hiring of 60 new employees in 2019, bringing its total staff to more than 200. Eighty per cent of these new hires have been international, with more than 20 countries of origin represented across the staff.
He also says such recognition is but one example of the support technology companies in Nova Scotia receive, with other forms of support coming from institutions including the province’s community colleges and universities that offer research and foundational support.
It all adds up into helping REDspace continue to bring in large numbers of export dollars into the region and reinforce Nova Scotia as a technology hub people should pay attention to.
But it’s not just this support that has REDspace clients singing the company’s praises. It’s also the company’s humble, collaborative approach that Johnston says clients recognize as uniquely Nova Scotian, joking that they often ask him whether there’s something in the maple syrup.
It’s an approach these clients don’t find with companies outside the region and it’s exactly what means they’ll be back for future business.
“For years we had trouble telling that story and that’s really shifted in the last couple of years. It’s a point of pride that we hail from here,” says Johnston.