Red Nova Labs Moves into 43-Year-Old Fisca Building in Westwood, Kansas; Has Unique Plans for the Versatile Space

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Red Nova Labs, a web technology think-tank, purchased the old Fisca Oil building at 4830 Rainbow Boulevard in Westwood with the help of Zimmer Real Estate Services. The entire Red Nova Labs team relocated to the site on Nov. 1.

CEO Dan Miller expects the space to support unique culture and enable continued growth.

When Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg saw potential in his company, he headed west. When Red Nova Labs CEO Dan Miller saw potential in his company, he headed to Westwood, Kan.

Red Nova Labs (http://www.rednovalabs.com), a web technology think-tank, purchased the old Fisca Oil building at 4830 Rainbow Boulevard in Westwood with the help of Zimmer Real Estate Services. The entire Red Nova Labs team relocated to the site on Nov. 1.

The company had been split up into two different offices and was getting frantic for more space. The staff has tripled in number from seven to more than 20 employees since its launch in early 2009.

Red Nova Labs operates three web-based businesses: StorageFront.com, LenderStreet.com and DentistSquare.com—all online marketing platforms that require communications, sales and engineering people to operate successfully.

Red Nova Labs CMO Carrie Royce said more marketing-type platforms will follow.

“This is just the beginning,” Royce said. “With the experience we’ve gained in the past year and our well-rounded team, we’re prepared to launch more projects. That means even more people will come on board at some point, so space became a top priority.”

Royce says Red Nova Labs is also working on a new business model called Venture Lab, a type of private incubator specializing in fostering web startups. Venture Lab developers will utilize the building as well.

The Fisca facility houses more than 14,000 square feet on two floors. It was built in 1967 by oil man Murdoch Hudson, and later expanded in 1971. Stylistically, it looks every bit a 1960s structure.

Red Nova Labs plans to maintain some of that retro-contemporary style, but not all of it. For example, the pink walls on the 7,000 square foot first floor have been removed to make one wide open area.

“The most important element of the new space is space,” said Rick Tinney, Creative Director of Red Nova Labs. “My feeling is that confinement and clutter foster stress. By carving out an open plan, upstairs and downstairs, with lots of seating and a flood of natural light, we can devote most of the area to what people here do most: create.”

Half of the space will be dedicated to workspace and recreational areas for Red Nova Labs employees. The other half will provide room for industry Meetups and classes, and to foster web-based startups via Venture Lab, launching in 2011.

Miller knows first-hand the challenges that startups face. He and a business partner started AeroComm in 1991 in a Kansas City basement. They struggled to find investors in the Midwest, but eventually they were able to find enough financial backing to build the company up. In 2007, Miller sold AeroComm to Laird Technologies for almost $40 million.

Miller’s success with AeroComm enabled him to start Red Nova Labs with Royce and five others.

“This company is more culture-driven than my last venture,” Miller said. “It has to be. In web and mobile businesses, things can turn on a dime. The most successful web companies are the ones that are ready and able to adapt. But that takes hard work, creativity and insight. That’s why it’s so important to have the right environment. And it’s why the Fisca building made so much sense for us. We can be as creative as we want to be with all that space.”

Red Nova Labs has been a welcome addition to Westwood, a small city in the heart of the Kansas City metro area. Not only will the company bring more jobs to the area, but it will also bring much-needed tax revenue.

KU Medical purchased the old Sprint building on Shawnee Mission Parkway in 2008, and that took away money the city received in property taxes. Twenty percent of the city’s real estate is tax-exempt.

“We’re always concerned that more tax-exempt groups don’t come in and buy up our real estate for the simple fact that we need more tax-paying businesses,” Westwood mayor Steve Stubbers said. “It was a concern of ours that somebody would come in and buy the property. We’ve been stung once; we don’t want to get stung a second time. We’re thrilled to see [Red Nova Labs] coming in.”

The purchase of the building also showed Red Nova Labs employees that the Board has total confidence in the company’s future. It’s a much-appreciated boost to a team who has been boot-strapping for over a year.

“I think it’s real promising,” said David Howe, Director of Project Management. “It shows how optimistic and confident we are as a company in our strategy moving forward—that we’re going to continue to grow even when most firms are cutting back. That speaks very highly of our leadership, where they think we can go, and how fast it’ll take us to get there.”

About Red Nova Labs (http://www.rednovalabs.com) --

Red Nova Labs was founded and self-funded in 2009 as a web technology and marketing think-tank. The company is divided into two business models: services and products. On the service side Red Nova Labs support clients and partners, much like a development agency. On the product side the firm invents and run its own platforms. To support both business models, development engineers think up resourceful code generators that add practical ease to complex programming. That way, they can get to market fast with vibrant, multidimensional sites and apps. Once a product is launched, each business operates autonomously as a division, with full engineering and marketing support from Red Nova Labs on the back end. The company is open to collaborative opportunities.

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Carrie Royce
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