News

Canoe Needs a Bigger Boat

3/22/2010 12:51 PM Eastern

Canoe Ventures, the advanced-ad
startup funded by the six biggest U.S. cable operators,
still hasn’t launched a commercial service
— but it’s hiring like mad and in May will
move its New York headquarters into bigger office space.

The firm has a hiring plan for 2010 that would
roughly double head count. It had 68 employees
at the start of the year, and its plan calls for 135
by year-end, Canoe chief marketing officer Vicki
Lins said.

“We’ve accomplished
a lot with
freelancers and contractors
… but it’s time to shift that model and
get people on staff ,” she said. Canoe is bringing
on staffers in all departments, but is particularly
focused on product, operations and technology
groups, Lins said.

The company’s initial interactive-TV service,
which will provide a request-for-information service
to cable viewers, is set for the second quarter
with “one or two” programmers, according to
Lins. Canoe last year abandoned plans to deliver
a basic addressable-advertising service, citing
technical complexity and business issues.

To accommodate the growing staff, Canoe
signed a lease for 40,000 square feet in 1251 Ave.
of the Americas, a building owned by Japanese
real-estate company Mitsui Fudosan, near Radio
City Music Hall. Canoe will occupy the entire
39th floor, previously occupied by Lloyds TSB
Bank. The lease runs through Sept. 30, 2012, as
Canoe expects to possibly need even more space
by then.

Currently, Canoe’s New York offices are located
in an 18,000-square-foot space at 666 Third Ave.,
next to the Chrysler Building. “We’re bursting at the
seams,” Lins said.

The “asking rent”
per year for the
space in the Mitsui
building was $42 per
square foot, Crain’s New York Business reported.
According to Lins, Canoe paid less than that but
she would not confirm the terms.

Coincidentally, Canoe had been investigating
moving into the former New York offices of Comcast
Spotlight, the ad-sales unit of the operator,
in the W.R. Grace Building on 42nd Street. Comcast
Spotlight is now located on the 10th floor of
5 Times Square.

Canoe was formed in 2008 by Comcast, Time
Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Cablevision
Systems, Charter Communications and Bright
House Networks.

September