Why a startup had parent-teacher conferences for its employees

Bounce exchangeBounce ExchangeBounce Exchange founder Ryan Urban.

Launching a new startup most often means long hours spent at the office, away from family.

Ryan Urban, who cofounded digital marketing startup Bounce Exchange in 2012, wanted his coworkers to be able to share what they were doing at work with their families.

After a few years of having parents and other relatives visit the company’s New York City office on their own, Urban decided to throw a more formal event, which he called Parents Day.

Nearly 100 parents travelled to New York City from across the country — some from as far away as Oregon — to spend the day with Urban and the rest of Bounce Exchange.

“Everyone was really excited to see what we had been up to,” Urban told Business Insider. “In college parents might come to visit you, and you might be embarrassed to show them around. But that wasn’t the feeling here. You could see the parents were really proud.”

The startup planned a full day of events, starting with a breakfast taco bar and mimosas from Choza Taqueria. Free food is something of a tradition at Bounce Exchange — every Friday it has “unhealthy breakfast” catered from a local restaurant.

“We had to build out nap rooms after starting the unhealthy breakfast routine,” Urban joked.

On Parents Day, the bar was kept fully stocked. Drink specials included themed cocktails like “Grandpa’s Cough Medicine” and “Dirty Uncle.”

Bounce exchangeBounce ExchangeThe beverages on offer for the day.

Bounce Exchange executives gave presentations that explained what exactly it is they do every day, and then each parent got to sit down with their son’s or daughter’s manager to hear about their performance.

“It was a lot like parent-teacher conferences,” Urban said.

Bounce exchangeBounce ExchangeEngineers Alex Gaynor and Amanda Egolf describe a typical day at work.

Later, they took all of the parents on a double-decker bus tour of New York. The vast majority of Bounce Exchange’s employees are from out of town, Urban said.

“We had lots of people flying in or taking the train in for the day, and booking hotels,” he said. “It was a great way to show them the city.”

For dinner, they had BBQ from Bushwick’s Arrogant Swine.

Parents stayed in the office until well after midnight, playing ping pong, lounging on massage chairs, and even riding scooters around the space. A Family Feud game the company organised for 9 p.m. had nearly 40 people signed up.

Bounce exchangeBounce ExchangeUrban’s Uncle Don enjoys a relaxing moment.

Bounce Exchange currently has about 80 employees, and there are 40 open positions that they’re hoping to fill soon.

For Urban and the rest of the team, it was an opportunity to show just how much the company had grown from its five-person incubator days.

Bounce exchangeBounce ExchangeMarketing specialist Dimas Martadarma’s father, Anton, plays shuffleboard during happy hour.

“We finally have a nice, big space of our own that we could do this in,” Urban said. “We’re very product-driven, and we only hire ridiculous humans, people who are crazy enough to make this company work but who also have humility and root for everyone else.”

“We’re an odd bunch. So the parents are kind of weird, too, and they’re really proud of their kids.”

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