Growing by Leaps and Bounds

When asked to describe rapid growth start-ups most people conjure up images of high tech companies, conceived in incubators and nurtured by infusions of capital from savvy angel investors. This is not the case with Chicago, Illinois based Red Frog Events.

December 15 2013 by Steve Rosenbaum


Growing by Leaps and Bounds

When asked to describe rapid growth start-ups most people conjure up images of high tech companies, conceived in incubators and nurtured by infusions of capital from savvy angel investors. This is not the case with Chicago, Illinois based Red Frog Events.

Joe Reynolds looked at an established industry and saw opportunity. Road races were being run all across the nation. The events were plain vanilla. There was no difference between a 5-K, 10-K, or Marathon except distance. Reynolds plan was to create a different type of event that would motivate people to participate and attract greater levels of corporate sponsorship.

Reynolds launched Red Frog Events with a $5,000 investment, creating the Great Urban Race. This event, essentially a citywide scavenger hunt for teams of two who solve mental and physical challenges in different locations throughout Chicago, was a phenomenal success. Since its start in 2007 Great Urban Race has grown from just one race to more than 35 with many races have over 500 participants. The next innovation was the Warrior Dash a 5k obstacle laden race where runners jump over fire, crawl through mud and barbed-wire and celebrate their finish with a beer. “We mix the idea of a 5k race with an all day festival,” says Reynolds, “giving our customers an athletic workout, but also a social party.”

Much like the events it manages, Red Frog Events enjoys a corporate culture that focuses on the social interaction of employees. “When I started this company, part of my mission was to create a workplace that felt like home and to work with people who felt like family,”says Reynolds, “We receive hundreds of job applications every day because we have a reputation for treating our employees right and having a lot of fun along the way.”

From a humble $5,000 investment and one race, Red Frog Events generated more than $49-Million in revenues for 2012. Red Frog Events not only sits on Forbes’ 2013 list of America’s Most Promising Companies (#18), it made Outside Magazine’s 2013 list of The 100 Best Places to Work (#16).

Source: Outside Magazine / The 100 Best Places to Work / Red Frog Events –
http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/best-jobs/best-jobs-2013@gpkg/the-top-100/The-100-Best-Places-to-Work-25-1#gallery-photo-10

Source: Job Brander / The Company with the Only Licenced Indoor Treehouse in Chicago / August 27, 2013 – http://www.jobbrander.com/blog/job-search/the-company-with-the-only-licenced-indoor-treehouse-in-chicago


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Joe Reynolds

Founder & CEO – Red Frog Events

Size: 95-Employees

Location: Chicago, IL

Goal: To successfully navigate rapid growth by continuing to produce top-notch events while maintaining a unique workplace environment.

Fact: Red Frog Events has raised more than $7.5-Million for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

Unique: A large tree house is the centerpiece of RFE’s headquarters. Consideration is being given to adding a zipline.

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