Benefitfocus celebrates success in new office

Benefitfocus’ newly opened Customer Success Center is the largest building yet on the software company’s 40-acre Daniel Island campus and the first phase of a $60 million expansion.

For a venture that started with a small staff in an 800-square-foot office in Mount Pleasant, it’s clear why the opening of Benefitfocus’ latest building on Daniel Island felt like such a milestone for the software developer.

The company showed off its new Customer Success Center on Tuesday afternoon during a ceremony on its 40-acre campus, where Gov. Nikki Haley, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley and co-founders Shawn Jenkins and Mason Holland spoke to a large crowd about the technology firm’s achievements.

For Jenkins, president and chief executive officer, it was a profound occasion.

“The thing that makes me emotional is seeing all the talented people who make this company what it is … and realizing that I’m looking at the future of the company and how much market opportunity these young people have to build this into a place that reflects our values,” he said.

In the past 15 years, Benefitfocus has evolved into a leading provider of software that helps companies manage their employee health care and other benefits programs. The firm went public in 2013, and shortly afterward, it announced a $60 million expansion plan to add office space and 1,200 new jobs at its headquarters.

“Now, Benefitfocus has the largest corporate presence, the most square feet, than any company in the city of Charleston, and they have led the tech boom for Charleston that is now nationally recognized,” Riley said.

Haley said the company’s continued expansion is an illustration of the American dream.

“This is such a success story. ... of two people that gambled, and made it to this point, but brought you with them every step of the way,” she said. “We are looking at a company that is now known globally for the services they give, for the software quality they provide.”

At 145,800 square feet, the Customer Success Center is Benefitfocus’ largest building yet. It houses 750 employees in client service and management roles, and it’s used as a training facility where corporate customers can attend workshops and learn how to use the cloud-based platforms and other technologies.

The design, like all the company’s offices, is an open-air workspace equipped with state-of-the-art devices and a number of common rooms where employees can relax or collaborate.

Another office of about the same size will be built nearby to house 600 software engineers, designers and other technical staffers.

Jenkins said that phase of the project will start in about a year or two.

Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail