When we get emails from employees at three major Silicon Valley companies about the same thing, we’ve got no choice but to take a look.

In the past several days, the name “James Bond” has been circulating through the email inboxes of employees from Google, Tesla, Lyft, and several other tech companies. To be more accurate, a company named Blueboard is putting on a contest whose prize is a one-day James Bond experience for two, and it’s asking companies’ employees to nominate other employees.

Yesterday, two employees, one from Lyft and one from Tesla each sent an email tip to VentureBeat, both a bit uncertain of whether or not Blueboard’s contest was real.

“Have you guys seen this?” one email read. “Apparently it’s by a company called Blueboard located in SF: www.blueboard.co/bond. Just wondering if you knew if this is legitimate or not.”

“People have been passing this around at Tesla: www.blueboard.co/bond. Not sure if it’s real because I haven’t seen it in the news yet, but who knows!” wrote the second employee.

Today, someone from Google’s SMB Incubation team emailed VentureBeat with the same questions.

What gives?

Turns out, Blueboard’s regular business is to help companies reward their employees with redeemable experiences instead of traditional cash bonuses.

“We do rewards and recognition for companies . . . their employees are making so much money that it’s hard to reward them with stuff,” cofounder and chief executive Taylor Smith said in a phone interview Wednesday.

While Blueboard already has some top tech startups as customers — GoPro, Optimizely, and Eventbrite, for instance — the company thought a little publicity stunt might help spread the word about its approach to employee benefits. So the team decided to set up a contest.

“One of the things we dreamed up was, who wouldn’t want to be James Bond?” Smith said.

The one-day experience will start off with skydiving. The winner and a friend will then get a mixology lesson from well-known mixologist and Elixir owner H. Joseph Ehrmann and will get to drive an Aston Martin around all day.

Blueboard is spending “thousands” of dollars on this experience, Smith said. And although it put up its splash page in mid-November, it didn’t start reaching out to companies until last week, through customers, Facebook ads, and other tactics.

None of the three companies (Tesla, Lyft, and Google) are current Blueboard customers. Word about the contest is spreading on its own.

And if this contest becomes a hit, Blueboard says it might make it a permanent fixture.

“We’re now thinking of doing it at the end of every year — a different persona each time,” Smith said.


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