Dropbox is on target to not only meet but likely exceed its initial target of employing between 30 and 40 people in Dublin by year’s end and the operation’s growth will be defined by the overall speed of growth of Dropbox itself, which has 175m users, the company’s EMEA chief Johann Butting told Siliconrepublic.com.
Butting, who is head of sales and operations at Dropbox and was formerly a senior director of Google, explained that the company currently has 15 of its team members in place at temporary offices in Dublin 2 and the plan is to establish a permanent international HQ in Dublin this year.
Dropbox is a free cloud service that lets users bring all photos, documents and videos into a folder that can be accessed on any PC, Mac, iOS, BlackBerry or Android device and across a variety of web browsers. The company has users in more than 200 countries worldwide.
MIT graduates Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi began work on Dropbox in 2007, as a Y Combinator start-up. It emerged last year that rock band U2’s Bono and the Edge took part in a US$250m second-round funding of Dropbox.
A bridge between Silicon Valley and Dublin
“The key at the moment is bringing the Dropbox culture from San Francisco to the new Dublin operations and we’re hard at work making sure the infrastructure and internal systems are in place.
“The aim is to have the San Francisco and Dublin offices working together in harmony.
“The initial responsibility of the Dublin operation will be to work with users. At this point in time, we have 175m users and a third of those approximately are in Europe. We will be continuing to drive that growth and taking care of new and existing users is the remit of the Dublin office.”
Butting said Dropbox’s Dublin operation will focus initially on sales, user operations, marketing and driving decision-making.
“We won’t be doing development work in Dublin, at least not initially, but we will continuously reassess that,” Butting added.
A key facet of Dropbox’s hiring programme beyond hiring experienced managers will be the Dropbox Associate Programme, which will take on graduates or executives with zero to two years of work experience on a training programme that will involve executives spending time in Dublin and San Francisco.
“This is a one-year programme designed with four modules centred on knowing the product and how to operate successfully in a modern technology company,” Butting explained.
The programme will ultimately set the course for Dropbox employees’ direction in what is currently one of the fastest-growing companies in Silicon Valley; whether they are sales-focused or user operations-focused.
“The degrees people have are less important to us. We are looking for people who are great communicators and people who are analytically strong with an inherent understanding of numbers and critical thinking. A third quality is just to be able to contribute something special. Dropbox continues to build diversity as we grow and every hire we have pushes that a little further.”
Butting says hiring is already under way and Dropbox will be holding a meet-and-greet with potential hires at the Bar With No Name in Dublin next Thursday, 25 July, from 5.30pm.
Butting’s own familiarity with Ireland goes back to sailing forays in Cork in the 1980s to spending three years as a senior director at Google in Dublin.
“As a European who has lived a long time in the US, the objective with the new Dropbox international HQ is to build a bridge between the US HQ and Europe and build a great team to drive rapid user growth.”
Butting predicts Dropbox in Europe will see the same aggressive growth levels experienced in the US.
“We are likely to reach between 30 and 40 hires by the end of 2013 but in general if we see a person who fits we will hire them. My only concern is will I be able to grow fast enough?
“One of the things that makes working at Dropbox so exciting is how fast we have grown to 175m users. It’s a unique thing to be part of a super-exciting Silicon Valley company with huge traction and to be part of the early team that builds Europe.”
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