Dropbox has become the latest tech company to open an office in Dublin — land of Guinness and low corporate tax rates. Dropbox’s Drew Houston, co-founder and CEO of what is now a 100 million+-user strong service, clearly wasn’t watching the grilling the U.K.’s Public Accounts Select Committee gave Amazon and Google on the issue of corporate tax avoidance last month. Of course it’s the tax rates, not the Guinness, which lure so many tech companies to Ireland’s green and pleasant lands. Last year we reported that setting up a European HQ in Dublin would enable Twitter to lower its tax rate by 16 percentage points — reducing its tax payments by more than 60 percent.
Obviously Dropbox doesn’t make any mention of corporate tax rates in its Dublin announcement. Its release talks effusively about the local talent pool it will be tapping into in Dublin. “We’re delighted to be closer to millions of our European customers. By opening our international headquarters in Dublin and tapping into the large talent pool that exists there, we’re better positioned to serve even more people locally while we continue to grow,” enthused Houston in a canned statement. Ireland’s Taoiseach also chips in a few supporting words, flagging up the country’s “young, passionate and talented workforce”.
Dropbox’s VP of business, Sujay Jaswa, told TechCrunch “density of talent” is the reason the company settled on Dublin — after looking at several European options, including London. “Density of talent is the most important thing,” he said. “We look for where is the population of people that is most likely to fit the Dropbox profile — and what that usually looks like is someone who is tech savvy, ideally with an engineering background, and who is proficient in the job that we’re looking for them to perform. Where have they had that work before, and where is there a density of those kinds of people.”
Dropbox said the new Dublin office, its first in Europe, will serve as the center of its international operations — enabling it “to better provide technical support and product acumen” to Dropbox’s millions of European users, and presumably customers in other international markets such as Asia. The primary function of the office will be sales and user ops/support, according to Jaswa. In the first year of operation it plans to hire between 30 and 40 people.
Initial positions being advertised include “multi-lingual sales teams, account management and user operations staff” — a jobs listing on its website currently includes three roles for the Dublin office: Account Manager, IT Engineer and User Ops Engineer. The Account Manager jobs listing notes “the Account Managers at Dropbox in Dublin approach any situation with a positive attitude that helps them navigate through complexity in the European markets”, while the IT Engineer role notes: “you will get to build our European systems from the ground up in order to keep Dropbox in Dublin connected seamlessly to the rest of the world”.
Two of the job roles are seeking people with language skills in “German, Spanish, French, Italian, Iberian, Japanese and Korean”, in addition to fluent English. Dropbox’s head of European business operations, Mitra Lohrasbpour, said the company believes there is the “local talent” to support Japanese and Korean users from the Dublin office.
In future, Jaswa said Dropbox will probably look to open an office in Asia to support its Asian user base, noting: “We’ll make that decision as the need becomes clear.” Dropbox users are spread “pretty evenly” between the U.S., Europe and Asia, he added.
Dropbox was founded in 2007 by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi. Frustrated by working from multiple computers, Drew was inspired to create a service that would let people bring all their files anywhere, with no need to email around attachments. Drew created a demo of Dropbox and showed it to fellow MIT student Arash Ferdowsi, who dropped out with only one semester left to help make Dropbox a reality. Guiding their decisions was a relentless focus on crafting a...