We recently announced our $34M fundraise. As part of that, we also announced that we'd opened an office in New York - 148 Lafayette St, to be exact.
Anyway, enough about coffee. These two announcements are intimately connected. One of the key motivators for us raising that much capital was so that we could expand to the US successfully. But, therein lies a bigger question: why expand to the US at all, and why now?
Whether you like it or not, things going wrong at technology companies is a global problem. From the first month we launched, we've been a business with customers all over the world.
We've seen particular pull from the US. Our first paying customer was from the US, and we’ve seen strong demand ever since, with the majority of our customers hailing from the US.
We don't expect this trend to change in future. Our ideal customers are high-growth technology companies: be those scale-ups, or public enterprises. The US is obviously the dominant global market here.
When we currently sell to companies in the US, we’re the company with the charming/strange accents (delete as appropriate), and the limited timezone support.
We can't change our accents easily, but we can improve the amount of time we spend with our customers. Having a US presence increases the number of hours we can sell our product and support our existing customers by 50%.
It isn't just about availability. Familiarity matters too. When we are selling to customers, it’s hard to feel localised to them when we’re so far away. As we open up in the US, we’ll both feel a little more familiar and more present: a win-win.
As the dominant country for high-growth software companies, there's a deep and liquid market for talent across many disciplines.
Given that we strongly believe in the advantages of building early stage companies with an in-person team, it follows that we should be physically located there as well.
The early bird catches the worm! We could wait, but we have pull from customers to have a presence in the US, a growing market ready to sell into, the resources to do it and are at a stage where it is economically and operationally feasible.
There’s also a strong “there will be a clear winner” dynamic when it comes to the competition in an early market like ours. We plan to become the clear leader in our space, as fast as possible. We see no benefit in waiting.
We thought about this really hard and spoke to a lot of investors, founders and customers when making the decision. Ultimately, we think it’s the strongest option that maximises the chance of success of the whole company across all offices and timezones, without making significant compromises.
San Francisco was one of the obvious contenders. It contains many of our customers, and some amazing talent. However, the time zone overlap is very poor with London, and it’s hard to travel back and forth (11 hour flight). New York has lots of time crossover in comparison, and travel is much easier (6 hour flight).
We’re also betting on New York becoming one of the next big tech hubs. There’s good evidence so far that it’s on the rise. Leading investors like Index (our investors) and Sequoia are opening up New York offices. Additionally, More VC dollars are making their way to the city, rivalling the Bay Area.
It feels silly to 'bet on New York', given the acclaim that it has as a world city, but we feel the level of talent we can hire there is likely to rival the Bay Area over the coming years.
The most common failure mode for European startups expanding to the US is to put a couple of people in an anonymous-looking-WeWork, chat to them on Zoom for a couple of weeks, and expect the dollars to start rolling in. This doesn't work.
We believe you need to commit heavily to the US: both physically and financially.
As we grow, we expect to build the majority of our go to market and commercial team in the US. As such, it's an important, complementary office to our London team — not a satellite office.
We're hiring for our founding team in New York right now. These are incredibly important hires, who set the bar for other people joining the company, and play a critical role in helping us maintain our culture across both offices.
To start with, we're looking for ambitious and entrepreneurial Account Executives, who'll work closely with the CEO to ramp up our growth. However, we’re always on the lookout for amazing people — don't let the lack of a clearly-defined role stop you.