Expanding into Europe

A guide for US entrepreneurs

Read the book

Index Ventures

Technology will have a profound impact on every aspect of our lives. What we have seen to date is just the beginning.

We are a venture capital firm spanning the US and European startup ecosystems. The entrepreneurs we work with are creating the next generation of iconic companies, and include luminaries such as Pieter van der Does (Adyen), Drew Houston (Dropbox), Samir Desai (Funding Circle), Ilkka Paananen (Supercell) and Stewart Butterfield (Slack).

Our eclectic experience, insatiable curiosity, and unique point of view are driven by a common purpose – to make a positive contribution to the world.

We love the process of exploring and understanding entrepreneurs’ ambitions – from seed, to venture, to growth. We help to harness and focus their energy, expand to the next level, and bring their visions to life.

We only back the hungriest and most aspirational startups. If you feel ready to join our international network of founders, investors, creators and operators call us, and let’s begin the conversation.

April 2017

The Index Ventures experience

Our unique insight

This handbook will help you internationalise from the US to Europe. It’s packed with useful information to get started, quotes from people who have successfully made the transition, and a selection of case studies.

Working in Europe is not just about work. It’s about identity, tradition, style, provenance, and socialisation that revolves around food and drink. You will need to learn the nuances of different cultures and languages which – despite globalisation – influence everything from communicating brand, to recruitment, to marketing, to legal issues.

The companies we invest in span multiple sectors and go-to-market models, including Enterprise Sales, Inside Sales, B2C, Business Services, Adtech, hardware, infrastructure and Fintech. While startups also hire developers or development teams in Europe, we have primarily focused on commercially oriented expansion.

And to help you get up to speed with the jargon, we include an acronym glossary covering US and European terminology in the appendix.

Successful expansions

Thirty one Index Ventures backed companies have successfully set up in Europe. 16 have EMEA HQs in London. Five in Amsterdam. Four in Dublin. The other six are based in Zurich, Paris, Brussels, Edinburgh, Stuttgart and Cambridge.

Successful expansions into europe

London HQ

Anki

Boku

Centrify

Confluent

Culture Amp

Flipboard

HortonWorks

Lookout

Oanda

OpenX

Outbrain

Pentaho

Pure Storage

Stack overflow

Zendesk

Zuora

Amsterdam HQ

Bitpay

Doubledutch

Elastic

Optimizely

Sonos

Dublin HQ

Dropbox

Etsy

Slack

Squarespace

Zurich HQ

Novus

Paris HQ

Datadog

Brussels HQ

Collibra

Stuttgart HQ

Zend

Cambridge HQ

1stdibs

Edinburgh HQ

Right Scale

Why Europe?

Europe has 750 million consumers, mature innovation markets, and a love of new technology. There is a tremendous opportunity to do business in Europe and it’s a well-trodden path for US companies.

Timing and opportunity

Mature US tech companies typically make 30% of their revenues from Europe, so expansion is a question of – not if, but when.

Internationalisation most commonly becomes a strategic priority for companies post-B funding rounds. Companies sometimes work backwards from a potential IPO date, allowing three years to build out reasonable European coverage. They will already have European customers serviced out of the US, or a flow of Inbound Sales opportunities, so they need to assess the opportunities and risks of expanding.

Increasing sales

Roll out a successful sales approach across Europe to sustain and extend your revenue growth.

Land grab

Expand quickly to take control of new markets before competitors.

Servicing customers

Take advantage of time differences and offer 24/7 support to international customers.

Paradigms from our portfolio

Etsy

After a $40M fundraise, they expanded to gain a considerable footprint in the UK, Canada and Australia. Etsy’s strategy was to establish international markets by connecting local sellers to local buyers.

Dropbox

When Dropbox decided to focus on Enterprise clients, they already had a huge freemium user base in Europe, and the team knew that their second office would have to be there to continue scaling their customer base.

Elastic

Founded in Amsterdam, raised money in the US, Elastic was a distributed team from the start. They set up a UK entity in their first year of operation because they made a key senior hire in London.

Pure Storage

Pure Storage invested heavily in Europe to scale out fast and to be first-mover building out a network of channel partners. Within a year they grew to 120 employees with $40 million in revenues and opened offices in Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Munich, Milan, Johannesburg and Moscow.

Squarespace

Squarespace had been operating as a small business in New York for seven years before taking venture capital investment. This changed the scope and scale of the business and in 2013 they expanded to a Dublin office to effectively support customers.

Zendesk

Zendesk first built out a London office for Sales and Customer Support, then set up the Dublin office. The European offices helped service global customers by taking advantage of time differences. Local Account Managers were better able to help prospective customers trial and buy the software.

Stack Overflow

As the Stack Overflow Q&A platform grew, the company launched Stack Overflow Talent (originally named Careers) - a platform designed to fix the broken developer hiring process, and help software engineers find better jobs. Stack Overflow raised Series B funding, and set their sights on international growth; expanding to Europe to enter new markets.

Before making the leap to Europe, make sure that International expansion is a significant long-term company goal.

Nicole Vanderbilt

VP International, Etsy

The significance of International

For some companies, internationalisation is a key part of overall strategy and the Chief Executive Officer, Head of Sales, or Head of International may play a pivotal role in the region. For other companies, International can be seen as a bonus in the first few years.

It can take time for a US HQ to register how meaningful your market is. Once the EMEA revenues become a significant portion of global business, attitudes change.

Stuart Collingwood

GM, EMEA, Anki

At the time Zendesk in the US was focused on scaling, and Europe was seen as a bonus rather than a core part of the strategy.

Matt Price

Former GM EMEA, Zendesk

Hiring: who, when, how?

Making that first key hire

Who you choose to lead your European team will be crucial to the success or failure of your business. They will represent your company, attract the best hires, build a stellar roster of clients, and execute your go-to-market plan. Invest time in finding the right person who can build strong relationships.

Experience or potential?

Hire a Senior Leader. Ideally someone who has built a company or led a European business. He or she will set your hiring bar, and speed up your route to market using existing connections within the industry. There is a definable cohort of a few hundred individuals who have experience expanding US software businesses into Europe, many of them making a career out of doing just this.

Culture fit will be critical. If you can’t find an experienced candidate you feel comfortable with, a rising star could be an alternative. To offset the risk, recruit a senior Board advisor within the country to help with connections, relationships and advice.

How people negotiate their package will give you an indication of their readiness. For instance, if pension is a priority they may be better off at a bigger company.

Kevin Kimber

Former VP EMEA, Zuora

If you hire someone with less experience they will need to be supported with skills and local resources. They don’t know what they don’t know. For example, tackling employment issues in France, or data protection in Germany.

Simon Edelstyn

Former MD Europe, Outbrain

Do you need a captain or a player?

Larger companies with IPO aspirations tend to go for General Managers or Country Managers, while others may prefer a Vice President Sales to execute on a European go-to-market strategy. More cautious or less well-funded companies may take a more incremental approach, hiring a junior individual to test the waters, but hedging your bets in this way simply slows you down.

A General Manager or Country Manager will be given more autonomy and control over part of the strategy and local financials.

The ideal profile

Don’t compromise on entrepreneurialism or culture fit, but you may have to settle for someone without the scale or sector experience because European talent pools are thinner than the US.

It can be tempting to hire candidates from larger companies like Google, Salesforce, Oracle and IBM. However, make sure your candidate has had startup experience and is a hunter - not a farmer. In the beginning, leading Europe involves a lot of hustling and doing the job solo, so your candidate needs to be comfortable with that.

Depending on sector, you may look for a candidate who has lead large Sales teams, or a candidate with more of a product or marketing background. There is no ideal single profile.

Ask yourself – what will the region look like in a year? If you’re testing product market fit, you need a sales person. If your headcount will exceed 30 people, you need a GM.

Daniel Hyde

CEO, Erevena

From the 31 Index Portfolio companies who expanded from US to Europe:

The first hire made for the company had on average 13 years of work experience before joining.

10 companies hired MD/GM/ CM roles from the outset.

The average years of work experience for these candidates was 18, the minimum being 10 and maximum being 26.

6 companies hired senior Sales roles.

The rest of the companies hired for Customer Success, more junior Sales roles, or Marketing.

What can you expect?

Before making the hire, ask candidates to design a business plan. This will give you an idea of their vision and capability. Speak to people who have worked with them. If you have doubts, reach out to us for advice.

Look to your General Manager for European strategy, and input into the broader budget and timelines. Hire for local impact. Find someone who has the profile or the business relationships that will help you succeed.

What will they expect?

An experienced candidate will want chemistry with the Chief Executive Officer. They will want to know how much support they will get from HQ: Is the HQ team aware of ramp up times and budgets? How does the product roadmap relate to Europe? Will European customers be able to speak to security and data teams at HQ? And how many HQ teams will be available during European working hours?

The best GM EMEA candidates in Enterprise Sales are in high demand and get head-hunted every week.

Jerry Maynard

Director, 360 Leaders

Onboarding

Your General Manager should spend as much time as possible ramping up at HQ after being hired. Involve them in the business so they get a feel for your operations and culture, and can build relationships with the rest of your team.

A landing team. Yea or nay?

Sending a landing team over from the US can have several advantages including building shared values, market credibility, and short-term cost savings. However, you may lose out on a regional go-to-market strategy, and will not have the local connections required to build out your business.

We recommend hiring a local European Leader and sending supporting team members from HQ.

Let's talk money

General Manager or Vice President Sales roles are typically $350K for an experienced candidate. The range is $200K-$450K based on experience. Compensation is generally split 65/35 between base and bonus for General Manager roles and 50/50 for Vice President Sales roles. Candidates will expect options and will have a good understanding of them. Offers vary widely, but for post-B the average is 0.3-0.45%. We can talk through your individual circumstances.

The search process

Search within your networks first, then try a European recruiter. Most will be based out of London with access to further markets. Make sure the recruiter maps out the potential candidate pool and be clear about which cities to search in.

A good recruiter will provide calibration candidates within a week, and a shortlist of at least five people within a month to six weeks. This should include three who fit the brief and two wildcards – perhaps a rising star with the ability to step up, or someone without domain expertise.

Take into account negotiation time and notice periods, which are between one and three months in Europe. This means that your hire may not start for four to six months.

It’s unusual for a GM hire to be a purely search hire. More often, it’s someone known through networks.

Stuart Collingwood

GM EMEA, Anki

It’s important that the ultimate decision maker in the US is the person leading the search. This could be the CEO or CRO.

Daniel Hyde

CEO, Erevena

Scaling up your team

Who's responsible?

The hiring plan for the rest of the European team should be the responsibility of the General Manager or Local Leader. He or she needs to decide with input from HQ, what roles are needed and how best to hire for them.

Many companies operate a matrix structure, where employees report into Europe but also have a dotted line to HQ. If so, local hires should also be interviewed by their functional Leaders in the US. This will ensure culture fit.

Balancing input from HQ with local autonomy to the European Leader is a tricky task. Ultimately, it depends on building a good relationship, great communication, and frequent travel to and fro.

Speed or caution?

You need to strike the right balance of building momentum without losing control, and the pace of hiring will depend on objectives, sector, levels of funding and commitment to growth.

Pure Storage with Steven Rose at the helm invested heavily to scale fast and grew to 120 people within 18 months.

It depends how much the firm wants to invest. I’ve lead teams where we had to meet $1.5 million targets per region before hiring new people, and other teams where we scaled up faster.

Steven Rose

Former VP EMEA, Pure Storage

Stuart Collingwood leading Anki Europe took another tack, choosing to work solo for the first year while he got to grips with the business and scouted out key hires.

Living with a startup for a period is critical before ramping up. You’ve got to understand the business from end-to-end first.

Stuart Collingwood

GM EMEA, Anki

The recruitment process

Ideally, your General Manager will have number of candidates willing to follow him or her into your company. Rely on networks as much as possible as you did in the US to build out the highest quality, most dedicated talent pool.

It’s all about relationships. I joined the company because I knew Matt the GM EMEA, and he joined because he knew Zac the COO. When expanding into new countries, hiring people you know and trust helps a lot.

Maeve Hurley

VP Finance and Operations, Zendesk

Hiring profiles and playbooks are usually modelled on the US versions with some amendments for local flavour.

Keep in mind that your hires will usually have notice periods and it will take several months before they can begin work. The more senior your hires, the longer their notice periods will be.

It’s difficult to tell your US team that you’ve found this great person, but it will take three or six months to get them in – and that’s the norm!

Stuart Collingwood

GM EMEA, Anki

Order of hires

While this will depend very heavily on your business model and strategy here is a common order of hires we have seen:

  1. Key local hire

  2. Sales

  3. Sales Engineers

  4. Professional Services

  5. Customer Success

  6. Operations/Office Management

  7. Marketing

Companies often regret not investing in marketing resource in Europe earlier.

Values, fit and culture

Remote offices can dilute company culture. Make sure European hiring managers screen candidates with your company values in mind. HQ employees should interview European candidates for cultural fit.

Onboarding, induction and training

Create onboarding programmes, preferably at HQ to give candidates a flavour of the company ethos.

We would fly new European hires to London for training where they would meet department heads and socialise over dinner. This helped everyone feel a part of something bigger than themselves.

Lindsey Dale

HR Consultant, Outbrain

Induction should happen in the US. You are selling the US HQ as much as you are selling your product, so all your employees should live your brand.

Kevin Kimber

Former VP EMEA, Zuora

Human Resources and management

A local Human Resources function gives employees someone to talk to in their office. One-to-one video calls with HQ are not enough to manage personnel problems that inevitably arise. If you don’t tackle these issues early on, they can grow into bigger problems. The local Human Resources manager will also be heavily involved in recruiting, so they should have blended experience. If you cannot justify a full-time or permanent hire, consider hiring a consultant.

Stock Options

Below the Leadership layer there are limited expectations for receiving options, and you rarely need to offer stock to close a hire. Most companies give stock to employees if this is their US policy, but it may be reduced for Europe. This can feel culturally challenging, but it’s a pragmatic solution.

Outbrain was good at understanding geographical nuances and what attracts the right people. You need to account for the benefits European Leaders will expect.

Lindsey Dale

HR Consultant, Outbrain

Experienced candidates have a detailed awareness about stock options especially if they have worked at a US startup before. As companies grow and get closer to IPO, people may join who have more of a financial incentive.

Kevin Kimber

Vice President of EMEA, Zuora

Hiring across geographies

Labour law legalese

Dealing with legal issues across a multitude of European markets can be intimidating, however with the right advice and information you can create high performing teams in all geographies. The table below is a snapshot of the regulations you will encounter.

Don’t let these things stop you running your business, but be cognisant of them!

Simon Edelstyn

Former Managing Director Europe, Outbrain

In the UK, beware of ‘consultants’ ahead of establishing an entity. If they are operating more like employees this can constitute a ‘presence’ before you are ready, and generate employment rights, tax liabilities, and intellectual property ownership issues.

You will need a formal employee contract in Europe which is different from at-will employment in the US.

German holiday entitlements cause shock in Silicon Valley!

Stuart Collingwood

GM EMEA, Anki

The perception is that locating to France is problematic but many of our companies have managed the regulations and offset the risks.

There are particular and real pain-points with stock options in France.

Dominic Jacquesson

Director of Talent, Index Ventures

In France, we have enjoyed great quality and quantity of candidates. Many people complete specialised masters. Often these programmes include work experience so you get well educated candidates who have two internships under their belts.

Lindsey Dale

HR Consultant, Outbrain

On maternity leave

In Europe, maternity leave entitlement can be up to a year, and it’s illegal to ask a woman when she might be returning to work. During this time, employers are required to hold the mother’s position open for them to return (or an equivalent role), and to arrange for maternity cover during the period of absence. Many employers offer significantly enhanced benefits and return-to-work bonuses as opposed to the statutory minimum. Options will be expected to continue vesting during any period of maternity leave

Employment law: UK

Employer Social Taxes

14%

Statutory Annual Leave

20 days

Public holidays

8 days

Statutory Pension Contributions for Employers

1%

Statutory Healthcare Contributions

Not Statutory

Min. Notice Period

1 week notice for less than 2 years of service

Additional week for every year of service up to max of 12 weeks

Sick Leave

£88.45 per week (Statutory after 3 days of sickness on no pay)

Maternity Leave

26 weeks (including compulsory first 2 weeks) + 26 weeks additional maternity leave if wanted

Up to 39 weeks’ statutory maternity pay at £139.58 per week

Paternity Leave

2 weeks paid (£139.58 per week) plus right to request the sharing of parental leave with mother

Unfair Dismissal

Max damages: approx £80,000 plus up to approx £15,000

Employee must have been employed for 2 years or more (£80,000 cap is lifted if there is a successful discrimination or whistleblowing claim)

Non Competes

No default legal restriction

Possible to include contractual non-competes

Maximum possible restricted period will usually be 12 months

In practice, can be difficult to enforce

Unions and work councils

Vary depending on the industry but are not standard

Thanks to Taylor Wessing

Employment law: Ireland

Employer Social Taxes

11%

Statutory Annual Leave

20 days

Public holidays

9 days

Statutory Pension Contributions for Employers

Not Statutory

Statutory Healthcare Contributions

Not Statutory

Min. Notice Period

1 week for less than 2 years of service

Goes up to 8 weeks for more than 15 years of service

Sick Leave

An employer is not required to pay sick leave to employees

Maternity Leave

26 weeks statutory pay from the Department of Social Protection

A further 16 weeks unpaid additional maternity leave can be taken

Paternity Leave

Two weeks paternity with benefits

Unfair Dismissal

Maximum compensation is 2 years’ gross remuneration

Employee must have been employed for 1 year or more

Non Competes

Non-competes are used in Ireland but are mostly used for mid-level and senior employees only

Unions and work councils Works Councils are uncommon in Ireland
Thanks to Taylor Wessing

Employment law: Netherlands

Employer Social Taxes

19%

Statutory Annual Leave

20 days

Public holidays

8 days

Statutory Pension Contributions for Employers

Not Statutory

Statutory Healthcare Contributions

7% of salary

Min. Notice Period

1 month for less than 5 years of service

Goes up to 4 months for more than 15 years of service

Sick Leave

70% of employee’s salary during the first 2 years of illness

Maternity Leave

16 weeks paid leave (between 4 and 6 weeks before the expected date of delivery and 10 to 12 weeks after)

Paternity Leave 2 days paid leave and 3 unpaid
Unfair Dismissal

Fair dismissal max damages EUR 76,000 or one year’s salary if more

Unfair is uncapped, but on average in case law 1.3 monthly salaries per year of service

Non Competes

Must be agreed upon in writing, including substantial business interests in case of a fixed term contract. In general, max post-contractual period is 1 year

Unions and work councils

Works council mandatory at 50 or more employees

Has the opportunity to give advice on any strategic decision, and to give consent on decisions concerning collective terms and conditions

Thanks to Taylor Wessing

Employment law: Germany

Employer Social Taxes

21%

Statutory Annual Leave

20 days

Public holidays

9-13 days

Statutory Pension Contributions for Employers

9%
(Included in social taxes)

Statutory Healthcare Contributions

7% employers
(Included in social taxes)

Min. Notice Period

1 month for less than 2 years of service

Goes up to 5 months for more than 12 years of service

Sick Leave

6 weeks 100% paid leave (Generally 6 weeks per sickness)

Maternity Leave

6 weeks before birth and 8 weeks after, women are prohibited from working and can generally claim full pay from their employer

There are additional benefits for further time off

Paternity Leave

Employees are entitled to parental leave of up to 3 years per child (not fully paid) and can share some paid benefits with their partner

Unfair Dismissal

The Protection Against Dismissal Act (PADA) act applies if the employer employs more than ten employees and the employee has been working for the same employer for more than six months (Once PADA applies, every dismissal needs to be justified by the employer. The employer has the burden of proof in this context. Roughly 90% of the German protection against dismissal lawsuits end by mutual settlement agreement. Severance is usually between 0.5 and 1.0 gross monthly salary per year of service)

Non Competes

Statutory non-compete during the term of the employment relationship

Post-contractual non- compete restrictions can only be agreed in writing for a maximum term of 2 years

Compensation of at least 50% of salary (including variable remuneration) must be paid for the entire term

Unions and work councils

Vary depending on the industry

Unions and works councils are very powerful in Germany

Thanks to Taylor Wessing

Employment law: France

Employer Social Taxes

45%

Statutory Annual Leave

25 days

Public holidays

8 days

Statutory Pension Contributions for Employers

16-22%
(Included in social taxes)

Statutory Healthcare Contributions

13% + Health Insurance
(Included in social taxes)

Min. Notice Period

Between 1 and 3 months in most cases
(Depends on the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement)

Sick Leave

Variable
(Depends on the employee’s seniority and the provisions of the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement)

Maternity Leave

16 weeks for the 1st and the 2nd child, 26 weeks for the 3rd child

More weeks in case of specific circumstances (twins, illness, etc.)

An allowance is paid for maternity leave

Paternity Leave

11 consecutive days with daily compensation

Unfair Dismissal

Damages depending on the prejudice suffered, and at least equal to 6 months’ gross remuneration in case of dismissal of an employee having at least 2 years’ seniority with a company of at least 11 employees

Non Competes

Must be limited in time and duration, justified by the interest of the firm and must not prevent the employee from finding another job. Mandatory financial remuneration of at least 30% of the gross monthly salary

Unions and work councils

Employee delegates must be elected once a company has 11+ employees

A Works Council and a Health and Safety Committee (“CHSCT”) must be elected from 50+ employees

Thanks to Taylor Wessing

Where to set up

Where and why?

It’s no coincidence that the best places to set up are four of the most vibrant cities in Europe. London, Dublin, Amsterdam and Berlin are magnets for highly motivated and ambitious people.

London is the top choice for Fintech and Enterprise. Dublin best for Inside Sales, back office and support functions. Amsterdam is good for Inside or Enterprise Sales. Berlin is unlikely but up and coming - particularly post Brexit.

Deciding factors will be the location of your Europe Leader, location of clients and customers, and availability of talent profile. If you find somebody you really believe in, let them drive the decision, but be cautious about building your HQ in a city other than these four.

Our biggest trigger in deciding where to establish was where we wanted to sell. We needed feet on the ground.

Nick White

Chief Financial Officer, Elastic

Target companies to hire from

London has by far the largest pool of about two hundred serial General Managers who have built out US software companies. It also has the deepest pool of B2C General Managers, with marketing and community-building expertise. London is the easiest European city to relocate people because of its language, culture, and schooling.

Dublin has talent from Salesforce, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Oracle and LinkedIn networks, representing a growing pool of Inside Sales and Customer Success Leaders.

Amsterdam has a smaller pool of B2B Sales tech companies that you can draw from.

Berlin has strong B2C talent, often young but aggressive Leaders - particularly from Rocket Internet companies.

Our companies that located to Ireland and the UK chose Dublin and London. The preference is to be in the hub-for talent attraction, travel connections, and proximity to other startups.

Dominic Jacquesson

Director of Talent, Index Ventures

Who can help?

Cities are keen to provide information on setting-up and overviews of tech activity, neighbourhoods, office space and market conditions. They also give advice on tax breaks, investment schemes, visas, business support networks and trade organisations.

London

London and Partners is the official promotional company for London.
londonandpartners.com

Tech City UK is responsible for the Exceptional Tech Talent Visa.
techcityuk.com

Dublin

IDA Ireland is Ireland’s state agency with responsibility for inward investment support and development.
idaireland.com

Amsterdam

Amsterdam inbusiness or StartupAmsterdam for the official foreign investment agency of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area.
iamamsterdam.com

Netherlands

Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency is an operational unit of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.
investinholland.com

Berlin

Germany Trade and Invest is the economic development agency for Germany.
gtai.de

Berlin Partner is responsible for marketing Berlin to the world.
berlin-partner.de

The political climate: In the wake of Brexit

Europe is experiencing political uncertainty, including the UK’s vote to leave the European Union in June 2016 (Brexit), but the situation is moving too fast for specific advice. When you’re ready to expand, please reach out to the Index Ventures team for the latest state of play.

There are no immediate changes to the way you do business in Europe. London retains its role as a key tech hub. The importance of London may diminish over time (especially in financial services), but if this happens, it will happen gradually. Tellingly, in the months following the Brexit vote, Google, Facebook, Apple and Snap all announced major investments and headcount increases in London.

For the foreseeable future London will remain the leading European base for startups and for US startups expanding into Europe.

Clustering significance

Clustering Significance EMEA HQ Important Presence
(Beyond country operations)
London / UK

Box
Cloudera
DocuSign
Oracle
Palantir
Salesforce
Snapchat
VMWare
WeWork
Zendesk

Airbnb
Amazon
Apple
Etsy
Expedia
Facebook
Google
Microsoft
Twitter
Yahoo

Dublin / Ireland

Airbnb
Dropbox
Etsy
Facebook
Fitbit
Gilt
Groupe
Google
Hubspot
Indeed
LinkedIn
Marketo
Mongo
DB
Qualtrics
Stripe
Twitter
Yahoo

Amazon
Zendesk

Amsterdam / Netherlands

Adyen
Atlassian
Booking.com
Flexport
GoPro
Netflix
Palo Alto Networks Tesla
Uber
Salesforce
Service Now

Microsoft

Location rankings

Location Rankings
1=best
London Dublin Amsterdam
Ease of set up London and Dublin are the most comparable to the US. 1 1 3
English Language German and French skills will be required if you set up in Berlin or Paris. 1 1 3
Enterprise Customer The UK, France and Germany are the biggest markets to consider. 1 3 2
Availability of Senior Talent Greatest availability of senior talent in London, followed by Amsterdam and Dublin - you may be able to get senior leaders to relocate. 1 3 2
Availability of Junior hires There are deep multilingual talent pools in London and Dublin. 1 1 3
Salaries Salaries will be highest in London. 3 1 2
Cost Dublin and Berlin will be the cheapest cities to operate in. 3 1 2
Corporation Tax Corporation tax ranges from 12.5% (Ireland) to 33.3% (France). 2 1 3
Air links to US & Europe London and Amsterdam have the most connected airports. 1 3 2

London

Why London?

Lots of factors in its favour. English language, cultural parallels with US, travel hub, deep talent pools, multilingual, packed with Enterprise-grade prospects and partners, particularly in financial services. Many US companies have built up a UK audience and clients ahead of formally launching in Europe.

The major US tech companies have major hubs in London - even if they retain their formal European HQ in Ireland for tax reasons. Google, Facebook, and Amazon have large engineering teams in London, as well as key Account Sales, and Business Development teams.

Salaries and cost of living are high and Brexit is generating political uncertainty – particularly for fintech companies.

London is great. It’s not hard to convince twentysomethings to move to a big city.

Matt Price

GM EMEA, Zendesk

Where in London

Locate your offices in central London. No question. It’s just a question of neighbourhood. There is an Enterprise talent pool outside London near the M4 corridor but central London is the tech hub. Consider your proximity to customers and whether your office should be a destination.

If it‘s near Heathrow, everyone drives in and drives out, and that doesn’t create a cohesive workplace culture.

If you are an enterprise company the typical route is London because the people who buy your software are there. You could set up elsewhere but spend a lot of time travelling to the UK to build your brand.

Daniel Hyde

CEO, Erevena

Office space neighbourhoods

East London

The East End is London’s rapidly growing creative community on the edge of The City with many young businesses attracted by the vibrant mix of clubs, restaurants, bars and cafés. Clerkenwell, Shoreditch and Hoxton good for a consumer startup, or if targeting the startup or developer communities.

  • Average £35-£65 per square foot

West End

The West End is London’s cultural and retail centre with many established HQs of global businesses. All the media and ad agencies are here, and the influx of new technology and gentrification is changing traditional neighbourhoods.

  • Soho, Fitzrovia or Covent Garden
  • Good for adtech
  • Average £50-£90 per square foot

City of London

The City of London is the commercial heart. Almost a city state that has its own regulations and laws. It is the powerhouse of the UK economy attracting international corporate giants that sit alongside the ancient guilds and historic monuments.

  • Good for financial services sector
  • Average £40- £90 per square foot

West London

Close to M4 corridor out to the West. Massive regeneration is attracting head offices of major brands with high quality space and a wealth of places to socialise and chill out.

  • Paddington
  • Commuter links for sales people working in established software incumbents located in the Thames valley
  • Average £55 - £80 per square foot
US companies come to London because there is a great talent pool with an international perspective.

John Smith

Partner, Gillamor Stephens

Recommended realtors

Colliers
DeVono Cresa
Gale Priggen
Hanlon Bennett

London

Dublin

Why Dublin?

The Irish government loves US companies. Ireland is Europe’s fastest growing economy and Dublin is a global services hub with a highly educated workforce of home grown and international talent. It also has the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe at 12.5%.

If you’re looking to build a large Customer Support or Inside Sales team, then economics favour Dublin due to its lower cost. Ireland has big talent pools thanks to Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, Salesforce, Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

When startups kick-off in London and get to scale in Europe, they often choose to open in Dublin and shift back-office functions there.

If you have a highly scalable business, Dublin has some great advantages, but tax must not be the primary driver of where you locate your office.

Johann Butting

Head of Sales EMEA, Slack

Paradigms from our portfolio

Dropbox sent a three person landing team from San Francisco to support the Head of EMEA. The team grew to 50 with Inside Sales and Support, before hiring a UK Enterprise and Marketing team, followed by French and German country managers.

In 2015 Slack sent James Sherrett from West Coast to grow the team to 30 Inside Sales and Customer Support employees. Then they hired an Enterprise team in London which grew to eight in five months.

Workspaces

If you’re bringing less than five people consider workspaces like The Digital Hub or Dogpatch Labs. Slack first housed a hundred people in The Digital Hub until they opened their European HQ in Dublin. Etsy started here as well. Highly recommended for the atmosphere, networking, flexibility of space and events.

If you’ve got the budget consider Glandore providing 5-star unbranded office facilities in the city centre. Twitter and LinkedIn started here before moving to permanent homes.

We found lots of young talent in Dublin well suited to Customer Support and Sales teams.

Maeve Hurley

VP Finance and Operations, Zendesk

Neighbourhoods

Dublin isn’t divided into distinct neighbourhoods by tech industry. The city is small and walkable.

Silicon Docks

The South Docks are prime real estate. This is where the big tech giants and leading law firms cluster. Facebook, Google, Zalando, Airbnb have offices here, so space is tight and expensive. Upwards of €50 per square foot.

Sandyford – South Dublin

South Dublin is more affordable, and has a good transport network to the rest of the city. Microsoft has extensive operations ranging from R&D to Sales and Marketing. Vodafone has a large office in a business park with an expansive Customer Experience Centre.

Smithfield – North Dublin

Zendesk is here. Expect to pay €15-25 per square metre on the ring road, near the airport and 30 minutes from city centre. Ideal if your team will be frequent travellers.

Support for research, development and innovation

Two major supports available for multinational companies. A 25% tax credit achieved through scientific or technical advancement. And the Ireland Research, Development and Innovation Programme offers grants depending on project size, scope and strategic value.

Dublin

Amsterdam

Pros and cons

Amsterdam is an intimate city with international outlook. Almost all residents speak English and it’s strong on quality of life. Schiphol Airport is a global hub and road / rail connections to the rest of Europe are effortless.

It’s a viable choice for Inside Sales driven businesses. Atlassian and Optimizely are creating a talent pool there. It’s attractive to junior hires, if you’re happy to build skills as opposed to hiring experience. It’s well placed for North European coverage because salary parity makes it more attractive to Germans and Nordics compared to Dublin.

It’s closer – culturally and geographically – to Germany and France than London so could be better placed to establish your European HQ. However there is less senior talent available.

The Netherlands has a special tax regime for expatriates, which provides a substantial income tax exemption of up to 30%. However, there is a distance requirement where incoming employees must have lived more than 150 km from the Dutch border before work in the Netherlands commences.

Amsterdam

Berlin

Berlin buzzes with innovation and regeneration. It’s a magnet for creative thinkers and entrepreneurs. The city is still finding its feet post-reunification, but is driven by an upbeat and optimistic energy.

There is no central city hub in Germany. We had a number of developers in Berlin due to a strong startup scene there, but our customers were all over the country in Frankfurt, Cologne, Munich, Hamburg and Düsseldorf.

Robin Sharpe

Vice President of Operations, Elastic

Berlin has no big industry such as banks, pharmaceutical and automotive, but there are lots of startups in the B2C and adtech space. The cost of living and office space is cheaper than other major cities. Berlin attracts a young international talent pool. The co-working scene is very active and many companies begin in a shared space such as WeWork before leasing long-term.

However, it has been much less successful to date in attracting the major US tech companies. It has less talent in B2B Software and Sales. It’s still the outlier as a choice for EMEA HQ, relative to our other three city recommendations.

Locations

Many of Berlin’s startups are in former East Berlin around Torstrasse, otherwise known as Silicon Allee. Pockets of startups are huddled around Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg and Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg.

Rents

Median rents paid by startups are currently around €13 monthly per square metre and only just below rents paid by traditional office tenants averaging €14 per square metre.

Talent

Berlin has many young Leaders with Rocket Internet experience. Management levels of successful startups are setting up their own companies. Salaries can be lower than in other parts of the world.

Selling

Strategy and segmentation

Before landing, work with your European Leader to highlight key accounts and sectors to sell into. This may be straightforward – or if your offering is for multiple industries – can be more complicated. Try to leverage existing customers and networks as much as possible.

Evaluate which industries will be most receptive as you land in new markets. Identify your profile of target EMEA customers and the ten killer accounts you want to reach before setting up office.

Kevin Kimber

Former VP EMEA, Zuora

Trying to sell into the whole of Europe is not practical. Europe is generally segmented into key regions because they have different purchasing behaviours and business cultures. Grouping territories maximises efficiency.

NEMEA

UK, Ireland, Nordics, Netherlands

SEMEA

France, Spain, Italy

DACH

Germany, Austria, Switzerland

CEE

Poland, Czech, Slovakia, Hungary, Baltics

Language: Is English enough?

You can sell to Europe in English but will do better with local language skills. Hiring people who speak several languages in your centralised hub will broaden your reach.

Most US startups begin with English speaking countries, and many use English to sell to early adopters in other markets. Scandinavia and the Netherlands in particular are comfortable with English language products and marketing. This will work up to a point but it does limit your audience, so expect to transition to local languages as you grow.

Scandinavia is a huge market for early adopters but you get big points if you speak their language.

Johann Butting

Head of EMEA Sales, Slack

Compensation and ramp up

Compensation for Sales roles is broadly comparable to the US, but Enterprise Sales people may expect benefits or cash compensation in lieu of pension, healthcare, life insurance and car allowance. They will generally be less concerned about options.

Enterprise Salesperson compensation will be about $200K, 50/50 split base/ commission, for five to seven years of experience. Quotas will be comparable to the US, but getting up to speed in a new territory could take between three to six months. For a new Sales person, expect six months minimal revenue and build this into your compensation plan.

What's different in Europe?

Business cycles

There are major summer and winter slowdowns in business activity so forecast accordingly.

Cultural expectation

Britain and America are two nations divided by a common language, but the similarities outweigh the differences.

Traction peaks and troughs

Entering new markets can generate significant initial traction from early adopters. Since this layer is thinner in Europe than the US, you may experience a slowdown before regaining traction as you build localisation, brand and outbound activity.

In the US a Chief Information Officer will ask: ‘What can you do for me?’ In Europe it may be ‘What do you want from me?’

Mark Simon

CEO, The Chemistry Club

Implementation partners and distribution channels in Europe

Europe has a larger number of potential implementation partners and indirect distribution channels than the US. This is particularly true in infrastructure and hardware. Vice Presidents of Customer Success may find it uncomfortable to outsource this part of the business, but your General Manager in Europe should be able to guide you and find the right partners. As a result, the shape of your team may look quite different to the US, with dedicated resource in channel Sales and Marketing and in smaller, non- English speaking markets in Eastern and Southern Europe.

Average order value

These may be smaller in Europe so look at them in aggregate.

Remote implementation

You may have to spend more time on site in Europe than in the US, based on client expectations and levels of internal expertise.

I typically do a six to nine month test with partners in a market or work with them on three projects before signing up. You want partners who feel that your business is important to them.

Kevin Kimber

Former VP EMEA, Zuora

Paradigms from our portfolio

Zendesk

Zendesk was receiving inbound interest from across Europe with 70 - 80% of new business arriving organically. They built a multilingual, multinational Sales team out of their London offices, hiring Sales and Account Management and staffed up two people per quarter. The hiring profile was foreign nationals who were fluent in English plus their native language. The hires were typically entrepreneurially minded, a few years out of college with a little sales experience. Half the total hires had relocated to London to join Zendesk. Hires were sent to the US for an onboarding programme.

As time went on, the company began to see larger deals with more complex procurement processes coming through the pipeline. The Head of Europe handled these deals initially before hiring a specialist and building out a strategic accounts unit.

Elastic

In US Elastic built up a core hub in San Francisco, whereas in Europe they divided their Sales structure into North EMEA based in London and South EMEA based in Amsterdam. Pre-sales is essential because it’s a technical product so there is a 1:2.3 ratio of pre-sales to sales staff. In Europe, the deal sizes were significantly less than the size of the US in terms of annual contract value. Elastic found that the very largest customers required reps to engage face- to-face, whereas smaller customer could be transacted via video-conferencing and screen sharing. The team also runs public developer meet-ups and bespoke marketing events for individual enterprises.

Getting to grips: Germany, France, Spain

Show clients that you are serious about their market. Provide them with local language support or take a large group of people to your meetings.

Germany

In Germany, we needed to engage with external recruiters to find experienced Sales people. There is a lot of competition and working for a US based startup may not appeal to someone who is risk averse.

Lindsey Dale

HR Consultant, Outbrain

France

In France, you can fly in and out for business deals, whereas in Germany you need significant local presence to be taken seriously. This also depends on what stage your market is at.

Simon Edelstyn

Former MD Europe, Outbrain

Spain

People in Spain want to know you and get comfortable before doing business. Often foreigners doing deals in Spain or Italy can come across as too aggressive.

Simon Edelstyn

Former MD Europe, Outbrain

Localisation

What does localisation mean?

Localisation extends well beyond the language of your user interface. For some companies it involves translating a core product offering. For others it’s a landing page in local language. It also encompasses payments, pricing, contracts and payroll. You need to assess what localisation means for your company, and to what level to invest.

How to get local

You can get going in Europe with minimal localisation, but full localisation to maximise your addressable market will take years to achieve.

  1. Core product / user interface (UI)
  2. VAT compatibility
  3. Marketing collateral
  4. Customer Support
  5. Pricing and go to market strategy
  6. Local market Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  7. Customer contracts – US or English law generally accepted
  8. Multi-currency (£ and €)
  9. Local payment methods
  10. Data centres – model contract clauses still generally accepted

If your audience requires a strong local presence create a local language website and support team. First-line Customer Support from the US isn’t sustainable beyond the short-term due to time zone and language differences.

Translation terrors

Translation is as much about culture as language. Beware of web translations and translation service businesses which tend to translate word for word. Have your materials checked by a native speaker before release, either internally or crowd sourced from customers.

Some of our portfolio companies have used in-house employees for first translations and created tone of voice guidelines with glossaries for external agencies such as Sajan and Beluga Linguistics.

As International expansion gathers pace, shift to a user interface Content Management Systems layer, where changes are possible by local teams.

Complex deals can take much longer with remote lawyers so make sure everyone is talking to each other to keep things moving.

Matt Price

Former GM EMEA, Zendesk

Processing payments

You can begin by accepting dollar payments but may have to make exceptions for larger clients. Eventually you will have to bear the cost of processing payments in Euros and sterling.

Contracts

You can operate through your US entity and forward contracts via the parent company. We can guide you to the right service provider for more advice. However, timeliness of response can become an issue and frustration for local Sales teams, so agree standards for internal response time. Once you have hired a European finance lead, they will generally monitor contract issues more autonomously.

We have found that US or English Law is generally accepted for customer contracts.

Simon Edelstyn

Former Managing Director Europe, Outbrain

In hindsight, one thing we could have done better was to provide local marketing support earlier, especially outside the UK, what with language differences requiring marketing collateral to be translated and generally ‘localised’.

Lindsey Dale

HR Consultant, Outbrain

I like to test different things in different markets and this is an advantage in EMEA as it’s not a single market. You can share lots of learning with the US team this way.

Stuart Collingwood

GM EMEA, Anki

Marketing

Central or distributed?

Balancing centralised marketing versus localised marketing can be tricky. The European office will want marketing flexibility but your global branding and messaging must be standardised.

Many well established US companies are unknown to European consumers. To break through will require a mix of PR, online, above-the-line, events, content, and Sales collateral, depending on your go-to-market plan. Much of this advertising will have to be developed for local markets.

It’s essential to have strong standardised corporate branding and messaging overarching all marketing activities. But it’s important to have localised marketing to ensure that messaging and collateral is relevant.

Simon Edelstyn

Former MD Europe, Outbrain

We allocate European marketing budgets 70% to global campaigns and 30% to local ones.

Nicole Vanderbilt

VP International, Etsy

Adoption of our open source product was widespread. The biggest challenge was helping users realise that behind the Elasticsearch project is a company with other great products!

Robin Sharpe

Vice President of Operations, Elastic

Marketing collateral

Initially English speaking consumers will be okay with US collateral but increased market share will require empathetic translation. Adapt 50% of existing content and create 50% new content. Of particular importance is the creation of local case studies using local client logos.

If you are building an Inbound Sales funnel, strong local marketing is important to drive awareness and demand.

Driving inbound needs real marketing support. Ten years ago everyone would have been doing outbound but today that just isn’t the right approach. You need too many touchpoints.

Johann Butting

Head of Sales EMEA, Slack

Online marketing

Determine a few key metrics early on and segment by country. Compare to your US markets to get a baseline. Online marketing should be run from a single hub. Decide whether you need a local market social feed or one for all your European operations. Social feeds will need regular updating. Paid digital channels can be managed centrally for the UK or if in English, but local pay-per- click (PPC) agencies or internal resource will be needed for running non-English campaigns.

PR and launch

Start with a freelancer or small agency. Scale-up by hiring a local internal marketer. Your PR agency can liaise with the US HQ or with the European Marketing Lead. Balance an agency’s experience with their hunger to prioritise you.

Relationships with journalists are crucial. European media is trends and insights led. Your company may get featured as part of a larger story but there could be less Forbes-style front page opportunities. Create a narrative that your target audience can relate to. Keep in mind that it can be difficult to get good press coverage with only a marketing/sales local spokesperson.

The media landscape across Germany, Switzerland and Austria can be treated as a single market, but adjust for local variation.

I’m not a fan of global agencies. Their internal offices often compete, and your opportunity might be too small for them to focus on. I prefer to find good local freelancers.

Nicole Vanderbilt

VP International, Etsy

Events

Hold launches when you have already established a network of local Customer Advocates. Tie in your launch story with larger company milestones. Disrupt existing markets with road-show events that build awareness and close deals.

We ran lightweight low maintenance two-day marketing events across European cities where we held boot camps and training seminars for prospective clients followed by a party in the evening. We also set up local press interviews.

Matt Price

Former GM EMEA, Zendesk

Hires

High profile hires generate publicity. Hiring from a competitor tells the market you have arrived and this will attract a bigger talent pool.

It’s crucial when entering a new market to have some marquee names joining from industry. This signals your intent to the talent market.

Stuart Collingwood

GM EMEA, Anki

Who can help and how?

If using an agency, test the waters with a three to six month project. Following on, pay a retainer fee which could be an entry point of around €5,000. This should cover a press office, media and analyst relations and some additional support.

Product and Engineering

The European role in product

Your International Office can be used as a testing ground for new ideas.

Anki tested different advertising models. For example, they found TV advertising on The Simpsons was particularly successful because the audience drew in children and parents, who were both critical to the buying cycle. This learning has proved useful for the US.

We have seen multiple models of team structures. Some companies allocate dedicated resource to International. However, Etsy found after trialling both models it was more efficient to share resource because isolated engineering teams may not have the specialist expertise required across all aspects of the business.

The trajectory has been a little like mobile. Many companies used to have dedicated mobile teams and now mobile is part of everyone’s responsibility. We’ve tried to move in this direction with our approach to international as well.

Nicole Vanderbilt

VP International, Etsy

Some European Leaders like to be involved with overall product decisions, while others prefer to focus on Sales. Irrespective of the strategy you adopt, make sure the product is good enough for Europe’s diverse markets.

EMEA doesn’t need to be involved locally in product until it is really established because it can become a distraction.

Stuart Collingwood

GM EMEA, Anki

Engineering teams in Europe

Companies may have remote engineers in Europe but this is very different to setting up a separate engineering team, which requires more infrastructure and support. Whether to have engineering teams in Europe is usually a separate consideration to setting up a Sales or Commercial Office as the locations may be different.

Commercial hubs are generally in Western Europe while engineering centres may be in Eastern Europe due to lower costs and availability of talent. However, Google, Facebook and Amazon have built engineering hubs in London, and Dropbox and Zendesk have engineering teams in Dublin.

Offshored engineering centres should own a definable product or set of features. For example, Amazon’s engineering team in London takes the lead on video, and Zendesk’s team in Dublin is focused on mobile and live chat.

Where next?

A single hub or multiple offices?

Inside Sales

You can effectively service 80% of Europe from a single multi-lingual hub in Dublin, London or Amsterdam.

Field Sales

You can start with a hub and some remote Sales people, but scaling-up will require feet on the ground.

B2C

You can run digital marketing and staff multilingual talent out of a single hub. If you are building a marketplace or need to build community establish local presence.

Strategy and timeline

The three primary markets in Europe are the UK, Germany and France.

You can achieve 80% penetration of Europe from these locations. The UK can service Netherlands and the Nordics, and Germany can service Switzerland and Austria.

Only at significantly greater scale does it make sense to establish further local offices. If you do, the market presence order is generally Netherlands, Nordics, Spain. Very few companies go beyond this.

If starting in London, you might build some operations out of Dublin as you scale but will need to have over 50+ headcount for cost-effectiveness.

The art of strategy is understanding where to get the business without putting in any effort – versus where you need to invest to grow your markets.

Nicole Vanderbilt

VP International, Etsy

If you go into a new market, ring fence the investment then measure that market’s performance against the investment plan.

Simon Edelystn

Former MD Europe, Outbrain

Almost everyone underestimates the time it takes to enter and grow presence in a new market. Cracking Germany is a three to five year project.

Matt Price

Former GM EMEA, Zendesk

For some companies, scaling to new locations will not make sense.

We are a Customer Service, marketing- driven company, so we don’t need multiple Sales Offices in different territories.

Raphael Fontes

Director EMEA Operations, Squarespace

How fast is too fast?

If you expand too fast and need to unplug, it can be a huge drain on management resources. Don’t grow faster than you can handle. You may need coaching as Board members may not have International experience to guide you. The Head of International must add depth to this discussion. It’s critical to gauge market sentiment and closely monitor customer and Sales team feedback, and to build deep confidence in your product readiness.

Find your true north. Set a focused strategy and then be brave in your pursuit of it.

Nicole Vanderbilt

VP International, Etsy

Team culture

Keeping your team connected

Allow extra time and effort to make sure remote teams are cohesive and connected. Build relationships early and strengthen them through video calls, joint projects, and face-to-face visits.

Ensure your European team have access to the wider business through training and exchange programmes.

The GM EMEA needs to be in the US HQ every six weeks or they will forget what you look like!

Stuart Collingwood

GM EMEA, Anki

All-hands meetings help everyone to connect. Time differences can make global calls difficult. Afternoon calls US time can be too late in the day for Europe so keep this in mind when scheduling.

Avoid taking calls in the evening but I checked emails regularly and prompted US team members if I needed a response for customers.

Matt Price

Former GM EMEA, Zendesk

Video conferencing is better than phoning. You can sync up a video conferencing tool to calendars and screens in meeting rooms. Slack is especially good for global communication and onboarding.

Don’t overly rely on emails when addressing conflicts. A video conference or phone call can significantly minimise misunderstandings.

Raphael Fontes

Director EMEA Operations, Squarespace

You cannot underestimate the human issues that will arise from running a global team. Developing and communicating with Leaders outside HQ can be a challenge. Establish appropriate levels of autonomy and avoid fluctuating policies as this can create local frustration.

Decisions and reporting

Things change fast at a startup so a champion for International at HQ helps with communication and prioritisation prevents your International Office falling off the map. This may be the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Revenue Officer or a dedicated Vice President of International. Ideally this individual should have a cross functional remit, rather than it falling to the Vice President of Sales.

Decide whether the European office is a satellite office executing on US decisions, or if local teams have autonomy. Whatever you decide, communicate often and consistently.

In the early stages your EMEA Leader should report directly into the CEO to avoid filtering.

Stuart Collingwood

GM, EMEA, Anki

Maintaining culture across continents

Don’t try to create identical companies but make sure everyone understands your values, and decide what qualities you want to see driven through your company. Hire for cultural fit and carry the brand identity through all office fit-outs. Dropbox sent over a Head Chef from San Francisco for the European operation in Dublin.

Embrace new cultures. For instance, there is more of a drinking culture in Europe than US, and Christmas parties are a major focal point to end the year.

Data and privacy

This is a sensitive and unsettled issue in Europe and can turn into a problem as you become successful. For the early stages, getting legal advice and including model clauses in your contract should suffice.

Without model clauses, it is illegal to transfer European data to the US. Even if you are using Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud check compliance with lawyers. Data residency (where data centre is located) and data access (who can access it) are the two key issues.

Regardless of what you do elsewhere in Europe there are particular sensitivities and legislation in Germany, where you should get specific local counsel. Likewise, there are particular legal issues regarding data touching on health or children.

It’s so easy to get beaten up on this – not by consumers, but by competitors! In Germany they’ll file injunctions against you if you’re not compliant.

Stuart Collingwood

GM EMEA, Anki

Many companies in Europe have their version of boilerplate contracts which may put additional liabilities on you. As a startup you need to consider: What would you be willing to sign up for? What would you change for a customer?

Kevin Kimber

Former VP EMEA, Zuora

The state of affairs in Europe

Safe Harbor was an agreement between the United States Department of Commerce and the European Union to regulate the use of European citizens’ personal data.

In October 2015 the European Court of Justice declared the Safe Harbor provisions invalid. The European Commission published a new set of reforms in May 2016 which will enter into force May 2018.

In February 2016 the EU Commission and the United States agreed a new framework called the EU-US Privacy Shield. This is currently facing its first legal challenge.

Regulation

The first consideration is whether your business is in a sector that needs to be regulated. If you are a financial services, sharing economy or gig economy company there will be some key issues to consider.

Applying for a licence is fairly straightforward, but things may get complicated if your business is a fringe case.

Early Days...

Work with your lawyers to assess what licences you need and what regulation you will be subject to. You will need to start from scratch unless you can piggy back on someone else’s regulation. Obtaining a financial services licence can take six months.

Later days...

As you become successful you may encounter more regulatory friction, driven by consumer groups or traditional competitors. In the UK we have seen high profile and damaging cases with Wonga (sub-prime lending) and Uber (employee versus contractor status) to name a few.

Regulatory problems may arise not by doing things that are illegal, but by doing things that test legal boundaries in Europe. With success comes opposition, and some of that will come through the regulatory systems.

John Fingleton

CEO, Fingleton Associates

To analyse your risk assess your pricing and business model to see if it could be considered anti-competitive, or if it relies on legal or ethical/social ambiguity.

When you wear the armour of an entrant you have protection, but over time people start seeing you as the responsible established player.

David Stallibrass

Director, Fingleton Associates

People are surprised by the margin of discretion that regulators have in the EU. Establish links with regulators, not to influence them but to understand what’s coming down the line.

David Stallibrass

Director, Fingleton Associates

There are major differences across Europe in how close incumbents are to politicians. Try to understand the landscape and your levels of risk. For example, in Germany industrial companies and car makers are close to politicians so if you are doing something that upsets them, watch out.

Stock option planning

In the UK an Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) scheme is extremely tax efficient and applies if you have less than 250 staff worldwide. It will cost $5-10K to set up, and is worthwhile if you are below this threshold. In other geographies, companies issue options out of their US or UK option plan.

Outside the UK, stock options are not as attractive as they are in the US. They are taxed as income in Germany, Spain and the Nordics. They are particularly difficult to issue in France, and we have seen several companies choosing to forego them entirely.

Office space

Keep it simple for as long as you can. Set up in a co-working space such as WeWork. When you have more than twelve in the team commit to a leased space. It is also possible to sublet or re- assign a lease from another startup which has outgrown its offices. This will shorten your term commitment.

The right advice

Be prepared to spend for good advice on finance, tax and employment law. It’s worth its weight in gold and easy to get wrong. This needs budget, especially if you haven’t done it before.

Stuart Collingwood

GM EMEA, Anki

Radius Worldwide can help with back office expansion, but you will pay a premium for the single point of contact.

Visas

Visa rules change frequently so check with the appropriate authorities before making plans.

UK

If you want to bring across an existing employee who doesn’t hold an EU passport and has no employment rights in the UK, you can get a ‘sole representative’ visa quickly and easily. But apply before creating a subsidiary, otherwise it’s harder to do.

US passport holders can travel to the UK without a visa, but no longer than six months in twelve-month period. Watch out for fuzzy rules about what you’re allowed or not allowed to do.

Once you’ve established the UK office, apply for a sponsor licence to transfer employees to the UK under Tier 2 ICT work permits.

Look into the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa for Digital Technology to see if any of your employees are applicable.

You can get visa support from TechCityUK (Maria Palmieri).

Germany

Citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland have the right to work in Germany.

Citizens of the USA and Canada may enter Germany without a visa and then apply for a residence permit within three months.

Citizens of all other countries must apply for a visa to enter Germany.

Look into whether you/your employees qualify for an EU Blue Card which can be processed more quickly and also allows family members to work.

Netherlands

You may need a Schengen visa to stay in the Netherlands for a maximum 90-days in any 180-day period (short stay visa). If you wish to stay longer than 90-days you need an authorization for temporary stay.

Ireland

Nationals of states outside the European Economic Area need either a Critical Skills Employment Permit or Work Permit in order to work in Ireland.

Intra-Company Transfer Visas allow for the temporary assignment of senior management, key personnel with specialist knowledge or trainees to the Irish operation.

Accounting

Different firms are good for different purposes. Engage a large firm for upfront tax planning and corporate structure. A local firm for ongoing payroll, VAT and accounts. Natalie Langley at PwC can provide accounting guidance. iHorizons is a good local London accounting firm who specialise in startups.

You will need to cover:

  • Corporate setup
  • Tax relief programs
  • Options programs
  • Transfer pricing
  • Cross-Europe VAT registration
  • Client Contracts, adjusting T&Cs for International markets
  • Employee relocations - tax, compensation & options adjustments

Most US startups establish a Limited Company in the UK rather than a branch office. There are extra disclosure requirements and liabilities for branches.

Many US startups use their UK Limited subsidiary as the holding company for all other European or Worldwide subsidiaries they subsequently create. However, this approach may change depending on the outcome of Brexit negotiations.

Banking

If you are setting up in the UK we recommend banking with Silicon Valley Bank if you already have an account with them in the US. They offer discounted rates to Index Ventures companies, but do not have a banking licence elsewhere in Europe. Alex McCracken can provide guidance. Otherwise, consider Barclays, HSBC or a new hungry entrant such as Metro Bank.

When opening UK accounts consider that client due diligence is potentially more onerous than the US. You may have to verify details of the business beyond simply identity - notarised address proof for owners. Requirements elsewhere in Europe will vary but are generally more onerous than in the UK.

Case studies from the Index family

Anki

Employees at expansion: 65

Total funding at expansion: $50M

Founded: 2010

Company headquarters: San Francisco

Expanded to Europe: 2014

EMEA headquarters: London

Last funding round before expansion (June 2013): $40M Series B

Anki is harnessing robotics and artificial intelligence to deliver magical experiences that push the boundaries of the human experience. Founded in 2010 by three Carnegie Mellon Robotics institute graduates, Anki creates consumer experiences using cutting edge technology that was once confined to robotics labs and research institutes.

Snapshot 2016

  • 150 employees
  • 12 EMEA employees
  • Offices in UK, Germany, France

Current UK team

  • UK Sales Director
  • European Marketing Director
  • UK Marketing Director
  • Key Account Manager
  • UK Channel Marketing Manager · Customer Care Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Office Manager

Expansion objectives

Anki launched its first product in the US in October 2013 and started thinking about International expansion for the following year.

Key local hire

Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Anki Boris Sofman began discussions with Stuart Collingwood in 2013. Stuart had previously worked with Anki’s then Marketing Director and was invited to join the team in 2014. Stuart had previously held Vice President EMEA and Principal roles at a number of technology companies.

The Anki team spoke to people who had worked with Stuart and invited him to HQ before hiring him. Stuart had also submitted a five-page mini business plan before taking the job.

All quotes:

Stuart Collingwood

GM EMEA, Anki

It’s unusual for a GM hire to be a purely search hire. More often, it’s someone known through networks.

Organisational structure

Stuart’s reporting line has changed from the Global Head of Sales, to the Chief Executive Officer, to the Chief Revenue Officer as the company has grown.

In the early stages your EMEA Leader should report directly into the CEO to avoid any filtering.

Profit and loss is managed centrally and the UK team is a matrix structure with all Sales reporting directly into Stuart.

Revenue is the most important part of any early expansion and essential for the EMEA Leader to manage.

Go-to-market

Anki started selling in Europe in a limited capacity 2014. For the first year the Anki London team comprised of Stuart and one Customer Care hire. The strategy was to work with a few key retailers rather than trying to satisfy the whole market.

Living with a startup for a period is critical before ramping up. You need to understand the business from end-to-end.

Further hiring

Stuart attributes hiring slowly and hiring right to be fundamental to Anki’s success. The Marketing Director who joined from Nintendo was the first critical hire. Her joining was considered so important, the company announced it in a press release. Further hires included senior individuals from Lego and Activision.

It’s crucial when entering a new market to have some marquee names joining from the industry. This signals your intent to the talent market.
In a retail business, you have to build the brand and hiring is critical. To know what skills to hire, sometimes you need to do the job yourself first.

The US has been frustrated by the slow pace of hiring, and one big learning for the team was the notice period for senior staff in Europe. The Anki team has worked around this by starting to hire well in advance.

It’s difficult to tell your US team that you’ve found this great person, but it will take three or six months to get them in – and that’s the norm!

Three years into operation, the team is considering hiring a European Finance Manager. Up to now, invoicing, wholesaling deals and more have been done in the US.

Location: London

The UK team worked from home before setting up in a Regus office space in Chiswick Business Park in between the West End and London Heathrow Airport. Although Regus was expensive per-person, this was a safer option than taking on a lease. The team may lease space in 2017 or 2018 when headcount exceeds 18 people.

Scaling up and evaluating further locations

The Anki team will be hiring in France and Germany to mirror the team structure of the UK. Other markets (Nordics, the Middle East) are being serviced through distribution.

Localisation

Most of the localisation has been a product and engineering task as it involves localising the app.

Marketing collateral including packaging and brochures has been handled centrally. The European team provides comments and input.

EMEA doesn’t need to be involved locally in product until it is really established because it can become a distraction.

Legal, finance and accounting

Anki began by using centralised law firms for Sales contracts and more, but over time used local firms for expediency.

Be prepared to spend for good advice on finance, tax and employment law. It’s worth its weight in gold and easy to get wrong. This needs budget, especially if you haven’t done it before.

Data and privacy

Since the product is aimed at children, data and privacy was very important for Anki and a big chunk of their legal spend. This was managed centrally, but Stuart helped define the prioritisation.

Anki had to consider terms and conditions on their website; the End-User Licensing Agreement (EULA), and the double-opt- out needs in Germany and the storage of consumer data.

It’s so easy to get beaten up on this – not by consumers, but by competitors! In Germany they’ll file injunctions against you if you’re not compliant.

The team has now hired an HQ Director of Legal.

Compensation, stock options and benefits

The option scales are consistent with the US and based on the level of role. All hires have taken a pay cut but received stock options. Compensation discussions happen with the Director of People who is based at HQ.

Marketing

We’ve learned that unless you invest materially in marketing, you under-perform.

Anki has always advertised on kid’s TV and YouTube but has recently discovered the importance of co-viewing. Sponsoring the Simpsons in the UK has been fantastic because both parents and children become familiar with the product.

I like to test different things in different markets and this is an advantage in EMEA as it’s not a single market. You can share lots of learning with the US team this way.

Remote communications

The GM EMEA needs to be in the US HQ every six weeks or they will forget what you look like!
I insisted on decent video conferencing very early – phone is not enough.

Key differences between the US and Europe

It can take time for a US HQ to register how meaningful your market is. Once the EMEA revenues become a significant portion of global business, attitudes change.
There are crucial differences between the US and Europe. Long notice periods for staff. Deal volumes are smaller by market so you need to see them in aggregate.

Dropbox

Total funding at expansion: $272M

Founded: 2007

Expanded to Europe: 2013

Employees at expansion: Approx. 200

Last funding round before expansion (October 2011): $250M Series B

Dropbox makes it easy for people to access and share files so they can be more productive at home and work. More than 500 million people around the world use Dropbox including 8 million businesses, with over 200,000 paying business customers.

Expansion objectives

Given the strength of the Dropbox user base in Europe and market potential, the company’s second office after San Francisco was located in Dublin. This was fuelled by a move to grow the Enterprise side of the business with local Sales teams, and establish user support hubs in key regions. At the time, Dropbox had a Sales team of 20 people. From making the decision to the landing team setting up took a year, and the main concern was how a remote office would affect company culture.

Location: Dublin

Dublin was chosen because of the availability of management talent in Sales and Consumer Marketing, and multilingual graduates for Inside Sales roles.

Three HQ team members moved to Dublin and were critical to a successful launch. One was in Sales, the second in User Operations, and the third was a Sales person responsible for recruiting. All three were excellent interviewers and they hired for culture fit in the Dublin office.

Moving from the San Francisco HQ to Dublin meant that I could help the new Dropboxers understand the product, what we were trying to achieve and our culture. Ensuring HQ members were on the ground to help the new members of staff was key to the quick success we saw in Dublin.

Ben Coggins

Head of Strategic Territory Management, AMER, Dropbox

Go-to-market

Dropbox began as a consumer product, but rapidly expanded into businesses, so go-to-market strategy had to cover a spectrum of deals. Once in EMEA, Dropbox staffed a multilingual Sales team and focused on small and medium sized contracts. As deals became larger, a mid-market team was added selling to companies across. Following increased demand from bigger corporations, the team set up offices in London, Paris, Amsterdam and Hamburg selling to Enterprise-level companies. Through an acquisition, Dropbox now has an engineering office in Tel Aviv.

We have now expanded across Europe at a pace that has suited our needs. As well as Dublin, we now have physical offices in London, Paris, Hamburg and Amsterdam. We now have sales, solution architects, marketing, PR, and tech support where appropriate. Growing from Dublin into the rest of Europe has enabled us to take a considered, well measured approach to expansion.

Philip Lacor

VP of EMEA, Dropbox

Building an Inbound Sales team

Initially product-market fit was best for small companies, and the team focused on converting Inbound small and medium business leads, but the average deal size was too small to justify several Sales interactions in a deal cycle. So the team shifted to a ‘1 touch close’ model where no one talked to the same customer twice, and Sales people were credited – even when the customer converted months down the line.

Going up market

The next phase of the organisation was a mid-market Sales team. This was set up as a remote Sales team covering Europe from Dublin, with representatives traveling to their territories a couple of times per quarter. More recently the company moved further up market, increasing its segmentation boundaries. Mid Market is now Core Enterprise and the largest customer segment is now called Strategic Enterprise. Dropbox recently made Channel part of its Go to Market, as a way to scale the business.

Growth and marketing

User adoption at Dropbox was initially organic. The company has accelerated International growth through local languages and currencies, local payment methods, search engine optimisation, local websites, and an arsenal of marketing instruments.

Our marketing and PR team have been instrumental to our growth across Europe, we have established local teams in our European offices which has enabled us to build tailored and targeted campaigns to increase awareness and build sales pipeline.

Philip Lacor

VP of EMEA, Dropbox

Organisational Structure

Once the EMEA team was covering all segments from small to medium business to Enterprise, Philip’s reports include:

  • Head of Core Enterprise EMEA · Country Manager UK
  • Country Manager FR
  • Country Manager DE
  • Country Manager BNL

As the company has been organised along global functions, the role of the Vice President EMEA is to bring the functions together and run the matrix, as if it was one team.

The extended leadership teams consists of functions like:

  • Head of EMEA recruitment · Head of EMEA people ops · Head of EMEA pre sales
  • Head of EMEA channel
  • Head of EMEA customer success
  • Head of EMEA Revenue Excellence and Operations
  • Head of EMEA Marketing · Head of EMEA Comms

The Vice President EMEA also leads an EMEA steering committee with representatives from all functions like CX, Trust & Security, Finance, Legal in addition to the functions named above.

Key characteristics Dropbox looked for in Country Managers

  • They need to own the Revenue targets for their country and be the public face of Dropbox, effective spokespeople and experienced in handling press.
  • Great Enterprise Sales people in combination with general management characteristics.
  • Hands on, willing to see customers, and be able to think strategically.
  • We look for the following ‘Desired Traits’
    • Tenacity
    • Resilience
    • Curiosity and the ability to learn
    • Self-awareness
  • Ability to build out the Dropbox culture.
When hiring a Country Manager, the candidate must be a reliable spokesperson for the company at a local level, have the ability to be the difference in a customer meeting, and most importantly, understand the culture of the company.

Philip Lacor

VP of EMEA, Dropbox

Elastic

European commercial ramp up: 2013

Employees at ramp up: 33

Total funding at ramp up: $10M

Founded in Amsterdam: 2012

Company headquarters: Mountain View

Last funding round before ramp up (November 2012): $10M Series A

EMEA headquarters: Amsterdam

Founded in 2012 by the people behind the popular open source projects; Elasticsearch, Lucene, and subsequently adding the people behind Kibana, Beats and Logstash, Elastic provides software products for users to do great things with massive amounts of complex structured and unstructured data.

Snapshot 2016

  • 430 people globally
  • 33% of revenues from Europe

Expansion objectives

Founded in Amsterdam, raised money in the US, Elastic was a distributed team from the start with the first 7 employees spread across Amsterdam, Barcelona, Prague and the Bay Area. They set up a US and UK subsidiary in their first year of operation and quickly followed in France and Germany.

Our main trigger in deciding where to establish, was where we wanted to sell. We needed feet on the ground. If you don’t have a local presence it is much tougher to establish the business.

Nick White

CFO, Elastic

Adoption of our open source product was widespread. The biggest challenge was helping users realise that behind the Elasticsearch project is a company with other great products!

Robin Sharpe

Vice President of Operations, Elastic

Key local hire

Robin Sharpe was hired in 2013. Before this, he held Chief Financial Officer and Vice President Finance roles at Talend, Springsource and IBM. His role was to work closely with Elastic’s Chief Financial Officer to build out the business infrastructure to support it scaling fast. He is based in London and travels to Silicon Valley regularly.

Location

At the end of 2012 the team comprised 14 people who were largely distributed. Since initial hires were experts in this specialised space, it didn’t matter where people were geographically. However, after seeding European markets with Sales contributors from Amsterdam the decision was taken to expand European Sales operations in London, with global Commercial leadership out of San Francisco.

Go-to-market

The initial strategy was about proving the business model, so Elastic targeted sales coverage in key markets in Europe.

In 2013 Individual Sales Contributors were hired in the UK and Germany and a Developer Relations person was hired in France.

Elastic chose to locate a French speaking individual sales contributor in the UK due to labour laws being more flexible than in France.

For the French market you definitely need a French speaker and preferably a native one.

Robin Sharpe

Vice President of Operations, Elastic

There is no central city hub in Germany. We had a number of developers in Berlin due to strong startup scene there, but our customers were all over the country in Frankfurt, Cologne, Munich, Hamburg and Düsseldorf.

Robin Sharpe

Vice President of Operations, Elastic

Building a Sales team

In US Elastic built up a core hub in San Francisco, whereas in Europe they divided their Sales structure into North EMEA based in London and South EMEA based in Amsterdam.

Pre-sales is essential because it’s a technical product so there is a 1:2.3 ratio of pre-sales to sales staff. The first pre-sales team member was hired in late 2013.

Late in 2015 Elastic established an in- house Sales Development team in US and London hubs.

We should have hired people for handling inbound leads six months earlier than we did. We tried outsourcing which did not work.

Martin Blackmore

Area Vice President, Elastic

In Europe, the deal sizes were significantly less than the size of the US in terms of annual contract value.

Elastic found that the very largest customers required reps to engage face- to-face, whereas smaller customer could be transacted via video-conferencing and screen sharing.

The team also runs public developer meet-ups and bespoke marketing events for individual enterprises.

Localisation

Language wasn’t a major issue because core users of the product are developers who know enough English. However, establishing legal subsidiaries in UK, France and Holland, and enabling localisation of all their contracts in these regions assisted in gaining creditability with local customers.

Stock options, plans and salaries

All stock options are issued from Elastic’s Dutch parent stated in USD. In the UK an EMI scheme was set up very early on.

The company has global bands for roles, generally irrespective of geographical differences.

Globally, the company has 17 different subsidiaries including Japan, Australia, Singapore . Payrolls were challenging to standardise but they have started using Radius outside the US to handle all payroll across its multiple geographies.

Etsy

Employees at ramp up: 350

Total funding at ramp up: $92M

Founded: 2005

Company headquarters: Brooklyn

European commercial ramp up: 2012

EMEA headquarters: Dublin

Last funding round before ramp up (May 2012): $40M Series F

Etsy is a marketplace where people around the world connect, both online and offline, to make, sell and buy unique goods.

The heart and soul of Etsy is our global community: the creative entrepreneurs who use Etsy to sell what they make or curate, the shoppers looking for things they can’t find anywhere else, the manufacturers who partner with Etsy sellers to help them grow, and the Etsy employees who maintain and nurture our marketplace.

Snapshot 2016

The UK team comprises 30 people. The Dublin team is over 50 and includes shared services for International; Finance, Human Resources, Customer Service, Risk Operations and web engineers.

Expansion objectives

Etsy began with soft outreach in internationally by hiring members of their community and lifestyle bloggers in France, Germany, UK, Australia and Canada. In 2012, after a $40M fundraise the company looked to more Commercial Leaders in regions where they could gain a considerable footprint, including the UK, Canada and Australia. Etsy’s strategy was to establish international markets by connecting local sellers to local buyers.

You need to make sure the International expansion is a significant long-term company goal or it will always get deprioritised. Figuring out how to influence US HQ from Europe is a core part of the job.

Key local hire

Etsy hired Nicole Vanderbilt initially as Country Manager for UK, Australia and Canada enabling the company to internationalise with a more significant Commercial strategy. Nicole was based in London and previously Chief Executive Officer at Mydeco, Vice President International at Bebo and Head of Industry Marketing at Google. Nicole had a background in marketing and business development and an MBA from Insead.

Your first Country Manager should be scrappy and this will likely not be the corporate type. I challenge you to hire someone you know may not be the right person in 24 months.

Location: London and Dublin

Etsy is a US company with multiple European hubs. While Nicole who is now Vice President International is based in London (Etsy’s biggest European market), Dublin was set up in 2013 as the EMEA HQ and Paris has a large Etsy team partially through local acquisition.

Go-to-market

Etsy’s local teams take each market through a phased approach. Phase one focuses on getting the product right and acquiring sellers. Phase two focuses on acquiring buyers. Phase three focuses on connecting local buyers to local sellers and on growing the brand.

Marketing

When Etsy lands in a new country, one of its top priorities is simply telling the Etsy story. They have done through this a combination of in-house experts, freelancers and agencies.

The Etsy team allocates marketing spend of 70% to global campaigns and 30% to local ones. Digital marketing is now run centrally out of HQ, having initially been localised in Europe.

To grow the Etsy community, the local team runs seller meet-ups and empowers Etsy champions to galvanise the community.

I’m not a fan of global agencies. Their internal offices often compete, and your opportunity might be too small for them to focus on. I prefer to find good local freelancers.

Organisation structure

Etsy’s International team’s mission is to accelerate the growth of the company. Some of the things required to do this are directly within their control (e.g., PR and local marketing), but other things require a strong partnership with other teams like Product and Engineering. At first they had a dedicated product and engineering team for international. While this worked in some ways, it also meant that other product and engineering teams felt no responsibility for international. And, the work that dedicated team could do was limited by their areas of expertise.

The trajectory has been a little like mobile. Many companies used to have dedicated mobile teams and now mobile is part of everyone’s responsibility. We’ve tried to move in this direction with our approach to international as well.

All of the country teams have a Country Manager to whom they report locally and all of those Country Managers report to Regional Directors or the VP of International. Dublin is different where most of the teams are shared service teams. They report back into their functional leaders in Brooklyn.

Scaling up and evaluating further locations

Currently 70% of Etsy transactions are US to US, but they would like to grow the number of International transactions. Etsy believes the way to drive this growth is to focus on a smaller number of the largest opportunities, even though being a global platform means they are technically available in almost every country in the world. The company believes that focus and going deep in a few countries will make for better results than going wide.

Find your true north. Set a focused strategy and then be brave in your pursuit of it.

Etsy has many sellers in Turkey and China and new hires often want to build on that momentum, but it doesn’t need the support. Whereas it’s extremely important to service Germany to a high standard to meet local expectations.

The art of strategy is understanding where to get the business without putting in any effort – versus where you need to invest to grow your markets.

Complicated but manageable

According to Nicole Vanderbilt, the employment challenge in France and Germany is overblown. Lawyers can help manage convoluted labour laws and the upside trumps the risk – e.g. engineers being cheaper than the US.

I haven’t found the full cost of an employee in France to be any higher than the U.K., even when you include the fact that it may be more difficult or more costly to terminate employment.

Localisation

Etsy has translated the site/app using a network of freelance translators, many of whom are sellers. However, the bigger challenge has been translating the content of the 35 million listings, written by the sellers, many of whom don’t speak multiple languages. Having this content translated is important both to the experience of buyers all over the world, but also important to success with Google SEO and PLAs. Etsy has been experimenting with machine translation with good results.

We show our international users that we accept Discover cards. They don’t need to know that. It just screams American.

Payments

Etsy uses multiple means of payments including their own payments service which is run as a business. Paypal is good but restricted by its footprint. Etsy has the additional complexity of ensuring it can get payments to its sellers locally. The team uses WorldPay and Adyen as partners.

Outbrain

Employees at expansion: 100

Total funding at expansion: $29M

EU headquarters: London

Founded in Israel: 2006

Company headquarters: New York

Expanded to Europe: 2011

Last funding round before expansion (February 2011): $11M Series C

International headquarters: Tel Aviv

Outbrain is the leading content discovery platform that powers personalised recommendations to content at the bottom of article pages on leading publisher websites such as CNN, Sky News, Guardian, Future Publishing Express Group, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Bild, Le Monde and El Pais, serving more than 250 billion monthly content recommendations and reaching in the region of a billion users every month across the globe.

Snapshot 2016

  • 5 European offices: UK, France, Germany (Munich & Düsseldorf), Italy, Spain
  • 120 European employees

Expansion objectives

At the point at which Outbrain chose to expand we were confident that our business model was working well. If you want to scale, you can’t rely on one single market. For us it was the right time to begin to grow our business outside of the US.

We also knew that expanding into new markets would help us to further iterate upon our products and offering. Every market is unique in its way, presenting both challenges and opportunity, and therefore we were able to capitalise on the innovation coming from these new markets and focus it back into our global efforts at Outbrain.

Ultimately, without a global footprint there will be a great many opportunities that you simply can’t go after and this is limiting.

Eytan Galai

Managing Director of International, Outbrain

Key local hire

Simon Edelstyn was hired in 2011 as Managing Director of Outbrain Europe. He had held two Managing Director roles previously, for Contraco and EQO Communications. Prior to this he was Director of Syndication at Google.

Once you go International, commit to it. See your first hire as an investment, and having a competent person on the ground will help with the difficulties of the day-to-day remote management.

Simon Edelstyn

Former Managing Director Europe, Outbrain

Location

Outbrain chose London because that’s where they found their first senior hire.

Go-to-market

Outbrain relies on two constituents for its business model: publishers (who install content recommendation widgets and other technologies), and brands and agencies (who create and distribute content across the Outbrain network). When Outbrain launched in Europe, the environment was less competitive and it was possible to onboard publishers without shared revenue guarantees. As the market grew and became more competitive, publishers demanded significantly improved terms.

While a less competitive market allows more time to develop and grow the business, competition will follow so locking in partners early is key. On the other hand, a well- developed market requires a significant commitment in deal-making to establish momentum.

Simon Edelstyn

Former Managing Director Europe, Outbrain

Strategies can vary significantly, and clearly one size does not fit all. While Outbrain’s main competitor employed a hub strategy (grouping everyone in a central office and flying them to countries for meetings), Outbrain employed local experts and set up in each country where they operated.

Where to go next?

The decision to scale-up further came from Board level and Simon hired Country Managers in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands and Sweden. He needed to find Leaders who could build relationships with agencies and publishers, especially as deals became more complex.

In Germany, finding the right people who would jump ship and leave established companies and jobs to work in a startup was difficult. We closed our Hamburg office after a false start and opened in Munich because we found the right person there.

Simon Edelstyn

Former Managing Director Europe, Outbrain

The team eventually closed down two offices in Netherlands and Sweden as there was limited management bandwidth to deal with opening so many new markets at one time.

If you go into a new market, ring fence the investment then measure that market’s performance against the investment plan.

Simon Edelstyn

Former Managing Director Europe, Outbrain

Further hiring

Lindsey Dale was hired as an HR consultant in 2012 and she led much of the recruiting of the Outbrain team across Europe.

Outbrain recruited primarily for Sales and Account Management, and the majority of recruitment was done internally. The exception was for Country Managers who were found through a UK based recruiter.

In Germany, we needed to engage with external recruiters to find experienced Salespeople. There is a lot of competition and working for a US based startup may not appeal to someone who is risk averse.

Lindsey Dale

HR Consultant, Outbrain

Onboarding

We would fly new European hires to London for training where they would meet department heads and socialise over dinner. This helped everyone feel a part of something bigger than themselves.

Lindsey Dale

HR Consultant, Outbrain

Compensation, stock options and benefits

Outbrain found significant differences in compensation expectations between markets. All Sales people were on the same commission plan, but targets varied by geography.

Outbrain issued all shares out of their global pool and found that options held much less value in France as they are taxed so highly. However their French employees were still interested in receiving options.

As Outbrain grew, they hired a stock options administrator in New York, and used a tax consultant in the UK to educate the team about the implications and value of their options.

The company found that in the UK employees expected some form of contributory pension, private healthcare and subsidised gym membership. Whereas in France, Spain and Italy, there was less expectation around benefits.

We invested heavily from the beginning in proper office space, senior hires and in the UK we had a pension scheme and private insurance. Outbrain is good at understanding the geographical nuances and what is going to attract the right people. Accounting for the types of benefits European leaders will want.

Lindsey Dale

HR Consultant, Outbrain

Localisation

Outbrain used English contracts unless the deals were highly strategic, and found that for the most part this was accepted by European companies.

Marketing

It’s essential to have strong standardised corporate branding and messaging overarching all marketing activities. But it’s important to have localised marketing to ensure that messaging and collateral is relevant.

Simon Edelstyn

Former MD Europe, Outbrain

In hindsight, one thing we could have done better was to provide local marketing support earlier, especially outside the UK, what with language differences requiring marketing collateral to be translated and generally ‘localised’.

Lindsey Dale

HR Consultant, Outbrain

Remote communications

It’s important to find the right balance between transparency and balancing employee expectations. Outbrain runs monthly global all-hands meetings where employees join via video link. European Country Managers join a two-hour call with all international Country Managers once a week.

Squarespace

Employees at expansion: 200

Total funding at expansion: $38.5M

Founded: 2004

Company headquarters: New York

Expanded to Europe: 2013

EMEA headquarters: Dublin

Last funding round before expansion (July 2010): $38.5M Series A

Squarespace makes beautiful products to help people with creative ideas succeed. By blending elegant design and sophisticated engineering, we empower millions of people – from individuals and local artists to entrepreneurs shaping the world’s most iconic businesses – to share their stories with the world.

Snapshot 2016

  • 500 employees
  • Global offices in New York, Portland, Dublin
  • 110 employees in Dublin (100 Customer Operations)

Expansion objectives

Squarespace had been operating as a small business in New York for seven years until they took venture capital investment, which changed the scope and scale of the business and increased their global audience.

In 2013 Squarespace opened a Dublin office to service global customers 24/7. Dublin was also chosen as a hub for International expansion for access to different languages and expertise in different markets and time zone coverage.

Key local hire

Raphael Fontes was hired in 2014 to lead the Dublin office. He was the first senior hire outside the US and joined Squarespace when the local team was 30. Raphael has a marketing and product background and was previously Head of New Markets, SMB Advertising Operations and EMEA at Google.

Location: Dublin

Dublin was chosen as the company’s EMEA HQ because of its access to native English speakers, wide language talent pool and reasonable costs. The Squarespace team that visited Dublin felt the vibe of the city was in line with their culture and the IDA (Ireland’s inward promotion agency) helped to set up the team and connected them to local vendors (real estate, payroll, solicitors), and other companies.

Go-to-market

The strategy set by the HQ team with input from Raphael was to target Western Europe and English speaking markets first. Squarespace has conducted a trial with Spanish translations and is planning to target Germany and France next.

The team started in a shared workspace (Dogpatch Labs) until it grew to 20 people.

Onboarding

Several of the hires were sent to the New York HQ for training, and some Team Leaders came to Dublin to conduct training. The company also developed an exchange programme, where staff spend a few weeks in alternate offices to learn best practices, collaborate on projects, and share experience.

Organisation structure

To drive collaboration and raise the profile of each office, the Customer Operations team deliberately distributed functional ownership globally amongst managers in the three different office locations.

Where to go next?

We are a Customer Service, marketing-driven company, so we don’t need multiple Sales Offices in different territories.

Localisation

Each country has different tax and VAT systems and this took a few years to get right. Dealing in multi-currencies was a challenge and product, websites and support required multiple languages. For marketing they decided to keep copy in English wherever possible.

When you have a constrained engineering team, prioritisation of resource for International is a constant challenge.
One of our company values is – good work takes time – so we focused on a high quality rather than rushing it out the door.

Marketing

A big question companies face as they Internationalise is whether to use international or local marketing. Squarespace began by running campaigns out of the New York HQ, including London poster campaigns on the tube. They learned that campaign materials need to be more educational in new markets to grow brand awareness.

Remote communications

A video conference or phone call can minimise misunderstandings significantly.

Initially Squarespace had a weekly global meeting, but as the team grew to 400 people, it switched to a monthly all-hands meeting.

Squarespace has a monthly Customer Operations meeting (330 attendees) and Team Leaders have monthly catch-ups. The office uses Google Hangouts and each meeting room is synced to calendars.

The hiring profile

The company works with a recruiter in New York and is testing for English as well as a secondary language. They are also identifying which profiles turn into high performers and how to interview better for cultural fit.

Performance

The company is assessing how to measure performance for native versus non-native English speakers.

Adjusting compensation and benefits across cities

Squarespace benchmarks how competitive they are against other employers. Benefits are similar across offices with health and life insurance, free lunch, snacks and stock options. They offer local differentiators with benefits including bike-to-work schemes and commuting passes.

One of the big challenges was around vacation days as the US and Dublin have different expectations and legislation. 25 vacation days are the norm in Europe which is higher than anything found in the US.

Stack Overflow

Employees at expansion: 27

Total funding at expansion: $18M

Founded: 2008

Company headquarters: New York

Expanded to Europe: 2011

EMEA headquarters: London

Last funding round before expansion (March 2011): $12M Series B

Stack Overflow is the largest online community for programmers to learn, share their knowledge, and advance their careers. Developers all over the world trust Stack Overflow to help solve coding problems and use Stack Overflow Talent to find job opportunities. The platform has more than 40 million unique visitors every month.

Current snapshot

  • 307 global employees
  • 79 European employees
  • 45% revenue for Europe

Expansion objectives

As the Stack Overflow Q&A platform grew, the company looked for new ways to help make programmers lives better. In 2011, the company launched Stack Overflow Talent (originally named Careers) - a platform designed to fix the broken developer hiring process, and help software engineers find better jobs.

Stack Overflow raised Series B funding, and set their sights on international growth; expanding to Europe to enter new markets.

Key local hire

Stack Overflow focused on strategic hires. The first employee was Dimitar Stanimiroff -- a veteran of the European startup scene -- as their Sales Director. Dimitar grew the team, hiring Ben Kiziltug and Stefan Schwarzgruber to expand Stack Overflow’s presence in the UK and Germany.

Location: London

As one of the largest world’s largest tech communities, and a hub for European tech talent, London was an ideal place to grow the business. As the company grew to 70 employees they re-evaluated the pros and cons of London versus a Dublin EMEA HQ and re-committed to London.

Go-to-market

Whilst hot-desking in a co-working space, the London team identified companies that were hiring developers. They reached out to technical employees who would be familiar with Stack Overflow - the platform they used to find answers to their coding problems every day. This “warm” introduction gave them more credibility and helped to advance conversations to speaking more strategically to C-level execs at tech companies across Europe. The Stack Overflow Talent proposition was clear: if you’re looking to recruit developers, the world’s largest developer community is the ideal place to attract and engage technical talent.

The London team focused on working with the most recognisable brand names in the technology arena, in order to leverage their names as social proof. Within six months, the team were working with Google, Facebook, Skype and Amazon - and Stack Overflow Talent was truly established in the UK.

Building the team and further locations

As the UK market expanded, the team saw the potential to dive deeper into Germany and France. New bi-lingual employees were hired to better support these new regions; whilst hosting the team from the London office. There were several challenges; especially in France where their audience was notably unforgiving in regards to the use of language, and translations made from American-English.

We found scaling in France to be particularly challenging. All content had to be in French and clients really appreciated regular face-to-face meetings.

Ben Kiziltug

Regional Sales Manager, Stack Overflow

In 2014, the business created a new Strategic Accounts team, in order to better service large and enterprise sized clients. This involved a greater focus on customer support, and Stack Overflow created a formal Customer Success programme to support them.

When the team grew to 70 people Stack Overflow invested in their own internal recruitment, hiring a specialist to be based in the London office. As a result, the company now employs 79 people in Europe.

A tip from Stack Overflow

Ben Kiziltug offers advice for other startups as they enter the European market:

Invest time and effort into making sure the key hires in a new market are right. They will dictate the culture of the office and set the tone for future employees. People will always refer to local management to discuss issues face to face before speaking about issues over Skype or a hangout with an international manager.

Ben Kiziltug

Regional Sales Manager, Stack Overflow

Zendesk

Employees at ramp up: 60

Total funding at ramp up: $26M

Founded in Copenhagen: 2007

Company headquarters: San Francisco

European commercial ramp up: 2011

EMEA headquarters: London

Last funding round before ramp up (December 2010): $19M Series C

Zendesk is transforming Customer Service for the digital age, by delivering category defining cloud-based Customer Service software. More than 100 million people around the world now receive support from Zendesk-powered Customer Service departments and helpdesks.

Snapshot 2016

  • 300+ employees in Europe
  • 30% revenue from Europe
In the early days of a SaaS business, people dream of continuously selling online with no staff overheads, but at a certain stage you realise that you do need some Sales and Account Management after all.

Expansion objectives

Zendesk set up their European entity to service customers more easily across multiple timezones and to increase Sales conversion by offering local support for technical implementations.

By the time Zendesk expanded into Europe in 2011 it already had 30% of its customers outside the US. This was partly due to its penetration of the Nordic market (it was founded in Copenhagen), and it was a product led SaaS business.

At the time Zendesk in the US was focused on scaling, and Europe was seen as a bonus rather than as a core part of the strategy.

Key Local Hire

Matt Price was hired as Vice President and General Manager EMEA, and became employee number 60. He was chosen as a more rounded candidate than the generic bag-carrying Enterprise Sales guy, because customer satisfaction took priority over hitting Sales targets. Matt had worked with the Zendesk Chief Operating Officer in a previous role. As EMEA Leader, Matt brought marketing, analytics and scaling process skills to the team. His technical background helped him demo the software and answer client questions. Matt spent two weeks in San Francisco before launching in Europe.

Location: London and Dublin

London was a great initial choice for a number of reasons. Matt was already based there, Zendesk consultants were already there and the city had the right profile to attract hires from Europe.

The Dublin EMEA HQ office was set up in 2013 and has Inside Sales teams, Customer Support as well as an engineering team focused on mobile and chat products. Zendesk also later set up a data centre in Dublin.

As the team scaled up they put Sales teams in France and Germany. The development teams are in Europe, APAC and San Francisco, and Zendesk has also acquired an analytics team in Montpellier.

Go to market

Zendesk received inbound interest from across Europe with 70-80% of new business arriving organically. For the first three months, the team consisted of Matt - managing the Sales pipeline - and three Customer Support staff. While evaluating Sales leads, he found that European buyers trialling Zendesk needed outbound activity to improve conversion.

One of the beautiful things about a high volume business is that you can make lots of not very expensive mistakes!

Users began free trials and the Inside Sales Representatives reached out to convert them to paying customers.

Many clients were internet companies (Twitter, Groupon) whose rapid growth required the Zendesk software to scale alongside them.

Zendesk began to invest more heavily in networking with the startup sector by going to meet-ups in London and Berlin and connecting with companies and local incubators.

Building an Inbound Sales team

The team decided to build a multilingual, multinational Sales team out of their London offices. They hired for two key roles: Sales and Account Management and staffed up one to two people per quarter.

The hiring profile was foreign nationals fluent in English plus their native language. Job interviews involved candidates conducting a demonstration of the Zendesk platform. The hires were typically entrepreneurially minded, a few years out of college with a little Sales experience.

They were salaried at £35-45K with a bonus scheme, and half the total hires had relocated to London to join Zendesk. Hires were sent to the US for an onboarding programme.

The company began to see larger deals with more complex procurement processes coming through the pipeline. Matt handled these deals himself initially before hiring a specialist, which became the start of strategic accounts.

As it became clear that Sales staff needed technical help, Zendesk created a new role called an ‘enabler’ which involved pre-sales, post-sales, and some event training.

Where to go next?

Six months after launch, Zendesk analysed Inbound interest and market penetration, and found their popularity directly proportional to the number of English speakers in a country. They were seeing great penetration in the UK, Australia and the Nordics but hit a plateau in Germany.

The team developed two personas for Germany to understand how to grow the market. ‘Hans’ worked at a Berlin startup who spoke fluent English. ‘Dieter’ was 45, loved dancing at weddings and never bought anything with a credit card. English worked well for early adopters like Hans, but Zendesk recognized that more localisation (payments and support) would be required to expand the Dieter market long term.

Almost everyone underestimates the time it takes to enter and grow presence in a new market. Cracking Germany is a three to five year project.

Data and privacy – early stage

Privacy was not an issue when the company was targeting small to medium businesses. A lot of the early privacy work was done with lawyers, getting advice early and making sure the company had appropriate legal wraps in place.

Data and privacy – late stage

Zendesk added data-centres in Ireland and Germany so that data could be stored in Europe. They also indicated on their website what jurisdiction data was located in, and completed SOC2 and ISO2071 compliance.

Marketing

Matt drove a lot of the marketing strategy locally, although the execution was done in San Francisco. For online, the company focused on two key metrics: site-to-trial conversion and trial-to-paid conversion. They made sure they could classify trials by territory and country, and compared metrics to their US data, after local search engine optimisation.

To get face-to-face time with customers, Zendesk EMEA ran boot camps which included roadshows and training seminars. This helped Sales Representatives close deals and clients learn how to be successful on the product. They set up press interviews and threw parties. The events were scrappy, lightweight, low maintenance and mostly run by the internal team.

Legals

All contracts for Zendesk are online and go through Zendesk Inc. Zendesk has one legal team in the US who provide support and partners in each region. This single point of contact helps maintain consistency across contracts.

Complex deals can take much longer with remote lawyers so make sure everyone is talking to each other to keep things moving.

Team structure and remote communications

Time differences can be a challenge with offices in the US and EMEA so Matt invited some of the US team to work from London for a week, meet the team, and absorb the local cadence. Matt visited the US once a quarter.

Avoid taking calls in the evening but I checked emails regularly and prompted US team members if I needed a response for customers.
Distribute the HR function even if you don’t distribute the finance function because local employees need someone to talk to.

Compensation, stock options, benefits

Everyone in the company was given equity and an EMI scheme was set up early on in the UK. Other than the UK, options are all administered out of the US plan.

There was a pre IPO stock admin team who helped with educating the team about equity.

If you have less than 250 staff worldwide, it is worth setting up EMI in the UK.

Appendix

Company profiles

1stdibs

1stdibs is the leading marketplace for luxury antiques and vintage goods. Originally inspired by Parisian flea markets, today the website brings together more than 1,500 of the world’s most prestigious international dealers of antiques, vintage furniture and design, fine art, estate jewellery, vintage couture and fine homes.

Anki

By building on decades of scientific research to take artificial intelligence out of the lab and into people’s lives, Anki is at the forefront of a consumer robotics revolution.

Bitpay

The leading payment service provider (PSP) specializing in the peer-to-peer virtual currency Bitcoin which provides for instantaneous transactions from anywhere in the world with no risk of fraud or chargebacks.

Boku

Boku, the leading operator billing and cross-platform mobile payments company, brings bank-grade payments technology and mobile users together, creating a trusted, accessible platform for consumers, merchants and operators alike. Based in San Francisco with offices in Europe, Latin America and Asia, Boku reaches nearly 4 billion consumers worldwide, across 70 countries with more than 270 operators.

Centrify

Centrify secures identities against cyberthreats that target today’s hybrid IT environment of cloud, mobile and on- premises. Its Identity Platform protects against the leading point of attack used in data breaches – compromised credentials – by securing enterprises’ internal and external users in addition to privileged accounts.

Collibra

Collibra is the trusted data authority that provides data stewardship, data governance and data management for the enterprise business user.

Confluent

A Stream Data Platform powered by Apache Kafka.

Culture Amp

Culture Amp is a culture-first software company that is building the world’s leading People Analytics platform for people and culture.

Datadog

Datadog is a SaaS-based monitoring and data analytics platform for IT, Operations and Development teams who write and run applications at scale, and want to turn the data deluge produced by their apps, tools and services into actionable insight.

DoubleDutch

DoubleDutch is the leading developer of mobile event technology and the first to bring a data-driven approach to the live events industry.

Dropbox

Dropbox is a file sharing solution trusted by over 500 million users, businesses, universities and non-profits. It enables photos, documents and videos to be stored and shared seamlessly.

Elastic

Founded by the people behind Elasticsearch, Elastic provides software products for developers, startups and enterprises to make complex structured and unstructured data usable. By focusing on scalability, ease-of-use, and ease-of- integration, Elastic’s products are used for real-time search, logging, analytics, and security to power internal and external applications for Cisco, eBay, Goldman Sachs, Groupon, Microsoft, NASA, Netflix, OpenTable, Yelp, and Wikipedia.

Etsy

The marketplace for handmade and vintage items, art and supplies, Etsy has created a global community of like-minded people, who are powering a sustainable new economy by using the internet to reconnect makers with buyers.

Flipboard

A personalised magazine, Flipboard’s mission is to transform the way people discover, view and share content by merging the ease and beauty of print with the power and spontaneity of social media.

Hortonworks

Hortonworks is a leading distributor, developer and vendor of Apache Hadoop, the open source platform for Big Data storage, management and analytics. Hortonworks employees have amassed more Hadoop experience – and collectively contributed more lines of code to the platform – than any other company.

Lookout

As smart-phones go global and tablets overtake PCs, Lookout harnesses the power of millions of users across 400 networks in 170 countries to be at the cutting edge of cross-platform, cloud- connected device security for the post- desktop era.

Novus

Novus is a portfolio analytics company founded by a group of investors, engineers and data scientists. The company works with top hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds, endowments, pensions and other institutional investors, managing almost $1 trillion, to help them generate higher returns.

OANDA

OANDA Corporation transformed the business of foreign exchange through an innovative approach to forex trading. The company’s industry leading online trading platform, fxTrade, introduced a number of firsts to the marketplace, including immediate execution; instant settlement on trades; trades of any size between one unit and 10 million units; and interest calculated by the second.

OpenX

A global leader in digital and mobile ad tech, OpenX enables digital media companies to unleash their full economic power by maximising ad revenue. OpenX solutions provide a unique SaaS platform which combines ad serving, a real-time bidding exchange, yield optimisation and content valuation.

Optimizely

Enterprise-level A/B testing and personalisation for web and mobile apps.

Outbrain

Outbrain is the Internet’s leading personalised content discovery platform. By recommending news, blogs and other content to a receptive reader, at the right moment, Outbrain enables publishers to boost traffic and marketers to reach audiences at their most engaged.

Pentaho

Pentaho is delivering the future of business analytics. Pentaho’s open source heritage drives our continued innovation in a modern, integrated, embeddable platform built for the future of analytics, including diverse and big data requirements.

Pure Storage

Pure Storage, the all-flash enterprise storage company, enables the broad deployment of flash in the data center. When compared to traditional disk-centric arrays, the Pure Storage FlashArray is 10x faster and 10x more space and power efficient, for less than the cost of mechanical disk per gigabyte stored.

Rightscale

RightScale Cloud Portfolio Management enables leading enterprises to accelerate delivery of cloud-based applications that engage customers and drive top-line revenue while optimizing cloud usage to reduce risk and costs. With RightScale, IT organizations can deliver instant access to a portfolio of public, private, and hybrid cloud services across business units and development teams while maintaining enterprise control.

Slack

Slack is a messaging platform for teams which brings all communication together, creating a single unified archive accessible through powerful search.

Sonos

The leading manufacturer of wireless music systems, Sonos has re-imagined home audio for the digital era.

Squarespace

Squarespace empowers individuals and companies to design, build and maintain bespoke websites that raise the bar for online publishing. By fusing elegant design with robust engineering, the company’s mission is to provide the creative tools that power the future of the web.

Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow is the largest online community for programmers to learn, share their knowledge, and advance their careers. Developers all over the world trust Stack Overflow to help solve coding problems and use Stack Overflow Talent to find job opportunities. The platform has more than 40 million unique visitors every month.

Zendesk

Zendesk is transforming customer service for the digital age, by delivering category defining cloud-based customer service software. More than 100 million people around the world now receive support from Zendesk-powered customer service departments and helpdesks.

Zuora

Zuora is the global leader in subscription commerce and billing, helping companies in every industry transition to the Subscription Economy.

Zend

Zend partners with businesses for the rapid delivery of modern apps across mobile and cloud, having helped establish the PHP language which today powers over 200 million applications and websites.

Directory of resources

Recommended recruiters for GM and VP candidates

360 Leaders

Ben Markland
Jerry Maynard

Erevena

Dan Hyde
Maria Josife

Renaissance Leadership

Sebastian Kayll
John Smith

True Search

Nick Fairclough

The Up Group

Clare Johnston

Asari Partners

Karrin Niccol
Julia Redfern

Renovata

Thomas Jepsen

Natural Selection

Julian Lynn Evans

Work Spaces and realtors

cresa.com
wework.com
workspace.co.uk
regus.com
secondhome.io
interchange.io
collierslondon.com
devono.com
galepriggen.co.uk hanlonbennett.co.uk

Banking, accounting and back office

Silicon Valley Bank

Alex McCracken

Radius Worldwide

Sam Barnes

Atlantic Leap

Evan Rudowski

PwC

Natalie Langley

Legal and visa

Taylor Wessing

Adrian Rainey
For Germany: ‘Building the Bridge’
For the UK: ‘Across the Pond’

Networking

The Chemistry Club
(Senior executives FTSE 100 companies)

Trade associations

London

London and Partners
Tech City UK

Ireland

IDA Ireland

Amsterdam

I Amsterdam
Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency

Berlin

Germany Trade and Invest

Acronym glossary

BEPS Base Erosion and Profit Shifting
CEE Central and Eastern Europe
CMS Content Management System
DACH Deutschland, Austria & Switzerland
EMEA Europe, Middle East and Africa
EMI Enterprise Management Incentive (‘EMI’) scheme
ESOP Employee Stock Ownership Plan
EULA End User License Agreement
GTM Go to market
GmbH Denotes a company as private in Germany
IC Individual contributor
ICT IntraCompany Transfer
M4 Corridor Adjacent to the M4 motorway which runs from London to South Wales
NEMEA North Europe, Middle East and Africa
RPO Recruitment Process Outsourcing
SEMEA South Europe, Middle East and Africa
SV Silicon Valley
T&Cs Terms and Conditions
VAT Value Added Tax
VP EMEA Vice President of Europe, Middle East and Africa

Thank you

Adrian Rainey Taylor Wessing
Alex McCracken Silicon Valley Bank
Andy Reiss Fingleton Associates
Ben Coggins Dropbox
Ben Kiziltug Stack Overflow
Dan Hyde Erevena
David Roldan Google Cloud
David Stallibrass Fingleton Associates
Didier Elzinga Culture Amp
Dieter Oude Kotte Startup Amsterdam
Dimitar Stanimiroff Heresy
Edwin de Rooij Taylor Wessing Netherlands
Hassan Sohbi Taylor Wessing Germany
James Downing Silicon Valley Bank
Jens Kuehlers Google Cloud
Jerry Maynard 360 Leaders
Johann Butting Slack
John Fingleton Fingleton Associates
John Smith Gillamor Stephens
Jon Williams Culture Amp
Jonathon Southam Amazon Web Services
Kevin Kimber SAP
Lindsey Dale Outbrain
Louise Conolly-Smith London & Partners
Maeve Hurley Zendesk
Mark Simon The Chemistry Club
Martin Blackmore Elastic
Martin Falch 360 Leaders
Matt Price Zendesk
Mia Iwama Hastings London & Partners
Michelle Conaghan IDA Ireland
Natalia Radcliffe-Brine Stack Overflow
Nick Clark Nelson Bostock
Nick Morris Dropbox
Nick White Elastic
Nicolas de Witt Taylor Wessing France
Nicole Vanderbilt Etsy
Oliver Wilken Germany Trade and Invest
Pablo Vinageras Cobielles Garrigues
Pat English Matheson
Peter Nguyen Anki
Philip Lacor Dropbox
Philip Shepherd Taylor Wessing
Rachel Goodman Silicon Valley Bank
Raphael Fontes Squarespace
Robin Sharpe Elastic
Sam Barnes Radius Worldwide
Sarah Gavin Outbrain
Simon Edelstyn ROKT
Steve Lavelle Gillamor Stephens
Steven Rose Verne Global
Stuart Collingwood Anki
Tilo Bonow Piabo
Tom Waller Dropbox
Tyler Palmer Patreon
Uzi Shmilovici Base

Contact

Index Ventures

3 Burlington Gardens
London W1S 3EP, UK
Telephone +44 20 7154 2020

139 Townsend Street, Suite 505
San Francisco, CA 94107, USA
Telephone +1 415 408 7900

indexventures.com

Copyright © 2017 by Index Ventures.
All rights reserved.

Researched and written by Dominic Jacquesson, VP Talent and Thought Leadership at Index Ventures, with contributions and insights from the Index Ventures investment team.

The information provided in this handbook, in particular the employment law section in Chapter 2, is a general guide and specific legal and tax advice should always be sought.