Last year, I wrote about the dilemma that frequently faces European early stage technology businesses in Europe; should we Go West to Silicon Valley or stay here to prove that Europe can have its technology champions too?
Well at Huddle we have always believed that European start-ups CAN make it big on the global stage and we’ve always tried to adhere to the mantra ‘go big or go home’….
Therefore, it is with great pride that I can announce the next stage of Huddle’s growth into the world’s leading online collaboration platform: the expansion of Huddle into the US market, the opening of our US offices in San Francisco and the investment of $10.2 million into Huddle led by Matrix partners, with participation from existing investors Eden Ventures and our chairman Charles McGregor.
Everyone at Huddle is hugely excited by the next stage of our growth and we are now hard at work making it happen. This comes off the back of a hugely successful 2009, during which we achieved strong growth in users, usage and revenue, brought on board partners such as HP, Ning and Xing and for the first time saw Huddle attract more users outside of the UK than in it. The company also recently became cashflow positive so it’s certainly been an exciting year!
As part of this expansion, Andy has moved to San Francisco to head up our US presence and work with our partners on the West Coast. Before you start to feel sorry for Andy, sitting all alone in our San Francisco office while the rest of the Huddle team celebrates in London, he will soon be joined by our new US VP of Sales (to be revealed shortly). Hot on Andy’s heels are also two members of the UK sales team who will form the nucleus of what we hope will be a 20 person US sales force by the end of the year. I’m also delighted to announce that Jeff Porter joins us from Lithium as US VP of Alliances and Jaan Orvet will be working with Martin on the product team as UI/UX Director.
Why the US for our first international base? Simple; it’s still the biggest collaboration and technology market globally. We’ve already got several big partners over there who have been helping us learn the market for the last year, a rapidly growing user base and organic revenues. And with Matrix Partners, we are delighted that we are getting both the combined wisdom and support of an awesome group of partners to really make this happen, plus the talent and passion of Josh Hannah who we are exceptionally pleased has agreed to join our board.
We spent a lot of time looking at different locations in the US for our office; thinking about issues such as location of investment money, talent, market opportunity, personal lives, business continuity, time zone differences and more. After almost settling in Boston, we decided on San Francisco because of the fact that we saw some amazing talent there. We were always going to have a small biz dev/alliances office there anyway, location is less important for our inside sales team and well, let’s face it – the weather’s better!
Given that everyone in Huddle believes in virtual working and technology as an enabler for distributed teams and we use Huddle to run Huddle, you could argue that we should operate like MySQL and have everyone working from home globally – with no real office. However, even MySQL had an office. The company relocated to the West Coast from Scandinavia after realizing that for certain corporate functions and inside sales, it’s critically important. So far, it’s working fine.
So, the next exciting chapter of our growth begins. A massive thank you again to all our users, friends and family for your support and great ideas as we strive to create a platform that helps you to ‘work better together’.
We’ll let you know how we get on!
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