Certain products or industries are more tied to a specific geographical location than others. But, shipping breaks all borders and cultural barriers. No matter where you are in the world, if you sell online you need a way to reliably and efficiently ship your products to your customers.
Shippo has long recognized that and is charting a path of global expansion. Last month, Shippo was proud to announce the addition of seven new partnerships in Western Europe across five different countries.
Along with that, Shippo has announced the opening of its first European office located in Dublin, Ireland. The office opening will create 120 high-skilled jobs in the area by 2024 and will serve as an R&D Centre as it looks to build out a new European network.
The Site Lead in charge of making this Ireland expansion happen is tech veteran Ashutosh Saxena. This is the second time he will be leading an originally San Francisco-based tech company into Dublin.
We spoke to him about not only what this new venture means for the company but how it benefits our current and future merchants across the globe.
Q.) This is your second time serving as a location office lead. What are some of the things you learned the first time that you hope to implement this time around?
A.) The first time I was the Site Lead for Ireland I moved from San Francisco to Dublin, and it was a completely different culture and environment for me. I was new to the Irish tech and business communities, and I didn’t know the lay of the land in terms of setting up legal, financial, employment, and recruitment processes or building a team out.
Now that I’ve done that once from scratch – and learned many lessons the hard way at Deem – I was able to use that experience and existing local contacts and business relationships to very quickly lay the groundwork a new business entity requires when doing it this time for Shippo.
Another noteworthy learning was to not hire across all levels at the same time. At my previous job, I had started building a team out and recruited 30 employees in a span of 6 months. Instead, it’s best to start with managers and empower them to build their own teams, spreading the load and creating more structured hiring.
Last but not the least, understanding the major differences between the US culture and the little nuances in Irish culture help me quickly wade through tough challenges unique to hiring and working with Irish teams.
Q.) Why did Shippo choose Dublin, Ireland as its first international hub?
A.) Ireland has a huge potential in terms of the availability of tech talent, and Dublin is one of the top European cities for global tech giants. At the same time, there is an ever-emerging startup scene all across Ireland. The local Irish workforce, as well as those who have moved from other parts of Europe and the rest of the world, are hungry for challenges and embrace high-growth opportunities in fast-paced environments. Shippo is now better positioned to tap into that talent pool and cater to those aspirations while building a brand name in Ireland and the rest of Europe.
Furthermore, Ireland has a tight-knit tech community, has very favorable immigration laws, and is centrally located on the world map, so it is not too far away from US time zones. Being present in an English-speaking country in Europe also aligns with Shippo’s focus on expanding into Europe, integrating with European carriers, and helping European e-commerce companies simplify their shipping processes.
Q.) What does having a presence in Europe mean for our existing and new customers?
A.) Having a presence in Europe means existing customers can have better support over a longer part of the day as our product, engineering, and support teams can follow the sun. New customers, especially those in Europe or the ones shipping to Europe can look forward to Shippo serving their shipping needs in newer geographies. Our European operations in Ireland will enable us to spearhead new initiatives for the European market, including platform API optimizations and carrier integrations, enabling us to deliver more tailored programs to our customers and partners across Europe.
Q.) What are you most excited about when it comes to the new hub and what do you think new employees will be excited about?
A.) I am most excited about expanding a fast-paced, high-growth company into Europe and leading the new hub using my learnings from a previous similar role. I’m also excited about the opportunity to build Shippo’s brand name as a top Irish employer recruiting rockstars, as a company leading the way in the tech community with top-notch engineering, and as the experts in shipping taking away the pain of shipping from e-commerce companies.
New employees will be excited about working with some of the top talents in the industry and around the world to solve very relevant yet complex problems, and joining Shippo at the right time where they can grow their careers while simultaneously growing the company.
Q.) What are some of the challenges of opening a new hub?
A.) Opening a new hub is challenging both externally and internally. Entering a close-knit tech community requires us to tread carefully starting from the recruitment process where a superb candidate experience is paramount, to managing expectations as employees come on board, and to be prepared to keep those rockstars busy.
The local sensibilities will have to be learned and appreciated by current employees. The existing hubs in Austin and San Francisco, along with the new one in Dublin will have to operate as “One Shippo”. There are differences in American and European work and life cultures that have to be appreciated by both sides. An 8-hour time zone difference will pose challenges in terms of calendar coordination.
Within the new location, members of a new team will come from different backgrounds, experiences, and cultures. We have to be mindful that it will take them time forming, storming, and norming, before finally performing.
Having said that, I am sure we can overcome all these challenges if we have the right mindset, empathy for the other side, and conscientiousness that we will all work towards the same common goal. Some challenges are easier to deal with – like time zone differences can be mitigated by relying on more asynchronous communication – whereas some others like understanding the nuances in cultures may require conscious learning and education.
How To Join The Movement
As mentioned before, Ashutosh won’t be alone in building out this new hub. Shippo is currently hiring to fill positions of need for this geographic location.
Experts in the areas of engineering, product, and design are encouraged to check out our jobs portal to learn more about these new roles. Shippo’s Dublin hub is located in the heart of the city, and as a remote-first company, we offer employees across Ireland the opportunity to work from home as well.