Transportation company Uber, reportedly valued around $40 billion, announced yesterday that it has decided to move its mobile development team to the Dutch capital Amsterdam.
Conrad Whelan Uber’s first engineer and second employee is going to lead the engineering team. Announcing the move via the company’s blog Whelan says that he is excited to start building out a new mobile engineering and product development unit, in the ‘leading technology hub’ Amsterdam where its international HQ is already located.
Uber’s mobile development team will be staffed immediately by 10 former employees from the Dutch firm Moop.me. Jelle Prins, the founder of Moop.me, who worked on the first prototypes of the Uber-app in 2009 will oversee the design team. Moop.me developers recently delivered the Spotify integration for the Uber-app. “For me its like coming home. I started in 2009 to develop prototypes of the Uber-app and now I can work on a product that is used globally by millions of people”, said Prins in an interview with the Dutch blog iCulture.
Uber’s product and engineering team in Amsterdam will focus on continued evolution of the core passenger and driver experiences on smartphones and building the capabilities for new product partnerships.
One reason to opt for Amsterdam is that a lot of talented developers are not keen on moving to the USA and the ones who are, bump into the restrictive visa requirements of the country, Prins said. “In contrast developers from across Europe can decide to work in Amsterdam without any formalities.”
To allow talented professionals and entrepreneurs more easy access to the country the Dutch government decided recently to relax the visa requirements. There are also signs that the Dutch government will, as one of the first countries in Europe, allow UberPop, in contrast to Techcrunch’s hint of restrictive policies. StartupJuncture reported about this here. It’s very likely that this hasn’t been a reason to locate the development team in Amsterdam. It does, however, give the company the feeling that they are welcome and won’t be bothered by prohibitive measures in their quest to innovate.
All in all, Europe and the Netherlands in particular seem have to been good for Uber. The idea for Uber originated in Paris, the former Dutch Ex-Booking.com CEO, Kees Koolen, is its advisor on global expansion and now, besides its international HQ, its development team will be located in Amsterdam.
Uber’s last move to strengthen its foothold in Amsterdam is also very good news for the Dutch capital and Europe at large. Prins: “This is an acknowledgment of the thriving startup community in the Netherlands and a boost for its future at the same time.”
In the coming year alone 30 to 40 engineers will be added to the team. Whelan says that the company’s engineering culture rewards ‘hard work, intelligence, openness and directness.’ He calls on those who want to solve ‘new and interesting problems.’ Whelan: “With Europe’s history as a mobile leader, and our HQ located in the central, industrious and innovative country that is the Netherlands, we couldn’t be more pumped about the future of this growing team.”
Update: hours after the publication of this article Uber’s co-founder Travis Kalanick announced on the company’s blog that it had raised $1.2 Billion in the latest funding round, confirming the $40B valuation.
Photo Credit: Þrimilcemōnaþ