Saturday 21 October 2017

First look inside Squarespace's new Dublin hub - behind the scenes with the people behind your favourite podcast

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

If the name Squarespace is familiar but you're not quite sure why, chances are the tech platform is supports the podcast you're listening to on the way to work.

Many, of course, will be familiar with the all-in-one content management system that helps even the least tech savvy of us build a professional looking website from the ground up.

Work bench
Work bench
Squarespace office
Games room
Squarespace

Founded in 2003 in a US university dorm room by founder Anthony Casalena, Squarespace's success story has led to the firm's international expansion - and an impressive client list.

"I really wanted to make a website for myself so I wanted something that was all in one so I didn't have to put together a bunch of software components," CEO Casalena told independent.ie.

"I also wanted something that looked good and was designed really well because essentially your website is how a lot of people are going to view your ideas."

The firm's Dublin office opened a decade after the concept was realised as the second hub for its Customer Operations.

Last year, the SaaS-based website builder's revenue exceeded $200m - and Squarespace Ireland is seen an important strategic component of the firm's global business, and success.

"The reason for selecting Dublin is that there's a bigger tech presence here so we're not the only company in town that's doing this," said Casalena.

"It just sort of fit the bill with the sophisticated population and what we need from an international perspective".

Read more: Watch: Inside the new €11m Jameson Distillery...where the iconic whiskey chandelier is the only thing that remains the same

Squarespace office
Squarespace office

The Dublin team - which comprises 115 employees of more than 14 nationalities - provides English language support in a different time zone to the company's New York headquarters and their third site in Portland, Oregon.

"As we've expanded and we've gotten more worldwide usage, it's important for us to staff around the clock properly to cover those hours," said Casalena.

"Dublin has been great for us; we've got over 100 people here now and we've got space for about 300. There are mostly customer operations functions here currently but we're looking to perhaps push our translation services more internationally from the Dublin office and have more of the technical teams here." 

About 30pc of Squarespace's customers - from artists to professional services and businesses to e-commerce sites to individual portfolios - are based outside the US. 

The success of the Dublin team in leading the firm's global expansion efforts has meant the Ship Street site has gotten quite a bit of attention lately. 

Located close to The Liberties, the 2,343 sq. m. office covers four floors with a dedicated entrance, lobby, and roof terrace (that is now decorated with hammocks and lounge chairs).

Squarespace balcony
Squarespace balcony
Squarespace lobby

Mimicking Squarespace's US offices, the recently concluded renovations have resulted in a clean and minimalistic aesthetic with the wooden benches and widely used greenery the only pop of colour in the otherwise monochrome space.

Light filters in through floor-to-ceiling windows that encompass each of the floors that are currently utilised; and these open areas area also complemented by 'breakout' areas which include a games room, a ping-pong table and an ideas corner where you can literally write on the walls.

Read more: Status update: Facebook Ireland making room for 800 more staff

So it may come as a boon for some that the as yet half full office is actively recruiting and intends to at least double its workforce in Dublin in the next three years.

While Squarespace staff is largely made up from the millenial age group, the firm is open to attracting talent from all age groups, nationalities and diverse educational backgrounds. Having a college degree is definitely not a 'must have'.

"What I'm looking for in people is a certain thoughtfulness and curiosity - and being able to exhibit that is really important," said Casalena.

Potential candidates might also be interested in knowing that benefits at the tech company include an impressive healthcare package, flexible holiday time, free meals and snacks, a decent pension plan and parental leave with flexible arrangements on their return.

"Everyone shares in the same perks here - if you're an engineer or a customer services operative - there's the same everything," said the chief.

"We're competing with the biggest like Google Facebook and Amazon for talent so I'm pretty sure that we've done a good job."

Squarespace are currently graduating from a focus on presence to a focus on "helping people with creative ideas succeed" - the service is constantly expanding.

"With respect to the culture here, it's really a combination of trying to keep a sense of urgency while still maintaining an air of creativity - and an air of curiosity as we grow," said Casalena.

"I don't want Squarespace to feel like a really big company, even as the head count continues to expand, that's important to me".

Online Editors

Also in Business