Thursday 18 October 2018

WATCH: First look inside software group's new $10m EMEA headquarters in Dublin

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Customer service support software firm Zendesk first established a presence in Dublin six years ago with just two employees supporting the firm's global expansion of its engineering team.

By 2014, staff headcount had grown to over 50 at its original One Grand Parade address across the areas of sales, support, operations - and product development for the Zendesk Talk and mobile products.

Another four years on, the San Francisco-based company has achieved more than half its quota of hiring 500 people at its Dublin hub and is now stretching its legs in its new home at 55 Charlemont Place.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar joined Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svane to officially open the new Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) headquarters today in "the tech capital of Europe".

"The company’s decision to choose Dublin as its home reaffirms the quality of talent available and our attractiveness as a destination for investment," he said.

Almost 300 employees currently occupy the 58,000 sq ft building following an investment of $10m, Zendesk's largest investment in property outside of the US.

Similar to other tech firms housed at the city's Silicon Docks, the amenities of the new digs don't disappoint, with features such as a yoga studio, the mothers' room and a tech-free 'hideaway' reflecting the company's commitment to promoting employee wellbeing in the workplace.

The green outdoor space is mirrored by the forest theme throughout the space's interior, a concept realised by architecture company MOLA, led by interior designer Paul Finnegan and assisted by Ela Walkowiak.

Founded in a Copenhagen loft by three friends, the Scandinavian influence of the new building is quite apparent, a calming effect created by Zendesk’s in-house designer, Raphael Gueller, who looks after all the firm's global fitouts.

Located on the banks of Dublin’s Grand Canal, just metres from the popular Barge pub, the new building sets a visual standard for its other offices around the globe.

"As more technology companies and entrepreneurs call Dublin home, we’re proud to be a part of a community that fosters innovation, growth and a focus on the most important part of any business - the customer," Mikkel Svane said.

Zendesk has five other offices in Europe: a large sales, marketing, and customer support team in London, regional offices in Berlin and Paris; as well as engineering hubs with sales and support teams in Copenhagen and Montpellier.

Colum Twomey, vice president of product development at Zendesk, and Ireland office manager gave us the tour of 55 Charlemont Place, which eyeballs its old Grand Parade haunt from its rooftop terrace.

"We're continuing to expand here and have the capacity to grow to over 500 people by 2020. The recruitment drive is very much active across the organisation at the moment, in areas including engineering, design, sales, and people operations," he said.

Groups that promote workforce development and technical literacy as well as diversity and inclusion are a key focus of Zendesk's Dublin community commitment, modelled on the firm's core corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy.

In addition to the rollout of a new program with Teen-Turn providing internship opportunities for young women, Zendesk is also partnering with the Dublin Gay Men’s Chorus this year. The company has 36 different nationalities based at its Dublin hub.

In 2017, the Zendesk Neighbour Foundation gave around €140,000 in grants in Ireland, with key beneficiaries including The Simon Community, Temple Street Children’s Hospital and iWish.

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