Table of Contents
RapidAPI is on the move! Today we announced we are launching a new hub office in Berlin and dramatically expanding our presence in Europe. This is an exciting milestone, and I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on how we came to start up in Berlin.
The process started back in late 2021 when we drafted our hiring and team plans for 2022 and beyond. In that process, we have made several key decisions about how we will structure our team.
The Hub and Spoke Office Model
Like many companies, we discussed how we want to structure our team in the post-COVID world and the role remote work will play in our future. Ultimately, we looked for a solution that balances the benefits of in-person collaboration with the flexibility of hiring in broader geographic locations.
We landed on the “hub and spoke” model — an office-centric approach where the vast majority of our teams work in an office hub, with a few employees hired remotely and commuting into the hub frequently to meet colleagues. The two natural hubs that we centered around were San Francisco and Tel Aviv (the two locations where the vast majority of our team already was).
This approach has allowed us to create a common collaboration space where the majority of the team works together while being able to hire exceptional team members outside those hubs. Those team members are always in the same time zone (+/- 2 hours) so collaboration is easier, and end up traveling to a hub monthly (or more) to work closely with the team and be part of building our culture.
We have set up clear KPIs of what that approach looks like for us, including the percentage of the team hired in hubs, and the frequency of being at a hub for remote team members. These KPIs help us measure how the model has been performing.
Hub in Europe
Following the decision to adopt the hub and spoke model, we started mapping out where we want to locate our hubs & hiring. We already had a presence in Europe (originating from our acquisition of Paw in 2020 and the team that formed around it).
Our engineering team through Europe has been a critical part of RapidAPI and driving key initiatives in the company, and our experience hiring in Europe proved how great the technical talent through the continent is. So a decision was made to double down & set up a hub in Europe. The question – where?
Selecting a European Hub City
Our goal with adding a hub in Europe is to allow us to hire fast and expand our engineering team rapidly. Right off the bat, we looked at the bigger cities that will have a mature ecosystem of engineers & will be compelling for people to move to and visit. The initial list included London, Dublin, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Krakow, Kiev, and Barcelona amongst other major metros.
We graded these cities based on 5 parameters we defined in the decision matrix:
- Talent Pool Relative to Demand: Our main goal is to scale engineering fast, so we wanted to make sure we go to a city where there’s a lot of tech talent and not overly crazy demand.
- Immigration: Our plan is not just to hire locally but also to welcome people from around the world to our hub, so we looked for places that have reasonable immigration policies that allow us to quickly build a truly global team.
- Legal and Tax Matters: we looked at the amount of red tape countries have around labor laws and employee tax – and weeded out those that are not conducive to corporations.
- A Global City and Attractive City: in line with our approach of creating a new global hub for team members from around the world to come to, we prioritized vibrant and attractive cities that people will want to move to (or at least visit often).
- Ease of Communication: the European Hub will be part of the broader fabric of the RapidAPI team — which means a lot of communication with other employees globally. We looked for places with high English literacy (our global default language).
Berlin — the Obvious Choice
Through the matrix, Berlin quickly popped up to the top of the list. It offers a unique tech hiring environment — mature enough to have serious talent available, but not overly competitive to make hiring impossible. It has a very reasonable set of labor laws and immigration policies that will allow us to build a strong and sustainable presence, and English is spoken widely and well.
But above all these technical aspects, Berlin is a truly unique city that we are excited to operate in. It is a global cultural center filled with centuries of history and buzzing with energy. And it’s that energy that will fuel our creative growth. I couldn’t be more excited about this amazing opportunity to work with a Berlin-based hub!
What’s Next for RapidAPI’s Berlin Office?
Now that the hub is open, the ribbon is cut and the Sauerbraten is eaten, it’s time to get to the most important part — hiring and building a great team. We already have around 20 people based in Berlin (a combination of early leaders building out the presence and members of our global team that are moving to Berlin to be our cultural ambassadors).
In the next 12 months we are looking to more than triple that number, and build a strong and powerful team in Berlin! If you are interested in working in RapidAPI’s Berlin office (or any other office) please see our open job listings here.