Brexit Isn’t Scaring Vonage Away From LondonBy
CEO says he is sanguine about the difficulties Brexit poses
Company has 200 employees in the city and plans to hire more
Digital-phone provider Vonage Holdings Corp. is expanding its London-based European headquarters, despite concern Brexit will cause a strain on hiring talent.
The New York-based company has taken a ten-year lease at 15 Bonhill Street in east London, which neighbors the Old Street technology district and is also home to venture capital firm SeedCamp Ltd. and Google’s Campus co-working space. The 22,000-square-foot (2,000-square-meter) space will house about 200 employees.
“We intend to continue to grow there aggressively,” said Vonage Chief Executive Officer Alan Masarek. “We likely could go as high as 300 in the current physical space before we run out of room.”
About 40 percent of Vonage’s London employees work in software engineering, Masarek said. Such skills are in high demand and short supply in London, and the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union has increased concern that hiring and employee retention will become more difficult.
Masarek, a former director at Google, said he’s sanguine about the difficulties. “London with or without Brexit I believe is a beacon that draws talent to it from around the world,” he said. “We intend to make London our European headquarters forever, because we’re big believers in London.”
Masarek’s comments echo those of Slack Technologies Inc. CEO Stewart Butterfield, who said in May that “Brexit or no Brexit, London is still London and the U.K. is still the U.K.” as he announced the San Francisco-based startup’s new office in the English capital city.
Other large tech companies have continued their investment in London. Last year, Facebook Inc. said it planned to increase its U.K. headcount by 50 percent. Snap Inc. has also named London its international hub and Google plans to expand to accommodate as many as 3,000 additional staff there.
Vonage has had a presence in the city since 2005, when it opened its Hammersmith, west London, office. The move into a larger premises will bring together existing employees as well as those of Nexmo, the British internet communications business Vonage acquired in 2016 for $230 million.