Back in 2015, as a rapidly growing tech company with successful IPO, Zalando was in an urgent need of highly educated engineers to support their product development and growth. With thousands of qualified staff already on site, they were struggling to attract any more talent to Berlin. The company started to look for other European technology hot spots for a kick start for the next generation Zalando platform.
Top talent with moderate costs
In January 2015, Zalando’s strategy management reach for Finland. In close- co-operation, Finpro’s Invest in Finland and Helsinki Business Hub put the ball rolling. Two organizations were able to pull the right strings and provide full-time support in terms on contacts, business culture and insight on recruiting.
“From day one, we received tremendous support from Helsinki Business Hub and Finpro’s Invest in Finland. They helped us to recruit staff and find a spot-on location, and put us in contact with the relevant people”, says Mark Lamik, Head of Tech Expansion, Zalando.
In August, only six months after their first visit in Helsinki, Zalando opened their new development site in Punavuori. A trendy, former industrial area in immediate proximity to the city center, Punavuori was a perfect spot for a young technology company.
Part of the community
However, Zalando were not only looking for talent and location; the company wanted to be a real part of the community they were expanding to. To support this, Finpro and Helsinki Business Hub introduced Zalando management to people at leading Finnish technology companies as well as people behind phenomena like Slush and Arctic15.
“With this help we were able to access Helsinki’s startup and technology scene and become a part of the community. We received insight to an extensive network of contacts and were thus soon able to hire experienced seniors important for the progression of the tech hub”, Lamik says.
Growth plans – more buzz!
Starting with about 20 people in autumn 2015, Zalando now employs over 50 professional at their site in Helsinki. But why stop there, when you are enjoying the ride.
“In the upcoming years, our goal is to hire about 200 employees in Helsinki”, Lamik says.
In November 2015, Zalando also announced a startup coaching program in Helsinki, opening the doors of its technology hub for young innovators. “There is a really strong startup scene in Helsinki with good attitude and a lot of technology and design know-how. And we want to create even more buzz here.”