San Francisco-based cloud communications tech company Twilio has opened a new office — its first in the U.S. outside of the major tech hubs of California and New York — in Atlanta. Based for now at WeWork Terminus in Buckhead, their space currently houses a dozen employees, but they plan to scale that up to 50 in the coming year.
“This is an important step for us as a company,” says Twilio Sales Director Doug Barnes, who moved back from a post in the company’s London office to head up the Atlanta expansion. “Getting out of New York and San Francisco is going to set us up long-term.”
Twilio offers a suite of APIs for developers to build any conceivable form of cloud-based communication into their products — phone calls, video, SMS, chat, fax and more. It has over 50,000 customers across a range of industries.
Founded in 2008, the company grew quickly, raising a little over $100 million in outside funding from stable investors including 500 Startups founding partner Dave McClure and Bessemer Venture Partners. It went public in mid-2016 and has seen double-digit growth since then, with a year-over-year revenue growth of 48 percent in Q1 2018.
Barnes, who joined the company five years ago as one of the first members of the sales team, has been around for much of the explosive growth. He moved to London to open up their go-to-market office in the U.K. and spent two years building a solid client base in Europe.
Along with Barnes, six Twilio employees moved from California to kickstart the Atlanta office. The company already had half a dozen remote workers in the city that now have a physical home base.
They already have roles open in sales, account management and recruiting, but Barnes hopes to expand to product and engineering soon as well. He sees value in having smaller teams work together in the same space.
“In San Francisco, the office is so big it’s hard for anyone to talk to each other. But somewhere like here, we can have engineering sitting next to the account managers, who are talking to the clients, and telling them what the clients want us to build.”
Twilio has a strong roster of clients in Atlanta, including big names in the local tech scene like SalesLoft, CallRail and MailChimp. Barnes says they’re eager to get involved in the community, starting with hosting a recruiting event for local tech talent on Tuesday, July 10th.
As for hiring new ‘Twilions’, Barnes points to Twilio’s two guiding sets of pillars: their ‘Nine Values’, which cover things like “Empower others” and “Be frugal”; and their ‘Leadership Principles’, which include “Wear the customer’s shoes” and “Seek progress over perfection.”
What does Barnes himself look for in his sales team? He points out four qualities: “Curious, creative, take ownership and coachable.”
“We cater to the developer,” Barnes says. “So the product has to do what the documentation says it will do. This is no BS.”