Twitter will open offices in Berlin, according to media reports – a city described by Twitter’s Ryan Sarver as akin to a raw, early-stage Silicon Valley.
Founder Jack Dorsey signalled the company’s plans to open German headquarters in January, prompting speculation about possible locations. Focus, citing industry sources, reported yesterday that the final choice is Berlin and that current Bild.de social media chief Rowan Barnett will lead Twitter’s German operations.
Barnett is unavailable for interviews, as he is yet to start his new role, but has updated his Twitter profile to give a nod to – and confirm – his new position.
Hailing from the UK, Barnett studied history at Oxford University and spent nearly two years working in Germany, Russia, Hungary and Poland as an international trainee for European multimedia giant Axel Springer AG. He joined Bild.de in 2006 as online editor, moving quickly through the ranks to become head of Social Media in March 2009.
So why Berlin over Hamburg or Munich?
Recent rumours have had Hamburg and Munich in the running with Berlin for the Twitter offices. But why choose to set up base in Germany at all? The answer could be to strengthen Twitter’s presence – and therefore number of active users – in Germany.
The strong local entrepreneurial and start-up community likely also played a part, particularly in the selection of Berlin over competitors Hamburg (where Facebook and Google have bases) and Munich. On a visit earlier this year, Twitter’s Director of Platform Ryan Sarver told VentureVillage guest blogger Ciaran O’Leary he was impressed with the calibre of people working in Berlin. “It reminds me a little of San Francisco in the energy and the community but it has a very different edge to it.”
Twitter, which has over 100 million active users worldwide, already has offices in Dublin and London. If you’d like to work for them in Berlin, keep an eye on the company’s job board. Or, for more great Berlin start-up jobs, check out our latest job listings.
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