Global expansion is hard. It doesn’t matter where you start, expanding globally is a series of chicken-egg problems. You can’t have demand for your product or service until you have addressed local/regional requirements – and those usually don’t present themselves until you have in-region customers. Which comes first: sales and marketing or sales staff? Customer wins or professional services? Channels or demand? and so on.
To break they cycle requires considerable focus, but focus (also known as money) has opportunity costs. Does it make more sense to invest in global expansion or in features, services, employees, channels, etc. in existing, growing markets? These are complex problems, and the right answers usually don’t reveal themselves for 5-10 years.
Five9 is clearly now focusing on global expansion. The time is right. It has strong momentum in North America and an impressive global footprint from existing customers with international seats. The Russia-Ukraine war appears to have accelerated its commitment to global expansion.
Five9 recently announced the opening of its new European Excellence Center in Porto, Portugal. I could not make the grand opening a few weeks ago, but I let Five9 know I planned to be in Portugal and they arranged for a visit/tour.
I met with Daniel Silva, VP of Engineering. Here’s a video of our conversation.
The office will serve as the company’s European engineering headquarters, with work spanning artificial intelligence, software engineering, and cloud operations.
Although they insisted over 100 employees work there, I didn’t see more than 20. That’s partly because Five9 is promoting hybrid work and also because it was a Friday – a day many employees choose to work remote.
The team was quite pleased to show-off the new office and city they call home. It really is a spectacular set-up. The building has been completely updated and outfitted with all the cool stuff including standing desks, air hockey tables, incredibly strong coffee, and more. I also really liked the private garden and EV charging stations.