Update on Dec. 4: Corrected to reflect that the Dutch team was not behind the Spotify integration (the San Francisco team did), and that Uber always intended to add the team to its already existing Amsterdam office, per an Uber spokesperson’s email to VentureBeat.
While it’s been fighting its PR and regulation fires, Uber has apparently had time to invest in mobile technology.
The alternative transportation company recently announced and rolled out an integration with music-streaming service Spotify to let passengers play DJ during their rides, and the company is hiring a team of Dutch designers and developers to work on new consumer-facing projects. Uber announced the move in a blog post Wednesday evening.
The team’s lead, Jelle Prins, did some work for Uber back in 2009 and is part of an Amsterdam collective of developers and designers named Moop.me. The team of 10, including Prins, will become Uber employees and will set up a mobile development-focused division in Uber’s Amsterdam office, led by Uber’s first engineer, Conrad Whelan. Amsterdam has been home to Uber’s international headquarters since 2012, “so the infrastructure to accommodate and further grow our global team & footprint were already there,” an Uber spokesperson told VentureBeat via email.
To be clear, Uber is not acquiring or hiring all of Moop.me, only those particular developers.
Although it’s starting with that small team, Uber plans to build up the office to “30 people within a year and more in the years ahead,” Whelan said in the blog post. It’s hoping to double the team every six months, Moop.me founder Jelle Prins told the Dutch tech blog iCulture.
Although earlier reports stated that the new office will be in Amsterdam because the team apparently didn’t want to move, Uber has since clarified that it never intended to move the new hires out of Amsterdam. The stiff competition for talent in Silicon Valley, as well as the existing office in Amsterdam, make it a choice location for talent recruiting purposes.
Ironically, Amsterdam is one of the cities where Uber has been having regulatory difficulties. In fact, four Uber drivers were recently arrested there for misuse of the Uber app.