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December 11, 2014

Huddle on hiring and acquisition spree with $51m funding

Firm will supply 80 new IT jobs for graduates and professionals.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Huddle is on the hunt for acquisitions and new talent over the next year after raising $51m in funding.

The file-sharing firm, co-headquartered in London and San Francisco, secured a series D funding round led by Zouk Capital and joined by existing investors Matrix Partners and Jafco Venture among others.

The funding brings Huddle’s total funding to $86m to date and will go towards creating 80 new jobs.

Andy McLoughlin, Huddle’s EVP Strategy and co-founder, told CBR he is seeking graduates and professionals with skills in project management, design, software development and programming.

"For software developers, depending on the seniority of the role they’re coming in for, we take graduates safe out of university all the way through to people with 10 or 15 years plus experience," he said.

"In the very beginning we had an excellent team of generalists who could do everything from web through to a bit of mobile and database. These days we’re also looking for people able to do higher specialist mobile developers, specialist learning developers, specialist front end developers and specialist platform developers."

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He added: "In terms of the languages we’re looking for, Objective-C or Swift for iOS, Java for Android, but we also have a very strong C-sharp body working inside the company, but we also look for people with Ruby skills as well."

The cloud storage company, whose government customers include 80% of the UK government departments, NASA, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Government of Greenland and the NHS, said the funding will provide capital for further acquisitions.

"When we’ve looked at this in the past, it’s been companies with a technology that would complement our strategy. So it could be something in mobile, it could be something in end user productivity, it really depends."

The announcement comes a year after Huddle told CBR it was planning an IPO for 2015 or 2016. When asked about it, McLoughlin said: "Right now our focus is on execution and growth. The overall market and Macro trends are slightly unsteady than they were last year, so for the time being we don’t have any set plans in place. Our focus is just really to continue building a big solid business."

The funding also comes at a time when the market for file sharing becomes increasingly competitive. The likes of Box, which filed for a $250m IPO in March 2014 and has more than 20m users worldwide, and Dropbox, are all trying to stake a claim.

"Box has a lot of money and obviously spending a huge amount on sales and marketing," said McLoughlin when asked about it.

"I think what’s incredibly telling about them is when we’re in a bake off and we have a customer that’s looking at us versus them, even though their solution comes in cheaper, they choose Huddle because it’s not just the software they’re buying it’s the quality of the service."

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