Born in Japan, succeeding in Amsterdam

Founded in Japan in 2004, Nulab has been steadily expanding over the years. With offices in Tokyo, Kyoto, Fukuoka, New York, Singapore and – of course – Amsterdam, it’s a truly global operation. Over the years, it’s developed three innovative apps that help teams connect and collaborate. Now, it has more than four million users in 190 countries, many of whom work for leading companies like Adobe and TransferWise.

Alessandra Granelli, Nulab’s PR and influencers manager, spoke with StartupAmsterdam about what the company does, its goals for the future, and why it thinks Amsterdam is an ideal home for a growing business with big aspirations.   

Amsterdam bikes fietsenflat

Can you introduce Nulab?

It was originally founded in Japan 2004 and since then, the company has developed three apps as part of its mission to create intuitive and easy-to-use collaborative software that helps teams and individuals. We have a project tracking and management software tool called Backlog. Then we added a cloud-based diagram software called Cacoo. And then we are finally added a chat app, Typetalk. Currently, we have six different offices across the world: Amsterdam of course, New York, Singapore and then three in Japan in Tokyo, Kyoto and Fukuoka. 

In Singapore, we also have a collaborative workspace, which is called NuSpace. It offers startups, freelancers and developers a place where they can work and attend events for free.

And then can you tell me how many people work in your Amsterdam office?

Well, we are growing! The office was opened in February 2018. At the beginning, it was just me and HR, but right now we are at eight people, but in September, we will start hiring a lot of new folks, especially developers.

Nulab amsterdam

Members of Nulab's Amsterdam team

So, you’ll be expanding in the months ahead? 

Yes. We are expecting to grow a lot and next year, in 2021, we are planning to hire a couple of people to work on a success support team for our customers. Our goal is to be as inclusive as possible - we already have some incredibly talented female software developers in our team, but we want to increase the number.

And the cool part is that our office, we have seven or eight different nationalities. We have Italians, Russians, people from Nigeria and India, and of course, Dutch people as well. We’re a pretty International team. 

How does everyone feel about working in Amsterdam?

We were extremely happy that the company chose Amsterdam. The company chose it for several reasons, and because of the progressive and dynamic business culture, which supports creativity and innovation, which is really amazing. 

From speaking with my manager and people in Japan, I think they thought Amsterdam was a perfect place for a startup that wants to grow. They really see the city as a vibrant hub for innovators and disruptors. The other thing is that Amsterdam has a really international culture and the workforce is truly diverse and skilled. So, coming here was a great way to get an amazing pool of talent and be able to hire lots of different people with different skills. 

Amsterdam canal houses, Edwin van Eis

What’s your favourite part of being based in the city?

The culture. Amsterdam is exciting to live in and is full of creative people. It also has a strategic position in Europe that allows our teammates to move across the continent and easily attend and speak at tech events.

Do you feel like you’re part of the tech scene here?

Yes. We are very involved with the local tech community of Amsterdam. We regularly organise events, workshops, and meetups in different locations. For us, it's important to contribute and give back, even in a small way, to Amsterdam's developer community. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

As a company, we plan work as much as possible on new features and providing our customers with the best experience. I think for our team in Amsterdam, expanding and becoming more international, it’s all due to the incredible energy we see and feel here. It pushes us every day to improve and is continuous source of inspiration, and it gives our team a forward-looking attitude. 

Learn more about Amsterdam’s ICT sector or the city’s startup ecosystem