It could have been another Silicon Valley startup success story. But it happened right here in Berlin. A mascot of Berlin’s startup community, SoundCloud was created by Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss in a co-working space on Rosenthaler Platz in 2007.
Six years after setting up office in Berlin Mitte, the audio streaming website has over 200 employees and as many million listeners.
We spoke to SoundCloud about what it’s like to work at their Berlin headquarters.
Soundcloud at a glance
Location: Greifswalder Straße, Prenzlauer Berg
Business: Online audio distribution
Perks: Team lunches, free Club Mate and the opportunity to work from different international offices
Perfect for: Technophiles
The SoundCloud office in Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg. Ⓒ SoundCloud
WebMagazin: Tell us about the SoundCloud team. Who are you?
SoundCloud: We currently have more than 200 employees across our five offices in Berlin, London, San Francisco, New York, and Sofia. English is our company native tongue and, with over 30 different nationalities represented across our team, it’s not uncommon to overhear a variety of languages in the course of any one particular day.
The roles within our wider team include engineers, product marketers, sales, design, insights, legal, HR, and community management. We are hiring and are always interested in hearing from exceptional people.
12 hours of new content every minute
WebMagazin: What’s special about working at SoundCloud?
SoundCloud: This is a special place to work because our team has the unique responsibility of catering to the needs of the largest online community of sound creators in the world.
Our community currently adds 12 hours of original content every minute, and we are focused on discovering, interacting, and collaborating on the platform remaining smooth and seamless. Aside from that, we have a dedicated in-house team here to ensure SoundCloud remains an equally fun and engaging environment for our staff, and they take exceptional care of us.
SoundCloud regularly organises ‚kitchen sessions‘ with local chefs for its employees. Ⓒ SoundCloud
WebMagazin: What do team members usually do on their lunchbreak?
SoundCloud: We host sessions called, ‘Masterclasses’ during lunch hours, where any member of staff can host a short talk on any subject they like, either in or outside of their work. These have proven very popular; in the past we’ve had masterclasses on 90’s Hip Hop, living in Japan, and German cooking. Aside from these, we encourage team lunches to help build stronger internal bonds between the people who work together.
SoundCloud’s ‚Global Exchange‘ program
WebMagazin: We hear there’s free Club Mate. What other perks are there?
SoundCloud: We run a quarterly inter-office program at SoundCloud called ‘Global Exchange’, which allows any employee at the company to apply to spend a few months working from any of our five offices across the globe. It gives our staff the opportunity to not only experience a new country and culture, but also to get a bit closer to their colleagues working in other parts of the world.
Sound isn’t the only medium in which we support creativity at SoundCloud; we host team lunches twice a week where local chefs and food enthusiasts come in to prepare some amazing creations for our team. We also have some of our favourite creators and artists drop by the office and perform for our staff in what we call ‘Kitchen Sessions’. Originally, these were held in the actual kitchen of our old office, and the name has stuck. Additionally, we host complimentary German language lessons for staff in our Berlin HQ, to help them integrate into their new home city. And yes, there’s plenty of Club Mate for everyone.
WebMagazin: Amelie Anglade of SoundCloud represented you at Berlin’s first all-women hackathon. Is SoundCloud an exception to the predominantly male tech scene?
SoundCloud: As with all companies operating in the current climate, recruitment is an ongoing responsibility across all disciplines that we’re looking to meet head on by hiring remarkable people.
Finding the right person for the right job is challenging enough regardless of gender, but what we have noticed throughout our relatively short history is a steady increase in the quality and number of female candidates that apply for job postings, many of whom are women – like Amelie – that we are lucky to count within our ranks.
WebMagazin: In a word, how would you describe the typical SoundCloud employee?