Dropbox is the latest of many large companies who are placing offices in Ireland. Dropbox claims the location they chose has nothing to do with the country's low taxes.
Dropbox is a cloud based storage system which launch in 2007. Since then, it has grown dramatically, and after declining an offer by Steve Jobs to be bought out in 2009, has amassed more than 100 million users. 95% of Fortune 500 companies utilize Dropbox today. Their headquarters in San Francisco have 240 employees, but now, the company is hoping to expand overseas, putting their first international office in Dublin, Ireland.
This will make a few people's ears perk up; Ireland is one of several tax havens which have been at the center of a lot of controversy recently, as several major US based companies have set up offices in Ireland and eventually relocated their financial headquarters there. Google, for example, funneled their income through several places, including Ireland (a technique known as a double Irish), to reduce their income tax to 2.4% 2010. Google is not alone: Apple, Amazon, LinkedIn, Microsoft, eBay, Facebook and PayPal (and several others) all have their European headquarters in Ireland.
In an interview with the Guardian, Mitra Lohrasbpour, head of business development at Dropbox, claims that the main reason for moving to Dublin is not for tax related purposes: "We took a look at cities in Europe with strong technical people. Dublin had a passionate pool of talent. There are many cities were a technical company can be successful, but Dublin had a strong user base and they also had multilingual skills that weren't available elsewhere." Lohrasbpour declined to comment if and how much of a factor taxes played in the decision.
UPDATE: After this article was published, Jack Taylor found some more information on Drobox's choice of location. Check out what he discovered below:
According to the on-line Irish paper, Independent, Bono and the Edge were early investors in Dropbox. Sources told the Independent that the move into Ireland was attributed to their investments and arguments why Ireland was a good choice. The paper quotes a Dropbox spokesperson Sujay Saswa who says, "Bono has been a great investor for us, and he and the Edge were very persuasive in their arguments for setting up in Ireland." Bono who is world famous for his humanitarian efforts is a native of Dublin, Ireland and is lead singer for the rock band, U2.