Where should a company’s official headquarters be located? As many companies become more distributed - or, like SafeGraph, fully distributed - it’s a question many are wrestling with.
To be clear, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Every company will have different things they’re optimizing for, and different employee makeups that may dictate one option over another.
Up until mid-2020 SafeGraph was legally headquartered in San Francisco. That made sense because it’s where we were founded and started in 2016, and over 80% of our early employees were located there. We had a large physical office, and held monthly “remoter’s weeks” in that office where all non-SF-based employees would come so we could all be together. There was no strong argument SafeGraph could make to be based anywhere else.
Fast forward to 2020, and SafeGraph has morphed in a way many companies have over the past year. We decided to lean into a remote work environment a year or so prior to the pandemic, which has unsurprisingly only accelerated that change.
As we pass the 50 employee mark today, we have less than a quarter of our team working or living in the Bay Area. Many that were previously there have moved - to Miami, southern California, Colorado, Seattle, and Texas, just to name a few - and even more that have recently joined are based out of other locations. We anticipate the percentage of SF employees will likely be under 10% soon.
Although our CEO still lives in San Francisco, we don’t have the ties to the city that we once did. While we love San Francisco - its vibrancy and its beauty - the city has long been too expensive and offered too few services for the cost. SF is also increasingly unfriendly to businesses, making it hard to make long-term plans to be there. Crime has also gone up - a few of our employees have been mugged or assaulted in the middle of the day.
San Francisco no longer makes sense to be set as our corporate headquarters.
So, why Denver? There are several reasons we decided on the Mile-High City. In no particular order:
There are likely even more reasons for our HQ move that we haven’t yet discovered. We look forward to finding out what those are!
That's it – that's all we do. We want to understand the physical world and power innovation through open access to geospatial data. We believe data should be an open platform, not a trade secret. Information should not be hoarded so that only a few can innovate.