Swansea-based tech company Veeqo, acquired by Amazon in 2021, represents Amazon’s first office in Wales.
As the fourth and newest R&D Center in the UK, it is already attracting tech talent from London, who seek a better quality of life. More importantly, however, it has given local talent opportunities to build their tech career – thanks to a strong partnership with nearby universities like The University of Swansea and The University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
I visited the young corporate office, opened in December 2022, and learnt what it’s like to work and live in the heart of Wales. Here are a few things that stood out to me during my stay, including a welcoming office culture, four-legged co-workers and a lively and colourful city by the sea. (Disclaimer: it was a hot and sunny day. A rare, yet magnificent occurrence in this part of the world I’ve been told by residents and fellow Amazon employees.)
The Veeqo office and surroundings
The office is located only 10 minutes from Swansea Marina, an iconic part of town with buzzing restaurants and cafes, where you can marvel at old ships and modern boats.
With the sun shining bright in the early morning, I ordered a takeaway iced coffee before hitting the road to the Technium at SA1 Waterfront, home of the Veeqo office.
Matt Warren, CEO and Founder of Veeqo, took us on a quick tour around the newly inaugurated office. Signs of the grand opening from December 2022, can still be seen with Welsh party banners decorating the ceiling of the main floor.
Since the acquisition of Veeqo, Amazon has been offering this cutting-edge shipping and inventory management tool for free. Up to 85,000 small and medium-sized businesses selling on Amazon in the UK and 500,000 Amazon sellers in the US, can benefit from this unique software. Veeqo’s one-of-a-kind technology, described as the “swiss army knife” for ecommerce businesses, has massively simplified the management of complex fulfilment options, sales reporting and inventory.
Amazon’s acquisition hasn’t only delighted hundreds of thousands of sellers – it also helped Matt and his team to focus on core business challenges. Building operations and related administrative tasks have now been taken on by an Amazon team. This felt like a weight lifted off Veeqo’s shoulders, freeing up time to build a rapidly growing business with great ideas for the future.
When talking to Matt, it was obvious that “Thinking Big”, one of the first Amazon Leadership Principles, remains at the forefront of everything they do. That is why they keep looking for great talent to join this innovation hub that brings practical solutions to transform ecommerce on a large scale.
After a chat with Matt, we spoke to team mates on their lunch break, including the CTO, who moved from London to Swansea. He and his family are enjoying the Welsh way of living, which is less crowded with more beaches for his kids to learn kitesurfing.
The large signs of various Leadership principles, which permeate all aspects of our business, are a clear sign that you are in an Amazon office.
The greatest surprise on this visit? Dogs. Since the very start, dogs are allowed to accompany their owners – the first office in the UK to do so!
Walt is taking an afternoon nap, while his owner, James, was on calls.
Veeqo has a successful system in place to attract and keep local tech talent by taking in students on a one-year internship. Working students are able to learn the ins and outs of ecommerce and have significant leverage to make an impact in 12 months. Most of them return to Veeqo after they finish their studies to work full time. With a great headstart, they are ready to make immediate and long-term impact for the business, says Matt.
Must-sees in and around Swansea
While in Swansea I took some time to discover the city. One recommendation I didn’t want to miss was Monni’s Fish Bar, which boasts the best fish and chips in town. I got in early to avoid the busy lunch queues
I devoured the classic fish and chips dish in no time.
A stone’s throw from the fish bar, I came across several unique shops, including a local fashion shop on Brynymor Road – close to the student area and an array of pubs and restaurants.
Swansea castle stands majestic and tall and is located right in the heart of Swansea city, close to the high street with edgy craft beer bars and restaurants to fill every heart’s desire, including Jamaican. Walking further West towards the Marina you pass by St Mary’s, Swansea’s biggest church, until finally making it down to a great destination: Swansea Beach.
With the beautiful, if rare, sunny weather in full swing, a visit to the next popular swimming beach in Mumbles was a must.
For more info on jobs in and around Swansea, check out Amazon’s latest openings.