Nearly all of Snapchat's software developers in London used to work for Amazon

Claire ValotiTwitter/clairevalotiClaire Valoti leads Snapchat’s UK operation.

Snap Group Limited, Snapchat’s UK company, has poached several engineers from Amazon for its new London-based engineering team, according to LinkedIn.

LinkedIn profiles show that Snapchat’s engineering team in London — thought to be no more than 10 people strong — is predominantly made up of software developers who used to work for Amazon.

The LA-headquartered camera company, which employs over 75 people in London and around 1,500 staff worldwide, hired former Amazon software development manager Ricky Leatham last September as its senior engineering manager in London.

LinkedIn shows that Leatham — who did a brief eight-month stint at on-demand business card printing firm MOO immediately after Amazon — has hired several of his former Amazon colleagues since he was hired by Snapchat. Hires include:

  • Daniel Silva: a former senior software development engineer at Amazon. Silva worked at Amazon from 2010 to 2016 in London and Tokyo. He joined Snapchat as a software engineer in December 2016.
  • Peter Lapin: a former software development engineer at Amazon. Lapin worked on Amazon’s Instant Video team from March 2014 to November 2016. He joined Snapchat as a software development engineer in November.
  • Kevin Thornberry: a former software development engineer at Amazon. Thornberry worked in the Amazon Development Centre in London from July 2013 to December 2016. He joined Snapchat as a software engineer in December 2016.
  • Piers Cowburn: a former senior software development engineer at Amazon. Cowburn worked for Amazon from March 2009 to February 2016. He joined Snapchat in March 2016 as a software engineer.
  • Radina Kalpakova: a former software development engineer at Amazon. Kalpakova worked at Amazon from September 2013 to November 2016, helping to develop the Amazon Instant Video app on iOS. She joined Snapchat as a software engineer in November 2016.
Snapchat Spectacles 13Hollis JohnsonSpectacles are Snapchat’s first and only hardware product.

The only LinkedIn-listed person from Snapchat’s London-based engineering team that hasn’t worked for Amazon is David Lipowicz, who has interned at Google, Palantir, and IBM over the last few years.

A Snapchat spokeswoman said that Snapchat had nothing to share and that the company is focused on hiring talent. Amazon declined to comment.

Snapchat, which has also poached staff from BuzzFeed, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for its London office, announced last week that it has made London its non-US hub. As a result, all of Snapchat’s non-US revenues will be processed in London when it doesn’t have a local presence in the country where the revenues are generated.

Claire Valoti, the general manager of Snap Group Limited, Snapchat’s UK company, said in a statement: “We believe in the UK creative industries. The UK is where our advertising clients are, where more than 10 million daily Snapchatters are, and where we’ve already begun to hire talent.”

At the time of the announcement, a Snapchat spokesperson said that Snapchat has a small but growing engineering team in London. The engineering team in London is not working on any one specific part of the Snapchat platform, Snapchat said. Instead, it’s contributing code to a variety of Snapchat features.

Snapchat has a three-floor office in London’s Soho district, but the company said it is set to open an additional site nearby.

Snap quietly filed paperwork with the US Securities and Exchange Commission last year to go public in 2017. The company is seeking a valuation of $20 billion (£16 billion) to $25 billion (£20 billion), a source familiar with the matter told Business Insider in November.

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