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Brazilian fintech Nubank starts international tech talent hunt

The firm launches an engineering center in Berlin, with plans to grow the international talent pool in the horizon.

Brazilian fintech Nubank has launched an engineering center in Berlin as part of a plan to boost its software engineering function internationally.

Based in the St Oberholz coworking space in hip neighborhood Mitte, the company's engineering center will serve as a vehicle to absorb international sector trends, develop new products and attract technology talent.

One could be forgiven for thinking that Nubank plans on taking advantage of the market opportunities in Europe brought by the EU's upcoming Payment Services Directive (PSD2). The firm stressed there are no plans to launch products in the region and the main goal is to continue focusing on the Brazilian market.

"PSD2 had no impact on the decision to launch the Berlin engineering center, because we don't plan on launching products there," Nubank chief executive David Vélez told ZDNet.

"One of the main drivers behind launching the engineering center in Berlin was the fact the local culture is very much aligned with what we are seeking at Nubank - engineers who are not afraid of bleeding edge technologies and want to continuously innovate," Vélez added.

Nubank has expatriated four of its engineers to Berlin to kickstart the European operations. It has also already started to hire local experts such as Gavin Bell, a senior engineer who previously managed the core data infrastructure platform at Soundcloud.

Vélez hinted at the possibility that the Brazilian fintech may extend its talent hunt into other markets. "We are building one of the best engineering teams in the world at Nubank and we have to go where the best talent is."

Software engineering is a significant function at Nubank, with 110 staff of a total workforce of 750 people. Echoing the chief executive's feelings, the company's CTO and co-founder Edward Wible stressed the firm wants to enhance its international resource pool.

"We are immensely proud of the team that we have built and will continue to hire in Brazil, but adding a new market such as Berlin is an important strategy of diversification and growth," Wible says.

Founded in 2013, Nubank is one of the best-funded Brazilian tech startups. Its latest Series D funding round in December 2016 had backers DST Global, Sequoia Capital, Founders Fund, Tiger Global Management investing a total of $80 million in the company.

Nubank first came into the market with a mobile-centric, no-fee credit card provider. In October, the fintech announced it would aim to get business from over 60 million unbanked Brazilians with a digital bank account.