"It's not stupidly cheap but it is cost effective"...
By Andy McCue
Published: Thursday 28 June 2007
Online betting and gaming company Betfair has set up an offshore software development centre in Romania to cope with the demands of its rapidly expanding product portfolio.
Betfair opened the 50-person facility earlier this year with just eight developers. Already it is up to 35 staff and the company expects the facility to be full by September. Although the cost of the staff is around 25 to 30 per cent cheaper than in London, Betfair said the main reason for setting up in Romania was to tap into extra skills and resources.
Eachan Fletcher, director of Betfair development in Romania, said there is so much work on the company's product roadmap that decisions were having to be made on what couldn't be done.
He told silicon.com: "We just didn't have the capacity to deliver all of it. It makes no sense to stick another 200 developers in London. We have almost reached a critical mass. You have to attract them away from city banks and it is costly and takes a long time."
Betfair looked at various countries including China, India and the Ukraine but opted for Romania because of the high-quality skills available, its relatively untapped potential as an offshore location and its recent EU membership.
Fletcher said: "It's virgin territory we were looking for. It's not stupidly cheap but it is cost-effective. We compared lots of locations. Many were cheaper but didn't have the quality versus investment you put in."
Betfair also decided to build and run the Romanian offshore facility itself rather than outsource it to a third party - and chose to locate it in the city of Cluj-Napoca.