A team works at the Opera office at 1875 S. Grant St. in San Mateo.
More and more technology companies are flourishing along the Peninsula and one such business is the Norwegian-based Opera Software, which has a growing office in San Mateo.
Opera recently signed an expansion deal for an additional 17,702 square feet of space at 1875 S. Grant St. in San Mateo, adding another whole floor of space. Opera and its subsidiaries now employ 200 employees in Silicon Valley — double from the same time last year, according to the software company. This number is expected to reach 300 in 2014.
Although its headquarters are in Oslo, Opera’s San Mateo location is its global ad sales headquarters, said Mahi de Silva, CEO of Opera Mediaworks. The company first got into ad sales in 2010 when it acquired de Silva’s company, AdMarvel. This also brought them to San Mateo since AdMarvel occupied the space where Opera currently resides. Their big black building overlooks Highway 101 and State Route 92. De Silva notes employees sometimes look out the company’s large eighth and 10th floor windows to check traffic.
“We’ve expanded so much here because our customer base is here,” de Silva said. “We’re also a very international business, so being close to the airport is a real advantage. [San Mateo is] equally accessible from the city and Silicon Valley.”
The company realizes the importance and influence Silicon Valley has on how we power the global mobile ecosystem, including how we help consumers to discover content, advertisers to reach the audience they are looking for, publishers to generate revenue and operators to provide a faster and better network experience, he said.
Opera, which now has more than 350 million users, launched in 1995 primarily as a Web browser service. It has since branched out into mobile advertising and working as a wireless carrier and device manufacturer. The music service Pandora is one example of a company which uses Opera software to deliver its advertising.
“Using a browser on a phone is very different,” de Silva said. “There’s more complexity in making advertising work on mobile.”
Surging mobile markets, and Opera’s decision to latch onto this, has led to the company’s growth, he said. The company is expanding into markets in Latin America, Asia and elsewhere where it is also helping create ads that engage users with video elements and 3D visuals, he added.
“It’s the kind of thing that draws people to a brand,” he said.
What’s coming down the pipeline for the company? Currently, it is beta testing a service called Opera Max on Android devices. The app maximizes one’s data plan by compressing data from all the users’ apps, he said. It’s set to officially launch in the near future. Because Opera compresses data use on other fronts, he said it makes it extremely popular in places where data is still expensive. Additionally, Opera is different from other web browsers like Google’s Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer and others because of its speed, de Silva said.
For more on Opera, visit opera.com.
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