Remote and Firstbase Funding Rounds Light Up a Hot Remote Work Market
Remote work startups remain a hot commodity in an investor market that otherwise appears to be showing signs of a cool-off.
On April 5, HR technology company Remote announced it raised $300 million in new funding to help companies hire people around the world. That followed last month's news that Firstbase, a specialist in helping companies make the transition to a remote-first model, had raised $50 million from investors.
San Francisco-based Remote's new funding round, led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, values the company at nearly $3 billion, and follows a $150 million Series B round in July 2021. That's a staggering rise for a company that was founded only in 2019, and reflects the change that two years of pandemic-fueled remote work has had on the workplace.
The company has increased in size by 900% in the last year, founder Job van der Voot wrote in a blog post announcing the news. Chris Herd, CEO of New York-based Firstbase, said his company's team has grown 8x and revenue by 20x since its last funding round in 2021.
Diversification of Remote Work Services
Companies like Remote aim to help companies tap into the global talent pool by offering employer of record services in countries across the world. Remote operates a legal business entity in each country where it operates, and provides a platform to hire and pay employees globally while staying compliant with local regulations. That structure also allows Remote to provide benefits packages locally to employees.
The company counts GitLab, DoorDash, Loom and Paystack among its clients.
Firstbase is taking a different spin on remote work, providing software to help HR and IT teams get remote staff the equipment they need to get started, what Herd calls the "employee experience management platform for modern work."
This remote-as-a-service approach can be used for onboarding and offboarding, allowing employees to pick their own work kit from computers to office furniture from a company-approved list and have it shipped and retrieved directly. It can also be used by hybrid teams who mix remote work with in-office work looking to offload the logistical load.
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"Firstbase is the core infrastructure that companies will rely on to set up, support and scale their teams, as well as help workers access the flexibility they crave more frequently," Herd wrote in a blog post announcing the funding news. He said the company will use the newly raised cash to scale Firstbase's services to more clients.
For its part, Remote plans to invest its new cash pile in product development, including building a contractor and payroll platform and expanding its service offerings.
Related Article: Why Remote Work Works — and Is Here to Stay
A Growing Market for Remote and Global Hiring
After being a fraction of the HR tech market pre-pandemic, remote work startups have exploded to the forefront in 2022 as companies grapple with an increasingly tight labor market and figure out how to adjust to employee demands for more flexible and hybrid working options.
Last month, London-based remote work startup Omnipresent raised $120 million to expand its software platform to help businesses hire and pay people in 160 countries. In September 2021, New York City-based Andela netted $200 million from investors to help companies build global software engineering teams.
Investor confidence is backed up by employer data that shows remote work becoming an increasingly viable option for employers and employees alike. According to data from Emsi/Burning Glass, the percentage of remote positions doubled over the course of a few months after the pandemic hit in early 2020. The number of remote positions have since tripled, according to their analysis. A 2020 study by freelance hiring platform Upwork indicated that as much as 22% of the American workforce will be remote by 2025.
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