In this week’s episode of From Vendorship to Partnership, Ross talks to Job van der Voort, CEO and co-founder of Remote.
A neuroscientist in his past life, Job eventually landed as VP of Product at GitLab, which was ahead of the game in working remotely. He experienced firsthand the challenges that come with hiring employees around the world, and that led to him launching Remote as a solution.
Listen to the full episode to hear about Remote’s fast growth and Job’s learnings along the way, including:
- Delivering on a solution for a powerful problem
- Setting Remote apart from the competition
- Making long-term investments early
3 Stages of Building & Scaling Remote, from CEO & Co-Founder Job Van der Voort
1. Deciding to solve a real, powerful problem
While leading the product team at GitLab, a fully distributed and remote company from day one, Job hired employees in 67 different countries.
“The number one pain of doing that was figuring out how to actually hire and employ people in different places,” Job said.
Job’s goal was always to start his own company one day, and he (correctly) predicted that in the future, more and more companies would follow GitLab’s example. So he started Remote to simplify the process of hiring anybody, from anywhere.
“That’s a really powerful premise,” Job said. “We didn’t really need to seek a fit for the market, because we know it’s a wish that both sides have.”
2. Differentiating Remote & finding their first customers
Job knew that there was a need for something like Remote in the market – competitors were already offering similar solutions, but most were expensive and difficult to work with. So while spending a year and a half building Remote’s infrastructure and figuring out how to make it work, Job’s team was also deciding how to set Remote apart.
“We said, ‘we’re going to do this very differently,’” Job said. “We’re going to be very transparent about pricing, and allow companies to sign up on a waiting list.”
He talked constantly to other companies during this stage, asking them whether they had the need for something like Remote and what that need looked like. Many of those conversations translated into customers down the line. And once Remote was ready to launch, thousands of companies were on the waiting list.
“The premise of the product was already selling itself, so then it was just a matter of executing on that,” Job said. His team chose the companies from the waiting list that were the best match for Remote at the time, and worked with them to provide a better solution than the market had in the past.
3. Explosive growth & looking to the future
In October of last year, Remote had a little over 30 members of their team. Today, they have 330+ employees, and also raised a $150M funding round earlier this year.
Job’s one piece of advice to his past self, and to other founders today, is to make long-term bets and investments early.
“We really tried to make long-term investments at Remote, things that were hard or expensive or took a lot of time, but will pay off years from now,” Job said. “I would say double down on that.”
As a product person, what Job is most excited about is the leaps they’re taking with the Remote product.
“In a lot of ways, I’m still unsatisfied with what we have today,” Job said. “We’re still far from the mental image of what I want to build.”
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Job is the CEO and co-founder of Remote. Job previously worked as a neuroscientist before leaving academia to become the VP of Product at GitLab, the world’s largest all-remote company, where he hired talent in 67 different countries. Job is a sought-after presenter, speaking on topics related to scaling a remote-first startup, remote culture, and the future of work. Job has two kids and five hundred hobbies.