Newsroom 4 min

Remote in review 2020

January 8, 2021
Job van der Voort


share to linkedInshare to Twittershare to Facebook
Link copied
to clipboard

2020 was a very special year — not just for Remote, but for me as well. Still, it is difficult to reflect on our work this year without feeling like I’m discussing a sketch of our larger vision.

In 2019, we started Remote to bring better opportunities to people and companies around the world. We wanted people to be able to work in good jobs for good pay, no matter where they lived. To accomplish that, we wanted to help organizations hire and work with the world’s best talent without worrying where that talent was located.

We began 2020 with big goals, a small team, and zero customers in zero countries. Our situation was far from bleak — we had funding, and a long list of prospective customers needed our help. Still, we expected to end the year with a few customers in a few countries. If we did a good job, some people would now be able to work for cool companies in countries beyond their own. As it turned out, things moved much more quickly.

The newly remote-first world

In early March, I was still flying between countries to sign documents so we could do business there, returning home just when the lockdowns began. I was worried the circumstances meant we would not be able to continue expanding into new countries. Fortunately, that was not the case.

Overnight, remote work evolved from a fringe benefit to an essential function for companies everywhere. This was a hard shock, even for those of us already working remotely. Remote work is supposed to empower people with more freedom and flexibility: instead, a pandemic stripped us all of our security, comfort, and independence. People were sitting in Zoom calls all day instead of enjoying their remote-fueled independence.

As remote work evangelists, we worked hard to show people this is not how remote work is supposed to be. Our new series, Remote Talks, helps spread the word on how to do remote work the right way.

Internally, we discovered that not only could we continue to expand into new countries, but also that thousands of companies were now searching for exactly the solution we were building. Within weeks of lockdowns, we began onboarding more and more customers. Our growth was skyrocketing.

Every startup founder dreams of that kind of momentum, but at home, I was concerned with other matters. My wife was pregnant with our second child, and we were worried about having another premature baby. In August, my son was born 10 weeks early, weighing just one-third of what a healthy baby should. He stayed in the NICU for two months, and my opportunities to visit him were limited by the pandemic.

During those two months, Remote raised a $35 million Series A round, more than doubled the size of our team, and welcomed lots of new customers. I spent part of my days with my co-founder, Marcelo, and our team, building our business. The rest of the time I spent going between home and the hospital, supporting my wife and our young daughter while visiting our newborn son.

Remote in 2021 and beyond

During the toughest year of my life — something many people can say about 2020 — I thought about the values we set when we started Remote: kindness, ownership, excellence, transparency, and ambition. We wanted to work with kind people and build great things with confidence.

I am very grateful to say we have done that. Our team has built a great company and a great product. We have dozens more countries on the way in 2021. We have customers all over the world and have helped talented people connect with great opportunities they otherwise would not have had.

Because of our incredible team, I did not have to worry about Remote during the hardest days. Our company was in excellent hands. The company grew, and our customers received the care they deserved. Today, my son is a happy and healthy four-month-old.

This year, we are ready to help thousands of people access better opportunities. It is my hope that, through remote work and kindness, more people will gain the ability to spend more time with their loved ones, like I did.

If you already know Remote, thank you for sharing the last year with us. If you are ready to grow your global team, we are ready to help: reach out and let us know. I look forward to sharing the next year with my family, our team, and our customers.

Subscribe to receive the latest
Remote blog posts and updates in your inbox.