Customer stories

How AI pioneer Weaviate grew its workforce 120% with Remote

How AI pioneer Weaviate grew its workforce 120% with Remote
  • Transformation of the AI landscape

  • Unlocking global talent, fast

  • Values and freedom: The perfect combination 

  • Reducing cost and complexity 

  • Remote connexions

  • Growing Weaviate for the future

Weaviate sits at the forefront of the artificial intelligence (AI) field, with its innovative open-source vector database enabling developers to build and scale AI-native applications from prototype through to production.

These databases play a crucial role in generative AI, powering applications such as ChatGPT. According to Gartner*, more than 30% of enterprises will have adopted vector databases by 2026, with use cases ranging from customer support and fraud detection to medical diagnostics and even autonomous vehicles.

With such soaring demand and potential, Weaviate needs access to the world’s top talent. And that means working with a reliable global HR partner to onboard, manage, and pay its global workforce.

Transforming the AI landscape

Founded in 2019, Weaviate’s early days were focused on vector search, enabling the use of machine learning to help users better organise, store, and retrieve data. 

While vector search was already a powerful technology, it spiked in popularity in 2022 when, in a watershed moment for AI, an application known as Chat GPT launched. Enterprise interest in the technology boomed overnight, marking the beginning of a new era.  

By the end of 2022, our company had doubled in size, says Jessie de Groot, Weaviate’s Head of People and Culture. We wanted to find the best talent internationally, so Remote was — and is — perfect for us. We don’t need to have an entity in every country, or even have knowledge of every country to be able to employ people there. 

We can really rely on Remote’s specialised expertise around employment law and compliance.

Unlocking global talent, fast

The Weaviate team is now distributed throughout Europe, Canada, the US, Australia, South America, and Japan — and this widened talent pool is a key driver of the company’s success so far.

There are so many talented people in the world, says Jessie. Before, it was necessary to hire people in the same country as you. They were expected to commute, to spend set hours in the office. But that doesn’t matter now.

For example, one of our team members is based in rural Brazil. In the past he would have had to choose between where he lived and his career. But today, he can work for a really exciting tech company and live where he chooses. It opens up so many opportunities.

We have a very deep, technical product, so access to talent is really important. We cannot be restricted.

Rapid headcount growth can often come with significant added complexity, but for Jessie and her team, the journey with Remote has been reassuringly straightforward. 

Our relationship with Remote is built strongly on teamwork, she says. They are on hand to answer all my questions, and I have a lot! They do their best to inform me and solve my issues promptly, usually within one day; they’re extremely helpful and always available.

Jessie reels off a number of factors that make the partnership tick: operational effectiveness, streamlined processes, and speed to hire. But she says that the most important element is the human one, with each company’s shared values adding that extra layer of trust. 

We hire people from all over the world, Jessie explains. They have a lot of questions, and I don’t always know the specifics of their region. Remote has local country experts on hand to support all their queries, which is very valuable. And, most importantly, they operate with kindness and care. That really resonates with us. 

I have my Account Manager and Customer Success Manager at Remote, and through them I gain access to a whole team of global experts to assist me.

Values and freedom: The perfect combination 

These values of kindness, teamwork, excellence, trust, and transparency are fundamental to Weaviate’s culture, underpinning everything it does. 

We are very intentional about our company culture, says Jessie. Our values — especially kindness — is what makes us different; we are kind to our employees, our candidates, our community, and our customers.

Despite more than half the company being employed through Remote and distributed across five continents, these values unite Weaviate as a team.

Our team is living and working across the globe, says Jessie. The cultural diversity we enjoy is a big benefit to our company, and it is also something to be mindful of. We are intentional so that people feel included, they feel connected, they have fun, and they are proud to be part of Weaviate. 

This is reflected in the onboarding journey for each new hire. Jessie says they feel guided, cared for, and empowered to manage all aspects of their employment from Remote’s user-friendly platform and mobile app, ensuring that everybody feels at home from day one.

Our flexibility  mindset, asynchronous workflows, company culture and our ability to hire anywhere with Remote makes Weaviate a very attractive employer. It’s a real differentiator for us.

Reducing cost and complexity 

As the first hire in the people team — and the 15th hire overall — Jessie has had the opportunity to build Weaviate’s HR function from the ground up.

When I started, there wasn’t even an excel spreadsheet, she says. But we put the right tools and processes in place to really support our people as we grew.

However, while no stranger to the people function, Jessie had never hired internationally before.

Weaviate was my first startup, so I didn’t know that employing without an entity was even possible, she explains. I had so much to learn, and it was daunting because I thought I would have to suddenly become an expert in all these countries’ employment laws and hiring practices. But Remote makes it so easy.

Remote is perfect from a headspace, cost, and time perspective. I would need to hire at least two people to cover the amount of services we receive from our partnership.

With Remote we have one management fee, continues Jessie. For that, I get a single point of contact that connects me with all the additional people, resources, and information I need. I would need to hire a much bigger team myself, at a lot of expense, if we had to do it all ourselves in-house.

Jessie also points to Remote’s inbuilt employee cost calculator, which shows the full cost to hire in a new country. She says the tool allows Weaviate to budget more effectively for their global hiring needs.

It’s easy to explain to our board and our investors what we are paying for, and why, she says. We have full visibility of all our employee costs including base pay, taxes, and EOR costs as well. It makes my job a lot easier. 

I get approached by a lot of Remote’s competitors. But I don’t need to look at other providers because of the kind people, the professional service, and the attention I get as a customer from Remote.  

Remote connexions

Eliminating location requirements from the hiring process has certainly proved successful for Weaviate so far, and Jessie believes this will continue to be key.

One element that will continue to grow will be the company’s in-person strategy. In addition to regular, smaller sub-team meets, the highlight of Weaviate’s social calendar is the annual company off-site, where colleagues spend a week connecting in some of the world’s most beautiful locations.

We are remote-first, not remote-only, explains Jessie. People look forward to connecting in real life and the level of appreciation and energy is really exciting. It really helps to bring us together and makes us more attractive as an employer.

Growing Weaviate for the future

All of these signs point toward a bright future for Weaviate — and Jessie is keen to reflect on just how far the company has come.

I feel really proud of what we have accomplished so far, she says. ​​Where we are today compared to where we were when I joined two years ago is incredible. Yes, we are growing, but our culture remains so strong. Everyone likes each other; we have such a good time together and we are building something that we are all so passionate about.

From day one, Weaviate has been building a fully remote team to bring AI-native infrastructure to developers all over the globe. To efficiently achieve this, we’ve been able to rely on Remote’s HR platform and specialised expertise around employment law and compliance. They are a trusted partner and keen supporter of our success. Bob van Luijt, CEO & Cofounder of Weaviate

The last two years have also marked a quantum shift in demand, with the buzz around generative AI continuing to grow. The challenge now is not about proving there’s a role for Weaviate; it’s about determining how best to scale its operation. 

We can’t say exactly what the company will look like in the next six to 12 months, Jessie says. We have a lot of plans, and huge ambition. We're currently hiring, and I’m looking forward to where the future takes us.

As Weaviate looks to the four corners of the globe to continue its incredible journey, Remote will be there at every step of the way.

Ready to start growing your international team? Contact us today to schedule a friendly consultation with one of our global hiring experts.


Want to take the stress out of managing an international team?

Contact us today to schedule a friendly consultation with one of our global hiring experts.

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