Startups and investors are betting on the future of remote work

Even as more employers signal the end of remote working, tech startups and their investors are betting it’s here to stay, offering a range of digital tools designed to support a permanent workforce. outside the office.

And those bets seem to be paying off.

Remotebase, a two-year-old San Mateo, Calif.-based startup that connects companies with remote software engineers, is seeing revenue growth of up to 30% per month this year, the co said. -Founder and Managing Director Qasim Salam. Last year, annual revenues jumped about 600%, he said. Mr. Salam did not disclose the company’s earnings.

Salam said the company recently surpassed 60,000 engineers on its online remote work platform, up from 11 when the company launched in 2020, many of whom lived in India, Pakistan, Nigeria and in Eastern Europe. Last week, Remotebase announced a $2.1 million pre-Series A fundraising round, led by Indus Valley Capital and Hustle Fund, with participation from Soma Capital, Angel Squad and Draper Associates.

“Investors are super pumped from afar,” Salam said. “They know it’s going to stay.”

Other later-stage remote work startups are bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars in seed rounds, attracting high-profile investors in Silicon Valley.

Chicago-based startup Atlas,

whose technology platform helps employers comply with local employment rules and regulations for remote workers in more than 160 countries, announced new $200 million in funding from Sixth Street Growth, the business of investment from global investment firm Sixth Street.

“Employees realize they have options when it comes to work,” said Atlas CEO Rick Hammell. “They can now be based in the United States and work for a German company,” he said. Atlas helps companies onboard, manage and pay a global workforce, he said.

“Companies that don’t know how to do remote work well will be crushed by companies that do,” said Chris Herd, founder and CEO of remote working startup Firstbase. Based in Aberdeen, Scotland, Firstbase raised $50 million in March in a Series B redemption round led by Kleiner Perkins and included funding from Andreessen Horowitz.

Firstbase charges companies a monthly fee to outfit homeworkers with ergonomic chairs, desks, laptops, monitors and other office equipment, ordered on its platform. Launched in 2019, the company had some 600 corporate customers on a waiting list when Covid-19 hit in March 2020. Within months, the list had grown to more than 4,000, according to the company.

Since the start of 2021, Mr. Herd said, revenue has increased 20-fold, while the company has added more customers and expanded its team.

Adam Riggs, founder and CEO of remote work startup Frameable


Photo:

Frameable

Remote, an aptly named San Francisco-based remote work startup, closed a $300 million Series C funding round in April — with a private market valuation of $3 billion — with funding from Sequoia. Capital, Accel, Index Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures and General Catalyst, among others.

“Remote work is an enduring phenomenon,” said Ravi Gupta, a partner at Sequoia who led the company’s investment in Remote. “Global hiring demand has taken off as many companies move to a remote or hybrid model,” Gupta said.

Founded in 2019, Remote provides payroll and compliance services to global workers and contractors in more than 150 countries, the company said.

“Despite calls from some employers for workers to return to their offices, we have just closed our biggest month on record and our biggest quarter,” said Remote co-founder and CEO Job van der Voort.

Some 64% of more than 650 U.S. executives surveyed in October by PricewaterhouseCoopers — including finance and human resources leaders, as well as chief information officers and chief technology officers — said their companies needed as many people as possible in physical offices. That’s up from 59% in August 2021, PwC said.

Meanwhile, business spending on remote work technology is expected to hit $352.6 billion this year, up from about $332.9 billion in 2021, according to IT research and consulting firm Gartner. Inc.

Spending is expected to reach $381.5 billion by the end of next year, Gartner said.

“There is no future in which we will work less internationally or less digitally,” said Andreas Klinger, founder of Remote First Capital, a venture capital investment firm that has invested in more than a dozen remote working startups, including Firstbase. “Any business of sufficient size is essentially a distributed team in denial,” Klinger said.

Adam Riggs, founder and CEO of remote work startup Frameable, said most employers now want workers to return to physical workspaces because they believe remote work begins and ends with video conferencing. “That’s just part of virtual interactions,” Riggs said. .

Frameable, which launched in 2021 and operates entirely remotely, provides a platform that recreates an entire office space on a computer screen, with meeting rooms, workspaces and cafes where employees can see each other interact. Mr. Riggs said that Frameable currently has hundreds of commercial customers, who rent its software at varying rates depending on the number of users.

“I may be a little biased, but I absolutely believe that remote work is here to stay,” said Van der Voort of Remote.

Write to Angus Loten at Angus.Loten@wsj.com

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