Don't build a services business, they said. You don't want to have to deal with people's problems, they said.
Well, here we go!
Remotely was born out of the belief that great talent can be anywhere. Coming from outside the US ourselves, this was not a hard assumption to make. When we started Olapic, looking abroad in search of great talent came very naturally to us. Back in 2011, you could already foresee the impact that the cost of living and competitive dynamics for hiring locally was having on software developer salaries, and decided to look elsewhere.
The trade-off was not easy to make. We were rejected often because we “outsourced” our development, which couldn't have been further from the truth — our developers were our employees, they just happened to live elsewhere. The quality of foreign talent was also questioned (and still is!) despite the inadvertent offensiveness of this bias (I am an engineer who received his degree outside of the US). But we digress; long story short, it was not easy. Nevertheless, we stayed true to our contrarian beliefs and pressed on.
Over the years our bet paid off handsomely. Our remote employees delivered the best level of engagement, loyalty, and effort: it turns out that to give great opportunities, learning experiences, and a sense of ownership, are great perks outside the US. We also had better capital efficiency thanks to higher employee retention, productivity, and being the big fish in a small pond.
As of late, US companies have started to look outside US borders for talent. Not because they suddenly realized software development can be mastered anywhere, but rather because they woke up to the absurdity of salaries in main US tech hubs.
It is a fact that there is a global imbalance between supply and demand for software development. This imbalance is stressed by the belief that you must have your development team beside you, under the same roof at all times — a constraint that most companies have taken as a given. Pair that with VC traditionally being a hyperlocal relationship game and you will begin to understand the dynamics that make Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv, New York and Boston the tech hubs they are.
It is our intuition that hiring abroad comes surprisingly naturally to foreign entrepreneurs that build companies in the US. The access to a network, trust in the talent, and cultural understanding are key reasons behind the ability of these entrepreneurs to stand up engineering hubs in their countries of origin. For American entrepreneurs, the hurdle seems too big to surpass. We're doing some research that we hope to share in the near future to confirm this hypothesis.
At Remotely, our mission is to make it very easy to uncover the best talent, to connect this talent to the best opportunities, and to remove the operational friction that comes with managing a team outside the US. We will systematically take the learnings from our experience at Olapic and share them with our customers. And, in turn, democratize the access to economic opportunity, exposure to technical challenges, and access to inspiring leaders that have remained captive within a few zip codes.