Our Pivot from FinTech to Creating the Missing Half of Remote Work

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We intended to be a globally remote distributed team from day one, so you’d have thought that we’d have all the advantages when we hired the first member of our team. No legacy systems existed to slow us down or get in our way so it should have been a simple process. Our CTO was joining us a month from now, we have 4 weeks to get everything in order. Loads of time, right?

Wrong. The start date arrived but none of the material or equipment did. What followed was an exercise in high cost — he had to go to a store and expense the equipment he needed — and wasted time, picking it up then building it all at home. We got through it but it cost us more money than we could afford to spend as a startup and time that would have been far better directed at developing the FinTech platform we were focussed on creating.

We were in the process of raising seed investment to accelerate the platform and couldn’t believe nothing existed to make it easy to get everything any worker needs to work from home as safely, comfortably and productively as a other workers do from the office. This didn’t feel right. Our responsibilities to our team meant that we felt an obligation to help them do their best work no matter where they were in the world.

We built an internal solution to take care of the problem in anticipation of our team growing when we closed our seed round. The web application let us send a link to our future team members, where they got to select:

  • The laptop they wanted
  • Microphone and headset
  • The desk that fit their home
  • The seat that matched their decor
  • A refreshment machine (coffee or soft drink fridge)
  • Refreshment subscription (soft drinks or coffee beans)

We set out to create the best remote working experience for our remote team. This solution sat ready in anticipation of investment so we never spent much time sharing it or talking about it with anyone else, until I mentioned it by mistake to a friend who is operating a similarly staged remote-first startup.

The reaction was instantaneous — this was a huge problem for their team. Having tried to ignore it for a couple of days, their words became an itch I had to scratch and I set out to talk to as many of the smartest people I know. Over 250 founders of large and small startups, huge enterprises and small teams later and we understood that this was a massive, universal problem. Every team experienced the same problems, and they increased as the team got bigger. Not only that, but organizations who wanted to offer remote working to their teams held off doing so because there was no solution that let them offer the same experience to their remote workers that they got in the office.

Physical tools are less sexy because it’s a boring dusty industry, but without the right foundation, the best collaboration software in the world doesn’t matter. Uber did more to grow the taxi industry than take existing market share, we are building the infrastructure that grows the number of people who can work remotely. Today we provide the tools to create the best remote working experience in the world for employees, tomorrow we help them claim tax back on their bills, access communications, documentation and software from a single sign-in portal. The final vision is as the OS for remote working, providing the full-stack solution for any company anywhere in the world to offer remote working opportunities to their teams.

We make it as simple as entering a workers email, letting workers select all the tools they need, paid for as a monthly subscription by their employer. The societal and environmental benefits are huge — happier workers, better relationships, zero commuting.

800,000,000 metric tons of Co2 are emitted by people commuting to and from work in the EU and USA each year

We’re building the most dusty, boring, critical part of remote work, allowing any company to offer remote working to their team

Any leader who’d like to increase worker retention, happiness, engagement: cherd@tofirstbase.com

Written by

CEO / Founder / Coach @FirstbaseHQ Empowering people to work in their lives not live at work ✌️✌

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