Remote start-up that helps firms hire people globally is worth $1 billion

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LONDON — Remote, a start-up that helps firms to employ people in different countries, has been valued by investors at $1 billion in a new $150 million funding round announced Tuesday.

The company’s HR platform — which competes with Denver-based Velocity Global and San Francisco’s Deel — allows businesses to onboard, pay and work with remote employees and contractors wherever they’re based.

Remote, which launched less than two years ago, sets up local legal entities in countries and hires staff through these entities on behalf of its customers. So far, it has set up entities in 50 countries, but it’s hoping to have entities in 80 countries by the end of 2021 and the rest of the world by 2022.

Job van der Voort, CEO of Remote, told CNBC ahead of the announcement that the coronavirus pandemic has supercharged the company’s growth and made employees realize they don’t need to be in a physical office to do their job.

“There’s now a mass awareness, a realization, that I don’t have to be in the office to do my work,” he said.

Employees who are forced to return to the office after the pandemic will look to join companies that have embraced remote working, said van der Voort.

Easy raise

The Series B funding round was led by venture firm Accel, while existing investors including Silicon Valley heavyweight Sequoia and Index Ventures also participated. “Remote is at the center of a profound shift in the way that companies hire,” said Miles Clements, a partner at Accel, in a statement.

Remote raised a series A round of $35 million last November and total investment in the company now stands at close to $200 million.

Between the two funding rounds, Remote experienced rapid growth, van der Voort said. He declined to say how much revenue his firm is making, but the company says it has grown 65 times in the last year, while its customer base has grown 10 times. The firm’s headcount has gone from 50 to 220 — perhaps unsurprisingly, the team is spread around the world, with people in 45 countries.

Raising the latest round of funding wasn’t particularly difficult, according to van der Voort. “We could have named almost any number … we would be able to raise that amount of money,” he said, adding that there are new investors in the market now beyond the traditional venture capitalists.

“You’re now starting to see these mixed firms like Tiger (Global) and many others … SoftBank … that are happy to take smaller returns on longer time periods,” he said. “They can basically say ‘well we’re going to fund a lot of different start-ups at really high valuations and push out any traditional venture capitalists.'”

Van der Voort declined to comment when asked if he’d spoken to Tiger Global or SoftBank about investing in Remote.

European start-ups are raising more money than ever before, but many in the tech industry are now starting to ask if the momentum is sustainable. 

“The global capital markets are incredibly large,” said van der Voort. “I wouldn’t necessarily call it an issue, but let’s see how it is going to look in a few years from now.”


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