On the Record Extra: Remote.com

In this edition of On the Record Extra, I take a look back at an On the Record interview I performed with Job van der Voort, co-founder, and CEO of Remote, to see how the company has fared since my interview in 2020.

Remote working has become commonplace over the past couple of years, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This worldwide health crisis forced offices to shut down as governments tried to keep on top of the spread of the virus, with companies compelled to work remotely.

Over two years on from the beginning of the pandemic, many companies are still operating remotely, with many teams dispersed globally.

Data from Y Combinator suggests that at the beginning of 2022, 70% of startups were offering remote work options, with a 6.4x increase in remote-friendly jobs in 2021 versus 2020.

The benefit of reducing office costs is offset by the potential difficulties in administering a global team. Country-specific regulations, taxes, and laws can be problematic for businesses looking to hire and pay multiple employees in various regions.

Widespread problems tend to have numerous entrepreneurs working on solutions. Remote employment is no different.

There have been several attempts to make administering a remote workforce easier, with the front runner being a company aptly named Remote.

Remote helps companies to stay compliant when hiring employees in more than 60 countries by providing country-specific benefits, payments, and more. The company offers its global HR solution through a state-of-the-art platform that handles all aspects of employee management.

More importantly for us and this article, it hosts its entire operation at Remote.com.

Since it launched in 2019, Remote has had a digital identity that has coped with its rapid ascent to the Unicorn club.

Before opening its virtual doors, Remote's co-founder and CEO, Job van der Voort, a former GitLab employee, secured the @Remote Twitter handle and the Remote.com domain name.

The co-founder secured the prized assets from entrepreneur Nick Macario, who had previously used Remote.com to host a job board.

In 2020, I interviewed Remote's co-founder and CEO, Job van der Voort, for the Media Options blog as part of the popular ongoing On the Record series.

Why did Job want to acquire Remote.com for his new venture? "I figured it was the only 'right' name for what we were doing. It was a long shot to go from thinking about the name to actually getting it," he said in my interview.

The desire and motivation to secure Remote.com early on are clear, so I asked Job why he wanted the domain Remote.com.

"Remote.com seemed like the best possible domain for our goals. That was the only thing that mattered. I'm a strong believer in clarity in design and language, so when I decided to address remote work, Remote.com seemed like the best possible domain. Nothing is simpler for us than Remote.com."

That's undoubtedly true. No other domain name encapsulates both the remote working industry or Remote's ambitions better than Remote.com.

Interestingly, Job understood the value of a one-word .com domain name, telling me, "If we didn't get Remote.com, I'd probably search for a different single-word, rather than a weaker combination."

Since I interviewed Job, Remote has had a meteoric rise to become one of the most valuable startups in the world.

Between January 2021 and January 2022, the number of employees processed through the Remote platform grew by 900%, with revenues increasing 13x in the same period.

To handle all of this, Remote employs its own remote team of 700 employees, which has grown from 70 at the beginning of 2021, to keep up with the demand for Remote's services, even after most offices have reopened around the world.

From a funding perspective, Remote has been one of the best-performing startups in recent years.

With $46 million worth of funding already under its belt by 2021, Remote announced a further $150 million in Series B funding, reaching a valuation of more than $1 billion. For a company just 24 months into operation, that's a staggering feat.

By April 2022, Remote more than tripled its valuation thanks to a $300 million Series C round that included participation from notable investors, including Sequoia Capital, Accel, and SoftBank's Vision Fund 2.

Remote work seems to be a trend that is continuing to grow. Recent data from McKinsey shows that the equivalent of 92 million Americans are allowed to work remotely at least part of the time, with the equivalent of 55 million Americans offered remote work full-time. This is likely to be a similar story all over the world.

Remote faces stiff competition from direct rivals, including Deel, a payroll and compliance company that secured a domain upgrade in early 2022 when it moved from LetsDeel.com to Deel.com.

Despite the competition, Remote is well positioned to dominate the remote working industry thanks to its savvy early acquisition of the Remote.com domain name, a category-defining, totally commanding domain name.

It's not the first time we've seen a category-defining domain name used to dominate an industry. Crypto.com, a leading cryptocurrency exchange, has been operating on Crypto.com since 2018.

Elsewhere, a popular calendar app used by more than 80,000 businesses operates on Calendar.com, while E-Commerce platform Cart.com has attracted $383 million in funding to date, operating on an ultra-premium, category-defining domain.

Companies such as Remote show the possibilities that can be realized when you combine an ambitious team, an innovative product, and a truly exceptional domain name.