Remote Company Culture Works Differently
Why we invested in Remi
Over the past 15 months, most of us were forced into an unexpected experiment with remote work. The pandemic required us to work from home, and the business world had to adapt. It’s probably safe to say that work is not going back to the “old normal”. More and more companies, startups in particular, are setting themselves up to be remote first.
Managing a remote team is different from running an onsite team. Traditional management methods like “managing by walking around” don’t work for obvious reasons. Collaboration and creative processes have to be more consciously organized because the spontaneous effects of in-person communications are hard to replicate online. These aspects are very visible and well understood by now. Productivity has remained strong at most companies throughout the pandemic, and remote-first teams are often amongst the most productive.
However, a company’s culture is a more subtle and challenging aspect. In a survey of our portfolio companies, we found that while the vast majority of startups felt that their productivity had stayed the same or improved through remote work, 38% said that culture had changed for the worse. A full 71% of companies implemented some form of culture-supporting measure (virtual happy hour, anyone?), but many struggled with what and how to do this most effectively.
This is where Remi comes in. Remi’s platform enables remote companies to proactively build and measure culture. The product establishes a set of rituals — some daily, some weekly or at other schedules — that motivate employees to interact beyond the hard facts of regular business and beyond the superficial and artificial measures of most culture-building tools.
Remi is about the human side of work, about the free-flowing conversations between people that normally happen in front of the office coffee maker but have to be enabled differently in a remote setting. For instance, in the Daily Team Temperature Check team members can share every morning how they’re doing and what positive and negative factors might impact their wellbeing today. Other rituals encourage people to share things about themselves that might not come up in normal business contexts. The Manual of Me lets team members communicate what their strengths, interests and preferences are. And the Thank You Box lets employees praise others for particularly great work or team contributions.
Remi is constantly expanding the set of available rituals to fit any team’s needs and existing culture — to build culture like a muscle. And the team is currently adding deep analytics that help everybody understand how a team is doing and what needs attention. The ultimate product vision is to provide a holistic, proactive solution for culture management. This approach clearly resonates: Remi already has a long wait list for its closed beta and some well-known early trial customers such as GetYourGuide and TIER Mobility.
We were particularly impressed by the Remi founding team’s diverse background and deep expertise in this space. Rebecca Görres studied Organizational Psychology at LSE and brings over 8 years of UX building experience to the team. Valerie Krämer has deep experience in B2B sales and marketing from Twitter, Opinary and other companies. CTO Franco Gotusso is an experienced tech leader who most recently worked at Typeform. The team consistently thrilled us in our conversations with an unusually holistic understanding of the market opportunity and the best approach to solve customers’ culture pains. The fact that the team also attracted top-notch advisors from prominent remote-first companies speaks for itself.
btov Partners is proud to lead Remi’s 1.2M EUR pre-seed funding round. We are joined by top angel investors such as Eyeo-Founder Tim Schumacher, Honeypot Co-Founder Emma Tracey and TIER CPO Georgie Smallwood, as part of the Accel Starter programme.
Remote work is now a normal part of work life, and the way teams are managed has to adapt and improve — not only in structured processes, but even more importantly in soft factors, culture in particular. We believe that Remi is perfectly positioned to provide its customers with the best possible solution for this challenge. If you are managing a remote team, make sure to sign up for a trial on Remi’s website.
For the btov Partners team
Jennifer Phan, Benjamin Dobbrick, Andreas Göldi