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The debate on remote working, office culture, how to manage teams of distributed staff, etc. continues. With the delta variant of COVID-19 pushing back the back office return dates for many businesses, there is still a healthy argument for what the future of work will look like.
But as big companies make their way through the present, I think the debate is largely over and startups have won it.
I’ve had a lot of calls with startup founders since the onset of COVID-19, and over the past few quarters it seems like almost every time I speak to a startup company, it has a remote team. and distributed. Some of these startups were literally founded during the COVID era, so it makes sense. But the trend is wider than just these companies.
Thinking only for a moment of the startup market, I think that over time it will be just as strange for startups to raise equity capital to spend on rent as it would be for a startup today to raise. equity to buy a rack of servers and pay colocation fees. We have AWS and Azure for that now. And when it comes to offices, we now have remote work. Why pay stocks for square footage?
We’re simplistic to a degree, but spending seed money or Series A on rent makes early offices one of the most expensive real estate in the world. For successful startups, at least. Those in the know will avoid the tax.
There’s more to that: The talent market is incredibly tight for many key roles today. Ask anyone who is trying to hire machine learning talent. Or senior developer roles. Or the marketing team leaders. The list goes on. The kind of talent startups are looking for is rare and âexpensiveâ.
Worse still for nascent tech companies, big tech companies have never been so wealthy. So what should a young business do? Offer what the big guns seem loathe to offer – remote work. It will also help startups poach talent from the biggest tech companies. A talent they don’t want to lose.
Over time, I suspect that lower retention figures for HR staff will lead to more flexibility in the workplace everywhere. And many today’s remote startups will evolve while sticking to the model, becoming the big companies of tomorrow with entirely remote teams. So the conversation about working remotely or getting back to high-priced offices is still happening, but it feels more like a doomed cruise ship lounger than a real debate.
Are you go back to car travel, or a mix of car and transit, so you can put on headphones and try to concentrate at the office? I doubt. I’m not.
Learn more about Boston
The Exchange spends time digging into the various startup hubs of the world, focusing on certain U.S. markets that are worth spending more time. We looked at Chicago, for example, and more recently Boston.
After this Boston article was posted, a few more rounds of comments have arrived. Let’s chew on their key elements.
Glasswing Ventures’ Rudina Seseri gave us a snapshot of what to expect in Boston over the next few quarters, saying that âthe number of companies entering the market and throwing new cycles is high and they are operationally strong. So unless there is a market correction – which would extend well beyond Boston – the funding appetite will remain. “
And if market conditions persist, startup activity could become even more intense in Boston. Seseri told The Exchange by email that âthe number of pre-seed and startup companies is increasing dramatically. In fact, we saw 2x growth [year over year] in the number of highly qualified people for funding.
In his view, the sheer volume of exciting startups Boston is creating is “a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit in early technology and the market opportunities COVID-19 initiated and accelerated.”
Finally, Ari Glantz of the New England Venture Capital Association said that after “a slowdown in the first half of 2020, founders and funders have seen historic capital flow as new needs and opportunities have arisen due to pandemic era changes, “and this with” companies and their funders continuing to adapt, the outlook remains bright.
I included this final quote because it applies to, well, almost everywhere. Startups have never looked so good!
More next week.