With more than 1,200 employees distributed across over 65 countries and a valuation of nearly $ 3 billion, GitLab is one of the world’s most successful fully remote startups.
Describing it as a textbook example of a remote company would be redundant, because the company actually wrote a textbook about it.
I recently had a chance to talk to GitLab’s head of Remote, Darren Murph, who filled me in on how they get stuff done, his advice for all the companies that had to suddenly shift to remote work and why GitLab gets rid of all its Slack messages after 90 days. (Fun fact: Darren wrote for TechCrunch’s corporate cousin Engadget in a past life, where he earned a Guinness World Record for writing an absolutely ridiculous number of posts.)
Darren and I chatted for quite a while, so I’ve split the transcript into two parts for easier reading. Part two coming tomorrow!
TechCrunch: So your official title is “Head of Remote.” What does that entail?
Darren Murph: It’s three things.
It’s telling our remote story to the world, it’s making sure that people who join the company acclimate to working in an all-remote setting and it’s building out the educational piece. The “all-remote” section of our handbook has dozens of guides on how we do everything remotely, from async, to meetings, to hiring and compensation, and I’m the author of all of that.
We do that to better the world; we put it all out there, it’s open source. We want other companies to read it, implement it and use it. We never saw COVID coming, but I kind of knew that down the road [this handbook] would be necessary. Thankfully, I started working on it in advance. Now that the world needs it… it’s been crazy. We packaged up our best thinking in that remote playbook, and it’s just been off the charts with companies downloading it. It’s been wild.
Why did GitLab go remote in the first place?
It was remote by default. The first three people to join the company were in three different countries… so the only way to do it was through the internet.
The one brief moment in time where there was a co-located wrinkle to the company… they’d moved to California for Y Combinator. I think there was like nine or 10 people at the time. Of course, coming out of Y Combinator, at the time, you just get an office — it’s just what you did.
I think that lasted about three days. Then people just stopped showing up.
But work kept getting done! Because even in the office they were just communicating on… whatever it was at the time. It probably wasn’t Slack, I don’t think Slack existed.
I currently have a solid job that I am definitely interested in seeing through in the medium term (3-5 years). However, I also have an idea & business plan for a startup that I believe is pretty exciting.
I would love to somehow have my cake and eat it to – keep my job and also begin the development of said startup. I suppose in my ideal world, I would find a promising young CEO/CTO (probably a student or recent grad), share with them my vision & business plan, arrange some sort of funding & equity split agreement, and take on a more passive advisor role for myself. Unfortunately, my current job is quite demanding and I couldn't imagine taking on more than a passive advisor role with my current work schedule.
I'm wondering if you all have ever heard of anything like this. I understand it feels pretty unrealistic, but just wanted to hear thoughts from the community. Thank you!
Do follow our special coverage on coronavirus over here.
Further, as per a report by talent.io, the volume of tech job positions being advertised on job boards for the Amsterdam market has been hit hardest than other main European cities, with a 70% decrease in new creations of tech positions.
Concerned about the situation, we spoke to Rebecca Clarke, Talent Manager of Amsterdam-based startup – Recruitee – on how startups and scaleups can continue effective hiring with a tight budget? On this she opines, “Understandably, right now many companies are being more conscious about spending at this time, but there are still multiple ways of continuing to hire even on a tight or non-existent budget. From personal experience, I have found that during these times, people are more willing to help each other out. So now is a great time to ask for referrals internally and also externally. For example, asking your network for recommendations/referrals on LinkedIn, Facebook groups, slack communities, etc., can prove very effective.”
As our last article on hiring in Amsterdam during the pandemic helped lots of our readers, we have now come out with the second version where we are going to tell you what’s happening in the Amsterdam tech job market during the pandemic right now? And which all new tech startups are hiring?
But before digging into some recent hirings taking place in the tech startup scene of Amsterdam, we also asked Clarke to share some tips for those seeking job openings. On this she says, “Be active online and maintain your LinkedIn profile, ensuring that it’s up to date and that you are visible to recruiters. It is always worth going through your profile, making sure it is relevant for the role that you’re looking for and clear for recruiters to see your skills.
“Research employers that are actively hiring and develop your own target list from these companies that appeal to you. For example, you can follow them on social media so you are the first to know about new roles available.”
“Now is the perfect time to upskill, demonstrating that you are keen to keep learning and improving. There are plenty of online courses that can be completed for free, just don’t forget to add them to your CV and LinkedIn profile.”
Want to know who all are hiring in Amsterdam? Take a look over here.
Founder/s: Erik de Heus, Mircea Popa, Victor Anastasiu Founded year: 2012 Funding: €10 million
SkinVision, an Amsterdam based medtech startup has informed Silicon Canals that they’re still hiring. They have developed a mobile app that lets users understand their risk factors of developing skin cancer. Recently the company also announced partnership with Netherland-based UV-Fashions, the largest importer and supplier of UV clothing in Europe. Under the partnership, SkinVision’s customers will have access to UV-Fashions offering at a discounted price. You can apply for a job at SkinVision by clicking on this link.
The Next Closet
Founder/s: Lieke Pijpers, Thalita van Ogtrop Founded year: 2013 Funding: €3 million
The Dutch online peer-to-peer marketplace for secondhand design clothes as well as accessories is also hiring and you can apply for vacancies over here.
The Amsterdam-based startup focuses specifically on women looking for affordable high-end designer fashion. In fact, The Next Closet also allows users to ‘follow’ each other’s closets and share items on social media. The female-founded brand has a mission is to change the textile industry by inspiring people to invest in quality and reuse what they already have. It aims to minimise the environmental harm caused by the textile industry.
Founder/s: NA Founded year: 2014 Funding: NA
Rodeo, an easy-to-use, agile, and clean project admin tool designed for the creative industry is also looking out for fresh talents and you can visit the company website for their tonnes of job listings.
The intuitive and clean project management app for the creative industry provides the tools that will help tame projects. It operates with the intention to create easy-to-use online project management platform for small and medium creative companies. The app is believed to help make life easier and features a clean and clever design. As it has been developed in collaboration with creative agencies and designed in Amsterdam, it is relatively affordable.
Founder/s: Diane Janknegt Founded year: 2013 Funding: €3.9 million
Wizenoze, the Dutch startup based in Amsterdam was established in 2013 for learners of all ages. A simple Google search leads to a wide range of results that are not relevant for learning, not reliable and certainly not tailored to their reading level, Wizenoze uses AI to create a clean and clear ‘internet for learning’, where students can easily find reliable, relevant and comprehensive information from the best that the internet has to offer.
In these unprecedented times, the startup with a team of around 20-25 people, is all gushed to cruise through the challenges along the way. In fact, Diane Janknegt, founder of Amsterdam-based edtech platform revealed that they’re currently “hiring instead of firing.”
Janknegt says, “I’m not planning any layoffs at all, not even salary reductions. I’m doing my best to avoid that. And I’m also opening up a beautiful position that I might be able even to fill up soon.” You can check out the positions over here.
Founder/s: Andrey Khusid, Oleg Shardin Founded year: 2011 Funding: €68.2 million
Miro, an online platform for teams to collaborate, plan, and share information easily is looking for fresh talent at its Amsterdam office and they also have a product development office in TQ, Amsterdam. You can check out their official website for more details regarding job opportunities.
Miro is an online collaborative whiteboard platform that has been built to suit modern work culture letting collocated, distributed and remote teams to collaborate and communicate across tools, formats, channels, and time zones. It has powerful collaborative features that eliminates the constraints of meeting space, physical location, and whiteboard. It works with the mission to empower teams to come up with the next big thing.
Founder/s: Christoph Auer-Welsbach, Dominik Blattner Founded year: 2018 Funding: €3 million
Amsterdam’s another leading tech startup Kaizo, previously known as Ticketless, is also hiring right now. Infact, the company recently secured €2.7 million funding in a seed round led by Gradient Ventures, Google’s AI-focused venture fund, and Partech, with participation from several angel investors.
Also, entrepreneur and investor Christoph Auer-Welsbach, a former partner at IBM Ventures, joined Kaizo as a co-founder.
The company builds a performance management platform for customer support teams that uses gamification and AI to improve operational efficiency, elevate teams’ performance, and retention with actionable OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). You can take a look at open job opportunities over here.
Founder/s: Jeroen van Duffelen, Mark-Jan Harte Founded year: 2015 Funding: €12.3 million
The Dutch medical imaging startup Aidence usually offers their AI to radiologists as an application to improve reporting in the treatment of lung cancer. When COVID-19 struck, they set up ICOVAI, a consortium for COVID-19 imaging AI. It consists of industry experts to develop and deploy a not-for-profit cloud-based AI solution for COVID-19 on chest CT for any European hospital to use.
A super interesting team to work with and yes they are hiring too, check out the open positions over here.
Founder/s: Peter van Sabben, David Arnoux, Quentin Lacointa Founded year: 2015 Funding: NA
Digital skill training company from Amsterdam, Growth Tribe which has clients like Takeaway, Philips and more is also doing tech hirings. Check out over here.
It’s a more than 100 employee company, and has trained over 15,000 people and 900 companies in various digital capabilities including growth marketing, data science, user experience, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. With campuses in the UK, France, Denmark, Finland and Norway, Growth Tribe has placed more than 325 young professionals in positions at startups and scale-ups through the traineeship programs.
Founder/s: Wendy Bogers Founded year: 2015 Funding: €500k
Ligo, the online platform meant for do-it-yourself legal solutions for SME and consumers is looking for fresh talent. Wendy Bogers, the founder and CEO of the Amsterdam-based startup confirmed us that they’re looking for a COO right now. Further, for other vacancies, check out their official website over here.
Ligo lets large organisations automatically generate, negotiate, manage and sign their contracts. It’s on a mission to change the legal market. Ligo offers legal documents, notarial services, and free phone consultation with lawyers and legal workflows. By automating these tedious tasks and with its Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) solution, Ligo helps businesses increase productivity, optimise collaborations with stakeholders and increase revenue.
Founder/s: Perry Oostdam, Paul Smoczyk Founded year: 2015 Funding: NA
As mentioned before Recruitee is an Amsterdam-based startup that is built to help companies launch their hirings, lead their organisations, and scale their teams. And the startup is also hiring during these unprecedented times. One can apply for a suitable position by heading on to over this link.
Clarke gives us some more insights, when we asked her, what are the top mistakes to avoid while hiring during the pandemic? She says, “It’s important to remember that even though there is a pandemic, companies that continue hiring could be making the same mistakes as before COVID-19, like rushing a hire. If you are hiring right now, be sure that you are making the right candidate choice, that they are joining the company for the right reasons, and give them the best candidate experience.”
“In this rather unusual time, it’s also important, more than ever, to be mindful of the candidate’s situation as this may be a tough time for the people that you are speaking with. Make sure to treat them with the utmost respect and care. Be mindful of your rejections, give advice if they are not a fit, and be honest with your timescales.”
Hope this article will help you. And if you’re a startup hiring during the pandemic in Amsterdam, let us know, we will put your message across.
Hi, I'm an experienced software engineer working on my own app full time. I'd like to hire some help with the coding effort. Has anyone had success hiring remote coders? Were they in the US or foreign? Any tips on where to find the best ones, manage/keep costs reasonable? Thanks.
I'm in a position where I have a bootstrapped startup and have been approached by a consultant at a reduced rate. Like any industry is their bad and good that comes along with them? Should I be allocating the funds elsewhere and learning from experience instead of fast tracking it by paying someone else?
They would be insight into the industry we service, but nothing I don't think I would learn on my own my just creating relationships.
There’s no denying the fact that with the coronavirus pandemic, we are heading towards the ‘great lockdown recession.’ Millions have lost their jobs globally or have received salary cuts. But there’s hope as some companies are still hiring. Reports claim that hiring in the UK has dropped by 31% but it is still going on. The drop in the hiring rate is not surprising as several companies have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic outbreak.
Do follow our special coverage on coronavirus over here.
Recently we did an article for those looking for a job in tech in Amsterdam. And now today, we take an in-depth look at the UK job market scene in the tech startup world. If you’re in London and looking for a job, give this one a read.
Founder/s: Andrew Hunter, Doug Monro Founded year: 2011 Funding: €17 million
Adzuna, a search engine for jobs ads based in London is hiring right now. Check out the open positions over here.
This search engine for jobs is used by more than 10 million visitors per month and aims to list every job from everywhere. It is quite efficient as it searches thousands of websites and brings together millions of ads in one place. Adzuna offers convenience to users by providing smarter search options and powerful data pertaining to the job market. Also, jobseekers get the right information that is needed to take control of their careers. Its mission is to be the best place to search for a job.
Founder/s: Taj Kamranpour, Carsten Schaltz, John Witt Founded year: 2019 Funding: NA
London-based SaaS platform Stotles unlocks the potential of businesses and governments working better, together. This SaaS appears to be hiring aggressively and has posted a few current hirings, take a look over here.
Stotles gives suppliers to governments the tools and insights needed to effectively find and win public-sector contracts. The SaaS platform brings together huge amounts of data, cleans it, adds intelligence, and provides insights to the suppliers to give them a complete view of the market and surface the most relevant opportunities. It ensures that suppliers who are best suited work with governments and bring transparency in the process.
This Place (London)
Founder/s: Ben Aldred Founded year: 2013 Funding: NA
This Place is a digital studio that has a group of hyper-talented individuals working with the desire to design the future. While the startup has offices in many countries, there are some vacant positions in its UK offices located in Shoreditch. Check out the official link for This Place vacancies.
The startup is based in London and operating via the US, Tokyo, and Hong Kong is a digital design and user experience studio, which helps global brands build products and services for the digital economy. This Place helps clients realise the value of great design to drive both commercial success and enhance the lives of their customers.
Founder/s: Jacomo Corbo, Sam Bourton, Simon Williams Founded year: 2009 Funding: NA
QuantumBlack, a McKinsey Company that helps companies use data to drive business decisions. Right now, this data analytics service provider based in London is hiring new talent.
It combines business experience, advanced software engineering know-hows, and expertise in large-scale visualisation and data analytics to deliver results. It harnesses data to help companies improve their performance. QuantumBlack helps companies prototype, develop, and deploy bespoke data science and data visualisation solutions and let businesses respond faster to changes in today’s competitive environment.
Founder/s: Dave Schools, Johnny Boufarhat Founded year: 2019 Funding: €6 million
Hopin is the first all-in-one live online events platform where attendees can learn, interact, and connect with people from anywhere in the world. This London-based company is hiring right now amidst the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and you can check the current openings from the website.
This startup works with the mission to address issues such as inaccessibility and environmental damage faced by companies in the event industry by offering a sustainable solution accessible to everyone. Events are significant contributors to CO2 emissions, food waste, and pollution, and Hopin addresses these issues and provide great benefits as physical events without harming the environment. Recently, Hopin raised €6 million seed investment to build its platform.
The Workshop (London)
CEO: Kristen MacDonald Founded year: NA Funding: NA
The Workshop is a startup with expertise in online gaming solutions with specialisation in casino, sports betting, and poker products. It is building the future of platforms and systems with its expertise. The Workshop is now hiring and you can get information about current openings from this link.
With over 1,000 years of experience as a team, The Workshop offers market-leading software and consultancy services. The company operates with the focus to expand its business portfolio and grow into new markets. It is touted to discover new ways to reinvent software ranging from disruptive fintech to cutting-edge encryption.
Founder/s: Andrey Vinitsky Founded year: 2018 Funding: NA
Graphy is a data collaboration platform that operates with the vision to reimagine the way teams work with data. If you want to try a job at Graphy, then you can click on this link.
Graphy is a place that creates beautiful and interactive dashboards for clients. It is loaded with data from the apps you already use. The key features of its dashboards include powerful templates, interactive aspects, channels, collaboration, and detailed insights. It makes data connection easy with the usual tools and apps that you already use.
Founder/s: Dominic Strowbridge, Laurence John Founded year: 2013 Funding: €3.2 million
London-based Ctrlio is touted to be an intention marketing startup that wants to help customers use their personal data to connect with brands in a meaningful way than ever before. It is currently looking out for fresh talent and here you can apply for a vacant position.
This startup negotiates directly with brands on behalf of its customers to create private discounts that cannot be found elsewhere. The company helps insurers win customers more efficiently and manage their risk portfolio in real-time. It focuses on what’s good for the insurer, the channel and most importantly, the customers.
Are you a startup in the UK that is continuing to hire new talent even during the COVID-19 pandemic? If we have missed mentioning your startup, do let us know.